This is a question I've been getting more and more frequently, likely as we have fully entered the organic, non-GMO, vegan, allergen-free, gluten-free era! Buying food is not as simple as it once was-and that means it's not as inexpensive!
My complete, total, honest opinion is that eating healthy comes at a sacrifice: it usually takes longer to prepare, AND it is more expensive (McDonald's is cheaper and faster). BUT, isn't a longer life worth spending more on groceries? Isn't it worth it to not need 10 different kinds of medication by the time you're 55? Think of the money you will save on doctor's visits down the road if you take care of yourself now. The less you're sick, the more you are able to show up to work. I stand 100% by the opinion that it is worth the time and money to eat well.
If you cannot increase your budget for food, what can you cut out? Are you hitting Starbucks regularly? That's quite pricey. Or getting your nails manicured every 2 weeks? Where can you cut back so that your kitchen can be stocked with fresh produce and high quality foods? If you want it badly enough, you will find a way!
In addition to just coming to grips with spending decent money for decent food, or cutting back in other areas, there are ways to save on your grocery bill! Here are a few tips that I use to keep my shopping cost effective:
- I love to shop at Sam's for produce because your money stretches much farther when you buy in bulk. They have also started carrying some really great healthy options. For example: raw honey, almond butter, quinoa mixes, Greek yogurt, and much much more. Every time I go there is something new! Costco is a comparable store if you don't have a Sams. Aldi is another store that is really getting on the healthy foods bandwagon (hooray!).
- I found that I was actually able to keep our grocery bill similar by just transferring purchases. For example, I used to buy a 24 pack of pop every time we hit the store. We now use that money on Le Croix sparkling water. Instead of $20 on frozen dinners I use that $20 towards my produce.
- Plan your meals ahead of time and go in with a solid list. If I don't have a list I spend 50% more-it's a fact! Take the time up front to get prepared because you will be rewarded with better meals and a lower grocery bill. I usually take some on Sundays to make a plan for the upcoming week. Put this into your schedule like an appointment.
- Services like curb-side pick up from Meijer and Walmart are great for saving money. You don't make impulse buys, and you can choose a time to pick up the groceries based on your schedule. You can order days ahead of time, too! Most of these services are free, or just charge a nominal fee. Totally worth it to save on the extra purchases you or your kids might talk you into in the store!
Remember that you can't put a price on your health. But I do understand that the reality is that food is expensive and we need to keep to our food budget each month. Try the tips above and please share below any others that you have!