6 tips for eating healthy on a budget!
The biggest thing I hear from people is how they want to eat healthy but it’s too expensive. I used to think the same way until we decided to change our habits and focus on eating healthy on our budget. Once we committed to do whatever it takes to gain control of our budget, we started to dramatically slash our grocery budget. We went from spending $800 a month on groceries to $400 for our family of 5!
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How did we do it?
We followed these 6 simple tips:
1. Eat out of your pantry
How many times have you gone to your pantry or refrigerator and said, “I have nothing to eat?” This has happened to me so many times and then has led me to head out to the grocery store, get some fast food or eat out.
Most of us spend more money eating out than anything else! The best tip I ever got was to spend one whole week a month ONLY eating out of your pantry. For you, it might make more sense to just do it for a few days a time, depending on what your pantry looks like now.
If you go to your pantry and really look at what you have, I guarantee that you will be able to make some healthy meals. They might not be the most exciting meals and you might get tired of eating rice, beans, and tuna but if you do this a few days a month you will save so much money.
When I do this for a full week, I only buy the produce I need and then make sure to just eat the right portion sizes of what I already have.
- Meal Plan
Every Saturday, I sit down and spent 30 minutes creating our meal plan for the family. I plan out what we will have for each meal and all of our snacks. This helps me save when I go to the store because I am more focused.
I start with meals made out of what I already have in the house and then go from there. Next, I take my meal plan and create my grocery list and am very specific about the quantity I need. I only buy what’s on my list when I go to the store and don’t allow myself to buy any impulse buys. This helps me stay healthy AND on my budget!
3. Utilize the farmer’s markets
A lot of people talk about how eating healthy is expensive but that is true only if you aren’t smart about it. Find your local farmer’s markets and eat what is in season.
In the fall, apples tend to be cheaper. In the winter, broccoli and squash are where it’s at. Depending on where you live the summer is full of fresh berries that you can get for a cheap price. Find a market near you and shop there for your produce. Not only will it be less expensive but it will be local and better for the environment.
4. Be Boring
One thing I will share is that I eat almost the same thing daily. I have about 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinner meals that I put into my rotation. At first I thought this would really get boring but I have found that it helps me stay on track and saves me money.
If you are making a different dinner nightly, then you need to have on hand a bunch of ingredients. If you choose to make 3 dishes a week, you can make enough the first time to just heat up the next time. If you aren’t big on leftovers, you can do the same thing but just make it fresh.
5. Buy Whole Foods
Many times people say it costs more to eat healthy because they are buying convenience foods. When you shop, shop the perimeter of the grocery store and avoid the aisles.
Just because something says ‘fat free’ doesn’t mean it’s healthier for you. A box of organic cookies will cost you $5.99 but if you use whole foods to cook your own they will cost around $1.50 for the same amount. The less convenience foods you buy, the better your body (and wallet) will feel!
6. Buy in Bulk
Most weeks I do my shopping at bulk and wholesale stores because it winds up being so much cheaper. We will sometimes get produce there, as long as I have it planned to use during the week so it doesn’t go bad.
Things such as eggs, milk, and nuts are so much cheaper in bulk. Most health food stores also have a bulk section where you can get rice, wheat, and nuts at a cheaper price.
Hope these tips help you on your start to a healthier and more financial savvy you! Remember, eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank! You will find when you eat healthier you can save money not only on groceries bills but in future doctor bills!