I know, I know, technically we failed the Whole 30. However, we did shop solely Whole 30 at the grocery store for a few weeks (and you can see how we prepared here). One of the main excuse people use to avoid the Whole 30 (including me) is they can’t afford it. And let’s be honest, the dollar menu is cheaper than real food. I recently did an audit of our finances for 2015 so far and discovered a lot of interesting things when it came to our food purchasing.
The Whole 30 Is Cheaper…For Us
After looking through everything we spent on food, the money we spent at the grocery store (where we only bought Whole 30 foods) was way less than the amount we spent on fast food/eating out. To eat out at our favorite fast food place (Culver’s), it would cost an average of $18. The amount I spent on a week’s worth of groceries during our Whole 30 was $50. Obviously eating the Whole 30 diet is great for our food budget. That’s not always the case for everyone else though. It’s definitely easy to go way over budget when switching to a whole foods diet.
How to make it cheaper for you
Don’t buy strictly organic
Organic always means more expensive. I’ll be honest, I don’t buy strictly organic. If I could afford it, I would buy everything organic. For now I just have to clean my veggies good and watch out for the dirty dozen.
Work the sales or buy in bulk
I save the most money by buying in bulk and knowing sales. SAMs club is amazing. I’m able to get whole chickens for $1/lb. They also have really great prices on chicken legs and thighs. It’s fantastic. Bilo also has really great sales. They’ll do buy one get one free sales on their chicken and pork. I buy all my meat at the beginning of the month, usually for around $50 and it often lasts longer than the month. I also always check the sales at Bilo and take advantage when it’s BOGO. When I buy meat in bulk, I open it and individually wrap it into meal size. Typically two to three pieces at a time. That way I’m only defrosting what we’ll need for a meal and won’t be left with too much leftover.
Utilize what you have
If you don’t know what’s in your fridge and pantry, you’re gonna buy something you already have. I use to do it all the time. Especially when you’re starting the Whole 30, you need to know what you’re starting with. You’ll probably be surprised with what you already have available.
Don’t buy more than you eat
This is where knowing what you already have and meal planning come in handing. Wasting food is where most food budgets go. We are so guilting of this. It was really bad when we first started cheating on the Whole 30. I would have stuff to cook, but Carl needed so much attention we just settled for fast food. Making a meal plan and sticking to it ensures you only buy what you need. The biggest misconception is you need to plan for a week or longer, but that’s hard when you’re just starting. For the start of our Whole 30, I would only plan a few days at a time. I had to grocery shop often in the beginning, but it saved money. It also allows for you to get a hang of how much food you really actually eat when you aren’t depending on fast food. I often found that what I thought would only feed us
The biggest misconception is you need to plan for a week or longer, but that’s hard when you’re just starting. For the start of our Whole 30, I would only plan a few days at a time. I had to grocery shop often in the beginning, but it saved money. It also allows for you to get a hang of how much food you really actually eat when you aren’t depending on fast food. I often found that what I thought would only feed us a few days would actually last much longer.
Don’t include too much variety
You don’t need to have something different every morning for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Having go to meals that are standard (and inexpensive) make a big difference. During weekdays, I would stick to a banana and Larabar for breakfast and on weekends we would have eggs. Keep in mind how expensive certain items are and plan meals around them. Also, make food last. What we would have for dinner was usually what we had for lunch the next day. It makes things easier and doesn’t go to waste.