Eating Healthy on a Budget…

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When people discover that I coupon and work hard to eat healthy, I seem to get asked the same questions over and over again… How do you eat healthy on a budget? Don’t you find that all the coupons out there only allow you to save money on junk food purchases?

Check out this email from Hip2Save reader, Meg…

I’ve always maintained that it is expensive to eat healthy. (Great excuse, huh?) Specialty foods, fresh produce, etc. are not cheap. People who are on a tight budget find themselves eating lots of grains and carbs that are not good for them and can pack on the pounds. I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to be healthy and frugal.

Although I admit that I do love to have a stash of junk food for those late night cravings (there’s nothing better than a double-stuffed Oreo at midnight ๐Ÿ˜€ ) and appreciate having mac & cheese or frozen pizza available for those nights when I cannot drag myself into the kitchen to prepare a home-cooked meal, I do try to maintain a fairly healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. So here are some of my favorite tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank:

* Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season: Summer – melon, corn, tomatoes, peaches, berries; Fall – pumpkins, squash, apples; Winter – oranges, grapefruit, apples, grapes; Spring – strawberries. Check out your local farmer’s market or fruit stand…you’ll be supporting local farmers AND typically saving some money as well! For a list of the cheapest fruit and veggies month by month, click here.

* Eat frozen or canned fruits and vegetables when fresh ones cost more or are not in season( frozen ones have less salt than canned). Be sure to buy canned fruits that are “lite” or use natural juice and not syrup.

* Grains: Eat whole wheat or whole grain bread, pasta and cereal. When you find a great deal on bread, stock up on several loaves and freeze them to use later. Consider stocking up on hot cereals like oatmeal, grits, and cream of wheat, when they are on sale as they have a longer shelf life and typically cost less than cold cereal.

* Proteins (meat, poultry, dried beans, eggs, fish): Choose low fat meats and buy in the “big” package when it is on sale (split it into several meals and put it into the freezer until needed); Remember that turkey typically costs less than chicken. And don’t forget the beans! Beans cost less than meat and are great for you with lots of fiber. They typically make meals more substantial and filling!

* Grow your own produce…start small and start simple. Easy to grow crops include onions, peas, beets, rutabaga and zucchini squash. For more information on starting your first vegetable garden, click here.

* Consider replacing the oil in recipes with an equal amount of no-sugar-added apple sauce. It won’t change the taste of your recipe, but it will change the healthfulness of it.

* Reduce your cholesterol consumption by substituting the eggs in baked goods with a tablespoon of soy flour. You can pick up a bag for as little as $2-$3, and it will last you for quite a long time.

Also, remember that there ARE manufacturer’s coupons available for healthy foods and even fresh fruits and veggies. Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite coupons for healthy and nutritious products:

*Horizon Organic Dairy products
*Stonyfield Organic coupons
*$0.55 off any Mann’s Fresh Cut vegetables
*$1 off any two Birds Eye C&W Vegetable Products
*$1 off one package of Al Fresco All Natural Chicken Sausage
*$0.75 off one package of Gold ‘n Plump Ground Chicken
*$2 off Sara Lee Pre-Sliced Deli Meat
*$1 off ANY flavor/variety Cascadian Farms product
*Various Organic and Natural product coupons on Mambo Sprouts
*Save $0.75 on a 4 ct pack of Santa Cruz Organic Sparkling beverages
*Save $0.75/1 Voskos Greek Yogurt
*Save $1.50/2 WASA Crackers
And lots more!

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions/tips? Let us know in the comment section below.

(Thanks to Eating Healthy on a Budget, and Top 7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget)!

Join The Discussion

Comments 71

  1. Erin

    We too have been trying to eat more local and seasonable products. We just hit up a local farm market. Got 1 Eggplant, 2 Yellow squash, 4 Zucchini, 2 pints of grape tomatoes, 1 Cantaloupe, 1 Cucumber, and a big bag of green beans for $11.32. All grown at a farm less than 20 miles from my house – a definitely cheaper than Kroger.

  2. Leigh Brewer

    I use my catalina coupons for produce at grocery stores. I also live near a Henry’s market which has amazingly priced produce (I got strawberries for .88 cents a pound a couple weeks ago! I have encountered that same anti-coupon because it’s only for junk food logic, I always let people know that it’s not true and we eat pretty darn well!

  3. shelli

    When I go to Meijer I look at the discounted rack for veggies or fruit. Most of the time there are dings or bad spots on them. I just cut the bad part out and freeze the rest! Cheap! =)

  4. gramalew

    Thanks so much for the link to month by month cheapest fruits & vegetables. It is most helpful. My vegan grandson is always pushing me to eat more healthy. I”m sure he will want a copy too. Your doing an awsome job. I love your site. Keep up the good work.

  5. Tera B.

    Just to add to the fruits and veggie section, you can freeze or can many fresh fruits and veggies when they’re in season, to be used later when they’re more expensive to buy. I just put about 2 gallons (in meal sized packages) of green beans from my garden into the freezer. For most fruits, just cut into bite sized pieces and put them into the freezer on wax paper coated cookie sheets. When the fruit is frozen, put them into a zipper lock freezer bag. For most veggies, blanch the veggies first by putting them in boiling water for a few minutes, then into ice water to stop the cooking process.

