Let’s face it—it pays to be healthy. Just when eating and living a healthier lifestyle kicks in and starts to feel great, you realize you traded your old ways in for more than just a rockin’ bod. With your lighter lifestyle comes the incongruent burden of increased expenses.
Unfortunately these days, good health comes at a cost. Organic produce is more expense than its conventional counterpart and health food store prices are markedly higher than those of mainstream supermarkets—to say nothing of the enticing health products and kitchen appliances that scream “buy me!” Fortunately, there are ways to cut the costs of a whole food diet. Follow these simple rules and you’ll be saving in no time.
I can’t emphasize enough how easy it is to walk into a grocery store without a plan and end up spending considerably more than expected. If you make a list beforehand and stick to it, you leave little room for impulse purchases and unnecessary splurges. Go in, go down the list and get out!
Another thing to keep in mind is to never go grocery shopping with a hungry tummy. There are two reasons for this: first, you are more likely to purchase food that you crave in the moment and may not be in line with your dietary goals; and second, you are inclined to buy more than you actually require, hence spending more money.
Buy in Bulk
By grocery shopping once a week, as opposed to every day or every couple days, you can avoid overspending. Shopping in bulk, you are more likely to catch deals that make buying more cost less than if you were to buy the same amount on four or five different occasions. Buying in bulk means you shop less often and thus avoid other bad shopping habits (impulse purchases among many others).
Keep it Simple
When you embrace a healthier lifestyle, it is easy to try to complicate it. The bottom line—a healthier diet is always simple! Raw and vegan cuisine have reached new levels of complexity, but don’t be lured by faux-this and faux-that. Stick to the basics: fruits, vegetables and nuts and seeds at their purest.
Just because something is “raw” or “vegan” doesn’t mean you need it. You don’t have to buy the $13 jar of raw almond butter or the $40 tub of Manuka honey. Your body’s vitality doesn’t depend on it. Go for whole raw almonds and make your own butter out of it. And honestly, is $40 honey really worth it? Save $30 and grab another raw variety.
One of my favorite tricks to saving money on a whole food diet is to use ingredients that spread themselves thin but add a lot to each dish. Having your favorite condiments such as soy sauce, mustard, salsa and spices on hand are essential in making a bland salad turn into a foodgasm. Take advantage of strong flavors that will last long in your pantry or fridge and get more bang for your buck!
Raw and vegan dining is also notoriously expensive, so opt to eat-in. To recreate the social ambiance of going out, host a potluck with your friends, and have everyone contribute their own dish. This allows you to explore your diet in the kitchen and share your food with others without breaking the bank.
If you can’t avoid going out to eat or enjoy doing so regularly, make sure to stalk the restaurant’s menu online, planning what you’ll get beforehand so you don’t order an item out of your budget when put on spot.
It is indeed possible to eat cheaply on a raw food or vegan diet—you just have to be conscious of spending habits. Harness yourself with these 5 tips and there is no reason why a whole food diet can’t in fact save you money!