How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
As the cost of living has increased for the masses it has made it all the more difficult to eat healthy on a budget. When strolling down the food aisles at the grocery store it can be easy to feel that eating healthy is completely unaffordable, forcing you to reach for cheaper processed foods instead. Even though it might not seem like it however, it is still possible to eat healthy even if you are on the tightest of budgets. Here are a few tips on how to eat healthy on a budget.
Plan your meals
The first and most important thing you can do is to sit down and create a weekly meal plan. Those of you who cook homemade food on a regular basis will know that if it isn’t done in a structured way, it can soon turn into quite an expensive business as you tend to waste ingredients you have bought too much of. You can also find yourself buying a variety of herbs and spices that sometimes sit in the pantry unused for years until you make a particular meal again. If you take just a little time to sit down the day before you shop to plan and cost out your weekly meals, you will soon find out which ones are the budget busters and hopefully replace them with others.
Use your Refrigerator and Freezer
Another great benefit of planning your weekly meals is that you can work out which meals can be made in bulk and saved for another day. In the same way that buying in bulk can be cost effective, cooking in bulk can be too. You just need to have a plan as to how you can cost effectively save those meals for another day.
Cut down your meat intake
I wrote a post on our sister blog Money Bulldog about this not too long ago asking whether people would consider becoming a frugaltarian, cutting out or cutting down on meat for the sake of your bank balance alone. Meat tends to take up a big chunk of many people’s weekly shopping budget so bulking meals out with more vegetables could be a good money saving idea.
When I say buy loose, I don’t mean being loose with the purse strings. Instead I mean that when buying any type of fruit or veg, in most cases it works out cheaper to buy items that haven’t already been packaged up. You can make sure of this by taking the time to do a little maths and working out the price you are being charged compared to the weight or number of items you are being given. For example, I often find that I can pick up around 10 loose bananas for the cost of around 5 or 6 pre-packaged ones.
Make use of Staples
No, I don’t mean the things you stick through paper. While staple foods like pasta, rice and potatoes aren’t as cheap as they used to be, they are still a great friend to have when you are trying to eat healthy on a budget. These staple foods can help to bulk out most meals and it’s so easy to dress them up to make each healthy meal you make interesting and exciting.
Check out Smaller Local Suppliers
When it comes to buying fruit and vegetables many of us seem to have fallen into the habit of thinking that the supermarket is the only place to go. Actually though there are still a lot of smaller grocery stores that stock local produce which can be surprisingly less expensive than supermarket stuff. It isn’t always the case but it’s certainly worth dropping into one or two of these smaller places to see if you can make some savings. It’s worth factoring in the cost of fuel to any shopping around you do though as you might find it turns into a bit of a false economy when you do.
Grow your own food
If after all of this cost cutting and shopping around you find that the cost of some of this healthy produce is still too dear, then perhaps you could consider growing some produce at home? Whether you grow a few herbs by the window, create your own vegetable patch or use a grow bag, growing your own food can be fun and satisfying. After all, food and drink always seems to taste better when it’s free (or almost free), doesn’t it? Especially when you know that it is totally organic.
So there we have just a few suggestions on how to eat healthy on a budget and feed your family for less. I hope that some of them come in useful and help you to a healthier and cheaper lifestyle.
What tips do you have for someone looking to eat healthy on a budget?