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Save money when you Cook for Good

For years, I've tracked two sets of prices. The “green” prices show how much you can save cooking with mostly organic or sustainably and kindly raised ingredients. The “thrifty” prices show how to save even more by picking ingredients with a focus on cost.  

In 2010, green meals average less than $5 a day per person, $4.97 if you’re counting pennies (and who isn’t?). Thrifty meals average only $3.21 a day. Go all green if you can, all thrifty if you must, or create a mix that suits you. You’ll still be using the same wildly good recipes, menus, and cooking sessions described in my book Wildly Affordable Organic. Cooking fresh, seasonal food from scratch will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on your grocery bills ... more if you eat out often.

chart of annual average meal cost using the Wildly Affordable Organic plans for green and thrifty meals

Even when including all the ingredients for three meals a day and a snack, Wildly Affordable Organic meals cost less than the food-stamp allowance in North Carolina, where I track prices. The government will provide up to $5.49 a day per person to help a family of four with no other means to survive. Cook for Good shows you how to not just survive but to  thrive on less than $5 using the green prices.

How much could a family of four save?

  • $760 a year or $2.08 a day using the WAO green plan compared to the NC food stamp allowance.
  • $6,500 a year using the WAO green plan compared to the USDA’s "liberal" plan (I say "extravagant plan" -- it's 90% more!). Save 25% over the USDA's low-cost plan.
  • Over $9,000 a year using the WAO thrifty plan instead of the USDA's extravagant "liberal" plan.

You can save even more! I do!

These prices show worst-case scenarios—with no coupons, membership clubs, stocking up on sale items, or homegrown vegetables. The prices even include extra food in case you can't follow all my super-thrifty tips, like making pumpkin puree from your Halloween pumpkin. So clip a few coupons, stock up during sales, buy ice cream peaches, and feed your Stoup to rack up even more savings.

What about food prices in your area?

The prices in your community may be a little higher or a little lower, but you'll still save loads of money living the Wildly Affordable Organic life. That’s true even if you already cook most meals at home. See the savings in your grocery bills from week one. Watch for savings in your medical bills too, as eating fresh fruits and vegetables plus plenty of whole grains and beans pays off in improved health. My advisers, readers, and students say that the Wildly Affordably Organic life is healthy, realistic, and kid friendly.