10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Do you want to eat more nutritiously, but don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on costly fruits and vegetables? If the answer is yes, keep reading!

There’s no argument that it’s often cheaper to buy groceries that aren’t the best for your body. Most processed foods can be purchased at less than a dollar a serving, which can be a hard price to beat when you’re shopping in the fresh food aisles of your local supermarket.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t eat good for you foods when you’re on a budget. You can; you just need to shop a little differently. Here are ten easy ways for you to increase the nutritional value in your foods without breaking the piggy bank to do it:

1. Pay attention to sales

You know those pesky newspaper flyers that fill up your mailbox that you just chuck in the recycle bin the moment you get them in the house? Those are called “sales” and they can actually save you money if you look at them.

See what fruits, veggies, meats and other healthy foods your local grocers are offering at a discount price and plan your weekly menu around them. And, compare the sale flyers amongst the different stores. Maybe one in particular comes in cheaper than most of the others on a regular basis so you may want to change where you normally shop.

2. Use coupons

woman coupons

Along with paying attention to sales, you also want to note the coupons you receive. Often they coincide with sales that the stores are running and you can get items for close to nothing (and sometimes free if you work it just right).

This may mean that you stock up on some things that you don’t need right away, but that’s okay as long as you’ll use them in the future. Save now instead of spending more later.

3. Sign up for their rewards programs

A lot of supermarkets offer excellent rewards programs if you sign up to be a member. Not only do you get to take advantage of their lower prices in most cases, but they also send you special offers that may cut your grocery bill even more.

Yes, it can be bothersome to get additional junk mail, but if it can save you a few bucks isn’t it worth it? If you want to save money bad enough, you’ll overlook having to sift through a few more pieces of paper or email (that may actually keep more cash in your wallet if you look at them, remember).

4. Look for goods close to expiration

This is kind of a fine line, but you can stay on the right side of it if you’re careful. The best foods that this works for are meats. You can buy them at discounted rates because they’re close to expiration and just freeze them to use later. No problem.

Items you’re not going to want to buy close to expiration are your dairy products; milks, cheeses and yogurts. There’s no way to keep those, so pay attention to those dates and buy the furthest from expiration that you can.

5. Prepare the food yourself

woman preparing food

It’s awful tempting to buy veggies and fruits already cut up because, for most people, it’s a job that isn’t fun to do. However, if you take the time to prepare the foods you buy yourself, you can save double if not triple (or more).

And, make sure you do it right when you get home. Don’t be the person that buys a lot of healthy food and then has to throw it out because it sat in the veggie crisper untouched. If you cut it up immediately and make it easy to grab, you’re more likely to actually eat it when you get hungry.

6. Buy in bulk

Another money-saving trick is to buy in bulk. While you may initially be spending some extra cash, you’re able to purchase the food at a reduced rate per portion so, in the end, you save.

Most supermarkets have the price stickers on the shelves that show you how much you’re paying for each unit. Pay attention to those and try to get your healthy foods at the lowest rate per unit possible.

7. Choose generic brands versus name brands

If you have an absolute preference in regard to a food and will eat nothing other than one particular brand, that’s okay. Buy that brand. But, if you have no preference, choose a generic option over a name brand and save yourself some money.

When you look at most ingredient lists on similar products, they’re usually pretty much the same. So, if you’re not losing anything by choosing the one that costs the least and don’t mind the taste, why wouldn’t you?

8. Take a list and stick to it

This is huge when it comes to saving on your grocery bill. How many times have you walked into the store with three items on your list and walked out with a cart that is heaping full, wondering what happened? Don’t beat yourself up; most everyone out there knows how you feel.

Stores make a lot of money on customers who make impulse buys. That’s why they put the most expensive foods at eye level. They know that you’re likely to purchase the first one you see.

Don’t play their game and give them more of your hard earned money than you have to. Take your list and make yourself stick to it. It may be hard while you’re in the market surrounded by all that food you just “have to have”, but you’ll feel better once you hit the doors on the way out and know that you kept your wallet intact.

9. Buy home grown

If you live in an area where local farmers and growers sell their goods roadside, you can often get them for far less than you’ll pay in a store. And, they’re generally better quality (not to mention fresher).

Take the time to stop at one of these stands and at least see if there is anything that interests you. Besides, doesn’t it feel good to put your dollars in someone else’s hands versus in the cash register at a big chain store?

10. Grow your own

You can also save money by growing some of your own healthy foods at home. Of course, you may have space and seasonal limitations, but if you’ve got a green thumb and a back yard or patio, then you may just want to give it a shot. Plus, it’s kind of fun to eat foods that you got to watch grow from a seed to a fully ripened bundle of fresh, juicy vitamins and minerals.

So, there you have it – ten ways to stretch your grocery dollar so you can eat healthy without putting yourself in the poor house. No more excuses. Get foods that are good for you today so you can live a long and prosperous tomorrow.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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