    I also make my own convenience meals. I recently made chicken manicotti for my family, doubled the recipe, then froze 2/3 of it in 2 dishes to use at a later time, when I don’t feel like cooking. I also freeze turkey meatballs and individual portions of soup in zipper lock freezer bags. Because of my stock-pile of homemade frozen meals, I rarely have to resort to frozen pizza or eating out.

    • Amy

      How long can the fruits and stuff be frozen for before use? Also, do they defreeze well? or do the fruits become soggy?

      • Emily

        Growing up, we always froze our bounty of fruit in the summer, and then would use it all year, generally using the up the last of it just as summer rolled around again. So it lasts at least a year! ๐Ÿ™‚ Usually, I use frozen fruit for smoothies, additions to muffins/sweet breads, for desserts (like cobbler) or syrups for pancakes. All of those work just beautifully. If you just thaw it and eat it, some fruits will be mushy and weird.

  6. Erin

    I just had one of my best Kroger trips ever, in terms of fresh produce. I happened to luck out–they were just marking down their produce, and it was beautiful! I got packaged cole slaw (.99), shredded carrots (.89), packaged broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix (.99), 4 packages spring mix ($1.29!!!!), Caesar salad mix ($2.09), Sargento chicken salad finishers ($1.49). Combined with the other produce that was on my list, I ended up being able to use a $4/$20 produce coupon Kroger mailed me. Plus, I had coupons for a number of these items ($1 off Caesar salad, .50 doubled off the salad finishers from an insert, and other coupons that Kroger mails). I spent $36.25, and much of it was in produce, plus I did two mega deals, stocking up on cheap cheese and canned tomatoes. I always say you’re never going to get 95 percent savings if you shop the store’s perimeter and eat mostly whole foods, but there are ways to save money on these things. Kroger tracks your purchases on your Kroger card and frequently sends coupons for items you buy regularly, which is how I get a lot of my produce and cheese coupons. When buying produce, buy in season and on sale. Farmers markets can be great, although ours tend to carry more artisanal products than produce. Ultimately, you will pay more for healthy foods than for processed foods, but it is an investment in your health.

  7. Anonymous

    We recently invested in the “Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes” cookbook and are now making our own fresh whole grain breads.
    Use salad dressing coupons for fun low fat or fat free dressings.
    We also make our own frozen dinners by plating leftovers.
    Whole grains are more filling than the white stuff so you tend to eat less. ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. LizC

    There are also tons of coupons at We have one in our area and they are the best grocery store ever for eating healthy! =)

  9. LisaM

    I have been canning green beans and blancing butter beans for the freezer, tomatoes get done tomorrow, having a garden helps with the budget. I also invested in a vaccum sealer, it helps with things staying longer in the freezer.

  10. Takako

    Go to the Asian grocery store if you need to buy rice (usually less than $1 per lbs.), noodles(2 pounds of buck wheat noodles are $3.50 or so), tofu (often 99cents for 16oz. pack or so) and seasonings ( i.e; Japanese soy sauce is $3.50 for 34oz. bottle, Korean BBQ sauce is $2 for over 2 pounds bottle). If you live in big city, the price might be more cheaper. They are just example and you can find sale stuff all the time. If you have favorite restaurant menu then want to try at home, that’s great way to do. It’s way cheaper to make at home instead eating out. Also, very often, grocery stores and discount stores are really expensive to buy those. Save money, have fun!!

  11. Carrie

    Thank you for this post! Some of the things we do to eat healthy are growing our own fruits and veggies and canning and freezing them at their peak. The things we don’t grow, I get at the farmer’s market or pick your own farms. I recently picked 2 huge flats of fresh strawberries and made homemade jam and froze the rest. MUCH cheaper than buying both of those items. I buy things like rice in bulk and find tons of good deals on fiber rich pasta. I also save SO much money on other household items that I can afford to splurge on healthier foods ๐Ÿ™‚ It really doesn’t take as much time as you would think to prepare your own food and it is not hard at all. Believe it or not my husband is the one who introduced me to canning and pickling! We both work full time and drive my 12 year old son all over Wisconsin for his athletic endeavors. We appear to be your typical busy family, but people are shocked to find out how “simple” and healthy we live our day to day lives ๐Ÿ™‚ I also save tons of money at Christmas because our families and close friends now expect to get a huge basket of homemade jams, pickles, beets, and other assorted goodies as a gift! I hardly even have to shop! Sorry so lengthy, hope this inspires others.

  12. Suzanne

    Also, check out local co-ops for cheap, locally grown produce. I jioned one this year – they deliver for free and we get a TON of produce. We are spending much less than we would if we paid per lb. @ the grocery store. ALWAYS stock up when you can get a good deal on something healthy. I printed a bunch of the Mother’s Naturals coupons when they were available and ended up getting 8 containers of oatmeal for $0.25 each. I still have 3 on hand and we have been eating them since winter. I use a little bit of all natural Hain sugar (there was a $3/3 coupon awhile ago – found them on clearance at my grocery store – paid about $1 per bag) with it. We will end up spending $5-$6 on about 100 HEALTHY breakfasts!

