I’ve been (mostly) eating healthy for about 3 years now, and I have to tell you, I get where you’re coming from.
Healthier eating, at first, SEEMS more expensive than when I used to just buy 3 Lean Cuisines at the grocery store and call them lunches.
But I knew that if I wanted to stick with this “healthy eating” thing on a musician’s salary, I would have to learn some tricks to keep the cost low and the food nutrition high.
And so, after 3 years of continued trial and error, here are some of the things that I’ve learned to eat on a budget and nutritiously.
Let’s break it down:
Our total budget for food, per month, is $600/month, including Shakeology for both of us.
If we were to do the math…..
$600 / 4 weeks = $150/week;
$150 / 7 days = $21.42/day;
$21.42 / 4 meals = $5.35 per meal;
$5.35 / 2 people = $2.67 per meal.
We eat healthily for under $3 per meal. And that includes Shakeology.
How do we do it? Here are some tips for you to follow, you money-savvy reader, you. 😉
1) We don’t buy much junk. Greg’s vice is ice cream, mine is chips. We may buy one container of that, every other week. But other than that, we really try and keep it to that.
2) We use everything that we buy. Example: we don’t buy many fruits because we’ve found we don’t eat them before they go bad. We only buy apples now. We also buy frozen fruits so that they don’t go bad as quickly and we can blend them into our Shakeology. Our pantry is pretty sparse because we use 90% of what we buy each week.
3) We buy frozen broccoli and fresh spinach. Those are our two EASY, quick veggies. Again, we don’t buy tooooo many other veggies on a regular basis because we tend to forget about them when we are exhausted and don’t want to make food. I buy frozen broccoli for $1 per package, which gives us enough veggies for our dinner meal.
4) We don’t eat out that often. (this is the big one.) We probably get pizza once a month (which is a struggle for me, hahahahahah), but lately we’ve tended to buy nicer meats (i.e. pork tenderloin) instead of going out to eat. It still saves money and is healthier.
OH! We also get restaurant gift cards for our birthdays/Christmas, so we save them for going out about once-twice/month. (So you can ask for restaurant gift cards to your favorite places for Christmas!)
5) We don’t drink lattes. Seriously, though. We don’t go to Starbucks or our local bistro for a quick frothy coffee drink, which easily saves us $4-5 per day, per person. Think about it: That $4-5/day could EASILY be the cost of our lunch or dinner!
6) We drink Shakeology. I know, I know, I’ve already mentioned this one.
Now, this might seem like something to break the budget, as Shakeology is a pretty penny to buy. But Shakeology actually saves us money in the long run. As someone with SIX part-time jobs (yes, you read that right, SIX), I essentially live out of my car on many days of the week. There have been times when I was driving from one job to the next and had NOTHING to eat in my car except an old bag of stale almonds, and my Shakeology. But Shakeology gives me a nutrient-dense meal at a stoplight, eliminating me from grabbing Panera (which is EASILY $9 for a soup and salad) or something unhealthy like Wendy’s (which would still be around $5, making it more expensive than my Shakeology).
7) We buy in-season foods. I’m writing this in the fall, which means that sweet potatoes and squash are a GREAT buy right now. I got a 3-lb bag of sweet potatoes and a whole squash for .99 cents each! I actually made a DELICIOUS, pumpkin squash soup that only cost $2 to make and will give me and the hubby enough soup for at least 3 meals. (that’s insane)
So when it comes time for the blueberries to be out of season, I bid them adieu until the spring (unless they are frozen blueberries, see #2).
8) Keep. It. Simple. Honestly. You don’t need to buy all of your foods at a fancy Whole Foods Market store. You simply need the foods that will serve you and your loved ones, nothing more. It took a lot of self-discipline to get to where we are today (in terms of not eating out as much, etc.) but it’s made our budgeting easier.
And so, I ask you: What’s in your cart? How do you work to keep things budget-conscious? How do you save money with healthy eating? Or more importantly….do you struggle with eating healthy and want help? Please contact me and I would be happy to set up a free consultation with you!
In peace & health,