You can enjoy a ketogenic diet as frugally or lavishly as you choose. You can go for high-end, rib-eye, steak, and lobster or leverage affordable foods like eggs and less expensive fish and vegetables to curb your food budget.
Plus, inexpensive can still be quite delicious and nutritious—you can have it all as long as you know which foods to choose and the most cost-effective places to shop.
Plus, with the aid of sales, coupons, leveraging deals at big-box stores, and choosing foods in season, you'll save plenty!
We'd love to share some of our favorite keto-friendly bargain foods and marketplaces to set you up for an abundant low-carb lifestyle on a dime.
Besides, many affordable keto basics like butter and eggs are in a lot of recipes on a low-carb, high-fat diet, so you can buy those items in bulk for additional savings since you know they’ll come in handy.
We'll touch on which keto-friendly foods to consider if sticking to a tighter budget. But there are also some general best practices to follow when minding money on keto; here are some top tips to follow to keep your costs on keto as low as your carbs:
- Acquiring foods in bulk is wise if you're trying to stretch a dollar. Buy, prep, and freeze foods you snag on sale and make pot meals, like chili, in bulk and seal them to enjoy throughout the weeks and months.
- Focus on buying what you use, and rotate through your stock—eating older food first. Remember, there are no savings if your food spoils, so only buy what you are likely to eat.
- Release your inner keto couponer! Search for sales on the things you need and stack other discounts and coupons together for maximum savings on every purchase possible.
- Return to basics and make your keto meals, condiments, and sauces, etc., at home.
- Keto snacks and desserts are permissible on keto, but you may want to forgo them if you're counting coins—they're a want, not a need, and costs can add up quickly.
- Again, you can save a lot of money by buying in bulk, and that's especially true when it comes to keto staples like eggs. These protein and fat-filled gems are nutritious and can pair well with virtually every keto meal.
- Pad your plate with an ample amount of low-glycemic veggies—dark leafy greens are always an excellent option, and you can often find sales, especially at farmer’s markets!
- Choose Meat Wisely: Some may eliminate meat to widdle their budget, but if you choose to include it in your keto meal plan, it's best to choose your cuts wisely and make more affordable selections.
Go for chuck roast cuts of beef rather than rib eye to pay about one-third the cost while still enjoying a lot of the flavor! Plus, you can elevate the taste of any option with the right seasonings, salt, and good marination.
- Cozy up to Keto-friendly Beans: You likely have the impression that beans are entirely out of play on a ketogenic diet, but not so fast.
Lupin or organic black soybeans are excellent options that are low on carbs, and you can save by buying them in bulk. Plus, these low-carb pods are also fantastic to use to add a new flair to low-carb soups or stews.
- Leverage Frozen Fruits and Veggies: Some people avoid buying fresh produce because they find they never eat it all and end up throwing a lot of it away.
No worries, take advantage of sales and stock up on low-carb fruits and veggies with frozen options—processed at the peak of freshness to ensure premium nutrition and prevent food waste.
- Join a Meal Share or Community-supported Agriculture (CSA) Cooperative: Becoming a member of a community-supported food collective is a fantastic symbiotic relationship. It offers stability to the farmer and predictable deliveries of organic, fresh, local food for you and yours to enjoy at a more reasonable price tag!
- Skip Organic and Grass-Fed, Go Conventional: We often suggest preferring organic and grass-fed animal products, but check out the cost savings available with conventionally-grown options if you're on a restricted budget.
- Buy Keto-Friendly Nuts in Bulk: Whether you snack on them alone, use them as the base for keto-friendly, dairy-free, milk or a low-carb flour alternative; having nuts around in bulk is very useful on a ketogenic diet.
- Stock up on Plant-based, Low-carb, Oils: Store-bought ghee may be out of your budget now, but you can also use Trader Joe's or Whole Foods 365 brand olive oil or avocado oil as a budget-friendly fat source.
- Utilize Meal Prepping to Avoid Food Waste: Takeout throughout the week is not advisable if you're tightening your purse strings. Instead of grabbing many meals outside of the home, prepare easy meals over the weekend and portion them out for fast access to homemade heat-and-eat, keto options.
- Eggs are Boss: Eggs are an excellent source of fat and protein, and you can stock your fridge to the brim with them on a tight budget! From omelets to working as a magnificent binder when baking, eggs are a bedrock ingredient on a ketogenic diet.
- Ditch Pricey Supplements! Although premium supplements are excellent tools to incorporate into your keto protocol, they may not be in your cost range. Try to get as much nutrition as possible from food-based sources, instead, to curb monthly costs.
