Monday, March 25, 2013

Paleo on a Budget: 10 Ways to Avoid Breaking the Bank

One of the first things people say when I discuss Paleo is but isn't that expensive?!  Well, yes... when you take cheap boxes of pasta and rice and replace them with fresh produce and quality meat, it is more expensive but it's also more nutritious!  It can definitely be a little overwhelming at first, but there are ways to avoid breaking the bank!

1.  Buy whatever is on sale.  Go into the grocery store with an open mind and take advantage of sales!

2.  Purchase in bulk.  We shop at BJ's Wholesale (similar to Costco and Sam's Club), which offers great deals on things in large quantities.  Utilize your freezer!  I'm a huge fan of their giant bags of frozen veggie blends, you just need to make sure you have some space in your freezer!  Speaking of which...

3.  Utilize frozen produce.  It's cheap and may be even better than some fresh produce since it is processed at the time of peak ripeness (whereas "fresh" produce may be harvested before it is fully ripe and it also loses some of it's nutritional value in the time it takes to travel to your grocery store due to heat and light exposure).  Frozen produce is also great because you can use it at your own pace without stressing about it going bad.

4.  Venture outside of your comfort zone.  Try new-to-you cuts of meat that may be cheaper.  Chicken with bones in it is always cheaper than boneless and you can even use the bones to make bone broth afterwards!  Organ meats are cheap and incredibly nutrient dense (I need to put my big girl panties on and start adding some to my cooking repertoire)!

5.  Eat seasonally.  To get the most bang for your buck, purchase in season produce!  Of course strawberries are more expensive in the winter when they are shipped 2,000 miles or more!  For some easy ways to ensure you're eating in season try hitting up your local farmers market, joining a CSA, or even consider growing your own!

6.  Don't eat out!  When you're purchasing quality meats and produce at the grocery store instead of rice, cereal, and bread, you will inevitably spend more money at the store.  However, how often do you go out to eat?  I remember when Sarah was doing her Whole30, she mentioned her growing grocery bill but then she realized that she actually saved money overall by not going out to eat!

7.  Eat some eggs.  What a cheap source of protein!  Have breakfast for dinner.  Eat some hard boiled eggs as a snack.  Make a fabulous frittata to enjoy throughout the week.

8.  Think outside of the box.  Check out small ethnic food markets (Asian, Indian, etc.) for cheap produce or specialty items.

9.  Use everything you purchase!  Whether you make a meal plan and figure out how you're going to use each purchase ahead of time (recommended!) or you are googling cabbage recipes at dinnertime because you have a whole head that's about to hit the trash and you have no idea how to use it, make sure you aren't wasting your money by throwing food out!  Eat what you already paid for!

10.  Do what you can, don't stress the rest.  I know a lot of Paleo resources on the web stress things like organic produce and grass fed beef.  Personally I'd love to eat all the best quality food but it's not quite realistic for my budget yet.  So I'm doing the best I can!  I buy organic when it makes sense (check out the dirty dozen!) and when I can afford it and I know I'm still doing my body right by trying my best.

And finally, following the Paleo Diet may seem expensive, but you know what's really expensive?  Medical bills.  Paying more for food may seem excessive, but it might be time to rethink your grocery budget.  I know I personally spend money on frivolous items at Target (gets me every time), happy hours (I always seem to want a beer that isn't on special), a very expensive cable package (dang you Comcast!), etc.  If I can afford those things, then surely I can invest in my health!

How do you save money on your groceries?!


  1. Coupons! And I'm always looking at the sales flier. Those things really ad up! Oh, and I NEVER buy the pre-cut up fruit. You can save so much money chopping it up yourself.

  2. Buying in bulk is key! I've switched to doing a lot of that to help save money, and it works well! Also, it helps to not buy the prewashed/presliced/precooked stuff, and just do it yourself. It's a little extra time and work on your part, but saves money!!

  3. I found with the whole 30 I spent about the same amount on groceries because I didn't spend money on boxed snacks, yogurt, etc! I ate less frequently and pretty much broke even. Personally I save money because my parents have a farm and give us meat, that's just lucky!

  4. Awesome tips! Use everything you purchase is such a good tip! There have been more than a few weeks where I'd buy groceries for several meals..and then something would end up going bad before I remembered to make it, gah!

  5. Great list! I find that I spend more on food than anything else- which is okay by me. I just love high quality, natural food and I'm willing to spend more to get it. We were actually talking about getting a chest freezer for our next house. Bulk shopping for the win!


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