One of the biggest objections I hear from people who are trying to make healthy changes to their diets is that the cost of healthy foods is so much higher than the (processed junk) food they’ve been eating. While that statement is somewhat accurate, there are many ways to save on healthy food. I
know everyone’s grocery budgets, family sizes and preferences differ, but by implementing some simple strategies everyone, yes even you, can afford to eat the Trim Healthy Mama way.
Meal Plan – Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan and I’ll say it again meal plan. I can’t overemphasize this tip enough. The old adage is true, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” By planning out what you and your family are going to be eating for the week you’re not going to purchase food that you aren’t going to use, thus saving you money.
Also, you’ll have a greater chance of staying on plan all week because you already have decided what you are going to eat. No more five o’clock panic of what’s for dinner, or any need to run through the old drive-thru.
Each week I plan out what we’re going to be eating for each meal and snacks. When I’m making my grocery list to go along with my meal plan, I ALWAYS look through my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer first. You’d be amazed at how much you already have on hand, which leads to saving you even more at the store.
If you’re unsure or feeling overwhelmed with how to get started meal planning, read this more detailed explanation of how I meal plan each week. If you’re not a naturally organized person this may be a stretching experience for you, but I can guarantee you that your week will run much smoother if you have a plan to follow.
Even better news, I do all the work for you by posting my FREE meal plan each Monday evening and include a printable of the menu and the grocery list for the week. Now, don’t get major anxiety if you planned taco salad for Tuesday and end up feeling like making soup instead. That’s the beauty of having a well-stocked pantry.
Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry - One of my favorite ways to save is by having my pantry stocked with healthy staples. This gives me no reason to order takeout or resort back to old eating habits. All the basic staples I need to make many meals are already in my cupboards.
By having these items always on hand, I can wait to purchase them when they are on sale which makes building a pantry stockpile more manageable. I purchase multiples of an item (especially if it’s something I go through quickly) so I can always ensure that I have healthy “building blocks” for most meals that I want to make.
The longer I eat on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, the more I’ve honed in on what I really should keep stocked in my pantry. Here’s a list of 12 healthy pantry staples that I always have on hand.
Eat Meatless Meals – It’s true, meat is usually one of my biggest grocery expenses. As I’m sure we’ve all noticed the prices keeps inching higher and higher. To compensate for this, my family and I are now eating one or two meatless dinner meals a week.
I’ve replaced the meat with proteins such as beans, legumes, and eggs. In doing so I save myself $5-10 a week depending on the cut of meat I’m replacing. Over the course of a year that’s $260-520! I put together a list of 20 THM Meatless Meals and the Trim Healthy Table book is also full of great meatless recipes.
Buy in Bulk – Buying in bulk can be a big money saver, or a big rip off. You really have to know your prices to know if something in bulk is truly a good purchase. I love purchasing items in bulk, but before buying anything in bulk I compare the price of it at my regular grocery store to that of the bulk price.
To figure out the price per unit (ounces, pounds, etc…), divide the package price by the unit and then compare to see if it’s a good deal. If it’s going to save me money, I go for it! To help offset the larger upfront cost of purchasing in bulk, I set aside a few dollars a week from my grocery budget in a separate envelope so I’m ready to make those purchases when I need to.
Items I typically buy in bulk are: grass-fed beef, chicken, oats, grains (brown rice and quinoa), beans and legumes. For example, we purchase our grass-fed beef in bulk (1⁄4 of a cow at a time) directly from the farmer. He charges $2 a pound less than they charge at my local grocery store. We eat about 2 pounds of beef a week so just by purchasing this one item in bulk we save $208 a year!
Find Inexpensive Produce – Produce can vary in price greatly depending on what time of year it is. To save the most money purchase fruits and vegetables when they’re in season. If applicable, freeze or can them so you can enjoy them in their “off-season”. During the winter, I use frozen vegetables because they are cheaper, but also they often taste better than the produce that’s coming from thousands of miles away.
I find great deals at my local farmer’s markets. Sometimes if you go to the market right before it closes you can get a great deal because they don’t want to bring anything back home with them. Always worth a try! Of course growing a garden is one of the most inexpensive ways to acquire produce. If you have the room and some time, give a garden a shot!
Use Coupons – Now hear me out on this one. Yes, it is true that coupons are mostly for foods that are NOT on plan. However, there are plenty of coupons for things like toiletries, diapers, paper products, cleaning products, and for on-plan items such as almond milk, butter, cheese, frozen fruits and vegetables and even some for fresh produce.
Many stores now have digital coupons that you can use right on your phone. It makes it SO easy to find the coupons you’re looking for and really takes hardly any time at all to clip them.
By utilizing coupons for these on-plan and non-food items that I’m already planning on purchasing, I typically save between $5-7 a week. By taking 10 minutes a week to clip coupons I can have up to $28 back a month in my grocery budget to utilize for healthy food items. Every little bit helps!
As a bonus tip, I use an app called Fetch Rewards. Each time I go grocery shopping, I come home and scan my receipt in the Fetch app. They reward you with points just for scanning your receipt that is redeemable for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, many restaurants and other stores too. You can scan a receipt from any major grocery store chain (i.e. Aldi, Walmart, Meijer, Kroger, HEB, etc…). You can download the app on your Android or iPhone. Use code H8DGC when you sign up and we’ll both receive 2,000 points. Gift card redemption starts at just 3,000 points.
By implementing one or all of these money-saving strategies you will be able to afford to eat the Trim Healthy Mama way. If this list seems overwhelming, try to incorporate one of the strategies and then when you feel like you have that one down pat, introduce another one. Pretty soon you’ll be a pro at eating healthy on a budget. You and your family’s health is worth it!