Budgeting

I Can’t Afford To Eat Healthy

That's it.

Though I think we all want to consume food that is good for us, it’s a real struggle to afford fresh, clean ingredients.  It’s a sad reflection on our society that fast food and processed foods are generally so much cheaper than buying fresh and healthy food.   Speaking of cost, let’s talk about Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck for a minute.  First, I want to be clear that I’m thankful they exist and provide the products that they do.   I certainly don’t do the majority of my shopping there, but I do buy certain items there because I can’t find them at Aldi, Lidl or other budget stores near me.  In the past I reluctantly made my necessary purchases at Whole Foods, feeling dejected after spending almost $100 for only a few specialty items.

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Thankfully, my Mom eats even healthier than I do AND is the queen of saving money.  After discussing the obscene cost of health food with her, she mentioned I should look into the website Vitacost.  In my mind, I dismissed this as just another vitamin and supplement site, but decided to give it another look anyway.  As it turns out, it has MUCH more than just vitamins – they have a wide range of healthy food products as well.  If you’re like me and you want to use healthy ingredients as much as possible but can’t afford the prices at Whole Foods or Earth Fare, I know you’ll love Vitacost as much as I do!

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5 Reasons I’m Hooked!
  1. Prices –  You’ll save up to 50% off retail on name brand healthy products.  I price-checked them against my commonly bought items at Whole Foods and Earth Fare this week and they won every time.
  2. Special Diets – Being on a specialized nutrition plan, I’ve had to adjust my cooking to use grain free, soy free, gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free products.  Seems almost impossible, right?  Not so.  Vitacost has the option to let you filter your product search by dietary needs, which I love!   They carry products that I haven’t seen in any local health food stores, so it’s been nice to try some new products to cook with (and snack on) after feeling like I was in a restrictive cooking rut for a while.
  3. Shipping – Once you reach an order of $50, shipping is FREE, so I normally add items to my cart as I think of them, and once I reach $50, check out!  Shipping is fast (within 1-2 days) and their packaging is thorough (always padded and wrapped well).
  4. Variety – They have over 35,000 products to choose from – vitamins, food, bath & beauty products, pet care, etc.  Items often in my Vitacost haul:  Siete chips, Alaskan salmon (canned), Seasnax, bone broth, coconut cream, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, hemp protein, avocado oil, kelp noodles, chickpea pasta, redmond clay, lily’s chocolate, and salsa.
  5. Cash Back – If you’re going to buy products at Vitacost or any other online retailer, be sure you start at a cash back site to maximize your savings.   It literally takes less than 5 seconds, and the money you earn will definitely add up quickly.  My two favorites are Ebates and Swagbucks.  You’ll earn 3% cash back on Ebates and 3 SB per $1 on Swagbucks.  I typically choose Swagbucks if I want to redeem in the form of gift cards since they pay out faster, and Ebates if I’d rather just have cash deposited into my Paypal account (each quarter).

What are your strategies for saving money on food?  If you check out Vitacost, let me know what you think!

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