Paleo on a Budget – Easy Taco Seasoning Recipe
Paleo on a Budget – Easy Taco Seasoning Recipe
I am not wealthy. I am not even on the upswing of wealthy. My husband and I work hard in our careers and make a good living, but with two kids active in everything under the sun, a zoo of well-loved pets, and the never-ending pile of bills, we’re just like the rest of the working middle-class: making ends meet the best we can.
Saving money is my happy place. I guess maybe it’s because people think I can’t do it. How can I possibly feed a family of four healthy food on a tight budget (plus there is always a random kid – or six – in the house)? While I admit, it takes a little extra work, it is by far not impossible.
Because I have so much to share with you on how to eat real food on a real-life budget, this will be broken into two parts. The first will contain a few tips and easy recipes for things you can use every day. These recipes savemoney by showing you how to maketraditionally store-bought items from scratch, which is also healthier! The second part in a future issue will show you how to create and make affordable real food meals, including meal plans, gardening tips, and cost breakdown!
Buy in bulk. When possible, me and my husband try to set aside a larger sum of money to buy meat in bulk every month or so. Typically, the more you buy, the cheaper the cost. Most of the best deals will be on “case prices” at your local warehouse club (yes, the $40 yearly membership fee pays for itself almost immediately). Here are some cost differences: Chicken breast averages nationally for $3.70/lb. If you buy at a case price (between 38 and 65 pounds), it will cost you $1.59/lb. Does that initial bill of $103.35 for chicken sting a bit? Sure, but having a freezer full of meat for more than $2/lb less is worth it. Ground beef nationally is $3.69/lb ($5.61 for extra lean), whereas the case price is $2.37/lb when you buy 75 to 85 pounds. We alternate which meats we buy so our freezer is always stocked with a good variety. If you can’t afford the case price, most warehouse stores also have regular-sized packages of meat marked way below the average grocery store price.
Meat isn’t the only item you can buy in bulk to save money. Consider these items in bulk: nuts, spices, honey, maple syrup, olive oil, orcoconut oil (Tropical Traditions online often has huge sales; for instance, I just purchased a two-pack of 2 quarts for $40 and got another two-pack free! That’s $0.31/oz!). Especially if you have a FoodSaver vacuum sealer (a great purchase for saving money long-term!), buying items in bulk and separating/storing them properly saves you hundreds of dollars each year.
Let go and go easy. Not everything has to be organic, pasture-raised, and sang to by magical unicorns as it grazed in the field. You are still a good mom or dad if you buy meat at the warehouse club instead of the farm. Is it amazing to shop local and support farmers when you can? Absolutely. But if your third kid needs braces or your first kid lost his trombone, getting whole, real food in their bodies at a price you can afford matters more in my opinion. Go easy on yourself. Don’t choose recipes that take up too much of your schedule and find the simplest ways to maximize your time and budget.
Make your own. You don’t have to be Julia Child to make your own condiments, salad dressings, or spice blends, plus this will save you a ton of money. Here are a few recipes for things you probably use quite often and don’t even realize the cost savings of making your own.
For this recipe, I purchased the ingredients in bulk at my local warehouse store. If you do not have that amount of money up front, most of these are cheap spices you can get at a local grocery store.
Paleo on a Budget - Easy Taco Seasoning Recipe
- ⅓ cup chili powder $6.42/20 oz, 2.6 oz = $0.83
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder $7.68/21 oz, 0.5 oz = $0.18
- 1 tablespoon onion powder $4.86/20 oz, 0.5 oz = $0.12
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano $3.98/5 oz, 0.1 oz = $0.08
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin $8.38/16 oz, 0.5 oz = $0.26
- 3 tablespoons paprika $7.36/18 oz, 1.5 oz = $0.61
- 1½ tablespoons kosher or fine sea salt $4.94/36 oz, 0.98 oz = $0.13
- Mix all together and store in an airtight container. Use 2 tablespoons per pound of meat
Total cost of recipe = $2.21
Total cost per serving = $0.31
Compare to store-bought gluten-free taco seasoning packet = $1.29/1 oz This recipe gives you a savings of $0.98 per serving. With the total cost of all items purchased, $43.62, you could make this recipe 7 times (the chili powder will run out first) for a total of 49-50 servings. At 2 tablespoons per pound of meat, and a typical meat usage of 2 pounds for a large family, that’s 25 meals worth of tacos for which you can make seasoning! (My brain hurts from all this math; I have English degrees, ha!)
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