Think You Can’t Afford the Paleo Diet? Ways to Make It More Affordable

The Paleo diet is gaining popularity, and it can be a good choice for people who have to avoid gluten whether because of a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.

Sure, if you’re gluten free there are many great options available like gluten free pasta and breads, but those can be very pricy.  Sometimes it’s cheaper to just avoid those kinds of substitutes.

Long Term Savings from Following the Paleo Diet

If you’d like to follow a Paleo diet but think you can’t afford it, keep in mind a few things:

1.  A Paleo diet can lead to weight loss.

The savings here won’t be immediate, but over your lifetime, the savings is significant.  I began following a Paleo diet last September, and in the 9 months since, I’ve lost 75 pounds.  All of my numbers for cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar count have improved.  I know I’ve saved myself on medical expenses in upcoming years than if I hadn’t taken the weight off.

As another point, I don’t know how many hundreds of dollars I spent on Weight Watchers over my lifetime.  With a Paleo diet, I eat until I’m full, and I don’t get hungry again for several more hours.  There’s no struggle, so weight loss is easy, and I don’t have to count calories or points or pay for the latest weight loss fad.

Making the Paleo Diet more affordable2. You’ll save hundreds by not eating out.

Of course, you can eat out on the Paleo diet, but we just don’t eat out as much.  We’re easily saving at least $200 a month on meals out.  Now we go out to eat only when we’re traveling or for birthdays.

3. You won’t spend money on processed foods.

You might think chips and candy and other processed foods are cheap, but when you buy them in quantities that most Americans do, they add up quickly.

So, keep in mind these initial savings once you switch over to a Paleo diet.

How to Save Money When Buying Paleo Groceries

If you do decide to follow a Paleo diet, here are some ways you can cut costs on groceries:

1.  Buy your meat directly from the farmer.

Ideally, you’ll want to buy grass fed and pastured meat.  We buy 1/2 side of grass fed beef from my cousin’s husband.  We get ground beef, steaks, roasts, etc.  The meat averages about $5 a pound.  There are also several grass fed and pastured suppliers near us, and we stock up whenever they have meat on sale.  We have a deep freezer to keep all the meat.

2.  Subscribe to a CSA.

A CSA (community supported agriculture) allows you to buy organic produce straight from the farmer.  This year, for $850 we subscribed to one that gives us 1 and 1/9 bushel of vegetables a week for 19 weeks.  There are enough vegetables each week to feed our family of 5 copious amounts of vegetables and some extra for us to freeze and use in the winter.

3.  Grow a garden.

I like to grow things that are expensive to buy in the winter like collard greens and kale.  We blanch them and freeze them to add to soups in the winter for an extra nutritional punch.  However, grow anything you like to eat that grows well in your area.

4.  Buy produce on sale and stock up.

If you live near a farm, consider going to the farm and picking the produce yourself.  Last year we bought 50 pounds of organic blueberries.  We froze 30 pounds and made jam and jelly with the other 20 pounds.  It only cost us $130.  However, within 8 months we ran out, so this year we plan to buy about 80 pounds to last us through the year.

Likewise, Whole Foods recently had organic grapes on sale for .99 a pound.  I bought 25 pounds and froze them so we’ll have grapes and grape smoothies in the winter.

Initially, buying Paleo food can seem more expensive.  However, there are many future costs you are eliminating by eating a healthier diet.  In addition, there are ways to save, especially if you’re willing to buy in bulk and preserve your food.

If you’re following a Paleo diet, how do you save money on groceries?

The Heffernan Principle

I never watched The King of Queens during its primetime run, but I have watched it quite a bit on reruns.  My favorite episodes are those that are about money.  Since Doug and Carrie make a fairly decent living (as a delivery driver and a legal secretary, respectively), but have wants a lot bigger than their wallets, money (and how to find more) seems to be a recurring theme.

The main financial issue with the couple, especially Doug, is that he can’t rein in his inner child.  Let’s call it the Heffernan principle.

1.  He sees what others have and wants it too.

In the most recent episode I watched, Carrie’s father, Arthur, who lives in their basement, won $2,500 at bingo.  Doug decides the money should be theirs since they help support Arthur.  Even though they need a new refrigerator, he wants the money to buy new golf clubs.  Once he manages to get the money from Arthur, he’s not satisfied and wants more new clubs to complement the ones he just purchased.

Heffernan Principle2.  He blames others for his mistakes.

