Low Carb Isn't Expensive; How To Do it Cheaply

If you have recently started a low carb diet, or are thinking about it, you might have realized why so many people eat junk food to begin with; it’s cheap!

Yes, junk foods and foods high in carbs are cheap, but they are wreaking havoc with your weight and health.

Going low carb does not mean you need to shell out a small fortune. With a little planning and smarter shopping, you can eat on the cheap and look like a million bucks!

Doing Low Carb On The CheapBuy meat, eggs and other produce in bulk when it's on sale and then freeze what you won't use.

Just 4 Steps to Save Big Bucks

It's not hard to save some serious bucks when eating low carb; you just have to know the four steps to doing so.

Step 1: Plan

There's an old saying that goes something like: Failure to plan is a plan to failure. When you plan your meals for the next week, you will end up buying only what you need which means less money wasted on food that goes bad. You can also stop those emergency buying trips, which always seem to result in poor food choices, such as pizza.

Making out a shopping list of the food you need for the week also means fewer impulse purchases. Even if something is being sold at a great price, unless you can freeze it for later, chances are that it will go bad before you can eat it. What kind of a savings is that?

Step 2: Shopping

Look for ways to save money, such as planning meals around coupons or sales. You can also choose cheaper options that will taste just as good, but save you some serious coin. For example:

  • Buy frozen or canned fish, rather than fresh.
  • Buy regular cheese, not pre-shredded or fancy cheeses from France
  • Choose avocado oil when fresh avocados are out of season and super pricey
  • Make your own salads and coleslaw
  • Don't buy expensive greens, such as kale. Spinach and other greens are far cheaper
  • Buy simple meats you know you will eat
  • Don't buy expensive cuts of meat, deli meats, or prepackaged meats
  • Buy cheaper nuts. Macadamia nuts are great as a treat, but almonds and walnuts are far more inexpensive
  • Buy almond meal, not almond flour. You can buy almonds in bulk, if you like, and grind them in your coffee grinder for even more inexpensive almond meal
  • Don't buy brand name anything unless you have no other alternative
  • Don't buy things you really don’t need, such as diet soda or sugar free jello

Buy the best quality that you can afford. While organic produce, grass fed meat, and organic eggs have far more vitamins and superior nutrition than the alternatives, however, the price can make these out of reach for some people. If you can't afford all of the above, choose one or the other.

Remember to buy produce in season, and only what you will eat in a few days. Berries can be purchased frozen. If produce tends to be expensive in your area, try frozen vegetables, which are every bit as healthy, but for inexpensive. Of course, you need a roomy freezer to do this!

Look for bargains! Almost all stores have a discount rack (usually hidden in the back of the store) where they offer dented cans of vegetables for 25 percent of the regular price, food in damaged packages, or where customers have opened the package to look. See if you have a farmers market nearby or look for a food co-op.

Buy items that will not perish quickly, or items that can be frozen, in bulk. Canned or frozen foods will last from 6 months to 1 year in the freezer, so take advantage of sales!

Step 3: Cook At Home

Yes, it's nice to have food ready when you get home by ordering take out or picking up something quick on the way home, but you really pay for that convenience.

Save money by planning your meals and then cooking them at home. You can make snacks for two or three days at one time, cook simple meals that take 30 minutes or less, or use a crock pot, so all you need is a salad and dinner is ready!

Don't forget to cook once, eat twice (or more). Low carb diets are the king of leftovers. Double the meal size when cooking so you can take the leftover for lunch the next day or have the same thing for dinner the next day. It's really the same amount of work to cook double the batch, but far less energy (and time!) to not have to plan another meal or cook again!

Last, but not least, skip the extras to really save money. Make coffee at home and take it with you in a stainless steel mug, rather than spend several dollars on one cup at the Big Bucks coffee chain. Eating out? Skip the dessert, breadsticks, and appetizers. Order from the lunch menu or, ask the waitress to cut your dinner meal in half and take the other half to work for lunch the next day.

Step 4: Eat Well

When you add more fat to your meals, you won't feel deprived and you won't want to eat so much. How do you add more fat? Add plenty of cheese, butter, or olive oil to your meals and salads.

Consider going meatless one day a week by eating eggs instead! Or cook up some zucchini strips, which look just like spaghetti pasta, and enjoy a spaghetti night!

If you really want to be healthy and save money at the same time, try going low carb with intermittent fasting. You can simply skip one or two meals each week for super grocery savings and numerous health benefits!

STOP!

You can also save money on groceries by stopping a few bad habits.

  • STOP - snacking if you aren’t really hungry
  • STOP - wasting food by buying things you don’t need, won’t eat, or throwing away leftovers
  • STOP - buying drinks you really don’t need. Expensive coffees, diet sodas, fruit juice, smoothies, even those small bottles of water. Drink from the tap if you can, or use a counter filtration system, or buy large 5 gallon bottles of water and refill you stainless steel mug.
  • STOP - shopping when you are hungry
  • STOP - taking your children to the grocery store
  • STOP - buying lunch. Bring leftovers
  • STOP - buying fast food and processed foods

When you use the internet to look for coupons, sales, and find inexpensive recipes, you will find that a low carb diet is not only inexpensive, it's downright filling!

Extra Money Saving Tips!

Invest in a Freezer - Depending on your area, a new stand alone upright freezer at Sears, for example, is about $150 for a 1.3 cubic foot model. Better bargains can be found on sites such as Craigslist, where a used, 13 cubic foot freezer goes for $100 and a chest freezer for only $50!

Chest freezers tend to cost less and use less electricity but require more floor space and food items are more difficult to find, unless you are highly organized. A freezer will allow you to buy and store sale items for even bigger savings. If $100 is still too expensive, try setting aside just $5 a week until you have saved enough to buy one.

Vacuum Food Sealers - These are quite cheap, actually, but the bags can be rather expensive. Look for bags on Ebay, Wish.Com, or even Craigslist to keep costs down. Vacuum sealing bags prevent freezer burn and limit humidity, which saves money by not wasting food.

Keep Knives Sharp - No one wants to struggle cutting vegetables and meat with a dull knife. Buy a sharpener or a good quality knife to make this chore quick and easy!

Don’t Forget Farmer’s Markets, Food Co-Ops, and CSA's – If you have any of these near you, these can be terrific places to get the best organic produce at a fraction of the cost!

Slow Cookers AKA Crock Pots - One of the best inventions ever! After simmering for 8 to 10 hours in a crock pot, even the cheapest cuts of meat will be soft and yummy! Set the timer and dinner will be ready when you walk in the door. This is both a money saver and a time saver you will really appreciate. Crock pots, even new, are less than $50. Try to find one at a second hand store for about $20!

Grown Your Own - It doesn’t get much cheaper than this! You can grow from seeds or buy seedlings. Seedlings often come in 6 plant pots for about $3, depending on the plant. A 6 pack of tomatoes will yield more than you and your family can eat all summer long – for $3?! That is insane savings! Even if you don’t have much yard space, most vegetables will grow in large pots.