In this guest post, BreAna, the blogger behind Crafty Coin, shares seven tips for sticking to a budget while maintaining a healthy diet. Check out her blog for more posts about cooking from scratch with natural ingredients, DIY projects, traveling, and most of all, saving money!
We’ve all heard it before, “Eating healthy is too expensive!” But is it really? Before eating a whole, unprocessed foods diet, I had set a tight $50 weekly grocery budget for my household of two. The foods we ate included lots of pasta and flour tortillas, some meat, and minimal vegetables.
In January 2014, my husband and I decided to take on a Whole30, and since then, we’ve been hooked on eating real food. Our budget has changed a bit; we‘ve found that $70 per week is perfect for the two of us; but we’ve found the health benefits to be worth the extra $20. Here’s how we stick to our budget.
7 Ways to Eat Real Food on a Real Budget
- Set a grocery budget. This may seem obvious, but if you don’t know how much you’re currently spending, how will you know how much you want to save? I suggest keeping your receipts for a month, reviewing how much you spend, then making your budget from there.
- Make a budget grocery price list. Basically, I’ve figured out the lowest prices I can find food for in my city. I know that I can almost always get bananas for $.39/lb or less, so if they are more expensive than that this week, they aren’t making it in my grocery cart.
- Write down what you have. Did you forget about that jar of marinara sauce in the back of your cupboard and ended up buying another this week? If you are aware of what’s in your pantry and fridge, you won’t be spending extra money. Before heading out to grocery shop, I make a quick list in my Planning Notebook of what we have.
- Check ads. I’ve got two grocery stores right near my house, so I always check their ads before heading out to see who’s got the better deals that week. More often than not, they are advertising the same produce specials, but at different prices. Find the cheaper option!
- Be flexible. You may have really wanted to make that cauli-mash for dinner this week, but when you get to the store, you find that cauliflower is $1.50/lb and turnips are on sale for $1/lb. Change of plans! You’re now having turnip mash. Learning easy substitutions are really helpful for sticking to your budget.
- Avoid convenient, packaged foods. I love Larabar Fruit & Nut Bars. My favorite flavor, Cashew Cookie, contains just two simple ingredients: dates and cashews. If you’re on the go, it’s great to have one of these in your purse. But do you know what isn’t so great? The price tag. Most stores will sell each individual bar for $1.50 or more. Do you know what’s just as convenient? Throwing an apple in your bag. Keep the convenience foods for emergencies and don’t make them a regular thing.
- Keep it simple. How often have you ended up ordering take-out simply because you couldn’t figure out what to make at home? Eating in is almost always going to be cheaper than eating out, and it’s typically healthier for you too since you know exactly the ingredients being used. Figure out what’s easy for you. For nights when I just don’t feel like cooking, chicken sausage and a nuked sweet potato are lifesavers.
Still feeling lost? Here are some of my posts to help you!
Budget Grocery Price List (The Maximum Price I’ll Pay for Anything)