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5 Best Tips for How to Shop for Traditional Foods on a Budget

Watch The 5 Best Tips for How to Shop for Traditional Foods on a Budget video

I share my 5 BEST tips for how to shop for traditional foods on a budget. My video goes into detail on my best tips, but in this blog post, I also provide a glimpse of how to get started buying and making traditional foods while staying within your grocery budget.

Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.

Traditional Foods on a Budget Mistakes

I have heard from so many people that buying traditional food—real food—is expensive. But after chatting with them for a bit, I learn that they are making a number of mistakes when trying to buy traditional foods.

Here are just a few examples of the mistakes people can make:

  • People are pulling recipes off the Internet willy-nilly without thinking about the season. Attempting a recipe that calls for strawberries in January will be expensive, even if you can find strawberries in January! Ignoring the fruits and vegetables in season is not a winning strategy for buying traditional foods on a budget.
  • People often feel the pressure to buy organic fresh food or organic prepared foods, like high-priced organic crackers, salad dressings, sour cream, yogurt, and more. This is completely unnecessary!

When Are Organic or Packaged Foods Unnecessary?

If you have a tight grocery budget, you don’t need to purchase all organic produce. To buy traditional foods on a budget, consult the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists.

How to Select Fruits and Vegetables

For fruits and vegetables classified as the Clean 15, you can purchase non-organic versions of those produce types. The food items on the Clean 15 list are sprayed with less pesticides or pesticides that are classified as safe.

For fruits and vegetables classified as the Dirty Dozen, seek out organic versions of those produce types. The food items on the Dirty Dozen list are heavily sprayed with pesticides. If the organic versions are too expensive or not available and you need them, limit how many of the non-organic alternatives you buy and consume.

How to Select Meat, Chicken, and Fish

Follow the same philosophy when you’re looking for meat, chicken, and fish. If you can afford to buy grass-fed, pasture-raised, and wild-caught food, great! But if not, don’t worry.

Roast Chicken

I always say that when you are getting started on the road from a processed foods kitchen to a traditional foods kitchen, just buy a chicken—any chicken you can afford. No matter how that chicken was raised, a roast chicken is going to be better for you than anything you pick up from a fast-food chain and eat in your car.

Steps for a Delightful Meal and Dinner Conversation

And after you’ve selected your whole chicken, follow these steps for a delicious and memorable family meal:

  1. Roast your chicken. (Check below if you’re looking for helpful beginner chicken recipes.)
  2. Ask everyone to put their phones away and sit down because a delightful meal and dinner conversation are coming.
  3. Enjoy the meal with gratitude. It’s okay to have seconds too. 😊

The Secret to Traditional Foods on a Budget – Make Real Food Homemade

One of the biggest ways to save money on your groceries is by learning to make packaged or prepared foods homemade. You can make almost all the prepackaged foods you see in the grocery aisles—from salad dressings to crackers—homemade for a lot less!

In the following recipe videos, you’ll see a sampling of some of the food items you can make homemade, including slice and bake crackers, salad dressings, bone broth, and even bone broth powder. No need to buy those items from the grocery store, and you control the ingredients too! I show you how to make all these foods easily with step-by-step instructions.

How to Stock the Traditional Foods Pantry playlist

Want more tips for more traditional foods on a budget? You’re in luck! I have a How to Stock the Traditional Foods Pantry playlist of videos and printable recipes so you can stock your Four Corners Pantry (Working Pantry, Fridge, Freezer, and Extended/Prepper Pantry) with homemade food items, including:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cultured butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Natural food coloring
  • Seasoning blends
  • Sour cream
  • Sprouted flour
  • Yeast (yes…yeast!)
  • Yogurt
  • And lots more
Marys NestHow to Make Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother Recipe

By learning how to make packaged and prepared foods from your grocery store homemade, you’ll increase your culinary skills and keep your traditional foods kitchen running smoothly and on budget!

Looking for Traditional Food on a Budget Online?

When it comes to shopping online for traditional foods, you should never press the “Buy” button until you have exhausted your search for online discount coupon codes. Many YouTube creators and food bloggers offer helpful and generous discount coupon codes.

For my sweet friends, I make the search for discounts easy by listing all of my discount codes on my Shopping Guide page. I update the page regularly with my latest discounts.

