Being Healthy Ain’t Cheap

Posted: May 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Ummm… Is it just me or is eating healthy, natural UNPROCESSED food freaking expensive!?

It’s really sad that I could eat junk food for a month in what I spend in a week of healthy food.

And seriously here, I’m in the last bit of prep, I don’t exactly eat MOUNTAINS of food.

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Like really, that’s not much!

As part of my simplify/clean/purge thing I’ve got going on right now I’m working on saving my pennies.

Competing is expensive… as is some other things I’ve got coming up in the next few months. Since I don’t eat out, I don’t drink and I don’t really DO much, my biggest expense is actually food.

I used to eat a lot of “frankenfoods”… basically processed “healthy” snacks/100 cal packs, etc etc and well, not satisfying AT ALL so now my meals are really simple, really easy and pretty much are all whole, natural foods.

A big thing for me is Tuesday nights when the new grocery store flyers come out. I grab them all, plan my trips (yes, I frequent SEVERAL stores) and do everything to save money.

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But really… I never knew how much I was spending. When you shop at 3 or 4 stores, plus a farmer’s market you don’t really do the math in your head (or I never do).

So last week I made some excel sheets.

1: A list of all the stores I frequent along with the farmers market and a few blank spaces for add ins if I venture out of my usual places. Each place has a block for how much total I spend there each week (with 11 weeks planned to track this)

2: A list of foods I eat. The fact I DO eat the same things day in day out made this very easy. It sounds very anal, but I wanted to know EXACTLY where my money was being spent, not just which stores, but what items.

I decided week one would be a learning experience. Mostly because I had zero idea how much I spend every week and needed to know THAT before I could cut back.

Makes sense no?

So Saturday morning I set out to the market and two grocery stores…

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Yes… I bought a chunk of steak on with a 30% off sticker. I almost always have steak on Saturdays and have no problem saving a bit.

That afternoon I headed out again…

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…. and one last time

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Normally it would work a bit different, but the weather was MISERABLE so I had to work around that. The joys of not having a car.

After the first two trips I realized how much I was spending on veggies so despite not LOVING the broccoli I did pick up three heads of it since it was on sale for 99cents. Sometimes saving 10$ is worth a week of a veggie you don’t love.

After all was cooked up and done I sat down to do some math and calculating.

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While I didn’t have to buy chicken this week, I DID buy two weeks of Greek yogurt since it was on sale and needed oats so it kind of evens out.

The biggest expense?

Veggies. Seriously no shock there. We’re in the midst of some major flooding and a lot of crops are delayed/completely ruined so the prices aren’t going down like they should.

The total cost. 56$ even. I was expecting around 50$ so no big shock.

The biggest lesson I took away from this was veggies. Unfortunately while I LOVE green beans and zucchini they can both be VERY pricey so I will be compromising on them if they aren’t  on sale and getting what is cheaper.

(although thankfully this week BOTH are on sale! aha!)

My goal for this week is to hit 40$! Eggs are on sale until Thursday so I WILL be going to get those early… here’s hoping I can hit my goal.

Any good tips for saving?

I try to coupon but really, they SUCK here.

  1. Liz says:

    I’m totally with you on saving money! Since I graduate in 4 days (eek!), that means I have 6 months before I have to start paying off my school loans. So I figured what better time to actually track my expenses than now, especially when I will (hopefully) be receiving some $$ for graduation. Thus I asked my mom to buy me this adorable expense tracker from Target. I unfortunately have opted for the veggies of the frozen variety to save money when fresh produce is WAY too expensive. And it’s really hard to use coupons because they are ALL for the processed crap and when is the last time you’ve seen coupons for fresh meat or veggies?!

    • ihearteggs says:

      I lived off frozen veggies alllll winter. Sadly now that I have a taste for the good fresh stuff I’m trying to avoid going back, but if prices are as high as last week again I’ll be back to my frozen green beans. BLAH!

  2. I hear ya, it can definitely be more expensive buying healthier foods. I try to be flexible in my fresh options..for instance, I may go with the intent of picking up broccolli, but zucchini is on sale or asparagus so I buy that instead.

    Also, I get the frozen steam bags for veggies — they are quite cheap at Target.

    • Alexandra says:

      I get my frozen veggies at Target too! They’re almost always on special and Target has a lot of online coupons you can print. I’ve seen a ton within the past month on their site for frozen veggies. You should definitely check it out, I feel your “healthy food debt” pain haha

  3. Amanda says:

    I really feel for you since you are in prep and don’t have much wiggle room in terms of food choices (not that you’d want to have it, I’m sure, since you eat really well!). The price hike in veggies is killing me too. I always knew things like asparagus and avocados would go up and down like crazy, but salad green and cauliflower? Is this a joke? I just try to remind myself that it still comes out cheaper than if I’d ordered a salad out at a restaurant. But yeah… eesh. Frustrating. I’m keeping my fingers crossed everything gets cheaper again soon, but we shall see…

    • Jessica says:

      I realized I spend a ton of money. The supplements, protein powder, and vitamins get out of control. I don’t even want to add it up. I usually shop at numerous stores. I go to Costco for eggs, broccoli, and some other cheaper produce. I also go to Aldi and Target. Luckily, there is a really cheap produce store that I frequent. Sometimes they have asparagus for 89/pd….Amazing:)

  4. Chelsea says:

    It is interesting to see where the costs add up. Veggies are just filler, right? :o)
    Sometimes I find it a pain to have to eat them and sometimes I skip on eating them. I know….bad!

  5. I completely agree! Food is absorbently expensive! No wonder most of north america is going through an obesity crisis. Its sad when its cheaper to buy junk than fresh fruits and veggies.

  6. lifttorun says:

    I just look for deals when I get a grocery store’s flyer in the mail or whatever. I also use coupons.

  7. allieksmith says:

    It is SAD how much GOOD and healthy food is! My advice.. become a crazy coupon lady ;p

  8. It sucks. There are never coupons for veggies. I try to stock up on chicken and freeze it when it’s on sale. I’m on a crazy tight budget, and I’m trying to focus more on cutting back on grocery spending. I should make an excel. I’m not organized at all

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