Have you been wanting to go Paleo but concerned about how to make it work for your budget?
Or are you already Paleo, but sick of your credit card getting declined at Whole Foods? It’s okay, we understand: eating pounds of organic vegetables and grass-fed meats can get pretty pricey. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
In this short guide we will show you the absolute cheapest way to be Paleo, without sacrificing food quality or breaking any of the “rules”. So, pull up a chair, grab a notebook, and let us show you…
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9 Ways to Save Money on the Paleo Diet
1. Buy a Lot, Save a Bunch
A great way to save some money is to buy items in large quantities. We know that this will cut down on the amount of times you can go to Whole Foods and schmooze with all the hot people buying healthy overpriced trail mix, but it will also cut down on your monthly grocery bill.
This takes a bit of planning though:
- You’ll need to know where to go to get the best bulk deals.
- You’ll need to understand how to store large amounts of food
- You likely need a calculator to understand how a larger upfront investment will cut down on your weekly and monthly expenses
But these are small elements to master when it comes to keeping cash in your pocket. Also, don’t be afraid to hit up a good Paleo friend and go halfsies on a gallon of olive oil or a 5-pound bag of almonds.
2. Shop Like An Eskimo
Who said that your veggies and fruits have to be 30 seconds from the bush? A great way to save money is by purchasing HUGE bags of veggies from the frozen-food section.
Farmers often freeze certain foods in order to make them available during their off-season. Take advantage of this and save yourself the possible heart attack induced by the price of those fresh organic Fuji apples.
3. Conventional Wisdom
Before you throw anything at your computer screen, listen up! This tip alone might pay your rent this month.
Sometimes the difference between an organic food and it’s conventional cousin is incredibly small. You can cut your grocery bill in half just by ignoring the sneers of your trendy “green” friends and stocking up on certain foods that are just fine to eat without the organic label.
If you’re really serious about protecting your bank account, you may want to check out a report released by The Environmental Working Group. They are a non-profit organization that produces a report called the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Below, you’ll find a list of 11 Paleo-friendly conventionally grown foods that have the lowest pesticide load and therefore safest to consume as non-organics:
Stock up on these and watch the dollars pile up!
4. Go to the Source
Do you know any farmers? If you don’t, then it’s time for you to make some new friends! You’d be shocked and awed at how much that cut of sirloin steak gets marked up by the middle man. And those apples? The numbers would make you cry.
So save yourself from this thievery and get your items from the person that grew/raised them.
Here’s a quick plan for you:
- Do a Google search and find all the farmer’s markets in the area and their dates/times.
- Go to ALL of them. Not one of them, but every single one. You’re on a mission.
- Visit the booths of all the people selling food that you generally enjoy eating. Make small talk, shake hands, exchange names and contact information, and become friends.
- Go back home and look at all the names and addresses. If these farms are close enough to be worth visiting—go! And take a friend or three. The farmers will appreciate you coming to them and bringing more customers, they’ll cut you the best deals you’ve ever had.
Another great source for food? Your own backyard. Check out “10 Wild Foods That Are Healthier Than Store-Bought Produce.” Goodbye, GMOs. Hello, dandelion tea.
Meat is one of the best foods to buy in bulk. Buy a whole cow, split it up with your friends, and stock your freezer. It may cost a bit more up front, but it will save you hundreds of dollars and lots of time that you would have spent running to and from your grocery store.
You’ll also have an incredible choice of cuts, which you may have never experienced if you just buy meat steak by steak.
Stock that freezer and get creative!
5. Eat Foods That Don’t Make You Hungry
This may be challenging, but it’ll be good for you, I promise – good for your bank account and good for your health too.
Eat nutrient dense foods.
I know that the junk food is tasty and plays wonderful games with your tongue, but it doesn’t do much for your body nor your bank account. You see, when you eat food that isn’t high in nutrients, your body craves more food.
Because, technically, the whole purpose of eating is to get the nutrition necessary to build and maintain a healthy body. If you’re not eating enough nutrients, your body will beg for more by creating hunger.
Eat more nutrient dense foods and you won’t need to eat as often; when you eat less food you buy less food; when you buy less food, you save money. Boom!
6. Make $100 a Month By Eating 6 Days a Week
You know that whole Intermittent Fasting (IF) thing all the hardcore Paleo-heads talk about? Well, if you’re not already doing it, consider this a great opportunity to begin.
Like we mentioned above, the less food you eat, the less money you spend on food. It really is an incredibly simple concept. And let’s be real, you need to give your body a break from all that digestion, why not give your checking account a break also?
Let’s say that your monthly grocery bill is $500. If you fast for just 36 hours a week, that would equally roughly 6 days of non-eating in a month.
Let’s do the math here:
$500 divided by 30 days = $16.66 a day. Multiply that by 6 and you get = $100. That’s a savings of at least $100 a month simply by doing your digestive system a favor. And think of all the Paleo street cred you’ll acquire!
7. Take Off Your Fancy-Pants
Let’s keep it real: there are certain foods that are much pricier than others. And perhaps you’ve been indulging in more of these foods than their cheaper counterparts.
But you don’t have to.
You could eat regular chicken eggs instead of quail. You could cut back on the Maitake mushrooms and just eat regular button white ones instead. You could eat a chunk of pork belly instead of…well…you know.
So my question to you is: do you really need that package of nitrate-free, uncured, hickory-smoked bacon?
8. Do As Your Mother Does
Remember those Sunday mornings when you were desperately searching for the comic section, only to find your sweet mother hogging the newspaper, cutting out pages of coupons? Or how you would accompany her to the store, and be heartbroken when she told you that she refused to buy your favorite cavity-causing cereal because it wasn’t on sale? Remember how you swore that you would never do that to your kid?
Well, times have changed and you’re looking to save a buck. So it may be time to call up mother and get some tips.
Look through your local paper and find deals, cut them out and go buy the items in large quantities; go to your favorite grocery store near closing time and ask for a deal on meat—they’ll usually give it to you; go to huge warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco—get items like nuts, Lara Bars, frozen fruit, almond milk, olive oil, and spices; shop online and have food delivered to you—saving time and gas money!
All in all, become a deal hawk. Search and you shall find.
9. Eat Organs, Beast!
Did it shock you to discover that bacon is not the cheapest source of meat available? We know, ignorance is bliss. But if you’re really looking to do paleo on the cheap, acquire a taste for organs.
Organs are not only the cheapest source of meat, but they’re often the most nutritious as well! Liver is really cheap and is a nutrient powerhouse. Throwing a chicken liver into your omelet is like dousing your eggs with multivitamins!
Other amazing (cheap) organ sources are:
- Bone marrow
These may be an acquired taste in the beginning, but just like the two-wheeled bicycle you mastered oh-so-long-ago, these will taste just as delicious as bacon after a few bites.
You now have nine new ways to save money on the paleo diet, so that excuse “It’s just too expensive” is no longer a good reason to go back to eating at Burger King.
And this is only the beginning. As you progress in your Paleo journey, you’ll discover new and exciting ways to eat well without breaking the bank.
Go get ‘em!
(Read This Next: Ultimate Guide to Eating Paleo on a Budget)