Green smoothies are as common today as a bowl of oatmeal or beans and rice. They’re loved by people of all ages from all types of lifestyles and are easy for everyone to make. No matter what ingredients and flavors you enjoy in your green smoothies, there is one thing all of us know – they can get expensive quickly! Though making smoothies at home is cheaper (and often healthier) than buying them at trendy smoothie joints for convenience, they can still get pricey if you’re not aware of some frugral-friendly tips.

One thing to keep in mind, is that you shouldn’t equate frugality to less beneficial. Saving money on healthy dishes like green smoothies doesn’t mean sacrifice in nutrients or flavor. In fact, a few of these tips that can save you money can even improve not just your health, but also the taste and texture of your smoothies.

Give these a whirl …

1. Don’t Fear Frozen

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Frozen ingredients are no less superior than fresh. The key is to choose plain frozen greens and fruits instead of pre-made frozen smoothie mixes. Those mixes often come with dairy ingredients like yogurt or milk, and some have added sugars. Frozen ingredients are also cheaper than their fresh counterparts and help create thicker, smoother and frostier smoothies that make your drinks the consistency of a thick milkshake versus a thin liquid. Choose frozen spinach, kale, berries, pineapple, and even frozen acai packs in place of pricey superfood powders. Just try to buy organic when possible since you’ll still want to avoid pesticides.

2. Keep it Simple

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Instead of feeling the need to put tons of ingredients into a smoothie, just limit it to let’s say, five ingredients per smoothie. While it might be nice to have more, it doesn’t necessarily make you less healthy if you only choose a good handful. You might even digest the smoothie better and benefit from the nutrients more since your body doesn’t have to process as much at one time. A couple tasty examples include: spinach, berries, non-dairy milk, chia seeds, and some oats or maybe you’ll choose: kale, a banana, a pear, flax seeds and vanilla protein powder (water is a freebie!). Simple, quick, and delicious too! Of course you can always add more ingredients if you like, but setting a limit will naturally help you save money.

3. Don’t Let Ingredients Go to Waste

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Don’t throw your money away – literally. When bananas start to turn mostly brown, peel them, break them in half and freeze them in baggies. The same goes for when apples, pears, or any other fresh foods you might be using start to ripen too quickly. Even greens can be frozen if you buy them fresh. Tubs of spinach and kale from the produce department can simply be put in the freezer and you’ll never have to worry about them going bad before you can use them. They also taste just fine and their nutrients are not affected enough to make a difference. Cucumbers, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon, fresh mint, broccoli, and even carrots can also be frozen to use in smoothies too. Non-dairy milk on its last day? Pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Then use that in place of ice cubes, which will also make it creamier and thicker! Making smoothie prep jars ahead of time can also help you prevent items from going to waste.

4. Focus on Consistency, not Quantity

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If you’re following these tips and still having a hard time with your budget, reduce the size of your smoothie by half. Instead of 24 ounces, have just 12 ounces. Some people drink pretty large smoothies, which can cost twice as much as half that serving. It’s better to get in a smaller green smoothie than no smoothie at all. Have a bowl of oatmeal or quinoa on the side if you need it to be more filling, or just put a scoop of oats into your smoothie to make it more satiating and reduce the cost if you’re consuming it as a meal. Smoothies are a great way to get in vitamins and minerals from multiple foods in one serving, but you don’t necessarily need extremely large amounts to get the benefits.

5. Buy Generic and Bulk When Possible

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Even stores like Whole Foods have an organic generic brand (365) that you can purchase to save at least 20-30 percent per item. Aside from fresh produce options, many frozen foods are also cheaper if you choose the generic brand. Embrace the generic brand for other smoothie ingredients like non-dairy milk and yogurt, or try making your own at home. Instead of buying nut butters that are pricey, pick up some whole nuts and seeds from the bulk bins and use those instead. If you have access to a bulk grocery supplier, then definitely take advantage of buying produce in bulk that you can freeze for your smoothies to cut both costs and wastes. Buying from a local farmer’s market can also help you get more for your money (and possibly scoop up healthier, fresher options too).

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Get creative with your smoothies and don’t ever be afraid to try something new. If you can’t afford protein powder, learn how to make your own or try these 6 options that require no store bought powders at all. See more tips on how to make a filling smoothie here, and find out the best order of ingredients for your smoothies here. Want more shopping tips on a budget? Check out 9 Hacks to Shop at Whole Foods as a Health Conscious Eater on a Budget.

What’s your favorite frugral smoothie tip?

Lead Image Source: End of Summer Smoothie