“I can’t afford to eat clean. It’s too expensive!”

Oh really? I think I might be able to help with that.

When you walk around the grocery store and look at the healthier, cleaner foods, it may seem more expensive. Certified organic products usually are more expensive when compared to the non-organic foods. However, there are reasons for that. People generally buy the non-organic products, so those are offered at a lower price to meet the customer demand. Organic products are created at a lower volume, resulting in higher production costs. If you really compare the prices, though, the difference isn’t all that great. I bought a jar of organic spaghetti sauce at Walmart the other day. It was about $.50 more than the standard jar by a popular brand, and I was willing to pay that.

Organic milk and organic eggs are considerably more expensive than their non-organic counterparts. It can be a difficult pill to swallow, but if you read about why you are better off buying organic milk and eggs, you may find that a couple extra dollars more is worth it. Or you may decide to switch to non-GMO almond milk like I did. It’s even higher in calcium! And really — if eating clean and wholesome foods equals better health, think of all the money you will be saving on medical bills. Some people have even been cured of health problems from eating clean, as you can read here.

So we’ve established that buying clean, organic food has a higher price tag in the grocery store. We have no argument there. But did you know that by buying only clean foods, you will most likely still spend the same amount on food – or maybe even come out spending LESS on groceries each month?!! Let me explain.

When you buy those inexpensive snacks, treats, munchy things that everyone loves, you may be spending less than you would on a bag of fruit or some organic greek yogurt. But what happens after you eat that snack? It’s not very nutritious, it probably has a good bit of sugar in it, and it’s going to leave you feeling unsatisfied. You’re still going to be hungry afterwards! So then you find something else to eat. Even the ingredients in diet soda (helloooo aspertame!) affect your body in such a way that it makes you think you are hungry, prompting you to eat MORE.

What if, instead of eating a Nutrigrain bar, you snacked on a complex carbohydrate and a good source of protein? Maybe an apple and some peanut butter, with a large glass of water? That sort of snack is going to fill you up, leave you satisfied for a couple of hours, AND it is nutritious!! It’s a solid win.

Still not sold? Let me show you the data. Everyone loves proof, right?

monthly grocery bill comparisonThis is a chart where I compared how much I spent on groceries and eating out in February and March. In February, I was using LOTS of coupons to try to save money at the grocery store. I saved $50 on one trip to the commissary, cutting my bill down from $200 to $150! I bought quick, cheap, easy meal items and snacks. There were healthy things in there, don’t get me wrong. But I was more interested in saving money than being healthy. And you see all the times I stopped for fast food? Yeah. That’s embarrassing. But…we drive to visit hubs 5 hours away at least once a month, and we do a lot of stops along the way. We also sometimes grab a quick snack meal between H’s dance classes on Mondays. I didn’t plan to do anything healthier. 😦

Then look at March. My decision to cut out all of this unhealthy eating happened on the weekend of March 9. That weekend, H and I took another big commissary trip, and this time we read labels. We bought cereals that were healthier, we bought whole foods, and we left ALL of the unclean items at the store. I still used coupons where I could, and we still only spent $150. (Understand that we use the commissary to stock up on pet food, paper items, and the like since we only go there monthly. That’s why our bill is pretty high.)

Even though March isn’t yet over, and there is still a week left in the month, you can see that what I’ve spent on food so far this month is $159 less than what I spent in February!! And that’s even including ordering my Shakeology!!!

And while I’m on that topic, everyone has that sticker shock when they see the cost of Shakeology. I know I did! I mean, gosh it’s $120 (will be $130 on April 1 when the price increases). But when you do the math…a bag has 30 servings…that should last 30 days…and it breaks down to only $4 per shake. And it IS a whole meal. It has the nutrition equivalent of FIVE SALADS, and it will fill you up. And is $4 for one meal so much? How much does a salad cost at Wendy’s? How much does a chicken mcnugget value meal cost at McDonald’s? What about one of those yummy plates from Zaxby’s? No less than $4, I can promise you that. And it won’t be good for you.

As a Beachbody coach, I’m able to get my Shakeology for under $90/month. That’s $3 per shake. Yup, it’s worth it. Totally clean ingredients, so I can’t beat that AT ALL.

So…is it really so expensive to eat clean and organic? Not really. And the cool thing is, if you are a couponer – you can still find good coupons!!! I find coupons for Silk Almond milk on occassion, I get coupons for yogurt (check out Chobani’s website, or friend them on Facebook), and about once a month I find coupons for produce items like Cuties oranges, POM pomegranates, packages of cherry tomatoes, or nuts. There ARE coupons for healthy foods out there, you just have to look for them. Or email the companies and ask! I’ve gotten coupons from Bob’s Red Mill and other companies just for shooting out a quick email and asking for them. It’s worth a shot.

Will you take the challenge? Will you spend a month eating only clean foods and compare it to your previous budget and see how much you’ve saved? I’m not even finished challenging myself. I will finish out the month of March in the same way, and then see how well I can do in April with a whole 30 days of eating clean!! My goal is to keep it all under $500. Look for my results in a month.

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