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Living on a Budget: Eating Healthy

For those of you who know Colby and I, you know two things we love are food and traveling. I have already shared how to travel on a budget, but today I’m sharing some tips on eating on a budget. When we did an overhaul to our diet last year, we had to get creative with how to eat healthy and not spend a fortune.

Grocery – Find the best grocery store in your area that has the most nutritious items for the best price. For us, that is Sprouts. I know on Wednesday, it is their ‘double ad’ day so the weekly specials from the prior week and the following week apply. This means Wednesday is shopping day for me! Double the bargains!

Sale –  We buy things when they are on sale.  I gear our recipes towards what is on sale for the week. Of course, I always get the staples, but one week we might have strawberries, the next it might be blueberries, etc

Bulk –  On the topic of sales, when there is one I buy things in bulk that I can freeze or store. Example: Sprouts has their grass fed beef and wild-caught fish on sale once or twice a month. Same for things like organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, nuts, etc. Anytime there is a sale I make sure to buy lots!

DIY Products – Make your own products when you can.

  • Butters – We make our own nut butters: sunflower, cashew, peanut, and almond butter. It saves about 40-50%. The added bonus is there is no additional sugars or unhealthy ingredients.
  • Beans – Buy and cook your own dried beans. It’s tremendously cheaper and you avoid the BPA from the cans. I cook them in bulk and freeze them for later.

Price shopUse a smartphone app to scan and find the best price on an item. You can also take a picture of the price and size of an item and compare it once you are at another store. Soon you will know which products to buy at what store.

Online Items – When buying items online, like super foods or vitamins, shop around. Check out sites like drvita or vitacost. Then google “drvita.com + coupon code”. Retailmenot is the best site with coupon codes. 9 times out of 10 there is a coupon code. Always avoid shipping costs.

Fertility Diet – When we were seeing the acupuncturist she told us to cut back on the meat. Because we started buying higher quality meat which is much more expensive, we were on board with this! We have nights without meat where we eat Organic Quinoa – which is not only delicious, but also very budget friendly and healthy.

Grocery Ads – Check ads online. Some places, like Wal-Mart, price match competitors ads. I don’t shop there often, but a tip for those who do.

Coupons –  Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Target all have coupons online. I don’t do a lot of couponing, because I don’t have time, I’m not organized enough, and coupons don’t work that well when the majority of what you eat is fresh produce, meat, and nuts. For those of you who do want more couponing advice, check out The Krazy Coupon Lady.

Organic – We buy organic when the price is affordable. Here is a good list of items to always buy organic.

I hope this encourages someone that you can eat healthy and do it on a budget! Happy shopping and eating!

Eating Healthy on a Budget

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19 Comments
  • Megan Davis
    Posted at 07:43h, 21 February Reply

    Great tips!! Thanks for the ideas for online vitamins…those can be pricey!!

  • dspence
    Posted at 08:34h, 21 February Reply

    These are great tips! Would you share your recipe for quinoa? Every time I make it, it turns out… not good.

  • Erika B.
    Posted at 09:03h, 21 February Reply

    OK I love that your store has double ad days– that is awesome! I’ve never heard of a store doing that…maybe I’ll petition Athens-area stores to get on board with that idea!

  • Robyn
    Posted at 09:30h, 21 February Reply

    this is so awesome, Caroline!!! thanks for putting all of this together!! one of our biggest hesitancies to a more healthy lifestyle was that we thought it was gonna be so expensive! BUT eating out is really what is expensive!
    we’ve done the best on keeping to our budget this past month while we’ve been on whole 30! also, we’ve realized that healthy foods tend to have less ingredients & that is probably a contributor!

  • Kara
    Posted at 11:27h, 21 February Reply

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing all of your research & wisdom. 🙂

  • Kara
    Posted at 11:29h, 21 February Reply

    Love this! had no idea Sprouts had coupons online 🙂 you know I used to coupon like the krazy coupon lady for about a year.. I’m still working through our stockpile of items! hahaha

  • Rachel
    Posted at 13:12h, 21 February Reply

    Love this! I did this last year …wait it was the end of 2012 so I guess over a year ago… and it was huge. My regular (I’ve fallen off the bandwagon a couple times) diet is almost completely meat, fresh fruit and veggies and rice/quinoa. And it gets expensive! Learning how to budget and how to find deals is soooooo important.

