One of this biggest complaints I hear about eating healthy is that it is “too expensive”. This makes me incredibly sad because I know, first hand, how much money I actually saved by cleaning up my diet. Kim Snyder recently wrote about this and so I was inspired to do my own write-up based on real life experience.

I am embarrassed to admit that I used to eat the same things every single day (okay, I still pretty much do). But back then I’d open a packet of pasta to boil, pour pasta sauce from the jar over it, open a bottle of Dr. Pepper, and call it a meal. Every night.

For lunch I’d go to Taco Bell and order the same thing every time. I even had the exact change memorized per Taco Bell so that way I’d have my money ready. (It was 2 cents more at the Taco Bell on West versus the one on Sepulveda … ) In the end, I’d spend close to $80 at the grocery store for my prepackaged foods and then $20-$30 more on fast food and quick bites.

Oh the horror.

When I first started cleaning up my diet I noticed the changes in my money spent almost immediately. I stopped eating out, at all, and felt a huge difference. I also had cut out soda, meat and dairy pretty easily. What was left for my grocery bill became incredibly affordable, not to mention I lost 15 pounds within weeks just from these changes.
Next, I started buying fruits and veggies at the farmer’s markets. I would take $40 cash to the market and vow not to go over that limit because that was my budget. I usually ended up spending about half of it on everything I needed. Instead of pocketing the extra $20 I’d go get even more fruits and veggies for more bang for my buck. This ultimately would get me so much food that I would just go to the grocery store for random items that I couldn’t get at the market.
If you’re wondering, I shopped at the farmer’s market in Brentwood off of San Vicente on Sundays.

I started telling everyone–EVERYONE–about how fabulous my experience was. At this point I was convinced that the most economical diet anyone could have was based in fresh fruits and veggies. Because when we get down to it you really don’t need the fancy ingredients in order to have a delicious meal.

Like Kim Snyder mentioned you can also buy things in bulk to save lots of money. For a few bucks I can get whole oats for an entire week for my SO and I. I can also get an entire bag of avocados from Costco for the same price as three avocados at Publix. Spinach and Spring Mix come in bulk at Costco as do nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. My rule of thumb is if it comes in bulk then I buy it in bulk.

I also really loved Trader Joe’s when I still lived in California. I could spend $40 on tons of produce and not have to go back for an entire week. It’s not all organic but I did what I could with what I had and I feel like that’s okay.
Lastly, the best way I save money is I.Never.Eat.Out. Period. I understand, and some people might cringe, but I just rarely do. I am so fortunate to have been raised by a mother that packed my lunch every single day so I have this habit of bringing my own lunch. It really is so much better to me to bring my own food. This way I know what is in my food, I can pick exactly what I want for lunch, and my groceries actually feed me the entire week.
Now, I do eat out on the weekends, occasionally. In our household we work to eat out once on the weekend so we still enjoy ourselves outside of the home but then also don’t spend unnecessarily. It works for us!

I get really sad when people think they can’t eat healthy because it’s expensive. That is just not true. You have to shop smart with fruits and veggies just like you do with packaged foods, and if that means not buying organic then you will be totally fine. Don’t even worry!

What money saving tips do YOU have??


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  1. My way of saving money at the moment is… travelling^^ never would´ve thought, but I am only spending 1/3 of the money that I spent when I lived in my hometown. Due to my diet I never really eat out anyway. And I love cooking, so it´s a win-win 🙂

  2. I think the non-eating-out is too forceful for most people: as highlighted (by this blog as well), food is about ease. If it gets too complicated it cannot be enjoyed, it becomes a chore. And for most people, eating out is part of that ease. Sure, I live in a city where there are raw food options not only as restaurants but also as cafes, so I am privileged that way.

    As for my experience, switching from vegan to mostly raw, I definitely felt the bills inflating. In my case, they definitely have, there is no doubt. Rice VS cauliflower rice? Guess which one costs more… And there are very few saving strategies I can really implement: as buying in bulk is not usual in Europe (smaller homes in the city and all that), I can just rely on offers, unless I go the long route and order enough from a wholeseller that they will charge me the prices they charge to shops! I have considered doing it but since it would be only for non fresh products, I thought it was not worth and storage space is a problem. The bottom line is, though, that I think it is worth. Even for someone like me who cannot say that it is at all cheaper being a mostly raw foodist, the food is wonderful, I may be saving some by non putting the the hobs and oven on (no dehydrator either, you see…) and there is basically no food waste happening since despite I pack my fridge with veggies, I also go through them all very fast. This has been the only real improvement, cost-wise, but as I said, the food makes up for the extra costs.

  3. I agree with the above comment that raw vegan is definitely more costly than vegan, but I agree that vegan is pretty cheap. Brown rice may cost more than white rice but it is still cheaper than meat. One of my tricks is to scope out ethnic grocers – lots of great bargains to be found.

  4. Oh my goodness you raise some good points! I guess I didn't realize how fortunate I was to have such affordable produce available to me. When I eat fresh produce, only, and not the fancy, packaged raw foods then I find, in my area, that it is extremely affordable. I also have many grocery stores and farmer's markets within walking distance so it's easy for me to.

    Also, you're right, I love doing things with ease. To me, though, I choose not to eat out for financial reasons so for me it really is a great thing! I agree, when things are not enjoyable then it's more like you're a prisoner, not thriving. But you know, you hit on a good point, even if my food bill had increased I have saved in so many other areas as a result. I do not buy medicine or visit the doctor and I have felt that savings, tenfold!

    Thank you so much for bringing up these points, I love that you can bring this perspective 🙂 sometimes I forget not everyone has the same experience!

  5. Oh definitely, ethnic grocers are like a gold mine. And I loved the above point because it reminded me of how fortunate I am to have access to such affordable produce like I have. I eat mostly fresh produce, only, so I can get a week's worth of produce for a very affordable price that is good throughout the week. I forget that this isn't the same experience for everyone! I meant for this post to be like a tips-and-tricks post, so I hope that it is helpful to some! If not, then I think I need to readjust some of it 🙂

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