Another way to help you accept and work with the financial side of clean eating (if you do not want to bother with math) is to consider the below. So of course, there will be more math. When talking about costs you will invariably have to talk math.
Yes, size matters! A bit of humor there, sorry, I could not pass it up. But what I want you to remember is pay attention to the size of packages and the servings each package gave you before and how much the new foods provide.
Since you won’t be buying a lot of foods that are processed, you won’t buy the junk food items. This means no more chips, no more cookies that make you crave more than one. I was spending over $10 a week on junk foods, now I spend around $8 on nuts and dried fruits. They will last me for several weeks, unlike the chips disappearing the same evening they were bought. Instead try to buy more healthy snacks such as nuts and seeds and make a trail mix.
You may be cutting your dairy purchases to almost nothing. The amount of processed cheeses should be reduced. What does that mean? No yogurt! No cream cheese, etc. I look at the cost of yogurt as about $6 each week and $3 for your gallon of milk. That is $10 which can be split toward the organic raw vegetables and the grass-fed beef, even on better quality cheeses.
Processed meals should be disappearing. No more boxed side dishes. No more frozen lasagna, no more ‘healthy for you’ meals. Those cost on average $6 a ‘meal’ and only fed 3 people (if you were lucky). What I noticed was that I was adding more vegetables as I was cooking the ‘add meat’ ones or loading up with an outrageous amount of meat to feed our family; even buying two of the packages so that I could feed four people. I might have added a half cup of frozen peas, a cup of frozen broccoli, maybe a dozen more frozen shrimp, or even leftover chicken. So, if a package cost around $6 each and you add the cost of meat and extra veggies, a dinner was costing $12 to $15. After comparing costs of buying it already made or fixing it myself, I am spending less.
By not eating the cold cereals we save enough to afford the premium hot ones, and we eat less in a serving size. Also, if you are buying the instant, check out the amount of weight each individual package has. The packages in the past would only serve one, but the newer non-gluten ones feeds the both of us with one package. [Is that because we do not eat as much or are they hardier? Is it that the package has 1.76 oz in it compared to the 1.2 to 1.5 in the others we no longer buy? I cannot honestly say.] Also, I will say the GF breakfast bars are costlier, but much more filling. Before the “clean”, I had started eating two of those bars. The manufacturer had started packing a smaller bar and I never felt full after eating one. Also, another benefit with the GF variety that are non-GMO, I fill fuller and can last longer before wanting a snack.
Example: Let’s look at that cost: each box has 5 bars, the non-clean ones cost $2.50 to $2.75 each box, [on sale]. To get through the week I was buying two boxes and sometimes those two boxes cost well over $5 a week. Now, the GF ones cost $3.67 a box and will last me 5 days. Each bar before the clean cost $0.50 each; but during the meal it cost $1.00 since I was eating two at a time. (I call that spending a little too much.) Now, the GF ones cost $0.73 each and my meal was just the $0.73 .
If the example above was not shocking enough let me share that I just wasted money by not thinking and not reading. I picked up a box of GF bars this week. They were store brand, and cheaper! I was so upset when I opened my first bar. It was less than two inches long! Each of those bars were 0.88 ounces each, my normal GF bars were 1.23 ounces. So, one box had 6.15 ounces of food the other had 4.0 ounces. The 4 ounces cost (on sale) $3, the 6.15 ounces cost $3.69 (not on sale). So, the cheaper box was $.75 per ounce and the costlier box was $.60 per ounce. See where I am going with this?
For drinks all I will say is never buy water!
Let’s talk sugar. When I walk in a store I never forget to see if the raw sugar and maple syrup is on sale.I look for pure cane sugar in my products, if I am buying a cookie or something of that nature.
I was using two heaping teaspoons of the white in my coffee, now I only use two un-heaped spoons. Because we are ‘southerners’ we like tea with our sugar. To help with the cost I use ¾ of raw sugar to ¼ of white. When measuring the white sugar do not pour it in the measuring cup with the raw. It will just slide down between the grains of raw sugar. This will not give you a true measure of the white. This is another item that I do bend the rules with. Changing your sugar is one of the easiest things to do. Please stay away from substitutes. Diet products cause you to gain and retain fat and are known for migraines!
Now, let’s cover meat! Yep, here is where the cost will slap you. We try for grass fed only, in beef. We do beef once a week. Pork, once, etc. There are so many proteins out there, by not having a ‘meat‘ every night you can get the grass fed. But if I buy ground meat, it will always be grass fed. If you look at the dates on the packages most grocery stores will put them on sale a day or two before they must toss them. Wait until then to purchase them and get several packages; just be sure to freeze or cook them at once. Something else to consider is that ‘organic’ fed meats are still gluten fed meats.
As I was strolling in the grocery store today I decided to get you concrete facts. Here is what I saw. Take into consideration that the non–gluten, engineered and processed items were on sale in the grocery’s sell paper. I verified as I went down the aisle. A package of Cajun style rice mix that can be used as a side or as the “add meat” entrée was $2.19 a box [ 6.7 ounces and served 4]. The package of entrée, add hamburger, was $1.29 [ 5.5 ounces, served 4]. Both used rice as their starch to add the meat to.
Then directly across from those items was the rice sides at $1.99 [for 8.5 ounces and only serving 2]. Further down the aisle was the brown rice that was not a side or instant. The prices ranged from non-organic $ 3.69 [for 32 ounces serving 20] to $2.99 for the organic [same size and servings]. Did you notice that the bag of 32 ounces serves 20! Five to ten times the servings for just double the price. Then did you notice that the organic brown rice (regular priced) was cheaper than the regular brown rice on sale? This trend in the rice was for any type of organic rice.
Now, let’s talk the price per serving. Assuming we keep it to the boxes regardless of meat choice, here is what the ‘just add meat’ boxes came to. The Cajun was $0.55 a serving. The hamburger mix was $0.33 per serving. Then let’s look at the rice with flavors, it was $1.00 per serving. Our bag of brown rice was: non-organic $0.18 per serving, the organic was $0.15 per serving. Yep, the smart shopper would become a master with rice and his spices in his cabinet.
If your brain just read the two paragraphs above and it sounded like “blah-blah-blah”, here is a chart to help you see what they were conveying.
- Cajun style………………….. 7 ounces, serves 4…………. $2.19 $0.55/serving
- Hamburger mix,………… 5 ounces, serves 4…………. $1.29 $0.33/serving
- Rice sides,…………………… 5 ounces, serves 2…………. $1.99 $1.00/serving
- Brown rice,………………… 32 ounces, serves 20………. $3.69 $0.18/serving
- Brown rice organic,…… 32 ounces, serves 20………. $2.99 $0.15/serving
The best hint I can give you is: since you are a smart shopper, know when your store puts items on sale. Stock up! If you stocked up on chips, etc. before, this is no different. I rarely pay more than 5 cents per can on organic canned veggies than non-organics. Also, if the brand of an item you like does not have coupons for their GF variety but do for their regular; it never hurts to ask the cashier to get the manager to approve the use. If the brand is on sale and the sales flyer says “variety” but does not specifically say “not organics”, fight for the sale price. Don’t forget your value of better health!
Something I am contemplating is: doing the shopping using the store’s services. If I order the brand name things, that can be easily chosen by the store’s shopper, it will mean keeping a list of items and their brand names that I like to eat and cook with. When I go to pick them up I can then step to the aisles with the fresh produce and cut my time in the store drastically.