- Limit Costly Keto Substitutions and Keep it Simple: We love a fantastic keto baking mix as much as the next person, but focusing on primarily baking using them—and other convenience foods—can add up in cost quickly.
Prepare as much as you can from scratch and buy commonly-used ingredients, like almond or coconut flour, in bulk to maximize your budget.
Plus, in addition to following the best practices to live the frugal keto life shared above, Check out the low-carb foods noted below as they are super-affordable, as well—great additions to any keto weight loss meal plan!
- Cook Meals with Common Ingredients: This tip is straightforward to do because many keto meals include the same core ingredients, anyway—you'll notice a trend over time.
Plus, we'll share some cost-effective items to scope out, hopefully on sale, and keep around to remain on track on a dime.
- Plan Your Spending: If you make a purchase, plan it. Even if you do splurge, account for it in advance and avoid impulse buying and unintentional overspending, which can devastate your attempts to cut costs.
- Shop at Bargain Stores: Whether the outlet is in-person or online, many distributors offer a wide variety of keto fare at a favorable discount; you just need to know where to look—more on that below.
Shop around to see which stores have the best prices; keep an eye out for sales, and supercharge savings with coupons or redeem store rewards to maximize savings.
Here are some bargain keto sources to consider buying from to keep your food pantry stocked on a budget:
- Trader Joe's
- Thrive Market
- Big-box Stores (e.g., Costco, Sam's BJ's, etc.)
Also, here are some cost-effective keto staples to keep on hand for a quick and budget-friendly meal at any time:
- Butter/Ghee (homemade); buy butter on sale and make your ghee, if possible, for significant savings.
- Avocados (only buy as needed because they can ripen rapidly)
- Cheeses (hard or soft)
- Cream Cheese
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Nut Butters
- Coconut Cream
- Olive or Avocado Oil
- Pili Nuts
Meats & Proteins:
- 80/20 Ground Beef (bulk)
- Whole Chickens
- Canned Tuna
- Chicken Thighs (preferably with skin on)
- Full-fat Greek Yogurt
- Pork Chops
- Hemp Seeds
- Bacon (buy in bulk or on sale, whenever possible, and stock up!)
Non-starchy vegetables (in-season, on sale, or frozen):
- Brussels Sprouts
- Spaghetti Squash
- Green Beans
- Bell Peppers
Low carb fruits (in-season, on sale, or frozen):
Keto Flour/Baking Alternatives (buy in bulk, on sale, whenever possible):
- Coconut Flour
- Lupin Flour
- Almond Flour
- Nutritional Yeast
- Instant Yeast
- Xanthan Gum
- Low Karb Baking Mixes
- Psyllium Husk Powder or Seeds
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda
You have an endless amount of meal options to create with the keto-friendly ingredients mentioned above, but we'll share a few surefire recipes to give you a headstart.
Here are a few cost-effective and beginner-friendly meals to make on keto to cut costs and save time:
- Homemade Mayonnaise: Remember, make as many foods from scratch as possible. You'll spare your wallet, and you'll enjoy the freshest, most delicious food possible!
Zoodle Keto Alfredo with Bacon: This recipe is an excellent option to use some of your fresh zucchini for a delicious and fast keto meal in minutes!
Plus, you can render the fat from the bacon and reuse it as a keto-friendly cooking fat source, to maximize the use of your ingredients, use everything!
- Quick N Easy Breakfast Sausage Keto Quiche: Our recipe for this crustless quiche is simple yet filling, with toppings that you and your family will love!
- Cheesy Spinach Keto Puffs: These adorable egg poppers are easy to make ahead, whip up to make use of toppings on hand, and store well in the refrigerator for a ready-to-eat meal option to enjoy throughout the week.
- Keto Savory Pie with Zucchini: This savory and simple pie is another excellent recipe to add more zucchini to your weekly meal plan, and another great base to help clear out your fridge before the food spoils—to eliminate food waste.
Impossibly Keto Barbecue Chicken: We love using this recipe to prepare chicken legs, but the sauce is excellent on any cut of chicken—so feel free to use what you have!
Check your local stores for weekly sales, buy the cuts you prefer in bulk to the point that your budget allows, and make the recipe linked above in no time.
Can't Believe It's Keto Bread: You'll want a tried and true homemade bread recipe that you and your family love if you all enjoy bread and want to make it to save on cost.
Our keto bread recipe is an excellent alternative to high-carb options, and you won't miss a thing; our bread is delicious!
- Creamy Keto Broccoli & Cheese Soup: This savory and comforting soup recipe is another example of a delicious keto recipe that uses some commonly relied upon ingredients.
- You can even buy the ingredients on sale, make several batches of soup in advance, vacuum-seal the soup in single or other serving sizes, and enjoy them at will over time.
