Does It Really Cost More To Eat Healthy?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

So check this out. I love data. I'm a nerd. I know. But I decided to do a little data drill to see exactly how much it costs Wes and I to eat healthy these days.

Pretty much everyone I have talked too since starting out on our new health and fitness lifestyle change has commented about how much more expensive it is to eat healthy! And based on our latest monthly grocery bills, I usually found myself quickly nodding my head in agreement. It was pretty easy to see that we were spending more money every Sunday on our new healthy diet, which was making my immediate answer to the question that yes, there was an increase cost of eating healthy.

Although it was pretty easy to see how much more we were SPENDING, it really didn't dawn on me as to how much we were SAVING at the same time! One Friday, I went down to the cafeteria to buy lunch and I didn't really realize how long it had been since I had been down there last. So it got me thinking that since we starting our meal planning and meal prep on the weekends, I hadn't actually spent a dime on buying lunch at work.

So being the data-loving-nerd concerned consumer that I am, I decided to check out the math behind it all.

Now here is my disclaimer. This was my quick and dirty accounting of OUR spending. I didn't really go too crazy and try to figure out which months had extra weeks, and made some assumptions, etc but you will get the idea.

First step. Why....make a spreadsheet of course!


I went through our online banking and started to tally up the number of times I withdrew money from the ATM machine at work (because the only time I do that it's because I need to get money for lunch) and at the same time, I started to tally up our grocery shopping bills. I formatted the dates so they would only show up as which month so it was easier to determine the monthly cost for each. Here's a little snapshot of what I came up with...

Cost of Eating Healthy

Next, I do have to say that I think part of the increase in our weekly grocery shopping bill was our new location. On June 27th, we officially moved into our new home and you can see, the immediate grocery bills in the beginning of July (before we really started our health kick) were higher.

I then took that data, and added it by month, to come up with a monthly cost of me buying lunch and a monthly cost for our grocery shopping.

Cost of Eating Healthy

After I had the monthly totals I simply calculated the monthly average cost of my lunches at work and our weekly grocery shopping bills. We started our challenge at the end of July, so it was a clean break. Anything January through July counted as Pre-Healthy costs and anything after July was Post-Healthy costs.

So as you can see below, BEFORE we started our healthy eating habits, I was spending on average about $63 a month buying lunch at work (some months you can see were much higher then others). AFTER we started our healthy eating habits, I ended up purchasing lunch at work once a month, so I withdrew $20 a month (lunch really only cost about $4 now that I was eating less but I really only counted how much I withdrew like I did before).
Cost of Eating Healthy

BEFORE we started our healthy eating habits, we were spending on average about $861 a month at the grocery store. AFTER we started our healthy eating habits, we found ourselves spending on average about $901 a month at the grocery store.

So that basically translates into this. We are now SPENDING an extra $40 a month at the grocery store (not too shabby - about an extra $10 a week) but I am SAVING about $43 a month because I have been meal planning and prepping my meals each week!

Cost of Eating Healthy

The other thing, is that we have cut back on our liquor store expenses too! I didn't tally those up yet but that's even more savings!

So as you can see, at least for us, we are spending more for food at the grocery store, but it almost exactly matches what we are saving at the same time. As we get better at this, I have no doubt we will learn how to reduce that grocery bill even more each week! Just thought that was interesting!

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