Low carb eating and a low grocery bill are not usually things that go together. In fact, when I began eating fewer carbohydrates I noticed a drastic increase in our grocery bill – a 55% increase, to be exact.
So, being the frugal girl that I am, I sat down, worked out a budget, and started racking my brain for ways to save money on our weekly groceries. After a month of experimenting, I finally got our grocery bill back to where it used to be. Here’s a quick list of things that I do to save some cash, and still continue my low carb way of life.
1. Skip the “Frankenfoods.”
The problem with a lot of the low carb specialty foods is that they are expensive and often loaded with artificial ingredients. Stick to natural, unprocessed foods, and you will find yourself healthier and wealthier in no time!
2. Look for (and grow) what’s in season.
Getting the proper amount of nutrients and fiber is important for staying healthy while living a low carb life. The problem is, loading up on pricey fruits and veggies can quickly inflate your grocery bill. Instead, look for seasonal vegetables to save yourself some money at the grocery store. I noticed a pretty big reduction in the grocery bill when I stuck to buying the in season veggies. Want to save even more? Try planting a vegetable garden, and watch your savings grow as quickly as organic pole beans!
3. Venture out to places other than your usual grocery store.
Local health foods stores can be great places to save money while loading up on healthy food. Around here, I was able to get coconut flour, soy flour, a basket of organic vegetables, and pounds of organic meat for a fraction of what it would have cost me at a traditional grocery store. Another great place to low carb bargain shop? Discount stores. Places like Aldi’s and Big Lots can be a goldmine when it comes to inexpensive food. Just make sure to double check the quality, and carefully read the expiration dates on anything you buy. Lastly, head over to a local butcher shop (if you are a meat eater) to get great cuts of beef for far less than you would pay at a “one stop shop” market. If you are willing to buy larger quantities of meat, and freeze some for later, you can save a fortune! Speaking of freezing some meat for later…
4. Start using your freezer more often.
Low carb eating involves quite a few perishable foods – vegetables, fruits, meats, etc. Get familiar with what foods can be frozen, and learn the best way to freeze the foods you want to preserve. By stocking your freezer with produce, you will always have a bounty of fruits and veggies for dinner. Plus, you will save money, not only by buying in bulk, but also by buying seasonal vegetables and fruits that you can then eat all year for less. Meats are also great to freeze – you can save a lot of money buying in bulk.
5. Have fun in the kitchen.
Pick up a couple of low carb cookbooks, or search online for low carb recipes that make your mouth water. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Preparing meals at home can be a lot of fun, and is almost always cheaper than heading out to eat. You can also find some great recipes online for protein shakes and protein bars. Since these little pick me ups can be a few dollars each, the savings from making your own will add up quickly. Even better, you’ll know exactly what’s in them, unlike some of the “health food” bars at the store. Don’t forget to check out chocolate whey protein – it makes a killer blended mocha that comes in at just under 4 grams of carbohydrates per serving!
Last, but certainly not least, keep in mind that adopting a healthier way of life will save you money in the long run. Think of it this way – a few extra dollars every month for food may prevent thousands of dollars of medical costs later in life. Happy eating!