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When you have a strict budget to adhere to, eating healthy foods on a regular basis is difficult. Fast food and pre-packaged foods tend to be less expensive on average. Healthier options such as fruits and vegetables don’t go on sale as often as processed foods, nor are they always as convenient if you live a busy lifestyle.
However, it’s still possible to stick to your dietary goals without breaking the bank. Here are some tips that will help you maintain a healthy diet while on a budget.
Coupons aren’t just available in flyers; you can also find a variety of coupons online. Check websites like Coupons.com or CommonKindness. CommonKindness has coupons for natural and organic products almost exclusively, whereas Coupons.com has a mix of coupons from some of the most popular brands available.
Most coupons found online require you to print them out, but some can be used digitally by pulling them up on your phone and showing them to the cashier during check-out. Certain grocery stores even have their own apps for customers to select and clip digital coupons for in-store use.
Another way to find coupons is to visit manufacturer’s websites and subscribe to their newsletters or follow their social media pages. Sometimes coupons will be available on manufacturer’s websites so check them regularly.
Online retailers usually have lower overhead costs compared to local grocery chains. Lower overhead costs tend to result in more savings for the customer, so be sure to compare prices online for better deals. Shopping online not only saves you money, but gives you the opportunity to access a wider variety of foods.
If you live in an area where healthy food is hard to come by, there are a few websites that will come in handy. They also offer a ton of savings and hold sales regularly. Here are a few of my favorites:
Vitacost primarily sells shelf-stable health food, personal care items, household supplies, and supplements. They have their own line of products, which cost less than other brands sold on their site. They also offer buy one get one half off sales for Vitacost branded products somewhat regularly.
Shipping is free within the US when you purchase at least $25 of Vitacost branded products or at least S49 of anything else. An additional way to save money through Vitacost is to sign up for automatic delivery, which can save you up to 10% more.
- Tropical Traditions
Tropical Traditions sells shelf-stable foods and fresh meats, eggs, dairy, and produce. They specialize in organically grown and traditional foods, such as grass fed beef and pastured poultry. They’re one of the very few online retailers that sell soy-free poultry and eggs.
All of the food Tropical Traditions sells is tested for glyphosate, a popular herbicide marketed under the “Roundup” label. Glyphosate has been found in organic products, as well as conventional, so organic certification alone doesn’t mean your food is free from herbicides. Though it’s unlikely you can avoid glyphosate entirely, minimizing your exposure is important.
Tropical Traditions also has some of the best coconut products available, everything from flour to oil to skincare products such as moisturizing creams and deodorant. Grass fed pet food, natural botanical cleaners, and heirloom seeds are available as well.
- Lucky Vitamin
Though Lucky Vitamin primarily sells supplements, they also have a large variety of natural and organic foods on their site. Like Vitacost, all of the food Lucky Vitamin sells is shelf-stable, so it’s best for stocking up on snacks, as well as baking or cooking ingredients. They also sell personal care and household products.
Certain brands purchased through Lucky Vitamin qualify for free shipping within the US when you buy $25 or more. Similar to Vitacost, they hold buy one get one sales regularly and you can save even more when you purchase their brand, LuckyEats. All orders above $49 and shipped within the continental US qualify for free shipping.
Autoship helps you save even more, anywhere from 10-15%, depending on the brand of the products you purchase. Reward points are earned after every purchase and a gift certificate is emailed to you for every 500 you earn.
Couponless Ways to Save In-Store
When coupons aren’t available, weigh your options carefully to save some extra bucks. Frozen foods are sometimes less expensive than fresh and actually contain more nutrients because they are frozen immediately after being picked, so compare the two before you check-out. Store branded items tend to be a better deal overall and are usually just as good, so don’t be afraid to try them.
Organic produce is almost always less expensive when canned or frozen but your options may be limited depending on where you shop. Fresh pre-prepared produce, which is already chopped or washed tends to cost more than those that aren’t, so try to avoid buying it unless you’ve compared prices.
Certain apps, such as Ibotta, can help you save more by earning cash back on your in-store purchases. It’s free to use and all you have to do is decide which offers you want to redeem, go shopping for some items you’d normally buy anyways, and then take a photo of your receipt. Once you’ve earned at least $20, you can withdraw your cash by transferring it to Paypal, Venmo, or redeeming it as a gift card.
For online shopping, Ebates is a great alternative to Ibotta. It’s simple to use and if you install the Ebates Cash Back Button on your web browser, you’ll never miss out on the savings. Ebates recently added in-store cash back as well, but they currently only have a limited selection of participating stores for that option. I prefer to use both Ebates and Ibotta since the cash back opportunities differ on each of them. Both have a $10 welcome bonus for new users too.
Another way to save in-store is to sign up for store cards. Though many stores only offer credit cards, some allow you to link your debit card to your account instead. Target is an example of a store that offers a card that doesn’t require you to use credit. When you sign up, you can choose to link your debit card to your account instead and you still save an additional 5% on each purchase by using the card.
Maintaining a healthy diet while on a budget isn’t as hard as it sounds; coupons, apps, and shopping online will help you stay on track. Take some time to compare prices whenever possible and check weekly sales ads (both online and offline) for extra savings.
Do you have any additional tips? Let us know by leaving a comment below.