Eat Real Food: How to afford it

It seems that the pitfall for eating healthy for most people, is the thought that it costs more. But that’s not entirely true! For us it’s actually been cheaper in the long run. Now that we’re switched over anyway.

See. it might cost more up front to eat healthier if you do it all at once. There’s flours to buy and better sugars to purchase. More expensive (healthier) oils to find and spices to discover. So how do you do it?

Save where you can
Stop buying so many snacks! The cost of those chips/crackers/ice cream really add up! There is no reason to buy cookies and such to begin with. You don’t eat them because you’re hungry, you eat them because they taste good!
Eat simple meals, and only buy what’s on sale. After a month take that extra money and start stocking up on healthy staples. You’re pantry won’t be revamped overnight, but you’ll be headed in the right direction. And when you have a few extra dollars, start buying what can save you the most in the long run; flours (make more from scratch) oatmeal (no more cereal) eggs (great for any meal and for added protein which will keep you full longer)

Save somewhere else
Get your haircut every 8 weeks? Maybe delay it to every 10 weeks (at 30$ a cut you’ll save $40 a year, space it out to 12 and you’ll save $65!) How about getting your nails done or buying coffee? Do you really have to do those things? Try staying home on the weekends and eating in instead of at restaurants. Each small area you can cut back in, will add to your “whole foods grocery fund”! Just find those little things you do each week/month and cut them out.

Sell something!
Use e-bay and craigslist to get rid of items you no longer use. Last spring I sold our large aquarium, a dehumidifier, and a couple of window AC units that we no longer need with the new house. I was able to set aside that money to purchase strawberries and blueberries that I froze and made jam with as well as a quarter of a grass fed cow. We even had enough left over to cover the cost of processing a deer Todd got during hunting season! having that extra money was pivotal in my being able to switch to a whole foods diet faster than if i had to save a few dollars each month. If you’re creative, you can find money anywhere!

Use what uncle sam gives you
Every year most Americans get back money in the form of a tax refund. Sure you could go buy something fun with it, but why not use a portion to stock your pantry? This year I spent about $300 buying good whole foods. I filled my utility room with bulk bags of flour, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, pasta, oils, tons of spices, dried fruit, sugars, and misc baking items. Most of what I bought will last at least 6 months and many items I won’t run out of for a year! Not only has this saved me time that I normally spend in the grocery store, we always have something to eat in the house. I figure this could save me more than $50 per month and that money will then be put aside for the next time I buy in bulk.

Here’s what my counter looked like after I went shopping and the UPS guy came!
(not pictured are 25 pound bags of whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour)

This post is linked to:
Kitchen Tip Tuesday
Real Food Wednesday
Fight Back Friday

About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. I’ve been doing this too, slowing buying more bulk items each month. My biggest concern is how to properly store it in order to keep worms or other pests out (I have to store some of my things in the basement).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Where do you buy most of this stuff???

  3. Great idea and we have been doing the same some the only downfall for this though that I have found is my whole wheat flour goes rancid so fast even in the freezer!
    So until I can purchase my much long awaited and needed grain mill, I will only buy white flour to store.
    DO you buy whole wheat flour?

  4. Try to see if they deliver to your area.

  5. Donielle says:

    I bought all the spices, salt, and coconut oil through Mountain Rose Herbs. The rest came from Country Life Foods here in Michigan.

    I do buy whole wheat flour, although next time I’ll just buy the 10 pounds bags, not the 25 pounders! I forgot how little we use now that my hubby eats gluten free!

  6. I’d just like to add one thing that has helped for our family. We definitely look at the adds and buy only what’s on sale, but after looking at the adds, we make out a menu plan for the week/10 days. We only buy the ingredients we need for those meals. That was you aren’t tempted to go to the store and just buy stuff like crackers, cookies etc b/c it’s not on the list! if you have a menu plan you don’t wander around the store just dumping stuff in the cart that you might use for a meal that week! just thought i’d share, it’s helped my hubby and i really spend out grocery $$ wisely!

  7. Kelly the Kitchen Kop says:

    Love these tips, Donielle!

    Thanks for joining in. :)


  8. Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen says:

    We choose to give up a lot of things so we can eat better: little luxuries and a lot of modern conveniences. Plus, we operate a farmers market which enables us to get food for free or at a large discount.

  9. says:

    We made the transition slowly across several years. But the result is the same: we SAVE money eating this way! We buy a quarter of a cow, pork sausage & bacon, & chickens in bulk when they're in season (and directly from farmers) and SAVE so much money!! I've discovered that quality animal products are our biggest expenses, so that's where we concentrated our efforts. And boy has it paid off. We do buy some other things in bulk when the opportunity presents itself, but most it's just a freezer full of meat that has cut our Real Food costs so dramatically.

    Thanks for sharing this in today's Fight Back Fridays carnival.

    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  10. Alison @ Hospitality Haven says:

    Thanks for sharing this! Your tips are most helpful. :)

  11. Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship says:

    I thought I was the only one who took tax refund $ and spent it on FOOD! Glad to know there are others out there. :)