For reasons unknown, I always thought the grocery list of an “herbivore” was WAY more expensive than one of a “carnivore”. This was actually one of my many reasons, as a former meat-eater, to not turn to the veggie side of life.
But here I am today… eating a whole foods, plant-based diet… and spending WAY less on my grocery bills… Example?
BEFORE: $150 for 2 weeks of animal-based groceries for two adults
AFTER: $100 for 2-3 weeks of plant-based groceries for two adults
SIDE NOTE: WTF is a “whole foods, plant-based” diet?
- A whole foods, plant-based diet consists of eating everything as close to its original origin without including animal based products (cows, pigs, chickens, fish, dairy & eggs). So when I look at my food, I ask four questions:
- What is it made of?
- How was it made?
- How did it get to me?
- How do I get this into my mouth quick enough?
Essentially, the closest to Mother Nature the food, the better it is!
..::5 Shopping Break Downs::..
- This grocery bill is for two (my manly friend & myself)
- Therefore, if you’re a family of 4, double this!
- We only shop at Trader Joe’s (unless a recipe calls for craziness)
- Go with your preference! If there is not a Trader Joe’s in your area or you prefer to shop elsewhere, that’s just fine! Your prices and outcomes might just differ from ours slightly.
- Why TJ’s?? – It’s intimate, to the point, and they stand for quality, in season, produce, with ingredients that contain NO artificial flavors, preservatives, synthetic colors, MSG, genetically modified ingredients, partially hydrogenated oils, and always great prices!
- We shop with a PLAN (crazy right!?)
- *BEFORE* – Whenever we ran out of food, we simply would just trot on into our local grocery store and buy everything in sight that looked good for the week- making us (1) blind of what we were spending, (2) not getting full meals out of our purchases, and (3) knowing when we got to the register that we grabbed probably 10 items we didn’t NEED out of impulse.
- *NOW* – We plan out when we go to the grocery store and the night before, we go through our cookbooks, Pinterest, food apps, etc. and write down, (in a notebook that you can refer back to!), approximately 6 recipes (not including our staple foods) to make for dinners/lunches. These recipes are to last us a minimum of 2 weeks, so with each recipe we right down, we know it needs to be (1) cost effective, (2) nutritious, and (3) will last us at least 6-8 servings for leftover lunches and dinners throughout the week.
- Use a CALCULATOR! (For real though – it’s a magical tech piece!)
- You might think that sounds a LEETLE intense, but trust me, it will blow your mind!
- We prefer an ACTUAL calculator in place of a phone calculator, but try both and find what works best for you.
- Stick to your budget (Set it, smile at it & challenge it!)
- Even if there is something else we REALLY thought would be nice to add to a recipe, but we’re at $98 (adding a little tax throughout the trip), I let the chocolate go… Your bank account, mental strength, and love handles will thank you later!
..::6 TIPS & TRICKS::..
- Your recipes are not your staple foods (But they DO count in our $100 budget!)
- Example #1: For breakfast, for the 2-3 weeks, we make kale smoothies, bananas muffins, grapefruits, and quinoa oatmeal. STAPLES.
- Example #2: Peanut butter, almond milk, black beans, lentils, quinoa, oats, etc. STAPLES.
- Keep a notebook of your recipes (and where you found them!)
- This way you can refer to them in the future & look to them when you need to find where you got a recipe from.
- Example: I right the recipe name with a “P” (for Pinterest) or an “FOK – 120” (for Forks Over Knives cookbook on page 120)
- Write down when you’re going to make each meal
- We do not cook every night, so we need to plan out which meals we’re going to cook on which days (We use our kitchen calendar). This also helps from you produce going bad! **Plan to the cook the recipes first that have the most fresh produce**.
- We never buy anything over $5/item
- If you notice in the picture of our receipt, there is nothing for more than $4 (I think the most expensive item we buy is quinoa for $4.99) and the majority of everything is $1-$3. With our last trip, we bought 82 items for $94.28!!
- With that said, we rarely purchase anything frozen. All of our groceries consist of fresh produce or pantry items like beans, quinoa, rice, etc.
- Organic vs Non- Organic
- We do our best to grab organic when it’s affordable, but if we bought EVERY item organic, we would not be able to stick to our budget. If this is something that is a MUST for you, I would try adding about $20-$30 to your budget.
- No impulse buys or alcohol in the budget
- With a calculator, list, and a budget, impulse buys (chocolate, wine, chocolate, wine, etc.) are almost impossible to squeeze in. We keep a separate budget for alcohol ($25/month) and “fast food” ($15/month – Juiceland, Chipotle & the occasional dark chocolate nibble of goodness!)
..:: SUMMARY ::..
Make a budget – Shop with a plan – Save money!
This was of shopping will save you money and keep you feeling healthy! It might take some practice and adjusting to what works for you and your family, but I can promise you that you will feel more in control of what you put in your fridge and body! Happy Grocery-ing everyone!