  13. Stephanie

    This is a nice post, but I disagree (from my experience) with a few things.

    I live in Ohio and there are farmer markets plenty around me and I do visit them. However, I have never paid less for something at a farmers market than a grocery store. For example since I was forgetful this past holiday and forgot the corn on the cob I had to buy it from the extremely close and local food stand. It was 5 bucks a dozen, making them almost 42 cents an ear. They were only 15 cents at the grocery store and I grew up on a farm so I know what fresh tastes like and lately our grocery store corn as been AMAZINGLY fresh. I have also substituted apple sauce in some recipes when I was short handed and you can tell a difference in baked goods in taste and texture. Not my favorite thing to have to do. Also, it is a debate (as is everything), but girls and women are consuming too much estrogen because of the foods we eat. It causes girls to mature earlier, but it also is believed to be linked to various health problems. Soy is very high in estrogen and I try to stay as far from it as possible. That is just my personal opinion.

    • Faith

      Ahhh…. the raw milk lobbyist propaganda is working on you.

      • Barb

        SOY DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY ESTROGEN. It contains Isoflavones, which are all good in their natural state but MAY be dangerous when processed and purified and consumed in high doses.

        If you are worried, eat more traditional forms of soy which have been used safely for thousands of years: soy flour, tofu, edamame, and most soy milks (like Silk, but not 8th Continent unfortunately).

        There is some evidence that processed, isolated soy protein may contribute to breast cancer. Minimize consumption of “isolated soy protein,” “texturized soy protein,” and other similar ingredients found in high amounts in: Boca burgers and other brands, many protein bars, 8th Continent Soy Milk, etc. Check the label. Just don’t make these things staples of your diet!

        Go for whole foods!

        • Faith

          Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen (the plant form of estrogen which is similar enough to the human compound to illicit a response). It does not matter what form of soy you eat, those estrogens are there. Any form of processing is not going to somehow make the concentration or the response any stronger. All of the studies done on soy estrogens have been incredibly biased so the jury is still out on many aspects. If you eat a ton is it going to harm you? Yes, probably. But that is true of absolutely anything. Everything in moderation.

      • Jen

        I’m curious why you think raw milk has anything to do with the phytoestrogens in soy? Your comment makes no sense.

        We love our raw milk, and there is no “propoganda” about it. Last time I checked, this was still a free country. My family has the right to drink a wholesome, healthy food that has been nourishing people for centuries. If you want to drink the dead stuff in the grocery store, go for it. Everyone has the right to choose what foods they put in their body.

        • Faith

          The vast majority of the anti-soy research has been conducted by raw milk lobbying groups (because soy milk is a huge competitor of raw milk). Like I said, almost all the studies done on soy are biased.

          • jessica

            Exactly! Thank you for saying that.

            Anyone who reads a study on soy needs to look at who conducted the study. If it is conducted by a competitor, obviously that is going to be a biased study. That is like asking McDonalds to conduct a study to see if Burger King’s burger are good for you. Obviously there’s an agenda there. If you look at the few studies of soy that are not conducted by a competitor industry, the health benefits of soy are obvious.

            I get so sick of people saying soy products are going to kill you, soy has estrogen in it and all this nonsense. I eat at least 2 servings of soy a day. I am one of the most healthy people I know. I am THIN without trying (at all) because I get good sources of protein rather than eating dead carcasses. I used to work as a fashion model a few years ago and I was shocked by the number of other models who were vegetarians. As well as so many celebrities who are vegetarian and vegan. For me, I became a vegetarian for moral reasons, but it was a great bonus to not have to worry about my weight. I personally couldn’t gain weight probably if I tried. But many of the other models were vegetarian because it was so easy to be thin as a vegetarian.

            I’ve consumed large amounts of soy for almost a decade. No adverse side effects. My estrogen levels are not any higher than the average woman’s. My blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, everything- perfect. Even Dr. Oz recommends soy and a also a vegan lifestyle on his show.

            If people are concerned about soy, read the China Study. The numbers speak for themselves with regard to all research looking at meat-eaters versus vegetarians or vegans. Vegetarians live an average of 9 years longer than meat-eaters. Vegans live an average of 15 years longer than meat-eaters. Most vegetarians and vegans are going to consume much higher amounts of soy than meat-eaters do. Look at Asian countries where they consume a large amount of soy. They live MUCH longer than those in the U.S. despite the fact that we have much better health care. Why do you think that is? It’s because of our DIET. As Americans, we have a horrible diet. Anyone who wants to keep on saying soy is horrible for you and going to cause cancer/high estrogen levels/the bubonic plague/whatever, keep on saying whatever you want…I’ll enjoy my 9 extra years of life, my low weight, my lack of ever needing to diet, my ideal blood pressure and cholesterol, and my cancer-free life. Good luck to the rest of you who keep eating diseased and dying animals that are pumped full of antibiotics, fed genetically-modified food, live and die in utter filth, and often contain horrible diseases. What you put into your body is what you get out of it.

