When looking for ways to cut down on our grocery bill, we usually rely on age-old methods. We look for sales, use coupons, and buy in bulk. Sometimes those methods mean we eat a lot of processed foods. Getting fresh food that is affordable can be difficult. That is why I wanted to share with you the CSA and the savings you can get.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. A farmer sells their fresh fruits and vegetables before harvest. It’s a package deal that you pay upfront and then receive over the course of 12-16 weeks. Locally sourced food is far better for your health than buying in a grocery store. You get to know the farmers and their practices. Some local foods also help with curbing allergies as well. Depending on where you live, you can also find CSA’s that have fresh eggs and butchered meat. Not only can you save money, but it’s also a great activity to support local farmers.
How Does It Work?
During planting season, CSAs open for accepting customers. This will vary by your location so do some research. You will be expected to pay for your share. Shares come in half or full size. Half is good for one or two people, depending on how much produce you eat. Full size is good for families. Prices will vary from a couple hundred dollars to about $700. It sounds like a lot but you can expect to receive your box for 12-16 weeks. Let’s say you join, and your fee is $500. Deliveries that cover 16 weeks turn into $31.25 a week for fruits and vegetables. Delivery will vary from weekly to bi-weekly.
How to Plan for the Expense
The first thing you want to do is investigate local CSAs and what they typically offer. You want to be sure they will provide you with the food you will eat. Meet the farmer and ask about their processes. See if you can customize your box.
Next, you will want to adjust your budget now. Joining a CSA next year is possible if you start putting money aside. Let’s say you have a fee of $500 that you have to pay by March 1, 2020. You could set aside as little as $10 a week right away and have more than enough to pay that fee. During the deliveries, you set aside the weekly expense. When the deliveries end, you have the money to join the next one.
Important Things to Know
A CSA will not replace all your needs. You will be eating what grows locally. Anything that isn’t local, will have to be purchased at the store. Herbs and spices are not in most CSA boxes. You will still need to buy those at the store.
It is also good to know that there are other savings as well. Eating fresh local food is a healthier option. You can avoid unnecessary doctor’s appointments and hospital visits.