I hear from many people that you can’t eat or buy healthy food on a budget. They tell me they can never find coupons or good sales on healthy, non-processed foods.
This is a lie that the manufacturers of processed food want you to believe.
You can absolutely eat healthy on a budget. It’s even easier and cheaper than eating all that junk. There are two factors for eating healthy on a budget.
First, you can purchase healthy food and stay under budget. (Keep reading and you’ll find out how) Second, eating healthy is an investment in your health long term. The healthier you are the less likely you are to get sick, need to take medications, or even visit the doctor. There are many ailments that can be treated by changing your diet and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
However, in order to eat healthier you need to purchase healthy foods. Don’t believe the myth that healthy foods are more expensive. That’s not always true. All you need to do is pay attention to what you are putting in your grocery cart every week.
Ten years ago I decided to focus on eating healthier. I’ve never been a junk food junkie, but I also wasn’t careful about what we were eating or what ingredients were in the food I was buying.
Shop the Perimeter
If you stick to the perimeter of your grocery store you’ll avoid most of the processed food and your choices are automatically healthier. Spend most of your time in the produce section of your grocery store.
If you shop season produce and loss leaders you’ll be able to fill your cart with healthy fruits and vegetables that are cheaper and more filling than the processed junk in the freezer section.
Stay away from precut fruits and vegetables. Buying celery hearts is always more expensive than buying the full stalks. Buying whole carrots is cheaper than carrot sticks.
Organic coupons can be found all over the Internet. Generally you want to make a list of the items you are already purchasing and check the company website or weekly newspaper coupons for those products.
If the company does not have printable coupons on their websites, contact them via phone or email and ask them if they can mail you some. A coupon database will tell you if there are coupons available in Sunday inserts or even in store fliers.
Markdowns and Clearance
Healthy foods and organic products are put on sale in stores just like every other item. Check the clearance racks and refrigerated sections and as always, check the weekly store ads.
You’ll want to stock up on these items when they are on sale so you are not paying full price. Typically your local grocery store will put different produce on sale every week.
My store often has buy one get one free deals on salads, spinach, pineapples, and berries. The key to this is to be content to shop the deals and not buy certain foods when they aren’t on sale.
Many stores offer store coupons such as $5 off a $30 purchase. Use these coupons in conjunction with store sales, clearance and manufacturing coupons to save on healthy foods.
Buy in Bulk
Buying items in bulk bins is usually cheaper than buying it by the bag or box on the store shelf. This saves money on the packaging. Sometimes the more you buy, the cheaper it is.
Also consider buying items in bulk at a local warehouse store where they can lower the price per pound on produce or meat because of the bulk packaging. I try to buy all my produce at Costco when I can, since it is usually cheaper than my local store.
Wondering how to make the most of your warehouse membership at Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s? Make the most of your warehouse membership fee with these super helpful strategies.
Join a Local Produce Co-Op
This is the same basic theory as buying in bulk. If you can get together with a community group and buy local produce or meats in bulk and split them up per family, it can be cheaper than going in alone. Search for a local co-op that is already in your area.
Save on Household Items
I know we were talking about healthy food items, but if you can save money elsewhere, like on your household items or toiletries, then you’ll have more money to put towards the healthy food items.
I recommend looking for deals at drug stores and Amazon for paper products and household goods. You can sometimes find discounts with Subscribe & Save as well.
There are places you can buy organic items or healthy baking goods that give you credits for purchasing with them. Try checking items you like to buy, such as tea or cereal on Amazon. When Amazon price drops them, you can usually get a pretty good deal.
Keep these things in mind for your everyday shopping as well. Start keeping track of your savings and you’ll be thrilled with your results. Remember a dollar saved is a dollar earned. The small change adds up fast.
Do I Have to Clip Coupons?
Absolutely, not. Of course, coupons are basically free money, but I get that not everyone has time for that. You CAN save money while grocery shopping without couponing (and definitely WITHOUT extreme couponing)! Use these tips and tricks to save from 30-50% at the grocery store without coupons!
You might also enjoy the following articles on meal planning and grocery shopping:
- 5 Simple Ways to Start Meal Planning
- 14 Days of Real Food Menu Ideas
- Free Printables for Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping