Let’s face it: starting out on the Paleo Lifestyle is expensive. Beef and cauliflour cost a lot more and don’t stretch as far as lentils and rice. Once you get up and running, though, I think it evens out. When the pantry is stocked with the Paleo essentials, you find that a lot of the ingredients last a long time – such as non-grain flours, seeds and spices, and unrefined sweetners. As the tastebuds become increasingly sensitized, you find you need less to be blown away: less chili, less honey, less salt. And as you eat so well at home, you definitely eat out less.
But Paleo is more than just a way of eating. Living the Primal Life in the context of the 21st Century embraces, amongst other things, ecology, a relaxed and flexible way of being in the world, and creativity. Through integrating these attitudes and practices into our daily life we’ve found that we make real savings.
Here are 12 things we do which are soft on our bank accounts and which reflect the Primal spirit. Some of these things will be already be familiar to you, but other innovations might surprise you.
12 Surprising Ways to Save Money while Living the Paleo Life
1.Eat It All
We’re not just talking about eating the whole beast – tongue, liver and heart, or boiling the chicken carcass to make stock. What about the vegetable bits that don’t make the hit list?
- Those thick cauliflour leaves, broccoli stalks, and wobbly carrots that a non-Primal cook would throw away make a great Base for a Paleo Breakfast. Click here to see how we do it.
- Pumpkin and zucchini flowers that aren’t going anywhere turn a frittata into a piece of edible art.
- The long, tough ends of the leek which you’d normally cast aside are a perfect bed for a roasting chicken or a pork loin.
2. Self-Sufficiency, Please
The more we can buy, the less we can do. Just ask anyone who was born in the 1920’s. Living Primal means being active and creative, and expanding this concept beyond the workout and the kitchen can save you dollars.
- Hair. The General cuts his own hair. Always has. I have a pair of those hairdressers’ scissors with teeth. With them, I keep my hair in shape and cut down my hairdresser trips from once every two months to once every four or five.
- Body Hair. Ladies, you are a mammal with the DNA of a Paleo woman. You are always going to have body hair. If you want to say money over a lifetime, learn how to wax. A tub of wax will cost you a tenner and last a year. Paying a beautician will cost you €35 every 5 weeks.
- Sew If you don’t know how to use a sewing machine, do yourself a great favour: buy one and learn how to sew. It’s easy, fun and will save you loads. Guys, don’t think sewing is just for the girls. Great tailors have always been admired. The General lost 12 kilos when we went Primal. Yes, he bought fab new clothes. But he also sat at the sewing machine and did his own adjustments. The chair cushions up at Monte are old and shabby. What am I going to do? Spend €10 euro each to buy 8 new ones, or spend €25 for a few meters of fabric. I’ll take the second option, and enjoy the creativity!
3. Fill the Oven
I don’t know about where you live, but here the gas and electricity bills are always on the rise. If I have the oven on for a pork roast or to make my totally necessary All Day Biscotti, I’ll often fill it with other stuff. Like, really fill it. Half a pumpkin is brilliant. There’s no need to cut it up, just halve it, scoop out the seeds and place it on the rack. It will be fabulous tomorrow in a salad or soup or pie. A Paleo Bread takes about 15 minutes to whip up. Sweet Potato. Nuts or seeds to toast. Use that heat for all it’s worth.
4. Grow Your Own
Yes, it’s been covered before, but it really is worth it. Anyone can grow balcony herbs. Rosemary is a gorgeous, hardy perennial that enriches meats and tubers with its deep, lusty flavour. Basil is the flavour of summer, and I actually think it does better in a pot than in the ground. Thyme. Oregano and Santoreggio are elegant both as flavours and as decor. Mint will last from early spring to autumn if you keep cutting it back. Stevia! I grew stevia from seed this spring, and am brewing the dried leaves in boiling water which I then use as an unrefined sweetner.