        • Faith

          And, as a animal science graduate student who has spent a lot of time around dairy industries… cows are dirty. I want my milk to be dead. Yes, pasteurization reduces the level of B6 and kills all bacteria (even those “good” bacteria which include the toxins that can lead to Crohn’s Disease, Tuberculosis, Strep Throat, Typhoid and more), but it is safer. Would you really want to go through that risk to get some bacteria that helps you poop better?!? I personally trust the scientific community and the research done by the CDC, FDA, and USDA which all urge against raw milk consumption.You should feel lucky that you live in one of the states where it is legal to buy such products. In most other countries where milk consumption is high (remember, this stuff is made for calves with a strong ruminant bacterial population meant to handle this stuff) it is illegal or heavily restricted. Canada: illegal, Australia: illegal, Scotland: Illegal, the rest of the UK: heavily restricted and very rare… I love my HSTS and UHT Milk!

          • Jen

            I wouldn’t drink raw milk coming from a conventional dairy either. YUCK!!! My milk comes from a small family farm with the cows on pasture. They are eating the diet they’re meant to eat… grass (ruminants, you know). They are not eating genetically modified corn and soy, stale dougnuts, cookies, and who knows what other garbage. They’re not living in cramped buildings in their own manure. Conventional dairies constitute animal abuse in my opinion.

            I am a research scientist in molecular biology, and there are PLENTY of valid studies implicating soy in many health conditions. Go to Pub Med and do a literature search if you don’t believe me.

            You’re kidding yourself if you think raw milk supporters feel that soy milk is a competitor. The only people who make money off raw milk are small family farms (although there a very few larger dairies in CA). The conventional dairy industry is far more threatened by both soy milk and raw milk. They don’t want anyone to be able to compete with their products, and they are way more powerful than any raw milk organization could ever hope to be. Raw milk drinkers just want the right to choose their own food. You are right though, that most raw milk organizations do not support soy in any form. It’s not because of competition, it’s because soy is horrible for your health if consumed in large amounts, and raw milk drinkers care about their health.

            I don’t drink raw milk to help me “poop better”. It has many health benefits. The biggest is that is actually contains lactase, which is the enzyme that helps break down the lactose (sugar) in the milk. Many people who are allergic to dairy, or lactose intolerant can drink raw milk with no issues.

            If my family couldn’t drink raw milk, we wouldn’t drink milk at all. There is no way I would feed my child dead milk with denatured proteins that are likely to cause an immune response. It is also devoid of any and all nutrition because of the pasteurization and homoginization processes, except what is synthetically added back in. Not to mention all the dead bacterial cells from mastitis infections that conventional dairy cows usually have, which is treated with antibiotics (those are in the milk too). Yuck… I think not.

            A good book to read on the subject is The Untold Story of Milk: Green Pastures, Contented Cows, and Raw Dairy Products by Ron Schmid.

        • jessica

          It is indeed a free country. However, milk is NOT good for you. But, the dairy industry spends millions of dollars marketing it so that you believe it is. Keep drinking it all you want. Read any research that is NOT conducted by the dairy industry. It is not good for you like you think it is.

    • Takako

      Soy has high estrogen!? Can you tell me where did you find out, from specific doctor or health website? I heard some of people who is taking under specific medications or very specific health conditions can’t take or limited consuming the products. It’s not ALL soy is bad for you like Barb as above said. Just eat traditional ways as possible, NOT processed with other stuff in it. I’m from huge traditional ways of soy consuming area so I understand some of people debate all the time about this issue. Happy eating, everyone!!

  14. Anonymous

    Sorry, this is not about this post but I just had a couple of questions that I was hoping the readers could answer. I am pretty new to couponing so I am wondering if you can use a BOGO manufacture’s coupon with a another manufacture’s coupon (for the one your not getting free {for example, can I use the BOGO Olay coupon with another Manufacture Olay coupon})? And I noticed that my Walgreens is now accepting EBT (foodstamps), can I still recieve RR’s on eligable items when paying with EBT? Thanks

    • Anon

      Yes to all of your questions. You can use say a $4 off Olay Q (for the one you aren’t getting free) with the BOGO. However, your mileage may vary. I had trouble with one of our older, more skeptical Walgreens cashiers. Teenage boys are your best bet! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, you can combined Q’s with food stamps and still get your RR. How you pay shouldn’t affect your receipt of RR’s… the store is still getting paid same as if you paid cash. HTH.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks! Yes, that does help. One more question I forgot to ask is what does that mean “ymmv”?

        • Mommyareed

          It means your mileage may vary.

  15. Brandy

    My family eats and cleans with organic primarily; though like Collin, we do enjoy some ‘junk’ food on occassion.

    When I first started to coupon I made a list of every main brand that we bought (organic or not). I then first checked out the websites of each of the manufacturers and discovered that a great majority of my organic brands had coupons on their website, newsletter and facebook. We drink Farmland Dairy milk and they provide a PDF unlimited print coupon their website – for example.

