We’ve heard the excuse too many times before…Eating Paleo is too expensive!
In comparison with its cousins, “I don’t have time” and “it’s too much work,” the budget alibi seems to be the end-all rationale as to why it’s OK to not eat clean. You can budget your time to make room for a food prep day, and you can find fast easy Paleo recipes to cut down on the work, but you can’t change the price of food at the store or the number on your paycheck. It’s an easy end to the fight.
But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be expensive.
What if there was a way you could eat well without breaking the bank?
We have said it numerous times…what you put in your body is more important than what you do with it!
First thing to look at is your priorities. Whatever you buy comes at a cost: whether you pay now at the register because of a bigger grocery bill, or pay later with health problems caused by cheaper, convenient, and processed food. It doesn’t matter if it’s a price tag now or a future problem, convenience always comes at a cost.
So back to the whole “Paleo doesn’t have to be expensive” thing I mentioned. A little background on myself: I am cheap. Like “water down the shampoo” cheap. If I can save a dollar or two I will find a way! Here are a few tips and tricks I have found to drive the price of Paleo down to as little as $5 a day. It might not be Top-Ramen cheap but it is worth it.
- You can’t always get what you want. Plain and simple, if it’s not on sale don’t buy it. If you loooove walnuts but almonds are on sale for $2.50 a pound, looks like you’re eating almonds this week. Suck it up. If the total on the receipt is more important to you than your “favorites,” the best thing to do is just wait until you see that price tag get slashed.
- If a caveman had a freezer he would use the heck out of it! I view my freezer like a time capsule. I can put food in it today and I can eat it in a week or in a month! If I get a good deal on something like meat I will usually buy it in bulk, cut it up and put it separate bags (so I don’t have a frozen 4lb chicken brick), and use it as I need it. A good time saver is to cook in bulk (make several meals out of your recipe), put a few meals in separate tupper-wares, and throw them in the freezer to make your own frozen meals. It’s cheaper and an saves you for when you are too busy or tired to cook.
- If you try to buy everything at one store you will pay for convenience. Stores usually have crazy sales on certain items to draw you in. Once you get the sale item, most people then think “well since I’m already here, I also need this this and that” which may or may not be on sale. You end up saving money on one thing but spending a little more on the other things because of convenience. I’m not saying drive all over town for ten hours for your grocery list, but you can save a lot of money by just shopping at more than one store. You can make it easier by grabbing a few items at a store when you are already in the area. As you are leaving here after a workout, you can hit up Trader Joe’s on the way home or even the HB Farmer’s Market!
- Do. The. Math. Do the math do the math dothemath! I don’t mean to bash super markets but their intention is to make money. Sometimes their deals or prices don’t add up when you do the math. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy the little jar. Sometimes the bigger jar is cheaper, you just have to do the math. Make your purchasing decisions based on how much something is per ounce, pound, kilo, liter etc. It can make a huge difference.
- I don’t even know what I’m looking for. Don’t know where to go for what? Here is my little cheat sheet for what local stores typically have the best prices (even without sales):
- Trader Joe’s: Frozen wild caught fish, olive oil, turkey/salmon/chicken burgers, grass-fed ground beef, ground turkey, nuts, grass-fed cheese/butter (if you’re going primal)
- Target: Herbs/spices, frozen vegetables, almond/coconut milk
- Sprout’s: Produce, organic chicken, grass-fed beef, bulk nuts, specialty items (macadamia nut oil, almond flour, etc)
- Fresh and Easy: ”Ready to cook” meats (ready to just be thrown on the BBQ or in the oven), produce, nuts
- HB Farmer’s Market: It’s an actual store with normal hours. This is by far the best place I have found for produce. I have a very hard time buying produce elsewhere. They are cheap, like 3lbs of oranges for $1 cheap.
To sum it up, Paleo can be cheap. But just like everything in life you have to put in the effort to get what you want.