Clean Eating On A Dime {How We Did The Whole30 2.0 On A Budget}

cleaneating1I love clean eating. No really, I do. I feel my best, make better choices, and generally enjoy life more when the majority of our diet is clean, home/locally grown, and full of good nutrients, not chemicals and additives. (Occasional exceptions made regularly for Jordan’s hot dogs and Thin Mint cookies.) But let’s be real: clean eating is expensive! Forget a gallon of milk, have you priced organic produce lately? Or grass fed beef, locally raised, free-range chickens or coconut oil? Yup. It adds up really fast. Which is why my husband and I made some strategic decisions leading up to and during our 2nd Whole30 Journey this past March, to set ourselves up for success, both for our wellness and our budget.

Tip # 1 – Research Your Resources

When we did our first Whole30 Journey in 2013 (missed it? Check it out here) we did some recon work before launching into a world of clean, nutritious, expensive, eating. We found a local Farmer’s Market for fresh produce, and between coupons and reward memberships, managed to keep costs manageable at a variety of grocery stores. This time around, not only were there no local Farmer’s Markets (March, remember?), but we also live in a much more rural area now, with significantly fewer grocery options. What that look like, you might ask? No Trader Joe’s. No BJ’s. No Cosco. No Wegman’s. Ahh! BUT, we had some other valuable resources to tap into that we hadn’t had the first time around.

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Tip #2 – Buy A Cow {or part of one} 
The month before we began our Whole30, we purchased part of a cow from a local farmer. I’m not usually a huge steak fan, but this meat was AMAZING! Melt in your mouth deliciousness – the difference between grass fed, homegrown and store-bought is HUGE! Even if you’re not doing a cleanse, buying local meat in bulk is a great option for families that want to save money but eat healthy. It gave us 3/4 of the protein we needed to complete the 30 days! We supplemented the rest in different kinds of meat bought in bulk from Sam’s Club, which also kept the price down.

cleaneating4Tip #3 – Raise Chickens
Ok, so this kind of ties into the last one, but it also has some unique benefits of its own. {Disclaimer: I was not the brains behind this part of the operation. In fact, I’m still not completely thrilled with the idea of having stinky birds clucking around my yard all summer, but my husband is bent on it and I can’t argue with the benefits, so…. I’ll keep you posted on that endeavor. 🙂 The obvious perks are undeniable: free eggs (if you’re raising hens) or free meat (if you’re raising meat birds – our goal is 2 batches this summer, they only take about 8 weeks!). Also, it gives you something to barter. Whether you’re trading a couple of birds to your neighbor for free, fresh eggs, or you’re the one supplying the eggs in exchange for homegrown kale and tomatoes, it’s a big help!

Tip #4 – Plant A Garden {or ask your husband to
I don’t have a green thumb. It’s more… pink with gold polka dots? I’m no prissy girl, but I have a hidden talent…. I kill anything green that grows. Just ask my mom – she banned me from touching her plants while we house-sat last month; I’m pretty sure she was terrified they’d all die just sharing the atmosphere with me for a week. But, I can’t argue with the enormous benefits of having fresh produce grow in your backyard! We’ve even considered an herb garden… don’t know how it will turn out, but it sounds amazing!

Tip #5 – Shop Smart
Whether you frequent a local health food store or Walmart for your grocery shopping, do it smart. Almost every establishment has rewards or membership programs for their patrons. Coupons, sale flyers, store cards, apps – there are a bunch of ways to save money while you shop, or get paid to shop! Every little bit helps, especially when you’re grocery budget is hurting.

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Out of all the things vying for your paycheck, what’s more important than your health? I know, I know… your mortgage, bills, student loans… We used to say we had forever to eat healthy, right now we just need to get ahead and once we’ve ‘arrived’ we can change our habits. Well, I suppose that would work, but is it worth it? We’ve decided it’s not. We’d rather have our budget a little tight, our refrigerator full of healthy food, and our bodies well and thriving and able to enjoy life to the fullest. With a little creativity and a few extra bucks a month we can afford to eat clean. And we love it!

How about you? How do you balance your budget and diet? Any tips or tricks? Leave a comment, we would love to hear from you!

❤ Jasmine

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2 thoughts on “Clean Eating On A Dime {How We Did The Whole30 2.0 On A Budget}

    • I hear you; it definitely is harder if you don’t have a fresh, inexpensive source of locally grown produce. However it’s not impossible. 🙂 Cosco, BJ’s, Sam’s – all these places have awesome deals on good produce and most of them have a pretty good Organic section as well! Definitely not as easy as it could be, but worth trying if it’s something you’re interested in. 🙂

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