    I made a spreadsheet of all the main expensive brands and documented the regular price at various local stores. I found that there were some organic items I could get cheaper at the supermarket, some that I could get at BRU (of all places, 7th generation dishwasher detergent is about a buck less than Target and with a coupon, I get it for 97 cets), and I switched to organic frozen on items like broccoli (Trader Joes price rules over Whole Foods -for example).

    Anway – you can definitely eat healthy, eat and clean your home organically AND coupon – save hundreds or thousands each year. You might miss out on the rush for free chemicals or free junk food – but if you have a belief system that doesn’t include the usage or consumption of those items you can still get that ‘rush’ by getting a great deal on the pricey organic products.

    • Meredith

      here here sister! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Joy

    We get our fresh veggies this time of year from my Dad’s huge veggie garden! ๐Ÿ™‚ I did plant my own cherry tomatoes, green peppers and beans. But only my cherry tomatoes are doing great.

    Most of the grocery stores this time of year get their fresh in-season produce from local farms daily. I know Wegman’s in my area gets fresh produce deliveries daily.

    I also visit u-pick farms for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples (fall).

    Summer is best time of year to eat more healthy!

  17. Barb

    Thanks Collin! I am a nutritionist AND an extreme couponer, and I agree that this definitely can be done! I think that being smart about freezing when you find something super cheap really helps. Also, use any coupon overage towards healthy foods when you can!

  18. kmasave

    I don’t understand why people think that just because you use coupons you must be eating unhealthy! I find it just the opposite…use savings to buy healthy produce for which there may not be coupons available and use coupons on other healthy items you eat regularly. Just because there may be “junk food” coupons out there doesn’t mean that’s all we buy and all we eat! You can also use coupons on more than just food! Thanks for letting me vent…

    • jessicakok

      I love this! No, there aren’t tons of produce coupons out there, but once in a while there are. Leave it to couponers … there are always ways to save!! And, just because it’s not produce doesn’t mean that it’s not healthy!

  19. Trista

    We recently made the switch to a mostly organic, more raw foods diet. I used to frequent around 15 stores per week while couponing, but have REALLY backed off in order to stick to this switch. I budget $350/month for our family of 4 (including a 2 and 4 year old). Each week we get $75, plus I have an extra $50 to use on special sales (Triples, Super Doubles, and stocking up at the co-op).

    Having a overall game plan really helps. Menu planning goes from Wednesday-Tuesday because I make the run to our local co-op on Wednesdays to pick up our organic CSA box then, so that’s when I get everything I need there for the week (generally produce and bulk baking items). Plus, menu planning on a Wednesday is much easier b/c everyone has already posted their meal plans online! Then on Saturday we hit the farmer’s market. I tend to find vendors I like and stick with them so I can develop a relationship with them. We buy any supplemental produce and meat (we usually purchase 1 meat item each week–a chicken, ground beef, a roast, etc.). Then on Mon/Tuesday I get whatever deals I need to get at the grocery store.

    A lot of the transition has been me (the food preparer) just making small adjustments.
    -Boxed mac & cheese became homemade mac and cheese (which is just as quick after you’ve made it once or twice and is SO good)
    -Friday night pizzas became tortilla pizzas w/ whatever fresh veggies you have on hand
    -I got inventive with baked squash (waffles, spaghetti sauce, sandwich spread, muffings…)
    -Gardening AND after paying $4/dozen for free-range eggs, we got our own and now get about a half-dozen a day! We’re also raising roosters so we don’t have to pay $18 for a farmer’s market chicken again…
    -Instead of bribing my kids w/ snacks or candy it’ll be with pears, grapes, peaches…and it works!!
    -I’ve gotten good at hiding veggies in food, but I also think it’s important for kids to know what they’re eating, so we do both. Heads up, roasted veggies are the WAY TO GO!! I’ve never craved broccoli before! ๐Ÿ˜›
    -If I need something (bread, yogurt, ketchup, chocolate), figure out how to make it. I’m finding that some things are much more cost effective (both in time and money), but others I’ll just use my coupons… The things that we make on a regular basis because they are cheaper than their counterparts: Homemade organic bread (~$1/loaf vs. $3.50+), organic yogurt ($5.50/gallon vs. $15/gallon), granola (~$2/box vs. $5/box), ice cream, pancake & waffle mix, broth, etc.
    -Find a few key blogs who prepare foods the same way you do and follow them. My two main favs: and

    It’s all definitely paid off–I cook more because I have a ton of perishables, and my family eats better, and my kids are learning to enjoy healthier things. One last thing we do–at the table we talk about where everything comes from and how we know it is good for our bodies. For example, a PB&J sandwich–bread is wheat (“which comes from the ground”, what we say to identify if something is “good”…of course this can get tricky…HFCS technically comes from the ground, lol. But we talk a lot about how food is processed), PB is peanuts (and sugar–“good in moderation”), jam is berries and sugar. I’m surprised at how much it’s helped the kids want to know about where their food comes from.

