The New Year often turns our thoughts to reducing outgoings. I offer these thoughts as to how to do a healing diet on a budget. Is it possible? I believe it is. Yes, good food is often more expensive than processed food, but when you make what you put in your mouth a priority, then it's amazing how creative you can become at finding ways to reduce costs.
However there are several factors to be considered and we will look at them in a series of posts. In this post we will look at a few fundamentals.
Doing a healing diet on a budget is not a separate compartment from how we use money in our families generally. Our spending philosophy underpins every part of our lives. What do I mean?
I meet some families who consider themselves hard up. But when I get to spend time with them, I see practices that could be changed which would free up more money. Often money is almost literally being thrown away through unnecessary purchases. It makes me re-examine my lifestyle, to see that I am not unwittingly doing the same. I find there is always room for improvement.
At the root chore are our characters. Some find it easier to be frugal, others harder. If you don't know which one you are, spend time thinking about it, as it matters. The frugal ones are very careful about everything they spend. Could they get the same quality elsewhere but cheaper? They do price comparisons to get the best deal. They consider carefully whether an item is really needed, or if it is a whim buy, to satisfy a feeling, rather than a real need. They have an ethos of make and do, and recycle, rather than having to have everything brand new and up to date with the latest fashion, be it in furniture or clothing. They do not feel that their children will be deprived if they do not receive expensive presents etc...
So just for this week, have a really hard look at your spending habits. Maybe even write down everything you buy and how much it cost in the week. Then check that everything on the list was really necessary. Then have a little think. How many clothes have you bought (even if from a charity shop) that have hardly ever been worn? How much money do you spend on take-aways, or convenience food, like little boxes of raisins or water? How much electricity is wasted with lights left on all over the house, or chargers not turned off? The list could go on!
Some set a budget for groceries. We don't but I tend to find that my shopping bill tends to be roughly the same each week, with exceptions for when people come to stay, or birthdays etc... We hardly ever eat out (pretty impossible ont he GAPs diet anyway!). Others on a smaller income may find it necessary to have such a budget restriction. However there is often room for improvement.
Of course, good accounting is essential. You don't need an accounting qualification, but a basic means of checking what is coming in, against what is going out and making sure the books balance. It is so easy to live on credit, but never a good idea! Never spend what you haven't got is a good principal. Live within your means is another. I have heard others say that relying upon hand-outs from the government is not a good idea either, we should strive to be financially self-sufficient.
So, before I look at any other things you can do practically, think over these big things: your character, your lifestyle, your view of money and your general spending tendencies as they currently stand.
Next time we will look at some simple thrifty measures you can take right now in your home to help you be able to afford real food to heal the body.