Navigating Whole30, Paleo, or any dietary lifestyle change can be overwhelming and frustrating. Many people also have a budget, which can make it more difficult to stick to your food plan. There are some simple things you can do to stay within your budget during your Whole30. I’m sometimes surprised these aren’t more commonplace! These few things definitely help me keep my food bill low and my stress even lower.
1-Use a list! Many people have told me they “wing it” when it comes to grocery shopping, and that they definitely spend more when they don’t have a grocery list. I’m a list person through and through, so I ALWAYS make a meal and grocery list before I go shopping. I plan all my meals for the week (for me my food list is Friday-Thursday), then I go back and write down the ingredients, in order of the store layout. While making the list of ingredients to buy, go through your pantry, fridge, and freezer to make sure you won’t be buying something you forgot that you already had. It’s so frustrating to be shopping with your budget in mind, only to come home and realize you already had items you just spent your hard earned money on!
2-Use the store flyer! Larger stores usually give out coupons in their flyer as well. Even if many items in the flyer are not Whole30 compliant (or paleo for that matter), you can find all the sale produce and cuts of meat at the very least. If you go in and find a sale you had no idea about, you’ll be tempted to stock up without having accounted for it on your list or budget.
3-Buy clearance meats! Surprisingly, this grosses a lot of people out! I’m not sure why, since meat goes on clearance generally BEFORE the sell by date. So you have at least one day to cook or freeze it, not to mention it is usually good for a day or two past the date anyway. Clearance meat has been a lifesaver for me, as proteins seem to be the most expensive part of my grocery lists. They also give you more room in your budget to be able to stock up on meats, so you don’t have to buy them at full price the next week.
4-Buy clearance produce! Use your best judgment, I’ve not had as much luck with produce as I have with meats. I’ve had friends who have had great success here, so if your grocery has a section for produce clearance, don’t be afraid to check it out!
5-Don’t buy specialty items! Many brands advertise as if having their products can make or break your Whole30. Unfortunately, many of these items are charging a high price due to being smaller businesses and from the high quality of their ingredients. You can STILL successfully complete a Whole30 by making all your own dressings, sauces, and snacks. Don’t fall into the trap of HAVING to buy premade, Whole30 approved dressings, etc. when you can find plenty of simple, cheap, and easy recipes all over the internet! Avoiding speciality items and making most everything from scratch has been how I’ve done all my full Whole30 rounds, and while it does take a few extra minutes, it saves SO. MUCH. money within the 30 days!
6-No need to buy organic, grass fed, or pasture raised! Sure, these are great qualities to buy and are much better for you, but you don’t HAVE to buy them. When learning about the program, many people ask me if they have to go fully organic or grass fed. Nope. It’s never discouraged, but definitely not a necessity. Your only job is to read the label, not worry about how it was raised or fed. If you are able and wanting to buy some organic ingredients, check out THIS POST I wrote about how to determine when it’s worth it to buy organic or not.
7-Buy storebrand! With the exception of sales, store brand products are almost always cheaper. Unless you don’t trust the storebrand, why not buy the same exact product for a cheaper price? You’re literally paying for the name in some cases, so this is a no-brainer way to save money. Even with coupons for brand-name products, storebrand products are usually still cheaper.
Whole30 aims to be attainable for all lifestyles. We don’t want you to break the bank on your round! Have any other budget tips? Drop them below!