    • muser

      you sound like the most awesome parent ever!!! What a great way to raise kids. Not just the half-hearted “eat healthy” thing that gets shoved down their throats by school and PSAs, but involving them in the experience and helping them understand where their food comes from. That’s the way to keep them eating healthy for life! Kudos to you!

  20. Kat

    Morningstar Farms and Cascadian Farms are two healthy choices that put out coupons regularly. Combine them with a BOGO sale and you have a great deal.

    • Marcee

      Where do you find coupons for these locations? I would love to know!

      • Emily

        Cascadian Farms often has coupons on Otherwise, if I’m looking for a specific brand’s coupon, I go to their website or I google “brand coupon” and see what comes up!

  21. Trista

    Oh, also wanted to add that it’s also easy to shop you local co-op w/ coupons! They’re VERY coupon friendly, and the small companies are SO personal and generous when you email inquiring about coupons.

    At our co-op they have monthly sales. I email those companies inquiring about coupons, and save them until the end of the month or until they have a “member appreciation day” where you get an additional 10% off your order. Obviously things are still more pricey, but MUCH more affordable (32 oz. juice for $1.79 instead of $3.99, etc.).

  22. Elizabeth

    I’m doing a healthy eating challenge on my blog this month and allow just $100 for our family of five per week. Stop by to check out my menus and grocery lists at I honestly don’t use a lot of coupons but shop farmer’s markets, sales, and grow a lot of my own. Buying in bulk also helps!

  23. Lpmousse

    I love to eat healthy, and don’t find it to be too terribly expensive. I shop mostly at Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Their prices are great, and their products are just as good at the grocery stores. When I do shop in grocery stores (with lots of coupons) I’ll look at the damaged produce shelf for things that aren’t perfect, but are pretty OK. I often look at meats that are just coming up to date which are often reduced to sell. Then I freeze them right away. I love frozen veggies and you can often find great deals on them in both Aldi and Trader Joe’s.

    • Kelly Dunn

      I love, Love, LOVE Aldi and Trader Joe’s!!! Did you know they are both owned by the same trading company (or, at least they were when I last looked them up online). Many times I can find the same or similar products to Trader Joe’s at Aldi (the French lemonade for example as well as their gelato). And Aldi’s produce is usually very good and very inexpensive.

      We also have an Aunt Millie’s day-old bread store nearby (in Indy) and I can often find organic breads for $.89/loaf or less. I stock up and freeze it.

  24. Nancy

    Hi Wondering if anyone can help me out here. I am looking for a printable monthly grocery list (free hopefully). Has anyone seen any good ones out there??? I’d love to know! Thanks, Nancy

    • footballchic73

      Hi, I’ve used emealz before, and its great-if you already eat healthy! It’s not free, but it is cheap-I used a discount code and paid only $12 for 3 months. You can go on their website and view sample menus…there only one that one of my kids didn’t like, and that was scallops..I just always have a crockpot or grill or frozen meal on hand to replace the ones we don’t use. Its very easy, and I saved SO much money by having a list! Hope that helps…
      their website is

    • Krista

      There is (which I read about here on Hip2Save) that has the sale items for my local grocery store, Publix, as well as several other grocery stores, including Walgreens and Target. The site allows you to check off each sale item, then print only the items you want, along with the coupon match-ups. You can also type in any other items you need that are not listed as on sale. I go to that site before my weekly grocery trip and it has been a wonderful help.

  25. cindi

    I live in the portland metro area of oregon, and I have to say that I find farmers markets way more expensive than the store. In oregon there is a heavy value on organic and farm fresh so things tend to be overpriced since there is the demand. I found a local farmer for my eggs and meat who charges fair prices, and upick fruits are cheap and abundant – but I’m looking for a produce co-op that isn’t outrageously marked up! If anybody lives in the area and knows of a good operation, please please let me know! I really love supporting local farmers but I just can’t do it at the expense of my retirement!!!

  26. Aneta

    I love supporting farmers! They’re the ones that essentially MAKE our food, but they get mistreated and bought out by corporations and companies. This problem is mentioned in the movie FOOD, INC. That’s why I love going to my Farmer’s Market and visiting farms when on vacations!

  27. footballchic73

    Our farmers markets are often higher priced at first glance..but their cauliflower, for instance, is $2/head. But they are twice the size of the grocery store’s for the same price, (or maybe $1.50), and way more flavorful!
    I have my own garden, so the cost is my seeds and dirt. I don’t like gardening at all, but I love the end product. I eat nearly completely organic, healthy, and still find coupons helpful alot of things. thanks Collin for the links on this pos!!

  28. footballchic73

    Also..for those of you who aren’t part of the Eat Better America, I just got an email that they currently have a $15 rebate when you spend $30 on certain foods..including FiberOne, Yoplait, Cascadian, Muir Glen(the BEST tomatoes) and lots more! I only do rebates when its stuff I’d buy with or without it, and not only do I use all those, but I also have coupons for almost all of it! But you have to be a member to do the rebate, because you get a specific submission ID. I also get other cool stuff from that website, and they have good recipes, too, for those of us who like to eat healthy!

