I eat a totally plant-based diet, so I don’t hunt or fish. But my partner enjoys fishing and plans to start hunting this season as well to fill our chest freezer. With grocery store prices on the rise, we have to find creative ways to reduce our food bill.
Meat and fish are two of the most expensive items on our shopping list. Locally caught perch filets are $7.50 for just 14 ounces and ground beef is nearing $7 per pound. Even though my partner has to pay for a fishing license, catching fish works out to be much more affordable than buying fish or other proteins at the store. Here’s an overview of how much money you can save by catching your own food.
How Much Can You Save By Fishing?
In Michigan where I live, a fishing license costs just $26 for a whole year if you’re a resident. However, you can’t catch as many fish as you want. There are limits on how many fish from each species you can have in your possession at any one time. This includes the fish that you have stored in your fridge or freezer at home.
For example, here in Michigan you’re only able to have about 25 perch and 5 walleye in your possession at once. So if you want to catch more of those types of fish, you have to eat some of what you have before you can go back out.
Even with possession limits, fishing is still a great deal compared to the prices at grocery stores and restaurants. When you divide the cost of the license by how many fish you catch over the whole spring and summer fishing season, it works out to a dollar or less per fish. You can’t beat that!
Don’t Forget to Factor In Equipment Costs
However, if you don’t have the equipment you need to fish, there are startup costs you’ll have to factor in. But luckily fishing gear lasts for a long time and you only need to invest in a fishing rod and some tackle at first. Although you need different rods and equipment to catch different kinds of fish, you can get started with a pretty basic setup and reel in the savings.
You can expect to spend around $30 or $40 for a rod and reel combo, which usually comes with fishing line. As for tackle, you’ll need different lures depending on what you want to catch during each fishing trip. But lures are affordable and usually cost about $3 to $10 each, so you can buy a few different types without breaking the bank.
You can also find used fishing gear at garage sales and on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. So you don’t have to pay full retail price for the equipment you need to get started.
How to Maximize Your Savings
The key to maximizing your savings is to get out there and fish as often as possible! You have to be willing to put in a lot of hard work if you want to catch enough fish to significantly reduce your grocery bill. My partner tries to go fishing almost every weekend in the spring and summer months.
Many people would prefer to go to the grocery store and pick up what they need because it’s convenient. But that’s why fish at supermarkets and restaurants costs so much more money. You’re paying for all the labor it took to catch and prepare the fish on your plate.
If you’re looking for ways to save, cut out the middleman and go directly to the source to get your food—the beautiful outdoors. You’ll have a fun, relaxing afternoon standing on a picturesque lakeshore waiting for fish to bite. And at the end of the day you’ll come home with an affordable dinner for your family.
Do you enjoy fishing? Have you come up with any other creative ways to reduce your grocery bill? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below!
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Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.