Save Money – Eat Whole Foods.

save money


No doubt, eating whole foods and cooking from scratch is the number one biggest step our family has taken to save money.


Food is a huge expense, especially in British Columbia where we’ve recently moved. So I can’t afford to run all willy-nilly to the store and buy breakfast cereal or granola bars or individual packages of yogurt. Not if I also want to make rent.


Instead, I’m baking our own bread, cooking hot breakfast (yes, every morning), and snacking on leftovers.


I’ll admit, it can be an adjustment, especially when you’re used to the kiddos being able to help themselves in the kitchen with pre-packaged snacks and meals.  It takes more time to prepare homemade granola ahead of time instead of having convenient larabars lying around. But the benefits far outweigh the transition period.


Not only can you save money by buying real potatoes instead of boxes of instant mashed potatoes, you can rest easy knowing that your family is eating healthier. Simply cutting the junk food and/or processed foods can save a ton of money. Want proof?


Go find your last grocery bill receipt (if you’re like me, it’s probably still in your purse). Now, get a sharpie and cross through everything that is technically a luxury food item.  Cross through the soda, the brownie mix, the frozen dinners, the pre-packaged cereals and snack foods.  Now, tally up the number and tell me the end result.  If you’re like most Americans, it was probably a substantial number.


Imagine how much money you could save if you fed the kids oatmeal (no, not the instant kind. blegh) for breakfast and started making your own tortillas. Yes, it does involve a bit more effort, but not as much as you might fear.  And there’s a certain pride that comes from being more involved in the food that gets put on the table.


Since we’ve made the sudden switch to a completely whole foods diet, I’ve lost about 10 lbs in the past 2 months with no effort.  I didn’t count a calorie or nuthin’.  My food is just naturally more nutritionally dense now, resulting in my being dramatically less hungry – with nary a craving.  (Unless I’m sick.  Then I just want to eat Hardees.  Which thankfully there are none of here).


ways to save moneySo, with all the benefits of whole foods, I say the scale tips in favor of making the switch. ;)  Give it a try.

How do you save money on food?






  1. Making our own! We’ve never done much Pre-packaged snacks, but there is plenty of fruit and veggies around here! My nephews hate comIng over. Ha ha. We are very fortunate to have a great produce store here. Our veggies and fruits are the items that are on sale. Yep, we had to go several weeks without apples once,but once they hit 50 cents a lb again, we stocked up! They keep well in the fridge.

  2. I double pancake and waffle recipes so I can freeze them. That way when I am not in the mood to make a fuss over breakfast my children still get one that is homemade.

  3. Well, you know about our transition to whole foods. :)

    I do the same with pancakes. I’ve also started making extra pizza on pizza day, cutting them up and freezing them that way there’s a quick meal/snack without having to cook or eat a hot pocket or store bought frozen pizza (Yuck!). Of course, I’ve also started doubling most everything (like bagels, pitas, tortillas etc) so I can freeze and have some at the ready whenever I want.

    I’ve also been getting in to the dehydrating (although I have to use my oven because I don’t have a fancy dehydrating machine. Yet.) and buying things like mushrooms, peppers, what have you, when they’re on sale and drying them out and storing them in a jar so I always have some on hand. And you can pack a lot of dehydrated something in jars so it saves fridge and counter space. Plus it keeps me from wasting produce like that because if I can’t use it before it goes bad, I can just dry it out, store it, and keep it forever.

    And I freeze everything. Lol. If we have enough left overs for another meal (but we don’t want it the very next day), I’ll freeze it for a quick meal another day.

    I don’t know if I told you, but a little while back when we did our monthly shopping trip, the cashier at the store actually commented (and complimented us!) on our cart of groceries. She said she had never seen a cart with so much real food in it…she said every cart she’s ever checked out is mostly quick/convenience/prepackaged foods. That made me feel good, and kind of sad to know that in her few years of cashiering she’d never seen people buy real food.

    • Chyeah, cause you’re awesome. It’s so much harder to stock up on stuff when you’re feeding 4 little wild animals. Sigh.

      • Yeah, that would definitely be a challenge. You’d have to double quadruple a recipe. Lol. (I don’t know what the word is for 8 times of something. Octuple?) Silly kids needing food all the time. Gah!

  4. I tried to go through our receipt and do this, but I ran into a snag. At what point do you consider something to be a convenience? Would canned beans, bottled maple syrup, boxed pasta, and boxed plain couscous be convenience? Technically I could make each of those myself if I invested the time and resources. It’s easy enough to put prepackaged snack foods and ‘instant’ oatmeal type things in the convenience category, but how far does that go?

