Keto on a Budget | 15 Money Savings Tips
Ok, so you’ve taken the plunge. You’ve started (or getting ready to start) the Keto diet! You’re feeling great, looking great, preforming great. BUT now you’re wondering-can I afford this? And how? The Ketogenic Diet produces great results, but grocery shopping for your new way of eating can seem expensive-especially when you’re first starting out. So today, I’m giving you my top 15 money saving tips for doing Keto on a budget!
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1. Know your prices
Know your prices.
This is my #1 tip for doing Keto on a Budget.
If you don’t know what things cost, you can’t spot a sale, a good price or a stock up worthy deal.
The thing is, stores and manufacturers want you to buy THEIR product. They position things on shelves, in the sales ads and on the product so you will buy it. They aren’t concerned if you know what a good deal is, they want your money.
For example, I know where I live, the regular lowest price for ground beef at my local store is $2.49/pound. So, when I see ground beef priced below $2.49/pound, that’s a good deal and I should buy some!
If you are serious about savings and aren’t sure what the regular/best price is on food you buy all the time, figure it out. You can track this in a notebook, on your phone, in an excel spreadsheet-whatever works for you. But over the course of a few months, jot down the prices of things you buy all the time and what the price is and note the lowest price and store you find these at!
Another important component of knowing your prices is looking at the unit price. You might be able to get a 16oz jar of pickles for $2.00 and a 24oz jar of pickles for $2.50. The 16oz jar would be $0.13/oz and the 24oz jar would be $0.08/oz. So, the jar that is $2.50 is actually cheaper, because you’re getting more pickles (24oz) for less ($.08/oz), even though the entire jar costs more.
So, know your prices!
Know the regular price of food you buy often, so you can spot a sale.
Pay attention to the unit price, so you know what you are getting is a good deal.
2. Shop your weekly sales ad
Shop your sales ad! And stock up when things are cheap.
Most stores put out a weekly or bi-weekly sales ad. CHECK IT before you shop!
Where I live, sales run Sunday-Saturday, so one of my favorite things on Sunday mornings is to check the sales ads. Yes I know that makes me lame, but I love it. I like to see what’s on sale, think about what I should stock up on and what I can make with all of it.
Find out when your stores release their sales flyer. Check it out before you shop. And if you’ve already followed my advice in step 1, you’ll know what’s a good price in the sales ad and you can add it to your shopping list.
Buying what is on sale will help you save money and stick to your Keto budget.
3. Take inventory of what you already have
Take an inventory.
Before you buy anything new, take an inventory of what you already have. And then use it. Or at least don’t buy a duplicate.
I know most of us have that jar of pickles way back on the shelf that we can’t see. Or that extra package of pork chops in the fridge. Or that pint of cream hiding behind the electrolyte drink on the top shelf in teh fridge. If you do a thorough check before you make a list or shop, you’ll make sure you’re not buying things you don’t need. And you’ll make sure you don’t let things spoil or go past their expiration date. Again, saving money and doing Keto on a budget! (I know you’re seeing a theme here).
If you hate to take an inventory before you shop, you can always keep a running list in a notebook, on your phone, an excel spreadsheet or wherever of your inventory. Try to keep your inventory nearby so you actually use it. Think one sheet on the side of the fridge and one in the pantry (or in your phone-you never put that down anyway). Then, each time you use something, cross it off the list. Each time you add something, add it to your list.
4. Shop with a list
Make a list!
Maybe it’s just me, but if I don’t shop with a list, I ALWAYS forget something. Even if I only need a few things. Then, I have to spend extra time and money taking a trip back to the store. Learn from me, just make a list!
Make a shopping list at home after you’ve planned your meals, and taken an inventory of what you have. Then, only buy what is on the list. This will make sure you stick to your budget, don’t over spend and don’t buy things you don’t need.
5. Have a meal plan
Have a meal plan!
Have a meal plan and even meal prep ahead of time!
If you know ahead of time what you are going to eat, you will save money. You’ll only buy what you’re going to eat, you won’t waste food and likely you’ll eat less-all because it’s planned!
If you need inspiration, check out some of these dry erase menu planning boards:
Or go old school and use a notebook. My favorite place to pick up cute and cheap notebooks is TJMaxx/Home Goods! I highly recommend 🙂
If you need meal plan inspiration, you can check out my weekly meal ideas that correspond with what is on sale at Aldi here.
6. Calculate your macros
Calculate your macros.
I may have opened a can of worms with this one. You might be thinking what are macros and how do I calculate them?
Macros (or macronutrients) are just the energy giving components of food. They are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This is where calories come from.
Whether you want to gain weight, lose weight or just stay right where you are at, calculating your macros will ensure that you aren’t over eating. If you aren’t overeating, you aren’t overspending.
If you want to know more about what your macros should be, go here, read the article and watch the video at the bottom of the page. That is also the link the macro calculator. You can also read this super informative article for a deep dive on all things Keto!
