I often hear that it’s almost impossible to eat healthy on a budget. It does seem tough at first, especially if you’re used to buying prepackaged convenience foods. It is possible to eat healthy, however, without breaking the bank. I’ve developed some strategies for saving money without sacrificing my healthy habits.
- Shop the sales. Read your local supermarket’s sale circular and purchase the healthy options that you enjoy while they’re on sale. Plan your meals for the week around the sale items you purchased.
- Use coupons. Most grocery stores have a loyalty card and send extra coupons for the items you frequently purchase. Check out the coupons for the week and use what you can. You’d be amazed how much you can save.
- Know the unit price. There are two prices listed on the shelf, the actual price and the unit price. The unit price is the actual cost per serving and that’s how you determine which brand is more economical.
- Buy the store brand. The store brand generally tastes the same but is cheaper since they aren’t spending money on advertising.
- Buy in bulk. I will double up on chicken and other meats when they’re on sale and stick them in the freezer. When seasonal vegetables and fruits are on sale I buy extra and freeze them to use later on. If your store has bulk bins for grains, nuts, etc., shop there as well. No packaging makes it a cheaper buy.
- Buy what’s in season. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are cheaper than those that are out of season. In the fall apples will be much cheaper than strawberries. Asparagus is cheaper in the spring and fall than in the winter and summer months.
- Stretch your meat. Adding beans to your meat dish, making a stir fry or stew lets you stretch the amount of meat you purchased. Vegetables and beans are less expensive and add nutrients to your meal.
- Skip the convenience foods. Sure, pre-chopped veggies save you time but you pay dearly for the time save. Spend a few minutes chopping the vegetables yourself. Make your own soups and freeze them in individual containers, rather than buying cans of soup.
- Repurpose your leftovers. A roast chicken can be eaten one night, used for tacos another night, and used for soup a third night. Do you have leftover brown rice? Make a stir fry with it another night. Using your leftovers in different ways lets you finish them up without becoming bored.
- Cook in bulk. Making soup or chili? Make enough to freeze leftovers. Making chicken breast? Cook extra and freeze unused portions. You’ll have foods for nights when you don’t feel like cooking and save money on ordering out. They can also be used for grab and go lunches.
- Buy less expensive cuts of meat. Less expensive cuts can be tougher but cooking them in the crock pot or slow roasting them makes them tender and juicy.
- Buy whole grains. Whole grains are another great way to stretch a meal. They are generally inexpensive, full of vitamins and minerals plus the fiber keeps you full longer.
- Go meatless. Pick a day or two to skip the meat altogether. Lentils, black beans, and chick peas are all delicious and healthy alternatives to a meat based dish.
- Shop a discount store. Do you have a discount grocery store, such as Aldi’s? The no frills approach can help you save big. You many not find everything you want but you’ll save money on many staples.
- Meal prep. Having the healthy foods in the house doesn’t do you any good if you don’t use them. Take a few hours one day to prep your meals for the week ahead. It will save you time and money during the week.
What are your tips for saving money on a budget?
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