Since going raw for 30 days so many people have messaged to ask “How did you do it!” and “How could you AFFORD it!?”
How we managed mentally all the other good stuff will come in a later post. What I wanted to share today is a response to question number two. How do you eat healthily without having to take out a second mortgage? Cause let’s be honest I love good food but every time I walk into a whole foods store I literally feel a hole burning into the bottom of my wallet. I get it.
Though I believe in the law of attraction, I am also aware of the many challenges people face around finances and how that could be an initial barrier to wanting to try something like “Raw for 30”.
However, if your only reason for not trying to eat more whole foods is because you think it costs too much, I encourage you to re-evaluate your self-talk. When you say healthy food is too expensive, what are you comparing it to? The average person spends $50 NZD on a visit to the Dr, not accounting for the amount of money spend on medication, antibiotics etc. So just think, if you were to reinvest that money into better quality food or supplementation you’d be taking a positive step towards better health AND finances. Because of course, health is wealth.
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk details.
Here are some of my very practical tips for cutting down the grocery bill:
- Eat in season. There is a reason tomato’s and zucchini cost $17 in winter. They aren’t meant to be harvested and eaten year round. If you shop when fruit and veg are in season it’s likely they will be cheaper because you can find them in abundance. Right now courgettes are down to $3.79 a kg, compared to the $17 a few months ago.
- Buy frozen or buy in bulk and freeze. The freezer has been our very good friend this year. We love to stock up on frozen veggies because they’re affordable and such an easy way to get greens in when you are at the end of your weekly shop. Staples for us are Cauliflower (for rice and in smoothies, some people use them for pizza bases), Spinach (pre-blended and frozen in cubes for smoothies), Corn ( kernels and on the cob) peas and broccoli.
- Join a community Co-op or start your own. Earlier in the year, a good friend of mine started a co-op here in Tauranga. Despite this being the Bay Of Plenty and indeed having plenty of delicious local produce, there was not an existing co-op.Talk about pro-active! Our co-op now has 40- 50 families who use our collective buying power to purchase in bulk from suppliers and get our produce and dry goods at wholesale price. It does take a lot of work to get it off the ground, and it requires every family to be an active participant to make it work but the benefits of getting organic food at great prices are worth the time and have been a huge benefit to us. We regularly purchase some fresh produce like bananas, Bokstocks chicken, eggs from a backyard supplier, NO3 under balm deodorant, Ceres nuts, Flaveur breads and laundry powder made by a co-op member. Sometimes we will also get the canned beans and tomatoes but not always. Some of the prices work out to be even cheaper than what’s at the supermarket, and others more expensive so for us, it’s about picking and choosing what works for our family.
- Buy supplements. They are affordable and make your life easier. The supplements we use regularly are
Soya max powder: It’s a very affordable powder that I use as the base of my smoothies in the morning and sometimes if I am in a hurry I’ll have a couple of scoops for lunch blended with berries, half a banana and some greens.
Fish Oil: Cheaper than buying salmon and fish. I even double the dose which gives me 4000mg of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA 4 every single day, and it only costs me $40 a month.
Multi Vitamins: Vitamin deficiency is so common, and often when we aren’t getting the right nutrients we feel tired and run down. When we feel tired, we often reach for food or coffee or stimulants which all adds $$$ to the weekly bill. A multi is a really simple preventative for less than $3 a day.
- Start a veggie garden at home for the things you use regularly like leafy greens, and fruit trees. If you don’t have the space google your nearest community garden share. It costs roughly $20 a month to rent a planter box that you can fill with all your family favourites.
- Limit your visits to the supermarket to ONCE a week. Like I said, we try and get most of our staples from our Co-Op and the rest of our produce comes from family gardens. When we do need to top up at the supermarket I try and go only once because I don’t know about you but every time I drop in to just ” grab some break and mylk” I end up spending $50 on other crap.
- Check for deals online. Although whole food stores have a reputation of being pricer, you can sometimes find items that are cheaper than at the supermarket. For example, I found sauerkraut at Wild Food organics for only $8.50 a jar instead of $12 from Pack N Save. Cheaper still would be to buy a cabbage and ferment your own, but if you are short on time you get my drift. Best to follow your local suppliers and stores on social media to stay up to date with deals, or sign up for their email newsletters and take a quick skim each week.
- Buy from the bulk section. As soon as you walk into a whole foods store go directly to bulk and buy what you can from your shopping list there. The prices are usually great compared to prepackaged versions of the same food, and you can buy exactly as much as you need. I do the same with spices, I save more money by purchasing only what I need for that week’s meals rather than a whole jar of something for just one recipe.
- Don’t be embarrassed to weigh your items, or take out your phone to calculate and check totals. I used to be so shy to do this, but now I do it all the time to make sure I stick within my budget. Sometimes I even need to put some things back, and that’s ok too.
- Plan your meals and make a shopping list. I left this one till last cause it’s boring and everybody says to do it. Yet, it’s the one thing that most people DON”T do. Like everything the easiest things to do are also the easiest things not to do. Take a few mins on a Sunday night to go through what’s in your pantry and fridge and make a plan to use what is already in there so we minimize food waste and $$.