  29. Jane

    A great way to get meat (pork, beef, lamb) at a good price is through a local 4-H club or FFA chapter. Most area’s have a county or state fair in the fall (some in the spring) where young people in the community sell animals that they have raised for market. There are a few ways that you can buy a whole animal to put in your freezer or go halves with another family. The first option is to go to the auction and bid on any animal and make arrangements for having a butcher cut and wrap the meat. The second, which may not be available at every fair, is to pay the “Floor” price for an animal. This means that you pay what a butcher would pay per pound (typically less than bid prices) for one of the animals that was not purchased by someone else to take home from the auction. These are still good quality animals, and I could explain the whole auction process and why they are “floor” animals, but it would take to long.
    The third way to get a whole animal is to contact a local 4-H or FFA and see if there are any young people who are interested in raising an extra animal. You should expect to pay the cost of the animal as a baby, the feed, cut & wrap fees and a growers fee. This could also be an option with poultry.
    Any of these methods are typically less expensive than buying meat at the store, the animals are usually better cared for and you are helping a local young person on their way to learning responsibilty and business.

  30. juliezoutendam

    My husband and I also try to eat fairly healthy while maintaining a budget, and I find it fairly easy. Though there aren’t always coupons for fruits and vegetables available, keep a close eye on what stores are the cheapest. In my area (TX), I find that Wal-Mart is almost always the cheapest place to get produce with Target being the next best. Also, don’t buy pre-packaged, pre-cut veggies if you’re looking to save money. In my house, we buy huge bags of frozen chicken breasts from a bulk store and those last us about 6-12 months. And, as Collin already stated, supermarkets will put meat on sale, and when they do STOCK UP!

  31. Pam

    Go online and look for an organic community supported agriculture group near you! I have been in a CSA for 3 years now. We get fresh vegetables and fruits from the beginning of June til November. You prepay in advance for the season and pick up your fresh picked vegetables once a week. It costs an average of $21 a week for me and we have almost more vegetables than we can consume in a week. It is local, fresh, organic and excellent produce! I learned to cook around what is fresh and in season and it is very economical! And best of all, we are eating really healthy! And I still use coupons for everything else!

  32. muser

    It’s great to see a post like this!! Some really great tips. We also buy fruit that’s in season and freeze it and use it later, or blanche veggies and freeze them. We also have local organic markets in the are that mail out $5/$25, $10/$50 etc coupons, which are great for stocking up on produce that’s on sale.

    I’d be careful with meat from chain supermarkets though…you’re better off going local with meat.

  33. Morganne

    We love our local Farmers Market! Last week I walked away with 8 roma tomatoes (1.50), 10 ears of corn (1.00), 5 BIG carrots (1.00), HUGE watermelon (2.00), 8-10 onions (1.50), it was sooo awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚ They had a ton of other things priced just as good too. It’s all very fresh, and you can see the gardens behind the stand where they actually pick the food. It’s great!

  34. Lisa

    I was recently introduced to Community Supported Agriculture. This is a great way to get fresh, organic veggies and fruits cheaply! A full share in my county is $400 and a half share is $200. A share buys you a portion of the farm’s weekly harvest May through October (here in KY anyway). You get whatever is in season. A full share is about the size of a bushel basked. I just started this this year and I highly recommend it. Another way to eat healthy and save is to buy your beef (or other meat) directly from a farm. Grass-fed cattle sell for about $2.75 per pound which is reasonable when you consider that is various cuts of meat.

    • Couponing4myTacoma

      Hahaha I’m loving our CSA too. Our first year as well! And I forgot to mention that we buy our beef like you do too. It tastes so much better and ends up being cheaper!

  35. Couponing4myTacoma

    1. Q can be used on organic versions unless it’s excluded. Many brands have organic options.

    2. Go to and find your local Community Supported Agriculture. We paid $400 in March and from June to the end of Oct. we get a huge Rubermaid tub of fresh local organic fruits and veggies, and herbs, etc. It’s amazing. Comes with the normal tomatoes, cucumbers, salad mix etc but it also has veggies I’ve never tried like turnips and cabbage etc. I’ve found some great recipes with new foods and I’m loving the creative parts of cooking new things and new flavors and spices… YUM!

  36. Jaime

    Apple sauce works great to replace eggs in some baking also! 1/4 cup per egg typically. It still doesn’t make my cookies “healthy” but at least they’re a tiny bit better and boy, are they moist!

  37. Joelle

    Holy Guacamole, this is a heated discussion. I just wanted to say that I got my mom a food dehydrator and it was a great way to eat dried tomatoes during the winter. We grow a lot of heirloom tomatoes because they are all different colors, various flavors and they are easy to grow. When they grow to maturity we save the seeds to plant the next year (because they are heirloom and not hybrid). We have also dried apple slices from our apple trees. I must say that drying foods are so easy to do and store. I have jarred tomato sauce and salsa, but afterward my kitchen was dripping with juice and seeds- what a mess. I have made salsa and marinara into freezer bags and frozen them which is great if you can get a good deal on ziplock bags and if you have extra freezer space. Drying is good for sundried tomatoes. You can re-hydrate them in olive oil or water. They almost come to life and become a new tomato slice. The best way to save money is to find fresh produce at a low price and use it responsibly. If you can find a great price (like a local grower who lets you come over and pick) then dry your fruit. If you live in Michigan or Maine or one of the states that has blueberries, freeze them. They defrost almost the same as usual. If you live in a state where clay is prevalent, get yourself some mushroom compost and grow something in it. You wouldn’t believe the results. Good luck all, I am looking forward to picking my bounty soon.

