Since your diet is vitally important in enabling you to gain muscle mass quickly and maximize your genetic potential it's not the place where you should scrimp. However, anyone who's looked at a bulking diet of 4,000 calories and upwards will soon realize that is a heck of a lot of food. If you're on a tight budget and especially if you've got other mouths to feed besides your own, it can be hard to justify your big shopping list. Throw in a few supplements and you've got a recipe for disaster (and plenty of domestic arguments!). Thankfully there are a few things you can do to lighten the strain on your wallet while bulking up.
The key is to stick to your diet as closely as possible and don't think that you can cheat by loading up on cheap junk calories. This is a real false economy. Healthy food need not be expensive … it'll just take a bit of extra planning.
Get Your Partner On-Side
For those with spouses and partners, I highly recommend you sit down with your other half and discuss your goals and what you are trying to achieve. Try to get them to understand how important this is to you and that you want them to be involved in your success. Getting them on-side like this will avoid a lot of domestic arguments, and they will often help you in your meal planning and preparation.
Buy In Bulk
Shopping the bulk section of your local store can often uncover some serious bargains helping some to save some coin.
Grains and pulses such as brown rice, oats, flaxseeds and nuts are the best things to buy in these sections as they're calorie dense foods and can often be stored for a long time at home.
Tip: if you like roasted nuts (I love 'em!) Then it is sometimes cheaper to buy them unroasted, and then roast them yourself at home.
Buying in bulk means you can store extra stuff in your freezer until you need it. You may also find that cooking up big batches of food like chili and then freezing it in small portions is a good way to save money and prepare your meals ahead of time.
Cheaper Ingredients Are Just As Good
This brings us on to the kinds of foods to buy. While we'd all love to feast on fillet steak and venison every day it's just not practical.
There are plenty of other good muscle building protein-rich foods that are a lot cheaper.
Try opting for chicken, minced beef, canned tuna and canned salmon.
You can save money by buying eggs in bulk too. Don't opt for the super cheap ones as they are often battery-farmed and are of poor quality, not to mention questionable animal welfare.
Local farmers and markets often sell mis-shapen eggs at a massive discount since they can't really sell them on anywhere else. You can sometimes get 50% off the usual price.
Nut butters can be cheaper than whole nuts and still contain plenty of healthy fats.
Grains like oats and brown rice along with pulses like lentils can be super cheap and great sources of energy-producing carbs.
Can You Reduce Your Cardio?
Since the key to building muscle mass is to put your body into a calorie surplus and take on more calories than you burn, a simple way to help you achieve this with less expense is to look at your daily activity and see if there is anyway that you can reduce it.
Are you doing a lot of cardio and other physical activity besides your muscle building routine? Perhaps there is a way you can reduce it and thereby reduce your calorie needs. I'm not saying become a couch potato, you have to be sensible about it, but this could be a trick that you may not have thought of, and a simple change could help you save some extra cash.