- Golden (Cheesy) Keto Cauliflower Bake: This is a tasty and easy recipe that's fun to make with the kids, and a perfect pick if you want to prepare freezer-friendly meals to set yourself up for success throughout the week.
Additional Tips to Save Big on Keto
- Meatless Mondays: We love enjoying meat-based keto dishes, but meat and fish are generally more expensive than vegetables.
Consider skipping animal products one day a week and relying on keto vegetarian or vegan options to reduce your weekly budget and carbon footprint, as well.
- Learn Store Coupon Policies and Shop Sales: Saving money by snagging an item on sale is exhilarating. However, pair the sale discount with a manufacturer's coupon and store coupon, and you'll experience tremendous savings on your monthly food bill!
- Shop in Season: Aside from offering the freshest food around, shopping for seasonal foods, preferably at farmer's markets, can maximize freshness and provide your family with affordable whole food options—even on a budget.
Plus, farmer's markets often participate in state-based food assistance programs, like SNAP/EBT, and even add spendable tokens to your food benefit per every so many dollars spent, which is another great way to stretch your food dollar!
- Shop Whole Foods: We're not talking about "Whole Paycheck," we mean purchasing whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible and avoiding highly-processed packaged foods to cut costs.
Eat whole vegetables and fruit, egg yolks and whites, and use as much of what you have—get creative and explore new low-glycemic options or food preparation methods.
- Use Store Programs to Save: Some supermarkets, like Wegmans, provide a free food item when you join their shopper's club. Take advantage of the offer and score a free item, while ensuring that you’ll receive notice of all upcoming deals—win-win.
Plus, you can also scan QR codes in certain store apps or clip e-coupons before heading to the market, so savings for foods on your list are automatically deducted at checkout once you enter your member card information.
- Try OMAD (One Meal a Day): Many people try an OMAD-style keto diet and eat a single filling and calorie-dense meal a day that's rich in healthy fat and proteins.
You'll notice a significant reduction in appetite once you convert your body from running on glucose to running on fat and ketones on a ketogenic diet. Many people start to naturally and effortlessly eat less once in metabolic ketosis, and you may as well use this to your advantage if you're looking to save money.
Eat once a day to give a variation of intermittent fasting a go, and you'll subsequently save some coin since you're eating less each day!
Weekly Sales and Store Circulars
Most supermarkets and health food stores offer weekly sales, deals, and discounts to keep patrons frequenting their venue. Look ahead online to see what's on sale and match sales with store and manufacturer's coupons whenever available, and you may amaze yourself with the significant saving you receive.
Plus, you can use available promo codes when shopping online in place of paper coupons for additional cost savings and deals on the things you need.
Again, keto is what you make it. You can spend a lot on ingredients and meals and eat out several times a week. Or you can shop carefully, buy in bulk, and focus on ways to stretch your food budget without sacrificing a bit of flavor.
Use some of the tips we've shared above to take advantage of savings each month to make the keto diet as attainable and sustainable as possible on virtually any budget.
Plus, there are many ways to eat well on a low-carb, high-fat diet without breaking the bank. Here are some of our dedicated articles that share additional ways to make sure your money lasts throughout the month, even during economically uncertain times:
- Amazing Keto Soups for Long-term Fridge, Freezer, and Canning Storage
- Keto Foods to Grow, Can, Pickle, Ferment, or Stockpile in your Keto Pantry
- Eating Keto in a Mixed Dietary Household
- Keto-friendly Foods to Boost the Immune System
Also, we created a quick quiz that you may want to take if you're looking for an affordable option for a personalized keto, weight loss, meal plan. Click here to take our 30-second quiz and gain instant access to your customized meal plan today.
Keto doesn't have to break the bank, yet you can still enjoy many decadent and fat-burning meals on a satisfying and health-boosting ketogenic diet.
Consider leveraging some of our tips to maximize savings, and tweak our suggestions to achieve an approach that works best for your lifestyle and situation.
Keep it simple, make meals with a few overlapping ingredients, and keep a wide variety of pantry goodies on-hand to switch up staple recipes for a fun twist on comforting classics—all while keeping your monthly food costs in check.
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- Slomski, A. (2019). Low-Carb Diets Help Maintain Weight Loss. Jama, 321(4), 335. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.22031
- Low-Carb Diet Beats Low-Fat for HDL-Cholesterol Levels. (2010). SciVee. doi:10.4016/20185.01
- Boschert, S. (2007). Low-Carb Diet Helped Lipid Levels, Body Weight. Internal Medicine News, 40(2), 6. doi:10.1016/s1097-8690(07)70008-2