Thursday, October 13, 2011

3 Ways To Eat Big On A Budget

You had me at meat tornado.

Unless you have been asleep in the squat rack for the last couple years, you may have noticed that there is a bit of a budget crisis going on.  According to some recent statistics, Americans spend the lowest percentage of their household incomes on food. I don't know about you, but this is a BS statistic to me. My wife and I probably spend 30% of our monthly income just on food, so naturally my belly gets a little concerned as the budget crisis lingers on.

Luckily for you, my team and I have put together a few of the most simple and effective methods to keep eating big on a budget. Let's take a look at the top 3 ways.

1. Become A Costco Warrior
Every lifter must make a weekly pilgrimage here
If you have budgetary concerns, then Costco needs to be your store of choice. They have everything you can get at a regular grocery store, but there is twice as much of it, and its usually cheaper to buy in bulk. On a typical weekly "Costco run", my shopping cart will look something like this:
  • 5 dozen eggs-$7
  • 2 gallons of milk-$4.50
  • 6 pounds of chicken-$14
  • 6 pounds ground beef-$17
  • Various vegetables-$20-30 dollars
  • Almond butter, oats and pureed pumpkin (for shakes)-18 dollars
That comes to about $85 dollars a week, and you can definitely get big on this. I also buy fish oil once a month at Costco, it costs about $9 for 400 pills. They also have protein powder, 6 pounds for 35 dollars. It's not as high quality as some of the better stuff, but you are on a budget, remember? The same goes for the meat and milk. It isn't grass-fed,  but your options are limited if you are tight on money. I will talk about grass-fed stuff later in this article.

2. Cook Everything Yourself

Don't look directly into it's eyes!
This one should go without saying, and that's why I have to say it. I see a lot of whining on forums and the Facebook page from people that, for some strange reason, can't afford to eat big because it costs too much. After a few simple questions on my part, I quickly discover that most of their meals are eaten out of the home, they are buying fairy fruit smoothies which consist of soy milk and fruit, and fancy coffees every day. 

I think the problem has been identified.

The answer is simple: cook all of your meals yourself, if possible cook them in advance. This will help you prevent impulse food purchases when you don't feel like cooking after a long day of looking at cat pictures at work all day (don't be a cat person). "But eating the same food every day will get boring!", they say. People vastly underestimate the various ways you can cook the same 10-15 basic ingredients. Throw meat and vegetables in a pan with some seasoning and teriyaki sauce and BOOM! You have stir fry. Use the same ingredients, but with taco seasoning, and now you have fajitas. Just be creative. Start with breakfast: There are at least 6 ways to cook an egg that I know of. Switch it up as you get bored.

3. Buy A Whole Grass-Fed Cow/Pig

Birthday present from my parents.
This is one of my favorite things to do; I am getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. While I wouldn't call it an investment, since technically an investment is something that gives you a ROI, it is definitely one of the best purchases you can make. Typically a pound of corn fed beef costs between 3-4 dollars, and a pound of grass-fed can cost up to 8 dollars a pound. Those numbers are JUST for ground beef, expects steaks and such to be much more. 

By buying the entire animal, not only do you get it all grass-fed, the ENTIRE animal only costs 2-4 dollars a pound. That means that everything from ground beef to back strap to new york cuts are all the same price. Last year my parents gave me 100 pounds of beef, and it cost them 2 dollars a pound. The animal was a nearly-feral cow that lived in the hills, and the meat smelled exactly like elk meat. It doesn't get any better than that. The same goes for a pig, it all may cost more up front, but you will be set for months and you will have meat coming out of your ears. TIP: Make sure you have adequate freezer space BEFORE you make the purchase, otherwise prepare to have the best case of meats sweats ever.

The Rock cooks his own meals. The guy in the back doesn't. See what happens?

There you have it, 3 easy tips to keep you eating big on a constrained budget. Following these 3 tips should help keep your belly swole and your wallet happy. But if you are still complaining and making excuses, saying that these tips are too hard to follow, well then you must not really love getting big in the first place, do you?

7 comments:

  1. I am down to go in on a cow. Splitsies?!?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Let me get through my current cow, and then definitely.

    ReplyDelete
  3. we have had 2 cows processed. The last one gave us 981#s of beef, and it filled up a stand up freezer, the freezer in the kitchen, and I gave away 2 boxes of burger meat. The cost came out, with price of purchase of cow plus processing, to $2.80/lb.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Where did you parents get this nearly-feral cow? I must know!

    ReplyDelete
  5. australia has kangaroo at most supermarkets for quite cheap.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The whole grass-fed cow option is intriguing beyond belief. I think I may need to get a big ol' freezer and a bunch of moo-meat with my tax return. Thanks for the excellent suggestion - good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey guys, just came across this site for the first time a couple days ago. Absolutely love it, and this post in particular really got me excited. I've been wondering about buying bulk grass-fed beef for a while now, but had no idea it was so widely available as I found out from this site:

    http://eatwild.com/index.html

    The lowest price I've been able to find near me for a whole, side or quarter of beef completely butchered and packed is about $5/lb or a little more even. Not as good as the $2-$4/lb some of you have found but still pretty good considering it includes cuts of steaks and rounds and the beef is grass-fed, therefore higher in omega-3's and overall much healthier for you.

    ReplyDelete