Zach and I have decided that, with the big 3-0 looming right ahead of us, it is high time we buy a house. This is extremely exciting and I get giddy just thinking about it, especially when I get sucked into pinterest planning out things like our yard and kitchen. Oh goodness. Having some heart palpitations (the good kind!).
But, it turns out, in order to buy a house, you need money. And lots of it. And so, we have set out on the ambitious quest to save one of our whole salaries for the next year in order to reach our down payment goal.
In going through our goals and budget, we thought long and hard about what was important to us, and what we could cut. Cable TV? Cut. Extra data on our phones? Cut. Eating healthy, real food? Absolutely NOT cut.
So, how do you do this on a budget? The benefits of eating real food far outweigh the one and only con: it is more expensive. With an emphasis on eating organic produce, choosing grass fed, high quality meats, and eating fresh ingredients, the costs can add up. But, with a few organizational tips, it is absolutely possible to stick to a low budget and still eat clean, unprocessed meals. The five ways we keep tabs on our grocery budget are:
- We make well-planned grocery lists in two columns: one for meals, and one for ingredients. We try to overlap ingredients into multiple meals as much as possible.
- We have stopped shopping at Whole Foods (goodbye, delicious samples of cheese) and have started shopping at Market Basket, choosing our picks and reading labels very carefully.
- We do not buy 100% organic. When it comes to produce, we stick to buying organic for the “dirty dozen” and conventional for the “clean fifteen.”
- We cook a lot of pantry items from scratch. Peanut butter, marinara sauce, pizza dough… all things that can be made in bulk on the weekends, frozen, and used in many, many meals to come.
- We stay organized, know how much money we have to spend, and under no circumstances go over. We use mint.com to organize our monthly budgets and when we shop, we will sometimes use the calculator on our phones to tally up our bill before check-out to help limit our impulse purchases.
Here is my very first, homemade infographic with all the info you need! Do you have any other tips for eating healthy on a budget? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below!