If you have a favorite company you’d like to get a discount from, let me know.  I would be glad to reach out to them to see if they can provide you, one of my sweet friends, with a special discount.

Roast Chicken Recipes for Beginners

If you’re just starting your traditional foods kitchen, choose from any of my recipe videos below to learn how to roast a chicken for a delicious family meal. And although it’s not roasted, my Instant Pot chicken recipe video includes tips from the manufacturer so you can enjoy a flavorful and tender whole chicken.

Chicken Bone Broth Recipes

And after you’re done enjoying your delicious chicken meal, don’t forget to save your carcass to make chicken bone broth. I show you how easy it is to make this nutritious broth in the following videos.

Get Bones for Homemade Beef Bone Broth

Speaking of bone broth, as I mention in my video and blog post, it’s cheaper and more nutritious to make your own bone broth. If it’s hard to find beef bones or other traditional real foods in your neighborhood supermarket or farmer’s market, check out US Wellness Meats for grass-fed beef, beef bones, pastured chicken, and more. And I have a discount code for you!

This is not a sponsored post. I’m a long-time customer of US Wellness Meats because I have always been impressed by the quality of their products. Check out my US Wellness Meats unboxing video to see the types of products you can get, including bones for beef bone broth.

Make Your Own Flour with the Mockmill

One of the best ways to shop for traditional foods on a budget is by buying whole grain and milling it yourself to make your own flour. And I have great news! The folks at Mockmill are very kind to offer my viewers and readers a discount on any of the grain mills and grains (including Ancient Grains!) that they sell.

When it comes to electric grain mills, after I did A LOT of research, I decided to buy a Mockmill. And am I so happy I did! The Mockmill is a very affordable but beautifully crafted German-made mill that stone grinds grain with settings ranging from 1 to 10—fine to coarse ground grain.

You can see me unbox and try out the Mockmill 100 Grain mill, as well as make Einkorn flour, in the following videos.

And please know, just like with US Wellness Meats, this post is not sponsored. I purchased my Mockmill by myself, but when I discovered how wonderful it was, I wanted to share all about it with my sweet viewers and readers!

Download Your Free 36-Page Pantry List

Now is the time to download your free Traditional Foods Pantry List, if you haven’t had a chance to already! This eBook is going to be such a valuable resource for you as you stock your pantry. Plus, I share lots of links to videos and printable recipes where I show you how to use everything in your pantry to make homemade delicious and nutritious meals!

Kitchen Academy Videos

Are you looking for more traditional foods videos? I invite you to join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy. Members of this optional paid YouTube community get access to exclusive videos, live streams, and other members-only perks. Plus, your YouTube comments include a special members-only badge.

In the following members-only video, I go further in-depth on how to get Traditional Foods on a Limited Budget.

Stay in Touch with Mary’s Nest

  1. Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for Traditional Foods Videos (Free) - When you subscribe, be sure to click on the notification bell that will let you know each time I upload a new video.
  2. Subscribe to Mary’s Traditional Foods Newsletter (Free) - Get a free 36-page eBook for signing up: How to Stock Your Essential Traditional Foods Four-Corners Pantry.
  3. Join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy (Optional Paid) - For more detailed videos and exclusive members-only perks, join my YouTube membership community.
  4. Order The Modern Pioneer Cookbook (Optional Paid) - Get a printed book of Mary's nourishing recipes from a Traditional Foods Kitchen. This bestselling cookbook is published by Penguin Random House with their DK imprint.

I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!

Shop for items used in this blog post or video

Favorite Kitchen Supplies

More Kitchen Supplies with Promo Codes

Use promo code MARYSNST for a one-time 15% off Masontops and Breadsmart products on

Learn more about Mockmill electric grain mills for making fresh flour and their Flake Lover's Flaker that flakes whole grain in minutes.

Amazon Shop and Shopping Guide

  • Visit Mary’s Nest Amazon Shop
  • Visit my Shopping Guide page
    Get up to 15% off for stocking your Traditional Foods Pantry and equipping your Modern Pioneer Kitchen, including discounts from US Wellness Meats, Farmhouse Teas, Lehman's, Masontops, Cultures for Health, Survival Garden Seeds, Redmond Real Salt, Plan to Eat, and More!

Disclaimer:I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.

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