So, you can keep complaining about healthy food being so expensive. OR, you know, you could adopt a little more flexible and positive attitude. Sure, I spend some money on vegetables, fruits and superfood with weird names, probably more than average. And yes, that consequently means it cannot go into my ‘Buy All The ASOS clothes’fund & my ‘I Want Chanel Make-up’ budget*. I could cry about that or be very happy with how energetic I feel, how my jeans fit and how my boyfriend has something to be scared of every time he opens the fridge.
Some days I’m more budget-y about it than others. If necessary, I skip the fancy stuff and just pick up the things I want the most. Sometimes I find a really pretty box of raspberries, fresh sea weed, almond tea or a box of Yogi Tea, and I spend a little more. Because I can. Because I want to. Because it’s fun and makes me happy.
However, when you’re buying more healthy foods than before that doesn’t mean you can never spend money on anything else anymore. You’re not eating gasoline or gold, are you? There’s tons of ways to use your money wisely and save some pennies that may add up to an extra cute top or a nice nail polish.
This is how I do it: I totally recommend because it’s not only practical & financially sane, it’s fun!
1. Go the market.
Seriously. That’s where you get the fruits&vegetables that are most expensive in supermarkets for the lowest prices. I get 70% of my healthy foods at the market: I often spend less than 20 euros a week and end up home with two whopping bags full of goodies.
I do this one big run across the market once a week on average. I bring two big shopping bags and a grocery list (dork-alert). I first walk the entire line of the stands checking the goods, deciding what to buy. Then I buy the things I need or that caught my eye on the way back. That way I don’t have to haul those stocked up bags around any more than is absolutely necessary. I end up at my bike and off I go. Takes an hour and 20 bucks tops. Worth the hassle I say:
17, 40. (I kept score)
This was about 20 (excluded the sprouts & almond milk, which was an additional 7, I think)
2. Go to the cheaper supermarkets.
When I have the time, I go to the cheaper chains of supermarkets for vegetables and fruits. They may not carry the variety of the fancier ones, but what they carry is of good quality and way cheaper. Bananas, apples, spinach and cucumber are considerably cheaper when you compare and with the exorbitant amounts of them I devour in a week it adds up to shave off a little here and there.
3. Discounts, baby.
Blue berries and mangos especially, but also spinach, apples, lemons, celery. As soon as I see they’re on sale, this cheap bitch buys bulk and stocks.
4. Pick your stuff.
Not all healthy foods are expensive. Sprouts, available at every bio-store, are one of the healthiest foods ever (enzymes! enzymes!) and cheap as hell. One pack can last you for at least three days. Bananas aren’t really expensive and they are one of the healthiest, most energizing foods available to us. Cucumbers are super-alkalizing and buying them is not going to make you go bankrupt either. Find your favorite healthy foods that are also financially a sane choice.
5. A little perspective is healthy too.
On average, I spent between 20-40 euros a week on healthy foods a week at the market, in the bio-superstore and sometimes on-line for superfoods, but I automatically spent less money on other groceries. We hardly ever buy take-out and we have no prepackaged snacks around the house. You can easily save money in other places. Scratch your Starbucks coffee routine during the workweek and you got yourself those 20 bucks that make you a Veggie Queen at the market. Even if you do it just once a month you can still buy a lot of healthy produce that week!
6. Flexibility & Common Sense.
If spinach is 4 bucks for a pound in winter, I respectfully say ‘Fuck That Shit’ and buy red cabbage, carrots and celery instead. If there is no kale to be found anywhere, I’m not going to have a time&money consuming kale hunt all over town: I’ll just buy it some other time. And if I have less to spend that week or month, I only buy my essentials: cucumber, avocado, spinach, bananas, lemons and green apples.
If I can splurge, I do it on blueberries, coconut, raspberries and limes. If I can splurge more, I go nuts in the bio-supermarket on almond milk, yogi teas and raw chocolate (LoveChock, my favorite!). If I can splurge even more, iHerb here I come.
I mean, it’s not like anything is obligatory or like there are any rules you should obey. You can do things your own way, however you want. Just think in possibilities, basically. It’s not about what you can’t afford, what you can’t find, but about what budget you do have and what yummy healthy food is available to you.
7. Have fun with it.
I am a complete dork about this. I love shopping for healthy foods. The market and the big organic grocery stores? That’s like Disney Land to me. I experiment and have fun with it. What’s great? What’s so gross my tastebuds will sue me for hate crimes if I eat it again? What makes me feel good? What’s worth buying? What’s worth buying again?
Healthy foods is hardly a terrifying or super-expensive endeavor if you use your head.Just be sensible about it, you know? Think in opportunities and possibilities and know your (bank) limit. See you at the nearest veggie aisle!
*The ASOS Budget &Chanel Make-Up Fund can still be accessed. If retail therapy is needed, retail therapy shall ensue.