If you think eating healthy is expensive, you probably haven’t heard of many ways to save money when eating healthier. It is going to cost more than eating items off of the dollar menu at fast food places, but it actually ends up being about the same cost as eating processed food for several reasons. First, you will be more satisfied and full from eating healthy foods, unlike foods like potato chips where it takes half a bag to feel full. You also won’t have to pay for as many medical bills in the future, so you end up saving money in the long run! Eating healthy, whole, organic foods will give you so many benefits that it is worth a little more investment now. The cost doesn’t have to be that large either, as there are many ways to save money when eating healthier. With these tips, you will be able to afford delicious whole foods while reaping their vast amount of health benefits.
1. Buy in Bulk
One of the best ways to save money when eating healthier is to buy in bulk. Believe it or not, many local co-ops and health food stores offer discounts if you order items by the case. Even if you have never heard about it, it never hurts to ask because sometimes business owners are willing to give you the discount. This could mean 10 to 30 percent off of an entire case of produce or products. Make sure you buy something you know you’re going to need a lot of every week, such as bananas if you use a lot of them every week. If you are only buying for yourself or two people, sometimes you can order half cases in bulk as well.
2. Make It Yourself
The problem many people have with going to health food markets is seeing the price on packaged foods. For example, seeing the eight dollar price on a small bag of kale chips is enough to scare anyone away. You can make three times as many kale chips for half the price at home, by buying a three dollar bunch of fresh, organic kale. The six dollars for organic cookies isn’t worth it either if you are trying to save money, when you can easily buy organic whole grain flour from bulk bins and save money. You will have to pick your splurges accordingly, but just know that there are many recipes online for healthy cookies, kale chips, sweet potato or vegetable chips, veggie burgers, and other expensive, healthier packaged items.
3. Don’t Waste Any Food
This may sound obvious, but many of us succumb to whatever it is that makes us waste food – uncertainty, laziness, or buying too much. It is one of those things that we know we shouldn’t do, but end up doing anyway if it wasn’t instilled in us for some reason. To beat this, you must make a point to not waste food. Even food you didn’t know you could store for later probably can be. For example, you can freeze your leftover produce for later use in smoothies if you don’t think it will taste good defrosted. As far as preparing something and storing it, make sure you make only what you are sure you will use and freeze the rest for later – otherwise you’ll be left with a huge amount of leftovers that may go bad. Make sure you plan ahead for this, and freeze any “impulse buys” that don’t get used up in time or things you aren’t sure what to do with. If you do waste food it’s not the end of the world, just do the best you can!
4. Compare Prices
Again, this sounds so obvious, but it’s the most obvious things that we often don’t adhere to. For example, many people buy raw coconut oil in stores when you can likely purchase it much cheaper online (if you buy in a larger container especially). You have to compare all the prices you can to different places around town, online, and at the farmer’s market. Check all the possibilities so you know you’re getting the best deal. Even if it is just a dollar’s worth of savings, you will save about 50 dollars every year if you buy that item weekly.
5. Go to Your Local Farmer’s Market
If you have a farmer’s market nearby, it is a really good idea to take advantage of it if you’re trying to save money. That’s because farmer’s markets feature local produce that is often organic (even if it isn’t certified; often small companies can’t afford it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t free of pesticides!) yet cheap, as well as other homemade goodies that are typically healthier than store-bought items. One benefit of buying local is that your body will respond to it better than something that is out of season and was picked a month ago and then shipped over here, meaning local is much fresher as well. Another benefit is that it is usually much cheaper than organic produce found at the store, making it more comparable in price to conventional produce. A farmer’s market is really a great experience to meet new people (including the people who grow your food!) and see what’s in season too.
6. Clip Coupons
Most grocery stores advertise coupons for unhealthy products, and believe it or not, many health food stores do too! If your local health food store doesn’t have in-store coupons, you still have many other options. In fact, many health food manufacturers offer printable coupons for their products on their websites (simply search the internet for the brand of your choice). Not only that, but you can get coupons sent straight to your email if you sign up for the newsletters of certain companies. Most organic food companies are really great about giving you any information about coupons, so don’t be afraid to ask or email them!
7. Seek out the Cheapest Healthy Foods
By this I mean, figure out what produce is generally cheapest in your area and stock up! For example, organic oranges, bananas, kale, raw sunflower seeds, and popcorn are all very cheap in my area. That means I can incorporate these items into my diet regularly to keep my grocery bill as low as possible. It also means I’m going to go for the 3 dollar sunflower seeds instead of the 10 dollars for raw cashews, and the dollar per pound organic popcorn instead of another snack. Finding foods that are generally cheap (yet healthy!) is a great money saver, so make sure you keep an eye out for them.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to make a huge dent in your wallet, as long as you shop smart and use these tips. You can eat healthy, delicious food without having to worry about the cost, while feeling much more energized because of the new found nutrition. What is your favorite way to save money when you are trying to eat healthy?