5. Buy in Bulk
Obviously because often you get a better price. And definitely buy in bulk when unperishables are on special. But that’’s not the only reason. Buy in bulk because it will prevent you making lots of unnecessary trips to the shops. Shops are designed to make you buy stuff, which is why you usually come out with half a dozen things that you weren’t intending to buy, like that new brand of Coconut Water or the Paleo Granola Bars. Which leads to:
6. Shop with a List
And stick to it.
7. Sniff Around
Get to know people. Keep your ears open. Ask around. The General is brilliant at this. Pasture raised anything is hard to come by here, so he keeps his nose to the ground. He finds us farmers who are willing to part with their lambs, rabbits and calves, and the price is always cheaper than the butcher’s.
8. Choose Nature, not the Streets
In your leisure time, head to the hills. It’s impossible to head into town and not spend money, even if it’s just for a coffee. Out in nature, there’s nothing to buy. And while you’re there:
We gathered 22 kilos of walnuts last year. The trees were celebrating after several stagnant seasons due to the Chinese Wasp. We probably won’t find as many this year, but we’ll be looking. Take a bag or a basket and be ready to hunt and gather. Dandelion greens are everywhere. Mushrooms. Hazelnuts. Raspberries, Blackberries and Juniper Berries. Learn how to identify your local edible species.
10. Reduce Your Need for the New
We live in an age of over-stimulation and want every moment to be an event, every day to be a spectacle, every act to be worth publishing. Well, stop it. The habit will cost you money because you’ll want new toys every other day.
- Slow down and appreciate what you have. Really appreciate that object, that food, the view that is in front of your eyes. Practice appreciation with all of your five senses.
- Create routines. Know, more or less, what your meal plan is – that will save you buying unnecessary things.
- Be ordinary, eat ordinary. As much as Instagram would have you believe otherwise, not every meal has to be as amazing as a Christmas dinner. We usually eat the same things over and over again. Yes, these things are super healthy and delicious, but we save the refined meals and treats for refined occasions.
11. Become a Conoissure, Not a Collector
- Re-use, Re-cycle, Re-do. Loved that book? Then read it again. Trust me, the second time round won’t be the same as the first. Love that CD? Then learn each song off by heart before you buy a new one. That new Paleo Recipe E-Book? How many recipes have you actually made from it? Yes, support your bloggers – they need your support – but a hundred recipe books are not going to turn you into a great cook. Buy one, and then study it. Practice it, and only when you’ve learnt all that you can from it, buy another one. All of this is going to save you money in the long term.
- Clothes. That goes for clothes as well. There is loads of advice out there on how to create wardrobe capsules so you get 72 outfits from just 12 pieces. Don’t buy badly, you need that tenner for a rib-eye and a kilo of Cassava flour.
- Buy Quality. At the same time, when it comes to your classic pieces, buy the best quality you can afford, and look after them, because they will last longer. Same goes for your Electrical equipment. I have to thank The General for this one. He insists on never buying the cheapest, and I am so, so glad he does. Spending the extra for our Kenwood was so worth it – it’s sturdy and shock-proof and strong, and we know it is going to go the distance.
12. Buy Real Food
Yes, it seems obvious, but I am astounded at how many pre-packaged Paleo foods are hitting the market. Sure, they look great, and we all love convenience, but isn’t there something inherently contradictory going on when we buy ‘Paleo Real Food’ which is wrapped? If you want to save some bucks you need to remember that any time anybody’s hands or a machine have touched or cut or wrapped what you put into your mouth, then you are going to be paying for that service. Prepare your own. It’ll probably taste better, anyway. That goes for ingredients as well. Almond flour costs loads more than the almonds themselves, just because someone has ground it up for you. What are you going to do? I bought a spice grinder and it is one of my most used kitchen appliances.
I hope you’ve found a couple of ideas here that you hadn’t thought of before. (Come on, how many of you cut your own hair? ) I’m also sure you all have loads of money-saving tricks and techniques that will be new to us, so please let us know! Really looking forward to your comments – any advice is most welcome here in the land of the highest-tax-rates-in-the-world!
Best wishes, and thanks so much for helping to get us out there by Sharing on your Social. Thanks for your support!