  • Davy S
    Posted at 13:23h, 21 February Reply

    Thanks for sharing, Caroline. Drastic diet changes are some of the MANY things random people have recommended to help us conceive. So far, we have made small changes, like eating sourdough bread rather than bread made with yeast. The prices of organic food have scared me away. Have you noticed a lot of changes since you changed your diets? Also, could you share a ballpark amount a diet like yours would cost per week?

  • Aubrey
    Posted at 14:50h, 21 February Reply

    Awesome tips! Thanks!

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 16:22h, 21 February Reply

    Wishing the military commissaries did double grocery ads!

  • CHELSEA
    Posted at 17:47h, 21 February Reply

    Love this! I use my Cartwheerl Target App too to get extra discounts on produce and organic brands! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Angela
    Posted at 21:50h, 21 February Reply

    Such great tips!! Thanks, girl! Sometimes it is so hard to justify eating organic and super healthy when the prices are way more expensive. This helps!

  • Jen
    Posted at 23:10h, 21 February Reply

    This is my favorite grocery shopping post! You have some GREAT tips in here! We just got a Sprouts in my town, so I’ve been shopping there a lot instead of driving 15 minutes to Whole Foods. I had no idea about the double coupon day. I’ll be researching this right away! And, I also make and freeze my own beans. I can barely eat canned beans now because the taste is nothing like homemade beans. I’m seriously going back to re-read your post to see if I missed anything!

  • Amy
    Posted at 02:15h, 22 February Reply

    You are a wonder Caroline! Excellent tips! Thank you for sharing! Do you and Colby grocery shop together? Or do you go solo?

  • Emily (eatloveprocreate.blogspot.com)
    Posted at 12:49h, 22 February Reply

    These are awesome tips. You really can eat healthy for cheap if you get creative….at least cheaper than buying boxed processed foods. Most people just don’t get ways to do it. I really need to visit Sprouts on Wednesdays. I had heard they had meat on sale that day, but didn’t realize there were so many other discounts! Oh, and just throwing another one out there….COSTCO! Tons of great grass fed organic beef, chicken, wild caught seafood and also lots of great organic fruits, veggies, and other dry ingredients. Seriously impressed with Costco’s organic offerings these days!

  • Chantel
    Posted at 20:41h, 22 February Reply

    I saw a post a few weeks ago about rotating through the same 20 meals, and while we have only been doing it for about two weeks now I totally see how it is and will be saving us money! I love all your tips. Right now the most expensive stuff we buy is gluten-free stuff for Jared, it’s amazing how much more it costs than the regular, gluten filled version.

  • Charity
    Posted at 18:20h, 23 February Reply

    These are great tips Caroline. Especially the one about the can goods, not many people know this. In the long run the dry beans cost less anyhow and they totally save the earth…and taste better too. Oh and I totally agree with Emily Costco is my go to place to get meat for the hubby. I also get huge bags of organic kale, spinach, carrots and other things for 4-6 dollars. They also have a huge supply of inexpensive organic grains. I wish we had a Sprouts that sounds like my kind of place.

  • Meanttobemommy
    Posted at 11:05h, 24 February Reply

    This is really awesome Caroline. Great tips. I feel like my “weekly grocery shopping” at this point means going to 3-5 stores to buy food (at the best price/quality). I started making my own almond butter a few months ago, which is way better/cheaper than the store bought kind, and I have always wanted to make my own beans. I’m going to have to try that! To try to cut down on the cost of high quality meat we actually just bought a whole pig (which will be delivered to us completely butchered in a few weeks) and are hoping to also go in on a grass fed cow with a few other couples.
    I also really appreciate that you shared the dirty dozen list. I have seen it a few times and this time I am actually going to print it out as a reminder. What a great post!

  • Jessah
    Posted at 11:14h, 24 February Reply

    Great tips! I always struggle with food prep time when trying to eat healthy. I opt for a lot of frozen foods which end up having so many preservatives. Ugh!

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