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??