Have a plan, calculate your macros, stick to it-it will save you money!
7. Use a COUPON
Use a COUPON. When you can.
I used to be an extreme couponer. I got tons of crazy deals on all sorts of stuff and lots of pre-packaged foods. Once I started Keto and doing my best to live a healthier lifestyle, those coupon deals were much less attractive because I wasn’t eating that kind of stuff anymore. And for a while I abandoned coupons all together. But I found that there are still coupons for Keto friendly foods (think pickles, dressings, condiments, nuts, nut flours, oils, even berries and more) and I try to use them anytime I can.
By using coupons anytime I can, I can stock up when prices are low and put that savings towards more expensive items or Keto treats. If I save $5 this week on my groceries by using a few coupons, I can save that for a week when I want to buy a fancy steak. Or put my savings towards a pre-made Keto treat that isn’t normally in my budget (top on my list are Quest tortilla chips, Smart Cakes, Good Dee’s mixes, Lily’s Chocolate!). Or just put the extra money you save away for a rainy day.
Where can I find Keto coupons?
- Check your local paper each week for coupons. Flip through and clip anything that might be Keto friendly
- Check websites for major brands-they quite often have a coupon you can print.
- Look for tear pads near products at your grocery store
- Print them from coupon websites like redplum.com, pgeveryday.com, smartsource.com, retailmenot.com
Keto Coupon Pro Tip
Anytime you see a coupon for a Keto product or produce or a brand that has Keto friendly products….Clip it or print it. Then save it until that item goes on sale. Then you can stack your coupon with a sale price for maximum savings!
8. Stick to the basics
Stick to the BASICS!
There are a lot of Keto products, treats, supplements out there. I see new ones pop up everyday. And most of them are AMAZING.
But don’t fall into the marketing trap. You don’t need any of those. If you can afford them and you enjoy them, perfect-buy them.
If you’re trying to save money or just have a limited grocery budget, skip them.
Instagram is a big offender for me. I see my favorite Keto friends trying amazing products and treats and it really tempts me to try new things. I have definitely gone over my budget trying stuff I’ve been tempted with online before.
Stay strong. Stick to the basic-meat, cheese, fats, low carb veggies.
A good rule of thumb if your budget is tight is if you can’t buy it at the grocery store, you don’t need it. One exception to this rule might be sweeteners if your grocery store doesn’t carry them, you may need to buy one online. I’ve found the cheapest erythritol is the Anthony’s brand found on Amazon (check it out here). If you prefer stevia, I have found generally Now brand from Amazon is a good price (see it here).
9. Don’t waste: know how to store and how long it keeps
This may seem obvious, but food waste is also money waste. And it happens to the best of us.
One thing I hate to see is picking up an awesome head of cauliflower, popping it in the fridge, going to use it and bam, it’s not good. Or worse, grabbing a great price on ground beef, freezing it but forgetting to label it or leaving it to long and it gets freezer burn. It’s like throwing money out- LITERALLY!
So make sure you:
-know what you have in your fridge/freezer (this goes back to having an inventory!)
-you know how to store it
-know how long stuff keeps (and label it!)
10. Get an extra freezer
Get an extra freezer!
Having an extra freezer will allow you to stock up when prices are really good.
A couple of years ago, my local PriceRite store had corned beef on sale after St. Patrick’s day for $0.49 a pound….that is crazy cheap. I can’t even buy chicken at that price let alone beef. I bought a whole bunch and thankfully, I had an extra freezer on hand to handle it. And double thanks my partner loves corned beef and happily ate it for lunch for many more months than I care to say here.
But my point being, having an extra freezer can help you save money by having the space to store things you can grab when they’re on sale. Meats, vegetables, low carb ice cream (I also used my extra freezer to store many pints of Enlightened ice cream that I was able to get for $1.50 each).
Biggest tip: buy a used freezer. If you spend more on a freezer than you save on groceries having it, it does you no good. My last freezer I purchased used on Craigslist for $50 and it has paid for itself over and over.
11. Make it yourself
Can’t afford it? Make it yourself!
This may seem like another simple thing, but in the world of Keto, there are a lot of pre made, pre packaged ingredients that are expensive that you can make yourself-easily.
One great example of this is Rao’s tomato sauce-it’s delicious and low carb and favorite to many. But it’s expensive! You can easily make your own homemade tomato sauce much cheaper. With either fresh or canned tomatoes.
Another example are Keto treats like Lily’s chocolate bars or Quest cookies. These are pricey and you can make them at home. Need a great Keto chocolate bar recipe, check out this one.
Also, consider COFFEE. This one can be a small daily expense on the way to work that really adds up over time. If you aren’t already making your coffee at home to save money, I challenge you to start. Check out my favorite bulletproof coffee recipes here for inspiration!
Have other ideas or great make it yourself recipes/suggestions? Comment below and let us know!
