Lately I have been trying to do a better job at budgeting. Being gluten/dairy free, it can be really hard to keep the grocery bill low, especially when I am constantly seeing all of these amazing products all over Instagram that cost way more than I need to be spending. Although I love many of these products, they do not need to be staples in my diet. Below are the keys to keeping a budget while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am by no means perfect at this yet. In fact, I am mainly writing this post for myself and figured that others could benefit from it as well. So here we go!
- Figure out what your non-negotiables are. These are things that you are willing to pay a higher price for or are products that you cannot go without. Some of these things could include: bone broth, high quality animal products, almond milk, or anything else that you enjoy.
- Use the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. To be honest, I haven’t been great at doing this, but I am going to start doing a better job. This list tells you the produce that you absolutely should be buying organic vs. produce that you can eat conventional. Click HERE for a link to the list.
- Buy in bulk. This has been a huge life saver for me when it comes to buying nuts/seeds. You will find that you will pay nearly half the price of items when you buy it from the bulk section. You can also find items like quinoa, rice, beans, spices, and dried fruit in the bulk section as well.
- Do not buy less food in hopes that you will eat less. I have tried this before. I figured that if I bought less food at the grocery store, I would save money. Wrong! I ended up buying snacks in addition to what I was eating because the food I was making wasn’t enough. In addition, I ended up eating more food because I was hungry.
- Prep your food! This is huge. Even if that just means chopping up veggies on a Sunday night, it will save you time. To be honest, I am really trying to be better at this. This week I prepped all of my food and let me tell you, it was awesome. I ate so much healthier, I spent way less money, and I felt better. I feel like that is sign that I should be doing it more often.
- Make your own protein bars & balls! I cannot even begin to imagine the thousands of dollars that I have spent buying protein bars. Bars are great for convenience, but when you are looking for the healthiest options that are actually filling, they can become quite spendy. Not to mention that a good majority of them are loaded with sugar. Instead, make your own protein balls! I have been making Lee from America’s Fat Balls and I am obsessed (try her recipe HERE). I feel so full and satiated after eating these. Not to mention, there is like barely any sugar in them. Win win in my book!
- Pack a snack! Face the reality of what you want to eat. Sometimes I will pack a lunch with only veggies as a snack or a lunch, thinking that it will work and I wont be hungry later. Wrong. I end up going to the local co-op next door and buying an over-priced protein bar almost every time. Instead, anticipate what you will want to snack on. If you’re like me and you eat super early breakfast, then you need some sort of snack around 9 a.m. I know I like to eat either nuts/seeds or some sort of protein bar in the morning as a snack, so I make these and pack them just in case. In addition, I can better control what I eat as a snack instead of choosing what is convenient at the time or making an unfavorable choice in desperation of hunger.
There are my tips. Like I said, I am not perfect at doing this. But having these tips out there for you all will help me stay accountable as well.