Eating Right On A Tight Budget

save money on food

A lot of clients, friends and acquaintances say to me quiet often that eating healthy is expensive. While there is some degree of truth to that statement (as you can definitely get a meal at a fast food restaurant for under $4, while you may have some difficulty getting fresh, wholesome produce for the same price), there are ways by which you can get more bang for your buck while still being able to eat healthy and not go broke. Here are a few tips that have been helpful for me personally and I hope you will find them useful as well.

Plan ahead: 

Determine your meals for the week, and compose a grocery list based on that plan. That way you are buying exactly what you need, and are less likely to make impulse purchases. If you don’t shop with a list, you’re more likely to waste money on items that you don’t really need.  

Get organized:

Want to be more efficient with your shopping? Take it one step further if you wish and organize your grocery list by similar items. This way, you’re not wandering around the store, and won’t be enticed by items you did not intend to buy. The longer you stay in the store, the greater the likelihood of going over budget.

Fill up:

Studies have shown that you are more likely to spend more money in the grocery store when you’re hungry, as opposed to when you’re satiated. Before making a grocery store trip, make sure you’re not ravenous.

Be coupon savvy:

Coupons are there to help you save money, so take advantage of them.  Be on the lookout for coupons in newspaper inserts. You can also find coupons online from websites like www.couponsuzy.com or www.coupons.com . Sunday inserts in the local paper tend give you the most bang for your buck.  Whichever source you prefer, get to clipping!

Buy store brands:

Most grocery stores have their own alternatives to brand name products.  These store brands are typically less expensive, and are comparable in terms of taste, nutrient content and appearance. Forfeiting brand name items for the store’s brand will inevitable save you some money.

Cruise for sales:

Check occasionally for sales on items that you use often. If they are shelf stable, buy in bulk so that you have a lasting supply.

Shop seasonally:

Fresh produce that is in season gives you great value for your money. For fruits and vegetables not in season, canned or frozen packages may be less expensive than if purchased fresh. Pay attention to the nutrition label and buy low/ no added sodium, and low/ no added sugar versions.

Minimize food waste:

Make sure you pay attention to the ‘use by’ and ‘sell by’ dates listed on items you purchase. Only buy the quantity of food that’s sufficient for you and your family to consume before the expiration date, or before it spoils.

Eating in: 

Even though it is easier to grab a meal on the go, it is a lot cheaper to cook your own meals than to dine out.  Pack a lunch to work/ school and save dining out for special occasions.  Make extra servings of freezable meals when possible. Your wallet will thank you for this smart move.

Make your own:

Cut back on convenience foods. Instead of relying on pre-packaged food items, take the time to make your own. For example, you can make your own pesto, shred your own cheese, and cut your own vegetables.

Go meatless:

Cutting back on your meat consumption is great for your wallet, as well as your health. Ditch meat at least for a day, and instead have dried beans, eggs, nuts, or lentils. These alternatives are inexpensive yet nutritious.

Choose whole grains:

Buy whole grains in bulk whenever possible. Experiment with bulgur, oats, brown rice and barley. This adds variety to your diet, while providing excellent nourishment.