11. Stack rewards when shopping
Stack rewards when you shop!
I could go on and on about how different reward programs can help you save money, but I’ll try and keep it simple.
Every time you shop-online or in the store, you want to take advantage of as money savings and reward programs as possible to maximize your savings and stick to Keto on a budget! This is especially helpful since Keto food and products can be more expensive and sales and coupons are more rare.
First thing to consider is using a credit card for all purchases that offers cash back (or points if you will actually use them). This is basically like getting paid to shop. You’re already making these purchases, so why not get rewarded. Be cautious and make sure you are not overspending and that you’re still sticking to your budget even if you’re paying with a reward credit card. So layer 1 of savings, is using a cash back or rewards credit card.
Then on top of that, try using these programs too!
Cash back reward programs for shopping online:
- Rakuten (formerly Ebates). This is far and away the easiest (and best) cash back reward program. Sign up for free. Then each time you go to make a purchase online, Ebates will give you a percentage of the purchase price back (in check or via paypal) for participating stores. If you’re shopping on your phone, you can go right through the Ebates app-easy! If you’re shopping on a laptop/desktop, they have a browser extension Sign up here.
- Ibotta. You’re going to see this in 2 categories because it’s great. Ibotta helps you save in store and online. Similar to Ebates-it’s free. You sign up and go through their app and they give you a percentage of your purchase back that you can redeem for cash! Easy.
- Check out our discounts page here. We have tons of discounts on different Keto products-check before you buy to save more $!
Reward programs and Apps for shopping in store:
- Ibotta. I told you that you’d see this one again. Ibotta works best for in store purchases. They offer cash back on things you purchase in store (think meat, veggies, ice cream, condiments, a whole variety of name brand items). You select the offers you might be interested in and if you purchase the item, you upload the receipt into the app and they give you money for the purchase. Best part is, you can majorly stack discounts with Ibotta because they are giving you money for buying the item-they don’t care if it’s on sale, if you use a coupon or pay with a cashback credit card, they still give you the cash back. ALWAYS check Ibotta to see if they have an offer for what you are buying-this is a major money saver!
- Target Cartwheel. The Cartwheel allows you to save a percentage on a product you purchase at Target. They have great offers that change all of the time-some even up to 50% off. Plus, you can use the Cartwheel with a regular coupon, a target coupon, the sale price and your Target Red Card (see #3)…so this is a crazy amount of stacked savings. Download the Target app and check for cartwheel offers before you shop or even use their handy scan feature and scan the item to check for a discount before you even put it in your cart!
- Target Red Card. Oh man the Target Red card is amazing! Anytime you make a purchase online or in store, you save 5%. You also get free shipping when you buy online. But my favorite part about the Red Card is that it comes in a credit card or a debit card. So, if you feel like you have too many credit cards, don’t have good enough credit or simply don’t want to deal with another bill to pay, you can sign up for the Red Card debit card. Target links it to your checking account and when you use it to make a purchase at Target, they just take the funds straight from your bank account. Easy…and oh did I mention FREE and you save 5% every time you shop and this is on top of all other savings?!?! Get yours here.
- Whole Foods App. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get discounts at Whole Foods. Download the app, sign in with your Amazon user name and password and show the app at checkout to save! Deals change weekly, so check your store or app. Plus 10% off all yellow tag items (this is the stuff that’s already on sale!). Aren’t a Prime member yet, try for FREE for 30 days (here). And you can take advantage of Ibotta savings even if you use this discount too.
- Store loyalty programs. Most stores have a card or rewards program that gives you points or extra discounts that can be used with coupons and Ibotta. Check your local store to see what they offer!
14. Know your store policies
Know your store policies.
If you know the policies of the stores you shop at most often, you can save more money and stick to doing Keto on a budget!
It’s helpful to know when your store marks down meat. Then you can shop close to the time of the markdowns to maximize your savings! Try asking the manager in the meat department or a friendly employee working in that area-they should know and most are happy to share with you.
You also should know your store policies about using coupons. Do they accept coupons (I know for sure Aldi does not)? Do they have any restrictions or limitations on using coupons? Do they offer store coupons? Do you need a loyalty or reward card to get discounted prices?
If you don’t know what your store offers and allows, you can’t take advantage of the savings!
12. Check the clearance aisle every time you shop
Check for clearance items EVERY TIME you shop!
You never know what is on sale of what you might have a coupon for or what kind of treasures you’ll find…so check.
Some stores have dedicated clearance aisles. Sometimes on the end cap. Sometimes right in the regular aisle. Look around, know where clearance items are and have a quick look every time you shop.
15. Join our FREE community and never miss a sale!
Join our free community!
This is the easiest step yet.
I post coupons, online deals, grocery store deals and more in our Keto on a Dime (budget) Facebook group. You can join for free here.
Best part is we have over 4000 members from all over the place, commenting and sharing deals too.
Join us and never miss a sale or deal again!