It is well known that healthy and fresh foods are expensive and junk foods cost less. What is the best way to eat healthy while sticking to a frugal budget? Here are some tips that I personally follow in order to keep my diet healthy and still have money left to pay the bills:
1. Cook at home
The healthiest and biggest money saving tip you can follow. Going out to eat has become a popular American pastime despite its reputation for high prices and high calories. You will be doing a huge favor to your body and wallet by investing the time to plan, shop, and cook and home. Save that restaurant trip for special occasions only and limit eating out to once or twice a month if possible. Prepare what you can from scratch.
2. Buy produce that’s in season
Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy and expensive. To get the best deal buy the items that are in season because grocery stores are usually trying to sell them quickly and cheaply before they go bad. To find out what produce is in season in your state during a particular month, check out this site to guide you. Try to buy produce that is ripe enough to eat now and some that is not so ripe to eat later in the week. This will reduce spoilage and keep you from throwing away wasted food (and money!).
3. Buy in bulk
Buying foods from the bulk bins that do not include packaging is a great way to save money. It is also better for the environment. This also goes for produce- stay away from pre-cut and packaged items, buy the whole fruit or vegetable and cut it yourself at home.
Caution: if you have food allergies or severe food intolerances it is not recommended to buy foods in bulk bins for risk of cross contamination.
4. Buy less meat
Meat is one of the most expensive grocery items you can buy. Cutting back on meat portion sizes or adding a few vegetarian entrees to your week will definitely make a difference in your grocery bill. Plus eating more plant based foods is an excellent way to boost your health!
5. Shop on weekends
Or whichever day you have off and are most free. When we are busy and tired, we are much less likely to have the energy to plan, shop, and prepare a healthy meal. A well-stocked kitchen will make cooking a lot easier during a hectic work week.
6. Use coupons wisely
The coupon craze has received lots of attention for its money saving capabilities. The downfall is that coupons are usually for foods you typically do not eat or are for less than healthy foods. Don’t let the coupons decide what you will be eating for dinner this week. Stick to a plan and only use coupons for the foods you already intended to buy.