Do you really save money?

As I look back on the past two years and think about the changes that we made and has it really saved us that much money? As I look at the food we eat and the money we spend on food, I see a monthly savings of about 15% on average.  Now over a year, that can be substantial.  What is even more amazing is that I am buying top quality ingredients that cost more but I am saving 15% a month doing so.  So how is that possible?  You have to change the way you shop.  Set a budget for each weekly visit and stick to it.  And really, if you source your own food and know exactly where you are getting your poultry, beef, dairy, and produce, you will find that you are more disciplined and you will not be buying all those extras that catch your eye when you go to a one stop shop like a grocery store.  Trust me, it works.

But if you are looking for specific comparisons, I can give you the comparison of making your own butter.  Now when you make your own butter you end up with butter and buttermilk.  So essentially you start with cream and you end up with two products.  When you compare what you pay for really good milk or cream, it is going to be pricey, but trust me; it is not more than buying organic milk from the store.  Wholefoods for example carries creamline lightly pasteurized milk from local farms that pasture their cows and it also carries lightly pasteurized cream from local farms. The price is equivalent to the price of regular Ultra Pasteurized Homogenized organic milk.  I paid about $4.50 per ½ gallon of milk and about the same for a pint of cream.  A quart of cream makes a pound of butter.  You are probably saying good grief that is expensive butter compared to what I buy at the store, but let’s do the math and let us make the right comparisons.  You can’t compare your homemade butter you make with good quality cream to a land-o-lakes tub of butter.  You have to remember why they are so cheap.  They do not use the quality of ingredients you are going to source.  Remember this is corporate processing and the bottom line is more important than your health.

So how do I compare?  When I started this journey, my goal was to break even or even spend a bit more for better and healthier food and I was more than ok with that.  I remember my husband and I sat down one day and did the math as a gauge to see if we were really saving any money.  We compared my butter and buttermilk and crème fraiche to the products you buy at the high-end gourmet food stores. And were both very pleased with the outcome.

Regular Butter Organic Butter Cultured Butter Homemade Cultured or Sweet Butter
$3.70 / Pound $6 / Pound $10 / Pound $10 / Pound of either cultured or sweet + a free Quart of cultured buttermilk (average price at the store is $2.30)

So in reality you are getting homemade cultured butter and cultured buttermilk for the price of regular organic butter.  That is great savings in my book.  Now the enormous savings comes if you make Crème Fraiche which is what you use to make cultured butter.  Crème fraiche is very pricey and was not something I bought on a regular basis and I only used for special occasion.  Let us just say that I now use it for all my cream based recipes. Yes the savings are that huge.  Let’s do the comparison.

Regular Crème Fraiche Homemade Crème Fraiche
$30 / Quart $10 / Quart

And culturing cream is nothing but adding a couple of table spoons of cultured buttermilk to a quart of sweet cream.  As you get adept at this, you will find it is just easier and much cheaper to just buy the freeze dried culture from a cheese making supply online store and it will literally last you several years if stored in the freezer.

Now you can bring the cost down even further if you are able to use fresh raw milk which is normally much cheaper. If you are weary of consuming raw milk, you can pasteurize it your self easily and it will still be far superior to anything you buy at the store whether cream-line or not.

The savings also come from the fact that you don’t go to the store as often and therefore you have less opportunity to spend on other items that you didn’t intend to buy.  Trust me, you will save at least 15% per month.  And even if you don’t save any money just the fact I know what is exactly in my food and what I put in my and family’s body is priceless to me considering the fact that all of my husband’s ailments such as acid re-flux, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the beginnings of type II diabetes are now a thing of the distant past.

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