Anyone who knows me knows that I’m ALWAYS on a tight budget. However, despite whatever financial struggle I’ve faced, I’ve still managed to lose and maintain a weight loss of about 70lbs….all while keeping my diet clean. It hasn’t been easy and some months it requires a little extra patience and strategizing…but I’ve been able to do it for less than $20/week (or about $50/month when shopping in bulk). I’ve written about this in a previous blog post but I thought I would shed some more light on this topic..since it’s a very common issue.
Organic vs. Not – Personally, I never jumped on this train. To me, a vegetable is a vegetable. I never understood the purpose behind spending twice as much for something labeled “organic.” This is a personal preference thing – if you really feel strongly for eating this way be my guest, just know that it will ALWAYS cost you more. People have their reasons and beliefs for why they believe this is the way to go but in general I wouldn’t bother. If it’s not a big deal to you, shop the sales like me and you will be able to eat clean while staying on budget.
Frozen Vegetables vs. Fresh – Whenever possible, you should always get the fresh vegetables. However, depending on the season (and the sale) it may not always be possible. I usually stock up on some of my favorite frozen veggies when they are on sale…which usually means each bag will be just $1. That way, if the fresh variety isn’t accessible I still have exactly what I need.
Name Brand vs. Store Brand – I have never been a label whore. Whether it’s clothes, food, shoes…I never care. If it looks good, fits good, or tastes good…to me that’s all that matters. You will notice that 9 times out of 10, the store brand has the same ingredients as the name brand…and is half the price. So why spend extra just for a name? Drop the ego and grab your generic store brands and you will notice a big difference in your wallet.
Meat/Fish – This is the one area that can get tricky. Buying meat or fish will almost always cause your bill to be higher. However, you have to shop smart whenever possible. Head to Costco or any other bulk grocer and get your chicken. The Costco brand usually has about 15 or 16 boneless, skinless breasts (sometimes more) per pack and it will run you less than $20. You can also grab the packs of ground turkey or chicken when they are on sale and keep them on hand in your freezer. Anything from the butcher or fish counters will run more money…so plan accordingly and stock up whenever possible.
Make a list and always check it twice! I can’t tell you how helpful this one is. Keep a running list on the refrigerator and add things as they run out. Right before you go shopping, go back through the cabinets/pantry and fridge/freezer to be sure you didn’t miss anything. You can then skim through the flyers and see which store has most of those items on sale. My favorite store to shop in by far is ShopRite. They always have the lowest prices and biggest variety for what I need. Another favorite is Trader Joe’s. I don’t buy many things there (they tend to be a bit pricey) but you can find some good deals on otherwise expensive ingredients. Plus, they always have bananas for 19 cents – so how can you go wrong?!
When in doubt always shop the sales. You can never go wrong when you do that. Sure, you may not get every item on your list but you will have money leftover to put towards the next shopping trip. Like other things on this weight loss journey it won’t be easy but with a little patience, I promise it IS possible. Take the extra time and you will save a lot of extra money in the long run.
Stay strong & stay in the fight