In one funny episode, Doug and his friend, Deacon, are following in a car behind their wives in another car.  Deacon mentions that they’re passing a strip club that sometimes leaves the door open and that he likes to peek and see if he can see anything.  Of course, Doug can’t resist, so he takes his eyes off the road and promptly crashes into the car the wives are driving in.  Doug has to pay for the repairs to Deacon’s car, but he doesn’t want to because he claims Deacon really caused the accident even though Doug was driving.

3.  He’s envious of others who work hard and save for their goals.

In another episode, Deacon and his wife, Kelly, invite Doug and Carrie up to their new vacation home–a cabin.  Doug and Carrie are immediately envious and determine that the reason why Deacon and Kelly could afford such a nice home is because when the couples go out together, Doug and Carrie pay for everything.  Of course, this is not true, but they just can’t accept that another couple making about the same wage as them could save their money and buy something substantial.  For Doug and Carrie, money leaks out of their hands far too easily to save for such a large purchase.

The King of Queens is a humorous show about a couple trying to live their lives in Queens, New York while living with her father (who’s also broke, by the way).  Like many couples, they struggle with money, but a main reason for that is because Doug can’t rein in his inner child.

While Carrie is well-intentioned and more mature in this aspect, she inevitably is persuaded by Doug and follows along with his train of thought and his antics.

Sure, as the audience, we have fun laughing at Doug and his misguided thoughts and actions, but have you ever thought if you, too, are like Doug Heffernan deep down?  Have you silenced your inner child when it comes to money, or are you still struggling as Doug is?


Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Wealth

Guaranteed to Keep You Poor

There is way too much propaganda on the web about living frugally, cutting expenses and eliminating debt. I think this movement came about because of so many people using credit irresponsibly and inappropriately borrowing against home equity to finance vacations. While it is moronic to have credit card debt, the right type of debt is good and can make you wealthier. This is one of the ways that rich people think differently than poor people. The mathematics of earning and spending are this:  you can only reduce your expenses to zero but earnings are unlimited.  Therefore, where should one logically place their attention to have more money: to reducing expenses or maximizing income? To have your focus on expense-minimization is guaranteed to keep you poor.

Stupid Spending vs. Frugal Living

That is not to say you should not eliminate stupid spending, credit card debt, the BMW you cannot currently afford, etc. But to have a “frugal living” goal as the answer to your money shortage is not the answer.

“But it is so much easier to minimize expenses than earn more,” you say. That is true but only if you think that way. When people who think like poor people want to buy something, they may think, “I can’t afford that.” A person who thinks like a rich person says to himself, “How can I afford that?”

How Rich People Think

Change Your Wealth

Note that I am defining rich people and poor people not by how much money they have but by how they think. You may recall the movie, “The Pursuit of Happiness” with Will Smith. In that movie, he was poor most of the time. But he always thought like a rich person. He had reduced his expenses to near zero by living in a subway station and realized that was not the optimal way to live. His principle rich person thought, that anything is possible, was a prerequisite for him to become a person with a lot of money. You may know that this story is not just a nice happy-ending story – it is the true account of Christopher Gardner .

How you think is not your fault. You have inherited the scarcity mentality of our culture . Most people in our culture think like poor people and that’s why the top few percent have a concentration of the wealth. Notice that there is a bank on every corner in our country and each has a window sign urging you to come in and borrow their money at a very low interest rate. Yet, you think that money is scarce and hard to come by. Do you recall the dot-com boom? That era was earmarked by companies with no products, no revenues and no earnings easily able to raise billions of dollars from investors who couldn’t wait to get in line. So you see, money is abundant and only in your thoughts is it scarce.

There are plenty of formulas for making money. But before you implement the tactics, make a decision to think like a rich person. Once you do, reality appears very differently and the probability of success is greatly increased. Here’s how to think like a rich person.

Train Yourself to Think Like a Rich Person

Your Current Thought Your New Thought
I can’t afford that Let me write down three ways I would be able to afford that
I need to spend less I need to earn more
My job does not pay me enough In what ways can I be of value to people who will pay me?
I don’t have the education/smarts/motivation to be rich How can I offer my talents, skills and action to others in a way they will find valuable?
If I had a few more dollars, I would buy….. When I get together xx dollars, I will INVEST in….
Money is scarce Money is abundant and flows to my commitment and action to provide what others value
Times are tough/the economy is weak Never have there been so many people on earth free of poverty—people have more desires and more ability to pay for them than ever before


Editor’s Note: I think that more of us need to change the way that we think about money, and, by extension, we can decide to change your wealth.  It means having more than a budget for saving, but a budget for spending and investing that sets you up to increase your earnings and wealth.  You can change your wealth.