Keto on a Budget
Keto is quite possibly one of the most expensive diets out there if you’re just talking about the money you’ll be spending on each item at the grocery store. However, the ingredients are high-quality and going to keep you full longer, so it actually being more expensive is debatable. Also, if you’re losing weight, feeling great, and probably saving money on doctor visits, a little bump up in the budget is worth it, right? Right. But we don’t all have that extra money to spend, so that’s where keto on a budget comes in.
Skip the pre-packaged goodies. I know it’s tempting to buy pre-made meals, treats in a box, etc but you’ll almost always pay quite a bit more for anything pre-packaged. Stick to the outside aisles in the grocery store: fresh produce, deli, meats, eggs, and dairy if you’re not doing dairy-free keto.
Stay on track. Make a list and stick to it. That’s the biggest reason my grocery bill goes up because I get distracted by everything that looks good in the moment.
Shop in season. If you’re buying asparagus in season, you may pay $1.29 a bunch. Offseason? I’ve seen it up to $5.99 for a bunch! When you’re making your menu for the week and writing out a grocery list, keep in mind what will be cheapest and incorporate those ingredients into your meals.
Render your own fats. This tip was mentioned in the Keto Diet book (which I love!), and I can see how it can save money. You can even render fat in a slow cooker. YES!
Swap expensive ingredients. Use coconut oil in place of grass-fed butter, and buy it in bulk. Eat lower-cost nuts and seeds like Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, and walnuts.
Enlist the help of friends. No, I’m not saying you should ask your friends to buy your groceries. If you have friends who have hens, offer to trade them other things (like a knitted hat or mowing their lawn) in exchange for eggs every week. Go in with friends on bulk purchases so you can all save some cash.
Cook from scratch. Besides avoiding the pre-packaged meals, you can also avoid the seasoning packets that many of us have become reliant on. Not only are they high in sodium, but they are also more expensive than making your own.
Shop the right stores. While Whole Foods is one of the most amazing places on Earth as far as I’m concerned, you’re not going to get out of there without spending a big chunk of change. If you’re on a budget, I recommend sticking to Kroger, Walmart, and Sam’s Club or Costco.
Use coupons and shop deals. Don’t underestimate the saving power of weekly sales! I don’t usually find coupons for produce or meat, but they have weekly sales at Kroger so I’ll use the ad to help me make a meal plan.
Use a delivery service. Walmart grocery offers free pickup, or you can get delivery for $9.99 (if available in your area). Other local stores may offer delivery as well. Weigh the cost of delivery vs how much time it’s going to take you to go grocery shopping, and you may find it’s worth the delivery fee. Plus, that leaves zero room for error – no impulse buys if you don’t leave the house!
Avoid fast food. Easier said than done if you’re always on the go, but include your on the go meals in your menu plan each week and spend a few bucks on Tupperware, and you’ll be good. It’s easy to stop at Wendy’s once, but then it turns into twice or three times. You’ll end up paying $8 for a burger (without a bun), and you can’t eat fries so you’ll end up feeling like you didn’t get a full meal anyway. I always carry nuts and seeds with me in my van, just in case I’m hungry while I’m out running errands. Another way to avoid fast food is to have dinner in the slow cooker before you get home, so you aren’t “starving” and still having to cook dinner.