    • I’d say just use common sense and go with the most obvious nutritional offenders. Technically you can make your own whole wheat pasta or mayonnaise – but most people don’t. And for baby steps, just cut out the real junky stuff like soda and hot pockets and debbie cakes. :)

      If you’re already doing that then you’re sort of where I am of slowly building your kitchen skillz so one day you can tap that Canadian maple tree for your own syrup. ;) And soaking dry beans instead of grabbing the cans, etc.

      I have found that we eat a lot less bread and meat now that we’re being much more careful with the spending, which is a sort of easy way to dabble into gluten free and vegetarian fair.

      • I like what Jennifer said about this. Grab a can of beans look at the ingredients, can you pronounce them all? Are there less than 50 ingredients?

        Then it’s good!

        I do need to get into the habit of using the dried beans though!

        • Our total grocery bill for this week is $86.29. What I deemed ‘convenience’ items totaled $30.14. The convenience items included: bag of snappea crisps, two bags of pretzels, 6 cups of yogurt, 2 boxes of cereal, 3 boxes of instant oatmeal (which should last us 3 weeks), 1 box of breakfast bars, 1 loaf of whole wheat bread, 1 pack of pita bread, 1 bag of “Glutino” gluten-dairy-egg-free breadcrumbs. Other than that, it was mostly whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. My wife is vegan, so we don’t eat any meat, dairy, eggs, etc at home. We do occasionally buy ‘specialty’ things that cost a bit more to accomodate for some variety in the vegan diet (e.g. rice milk, vegan-friendly cereals/breads, breadcrumbs, etc). I’m pretty happy with where we are in terms of our spending and our diet, but if we needed to make cutbacks we certainly have room to do so.

      • I have a recipe for homemade fudge rounds that are crazy good. Didn’t I send you a picture of those that time? Wow, it was all I could do to eat 1/2 of one because they were so sweet to me. But Hubs LOVED them…he is a sugar-aholic though. You can find homemade recipe versions of most anything on the internet box now-a-days. And they always taste better than boxed/packaged versions.

  5. Well, I didn’t mean to do that as a reply. Sorry Mr. Wood, I’m pretty sure I’ve never showed you my homemade fudge rounds. :)

    But I do know from experience, you can veganize a lot of non-vegan foods with great results. Although I’m not vegan or vegetarian, I frequently make vegan/vegetarian versions of things to incorporate in to our diet.

    • The biggest thing we’ve found with eating vegan is to avoid “vegan” versions of non-vegan ingredients, cheese and meat being the two most notable.

      We once had a taco dinner using a vegan “mexican cheese blend” and “mexican style protein crumbles” that we bought from Whole Foods, and both were pretty disgusting. We also once tried making a vegan pizza with vegan “mozzarella cheese” and “pepperoni,” both of which were also nasty.

      In general the best approach has been to make recipes from scratch using standard ingredients as much as possible, and not to try to imitate the taste of non-vegan food.

      • Yeah. I’ve tried some of those vegan things before and they are not very tasty. At all. Yuck. And some of them have more questionable ingredients than their non-vegan counterparts.

        I agree with going from scratch. I like to sub whole foods in recipes to make them vegan/vegetarian. Especially when I can sneak them in without Hubs being the wiser (he isn’t a huge veggie fan). I love substituting avocado for butter (or other butter substitutes) in almost all of my baking (and for frosting!). I’ve never had it go wrong, plus I can sneak in some avocado goodness where you wouldn’t expect it!

  6. I have saved crazy money by volunteering at a community garden once a week. After two hours of work , we all split up the harvest to take home. By using the veg as the backbone of my meals, cheap is by default….healthy. I enjoy my CSA with a local farmer as well. Do you have these around?

  7. This is great! My plan for this summer was to start phasing out as much processed food as possible; we don’t eat a lot of sweet junk food, but we do use bottled dressings and salty snacks. But then summer of sadness happened and I just didn’t have it in me. We are going to start eating more whole/clean foods in the next few weeks. This was just the post to inspire me to get to it!

    • Oh good, because I was a little afraid of disappointing you after your twitter enthusiasm. :)

  8. Alas, I already do everything you’ve suggested. Have never in my life bought instant mash or cake mixes. We never buy soda of any kind, or packaged ‘snacks’. I buy fruit and veg in bulk, in season, and freeze them rather than buying (say) canned tomatoes. I cook everything from scratch, using my crockpot regularly, and freeze leftovers for future meals. I bake all my own bread, make home-made granola, yogurt, ice-cream, ketchup… and still the bills are too high :-( I only visit a supermarket about once every six weeks; three times per week I walk to small local shops (mainly the greengrocer), having worked out in advance exactly what we need for the next two days. Or three when it’s Saturday. I will buy one potato or two carrots if that’s what is necessary. I always choose fruit/veg on offer. But I can’t seem to cut down the amounts we spend…