Stay committed to eating well AND your budget
My friends, this topic is a popular one. Anytime I chat with people about better nutrition, theres always a question revolving around budget. And I get it. Believe me. But sometimes you just need some real talk. Point blank, the only thing that you can’t afford is not nourishing your body well. During a time where sickness and disease is running rampant, where the cost of health insurance seems to only suck more from our pockets, and where spending on prescription medication reached more than $400 billion this year (a 12 percent increase from last year), more than ever, we have to stay committed to our health and well-being. And that starts with what we put in it.
If you’re feeling the pains of spending over $3 on a carton of eggs, let me be clear by saying, I’m with you.
I don’t make a ton of money.
I have to make sacrifices (and I don’t always like it)
The bulk of that small chunk of change goes to the items I deem as needs: Living expenses, student-loans, car payments, insurance, healthy food.
My needs are not cheap. But because I’ve accepted that and I’m committed to them, I knew I needed to find a solution to buffer some of the cost. So, I picked up some side jobs (personal training), which allowed me to make some extra cash flow and also stay flexible and committed to my full time job. This also helped supplement the “other expenses” (holiday gifts, almond milk lattes and a good pair of red suede boots) so that I’m not tempted into having to choose between a need (healthy food) and a want (new boots).
In addition to my side gig, here are some other tricks and tips I use for eating well on a budget:
- Be a detective and do your research
- First and foremost, this takes some time, but it helps. On the weekend, I take a peak at local grocers online weekly ad and scope out the good sales. I’ll make a mental note of how long the sale lasts and schedule that into my grocery shopping.
- Stop baking sweets and treats
- Have you ever picked up a package of almond flour then immediately set it down. SAME. Baking is freaking expensive, and generally, not necessarily something you should be eating a lot of anyways. Granted, special occasions call for special treats, that’s fine. But generally, baking is more cost-effective and more healthy when we limit it.
- Make a weekly list
- Remember the tip on being a detective? Well now, you’re going to make a list with all the sales items you need, organized by location. There will be times I hit three grocery stores in a row to pick up the different items I need because they may be on sale or cheaper at another location. Sure, it doesn’t seem especially efficient, but I can tell you that I will drive an extra half mile any day to score a $3 jar of coconut oil rather than the $8 one.
- Also — by having a weekly list on hand, you can stop at other locations throughout the week while you’re commuting or out running other errands that may be closer to that store. It’s all about planning ahead!
- Order online
- Have you heard of ThriveMarket? It’s like an online Cost-Co/Sams Club for healthy goodies!
- What about Amazon?
- Buy seasonal and local
- Go in with friends and family
- Split a cow, buy in bulk to split, have meal prep day with friends
- (If you’re looking to split some meat: Find a farmer near you!)
- Find a side gig
- Find a side gig that you can sustain around your normal, everday schedule. Make sure though, not to over do it. Burn outs a real thing.
- Or, even better, find a side gig at a place that you spend money at! Why? Hello, employee discount!
- Shop the non-grocers
- Sometimes it helps to look in weird places. Have you ever seen TJMAXX and Marshall’s food section? It’s kinda crazy. You can get almond butter, flax meal, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate …. for CHEAP. Who woulda thought?!
- Clean out your freezer
- Because you’re gonna be freezing some foods. For me personally, when my food is most expensive, is when I’m throwing it out. If I plan ahead, I try and cook most meals the week before. If Ihave excess food that could go bad, I will cook it and freeze it. Again, it takes some planning and thinking ahead, but it really saves.
- Track your weekly non-necessities
- This is actually a reminder to me. I used to do this every once in awhile. I remember buggin’ out one month on the amount of $$ I spent on coffee and Rx Bars. It was OBSCENE.
- Take a look at your bank statement or keep your receipts for a week, or a month. At the end of the designated time, calculate the totals of the non-necessities. I bet you’d be surprised and it’d give ya a realllll good gut punch …one that’ll tighten that spending right up.
And for all my QCA locals, here’s where I’ve found some of my cheapest purchases:
- Hy-Vee Devils Glen
- Organic broccoli – $1.99-2.99
- Organic, pastured pork sausage – $3.49
- Pastured, cage-free eggs – $2.99-3.50
- Whole, natural roasting chicken – $7.99
- Un-refined, cold-pressed organic coconut oil – $3.54
- Organic grass-fed beef: $5.69
- Organic arugula and baby kale: $2.39
- Organic bananas, avocadoes and carrots
- Rx Bars – $1.99
- Larabars – $1.00
- Justin’s almond butter packets – $1.00
- Un-refined, cold-pressed organic coconut oil – $4.99
- Nuts, seeds, flax meal and almond butter
- Greatest Grains
- Bulk everything – gluten free oats, coconut sugar, dark chocolate, local produce, coffee grounds, water, and hand-ground nut butters!
Healthy and wealthy shopping, folks!