  38. Krista

    I grow my own sprouts. It is super-easy, and takes no room so you can do it even in a small apartment. When I bought sprouts, I would always throw half (or more) away, because I never used them all. Now I grow a small amount at a time, and always have fresh sprouts. You can buy a sprouter, but I made my own from Planter’s Sunflower Kernel jars and some netting or cheesecloth. I grow an alfalfa/clover/broccoli mix for wraps and salads, and bean sprouts for stir-frys. You can even sprout wheat for bread (more nutritious). I buy the seeds/beans at my local health food store – maybe a couple of bucks for several month’s worth of fresh sprouts.

  39. MommySpendsLess

    I notice a lot of people mentioning getting discounted meat or produce (which is close to date or bruised). Has anyone found this at Publix? Maybe I’m shopping at the wrong day/time but I have never found anything marked down like that at any of the stores I’ve visited.

  40. Ellen

    I really like using dried beans, even in place of canned ones. For the cost of about 2 cans of prepared beans, I can make several times that amount with a bag of dried beans. They are SOOOO cheap and beans are a great alternative to meat for use in burritos, casseroles, etc. I also recommend buying frozen veggies out of season, and shopping for fruit when it’s in season.

    During the summer, we also rely on our garden. We have a very small garden (it is actually in our front landscape!) but we will go the entire summer without purchasing a single tomato, cucumber, zucchini, or pepper. And we have enough tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce, homemade salsa, etc. I don’t can, but I stock the freezer! You can also do UPICK produce at local farms. Strawberries, apples, and peaches are some of our faves. And all three you can process in some way (jam, applesauce, etc) and freeze for the rest of the year.

    At the end of the tomato season you can also pick all of your green tomatoes, wrap them loosely in newspaper and put them in a box in a cool, dry place. They will ripen slowly. We usually have tomatoes into November that way! (and no, they aren’t as great as vine-ripened, but are definitely better than anything from the store!)

    A great book to read about gardening and the whole-food/home grown food movement is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She, of course, takes it all to another level but it is a really motivating read and definitely made me think more seriously about the food we grow for ourselves and how we use it.

    • Joelle

      Good point. I read that book, too. It made me want to make cheese.

  41. Sarah

    I save money by getting free health and beauty items. I also shop at Aldi and get a lot of products similar to what you’d find at Trader Joes but cheaper.

  42. Alaine

    If you have a favorite healthy or organic brand, send them an email telling them how you love their products. Usually they will offer to send you coupons for your feedback, or put you on their mailing list for when they have coupons available.

  43. Kelly

    I agree that beans (the ones you cook yourself are better because you can control the sodium better) are a great choice for cheap healthy food. I love black beans and pintos. I make cheap bean burritos with cilantro, tomatoes, FREE tortillas (thanks Mission coupons!), FREE salsa (thanks Pace!), Free guacamole (thanks Wholly Guacamole!) and sometimes a sprinkle of cheese. We love this . . . it’s not the healthiest in the world, but pretty healthy in comparison . . . . .

    I also found a really *HOT DEAL* at Rite Aid this week:

    Designer Whey protein powder is buy one get one FREE this week.
    It was 17.99 each at my store.
    There are 2.00 off coupons on the Designer Whey site.
    Use 2 (2.00 off) coupons
    Combine this with either the 5 off 25 coupon or a 5 off 20 (through video values at the rite aid site)–(you need to buy a filler item or two to get to either 20 or 25 dollars)
    AND if you use your Wellness card you also get 2 dollars in UP rewards back!

    After all is said & done you are looking at roughly $6 or less for each tub of protein powder!!!!

    That is an awesome deal!!!! I add a scoop into my smoothies to make them healthier & keep me fuller longer!

  44. meli

    I believe it is simple to eat healthy foods & save money. Stick to basics, use coupons whenever possible, stockpile when something is cheap. It’s that easy! If dry beans go on sale or I can get a great price on rice, quinoa, or other grain, I buy a ton of it and store it until it is needed. That way I can spend the majority of my grocery budget on fresh fruit and veggies.

  45. Wendy

    My family does not eat processed foods. There are so many coupons out there for so many healthy products, it’s easy to save. Stock pile when you can, buy meat and grains in bulk. A freezer and large pantry or storage is essential.

  46. Amy

    We strive not to eat any processed foods and tons of fresh veggies. We make almost everything from scratch (including yogurt). Where I find coupons helpful is in the personal care/toiletries/toothpaste, etc. I can get these for free and use the money to buy healthy foods.

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