Eating healthy does not have to mean expensive grocery bills. Here are some of my favorite tips for eating healthy on a budget!
1. Plan Ahead- Make a grocery list and stick to it. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to plan what you need before you get to the store. That way you are not tempted to buy things that you don’t need.
2. Be Prepared- Pack your lunches, snacks, and eat before you go out. When you pack your own food you prevent yourself from over eating, you always know what is in your food, and you save time and money!
3. Buy in Bulk- There are times when it is smart to buy in bulk. One example is discounted meat. If you look for discounts on meat and buy it in big batches, you can store it in your freezer until you are ready to use it. It is also smart to buy products in bulk that you use a lot. For example, if you use a lot of lettuce, look for one large bag, and compare the price to two smaller bags. Chances are, buying more of something that you will use will save you money in the long run.
4. Buy Frozen- If you think you won’t be able to use something up before it spoils such as fruit or vegetables, buy them frozen. Not only will this save you money, but it will prevent you from throwing money away on spoiled groceries.
5. Buy In-Season Produce- Food grown in season is not only more affordable, but it also tastes better. Look for root vegetables in the winter, apples, potatoes, and squash in the fall, and broccoli and berries in the summer. Farmers markets may also have a better deal on produce than grocery stores.
6. Buy Generic- Name brands often have increased prices due to the packaging and advertising costs.
7. Be Selective with Organic- If you can afford to shop at Whole Foods, and/or buy all of your groceries from the organic foods section at your grocery store, that is wonderful! However, if you are on a tight budget, buying everything organic can add up quickly. Instead of buying all organic, I suggest being selective with what you buy organic, and for the rest of your groceries, look for products with as few 'added' ingredients as possible. For fruits and veggies, spend the money to buy "dirty dozen" in the organic section. I also suggest spending the extra money to buy organic meat, and if you happen to find it on sale, buy it in bulk and freeze it. And last but not least, I recommend buying organic dairy products if possible. I also suggest looking for a Trader Joes near you when it comes to buying organic, because they tend to have the best prices.
8. Get the Customer Card & Clip Coupons- Many grocery stores hold sales and specials for customer card holders only. Signing up for these costumer cards are often free and only take a few moments. Also, sign up for newsletters about sales and deals at the stores you frequently shop at. Investing a few minutes clipping and/or printing coupons each week can save you a lot of money on groceries.
9. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle- Don’t spend money on soft drinks, juices, or bottled water. Instead invest in a few nice water bottles and refill them. Not only will this save you money, but it will save you tons of sugar and calories!
10. Get Creative with Leftovers- If you happen to have leftovers of some of your ingredients, don’t throw them away. Instead, put them to good use and get creative by putting them into a different recipe, or freeze them if possible.