When I first started eating healthy I was dropping $500 in the first week grocery shopping. Not a good idea when you’re a stay at home mom and your husband only gets paid once a month. No sir, no it’s not. Looking back I can tell a few major things that got in my way:
Now it’s crazy to me since we have started downsizing our debt and living on a budget how much we are able to spend when it comes to grocery shopping for our family of 5. It took me years to get to this point and I don’t want that for you. So let me tell you about how my family of 5 eats healthy for $100 a week.
It is crazy how much I let my obsession with strawberries hold me back for so long. I know I can’t be the only one! Whether strawberries were $2 or $6, I would buy them; I would buy a lot of them. It of course took a celebrity for me to start thinking about this whole shopping in season thing. Kristin Bell talked about her vegan diet and how she had a garden and always tried to buy fresh fruits and vegetables that were in season. Not only are these foods healthier for you but they are less expensive; like sometimes half the cost!
Now I find myself branching out in the grocery stores. Instead of always going for the berries, my family now eats pears and pomegranates in the winter. When I first heard about this concept I was totally overwhelmed. How in the world was I supposed to know what was in season and what wasn’t? I tried to study charts and remember when I got to the store but it all became too much. Well, I’m about to drop a truth bomb for ya’ll.
If it’s cheaper…it’s in season. Boom. Easy as that.
Oh, and avocados and apples are a free for all. They are good all year round.If it's cheaper...it's in season. Boom. Easy as that.Click To Tweet
Like I said, one of my hugest mistakes when starting to eat a healthier diet was that I thought it all had to be organic. So much so that I bought whatever was organic without even looking at the ingredients, sugar or salt content. Just because it’s organic, doesn’t mean it’s something you should be consuming on a daily basis. A lot of organic foods are still heavily processed which isn’t a good idea if you are trying to eat healthy.
Beyond processed, there are a few swaps you can make from organic to non-organic if you are trying to shop on a budget. Here are a few of the little swaps we have done.
These are of course preferences of yours, but they are choices my family has made in order to continue eating healthy while still maintaining wise spending so that we are more free to do other healthy activities together as family. For some free ideas for your health and fitness see my post all about it: Set Health and Fitness Goals on a Budget.
People are consuming far more protein than necessary these days, especially when it comes to animal proteins. Things like meat and cheese are things our family has majorly cut back on in order to get right with our health and our budget. I know not everyone consumes animal proteins, but this could easily go for vegan cheeses, beans, lentils and tofu as well.
If you are a vegetarian/vegan or are someone who is trying to incorporate beans into their diet for the many health benefits, consider making the swap from canned to bagged. Yes, it’s true, it takes longer to make beans if you buy them from the bag. Really all it requires is soaking them (that takes 30 seconds of your time) and then cooking them when they are needed. These are similar to eggs in the sense that you can get 3 times as much for the same price as one can of beans.
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Vegetarian and vegan Recipe Ideas
Before I start shopping, I browse all my coupon and discount recourses. Some places don’t have a wide range of coupons, but there are places like Target that offer coupons, take manufacturer coupons and also have a discount app you can use. Whenever we shop at Target, I take the time to browse their Cartwheel app for any big discounts that might be out there. They will even have them on fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year! Then on top of that you save 5% just for using your Target debit card (that comes right out of your regular checking account.)
There are also great online coupon sites like BeFrugal.com that literally have every coupon you can possibly find. There’s definitely no harm in taking an extra 10 minutes to browse possible coupons before heading out to the grocery store.
Now these types of options will save you money on how much you actually spend, then there are additional apps, like Ibotta. I use Ibotta to scan for items that I already plan on buying in order to earn a refund. Even if there aren’t any particular bran names you see with Ibotta, they often have discounts on any type of eggs, any type of milk, any time of cheese and even money back on any item! You can read my full review on Ibotta here: How I Made Money at Target.
It is absolutely crucial to plan ahead of time. Get your meals mapped out, and plan for if they will be enough for one day or two. This will give you a good idea of the price range you’re in and you can decide if you need to make changes.
Another tip for planning ahead is to make sure you have already checked the cupboards for what you already have! For example, we almost always have our Costco sized bag of rice on hand which allows me to plan for 1-2 meals throughout the week.
I promise, promise that living on a tight budget is totally doable with a family. It’s just a matter of changing a few habits around!
$5 Meal Plan – The $5 meal plan was created by a busy mother of 4 for other busy mother’s out there. Get access to healthy meal plans that take all the guess work out of what to make for your family!
BeFrugal – Be Frugal is an online resources for the best coupons around. In stores, online or in restaurants.
IBotta – IBotta is a totally free app that pays you $10 just for signing up. With this app you can get paid for the things you already plan on buying!
Love and Money – Online courses to help couples and family get finances together in order to stay together!
Paperless Home – The paperless home guides you step by step through how to start creating a home where all of your most important information can always be in one place and always at your finger tips!
Simplify + Planner – Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and Her Blog has a great and inexpensive planner to help you get intentionally organized. Starting a blog can be very overwhelming and getting a little organized can go a long way.
Target Debit Card – If you shop at Target as much as me, you should definitely get in on the debit card if you haven’t already. All it does is remove money from your regular checking account like a regular debit card, but saves you 5% on your purchases every time you use it!