Recently, the economic situation has not been easy in any part of the world, which is why it is important to try to save money, including cutting down on food spending. Finding good quality food within a budget is possible; you just have to plan ahead and keep your spending on groceries within your budget.
It is easy to get food at a lesser cost if you have a plan. Preparing healthy and nutritious meals can be part of your family’s diet, and it does not have to be expensive.
We have collected some tips that will help you manage your spending, so you eat healthily and on a budget:
Shopping for your Groceries
- Plan ahead what you are going to buy. Check the sales ads, cut out coupons and think about what meals you are going to cook for the week. There are often bulk sales that will allow you save a lot of money in the long run.
- Write down a list. Once you have your menu for the week, decide on the ingredients you will need to prepare these meals. Check your supplies and see which of the ingredients you already have at home; then write down everything you don’t have on a list and stick to it! *Add everything you will need for the week – drinks, deserts, meals and snacks. *Do not forget all the ingredients you will need for preparation such as flour, spices, butter etc. *Add everything you need for cleaning your home.
- Clip discount coupons for items you need now. Take only the coupons you are planning to use to the store and do not buy more items than you need for your household.
- Have a meal or at least a small snack before going to the store to buy groceries. If you are hungry while shopping, you are very likely to put in your shopping cart items which you have not written down on your shopping list. *If you are going to buy some groceries after work and have not had lunch or dinner yet, you can take along fruit or another light snack.
- When you enter the store, take a cart and buy items that are placed on the store’s perimeter. Most stores place the healthiest foods on the perimeter – fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk and dairy, freshly cut meat, fish and poultry. The items placed in the center of the stores are dry, processed foods, canned foods and other less healthy food choices.
- Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. Seasonal produce is cheaper, healthier and has spent less time in getting from the farms to the stores. If you do not like the available seasonal fruit and vegetables, buy some other produce that is currently on special offer. *Buy produce that is packed in large bags as long as the price is reasonable. Usually fruit and vegetables packed this way are cheaper per pound.
- Buy generic or store brands. Most stores have their own brands, which are cheaper and taste almost the same as the other, more expensive brands.
Other Strategies to Eat Healthy Food on a Budget
- Make sandwiches or snacks if you are planning to take a short trip with your family. Buying food from vending machines or fast food places is not always cheap. Take some fresh fruit and vegetables – not only they are healthier, but they taste much better than the bags of unhealthy food you can find in vending machines.
- Eat at home as often as possible. This way you know exactly what the ingredients are and how the food is prepared. A nice homemade meal is cheap, healthy and delicious. *Restaurant portions are normally massive, and if you eat all of it you will consume more calories than your body needs at one meal.
- Your drinks should also be good for your health. Once you make the decision to eat healthily on a budget, you should also take a look at what you are drinking. Most soda drinks are packed with sugar and are very unhealthy. On top of that, they are also expensive. *If you buy juice, buy organic, 100% pure juice. *Low fat milk is not only healthier, but costs less than the normal kind. *Water is the best drink, and is free. *Limit soda drinks; even sport drinks are not too good a choice.
Implement these ideas and soon your healthy eating will be something you really enjoy. At the same time, you will save money by doing it. You will most likely spend more time on food preparation, but if you convince your family to be part of it, you will have many happy moments together preparing your dinner!