In every 5-day clean eating group I host, people are always concerned with the cost of eating healthy. And they are right to be concerned–healthy eating can be really expensive. But the key word there is CAN be–it doesn’t have to be, and there are many ways that you can eat clean and still be on a budget. Ya’ll, I’m a stay at home mom–we have a budget, too!
These are my top 10 tips for eating clean on a budget in terms of grocery shopping–if budget AND health are priorities, you need to be eating at home. The cheap restaurant foods are almost exclusively unhealthy, so that isn’t a solution for you if optimal health is one of your goals.
- Drink more water. It’s free! You don’t need to buy sodas or energy drinks or coffees out on a regular basis–they will not help you get healthier and you will save up more than you may realize over the course of a month.
- Make a meal plan/grocery list before you go to grocery. If you know what you’re getting before you go, you’re less likely to randomly buy stuff you don’t need and spend more money than you wanted to.
- Look at the sale ads to make your grocery list so you can take advantage of the lowest prices. This is a huge one because you can use these sales to make your meal plan to ensure you are getting the good deals.
- Utilize online coupons. If you shop at Kroger, you can load digital coupons directly onto your Kroger Plus Card to get more savings. If you shop at Target, you can use the Cartwheel app to get more coupons. Other stores have similar apps, so check the store you shop at.
- Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s has some great prices on fresh produce and other products–if you have one local to you, take some time to check them out and price compare. If it’s a better deal, go for it!
- This one is HUGE: Be willing to be flexible—if you wanted burgers but chicken is on sale, save some money and switch your plan around a little. You can do this with meats, veggies, fruits, etc. Pay attention to sales and be willing to switch up your plan to save money.
- Be willing to do some work in the kitchen! If you can learn how to chop your veggies instead of buying them pre-chopped, cook and butcher a whole chicken, etc., you can get your food cheaper. The more a store has prepared the food for you, the more expensive it is (pre-chopped veggies, salad mix instead of whole lettuce, chicken tenders instead of a whole chicken, etc.)
- Buy frozen and canned fruits and veggies. You can get them cheap and they last much longer than fresh, so you don’t have the worry about them going bad before you can use them and having to throw them (and your $$ away).
- Find some meatless meals you like—meat can be expensive and making 1 or 2 meals a week without it can help your spending.
- Ask around at your store to find out what kind of regular deals or bargain bins they have. For example, at my regular grocery, there are produce bargain bins with produce that’s on its way out–you can buy that produce at a really low price, and then chop and freeze it yourself to keep it fresh. My grocery also offers boneless chicken breast directly from the meat counter at $1.99/lb, which means I can get chicken at around half the price of the prepackaged chicken breast. Do some digging at your store to see what kind of regular deals you can take advantage of.
Pinterest has an almost endless supply of healthy meals for people on a tight budget–utilize that to your advantage! If you can be persistent in researching and finding meals you love that fit your budget, the planning and prep work will become like second nature to you. It’s a lot of effort at first, but you get better and better at it, and soon it won’t seem like a big deal. Keep going and keep focusing on how your healthy eating is making you feel better–that is great motivation!
What are your favorite healthy eating tips for people on a budget? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!