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One simple thing you can do to make eating healthy cheaper

For a lot of us, there’s a wide gulf between the way we eat now and the way we aspire to eat. And that gulf is called money. If you’re savvy with cooking from dried beans and root vegetables, you can do OK. But what about that grass-fed beef? What about the strawberries that are soaked in pesticides unless you shell out for organic? What about the almonds we’re supposed to be snacking on by the handful? That kind of healthy eating can get expensive.

More: The truth about strawberries, apples and grapes we should stop ignoring

So we sat down with Jeanette Pavini, savings expert, for some real talk about saving money on groceries. As in, the groceries you actually want to eat. “A lot of people think you can’t eat healthy without spending a lot of money,” she says, “but I think that’s a myth.”

Pavini had a lot of great tips, but the most valuable was probably this: Get your hands on your grocery store circular, and build your weekly menu around what’s on sale in there. “Every single category in that grocery store wants to be in there, so they’re going to cut the store great deals to get in there,” she said. By the way, most grocery stores nowadays post their circulars online.

More: 11 tips to keep your fridge stocked without breaking the bank

With that circular in hand, focus on the foods and other essentials you don’t need to be organic or specialty — things like toilet paper and pantry staples. “When you buy what’s on sale and find coupons to save more, you can cut that part of your grocery bill by 40 percent,” Pavini says. “Now you can put that toward more healthy foods.”

In other words, trim what you can from the categories that are essential but don’t have to be premium so you have a little extra for things like (sigh) nutrient-packed, good-fats-loaded avocados.

All that said, Pavini says more and more stores are offering deals on organics, even for meat and produce. So are food brands. And OK, as a representative of, Pavini was talking with me to promote clipping. But did you know they have an app now? I mean, of course they do. It’s 2016. So that means you can clip coupons from your phone. Plus, a lot of stores actually let you transfer those savings directly to your rewards card.

More: 17 ways to save at the supermarket without extreme couponing

Personally I’ve been resisting coupon clipping because it seemed like such a time suck, but now I’m starting to get it.

“It’s a mental shift,” Pavini said. “People think that doing these two things — building your menu around what’s on ad and finding coupons — takes time, but it takes less than 20 minutes.” Also, and just as important, she adds, “I’ve saved as much as 55 percent, but usually it’s 40 percent.” Well, all righty, then. Maybe resistance is futile after all.

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