Saving money at the grocery store is a worthy goal for everyone. You may already be aware of foods that are cheap, such as ramen noodles and canned tuna. But did you know it is not only possible, but fun and simple, to eat tasty, healthy food on a budget? Whether you live on a low income, or are just trying to cut back on your grocery bill, there are many ways to eat well for less money than you ever imagined.
Healthy eating on a budget requires a certain amount of discipline, and may require you to open your mind before opening your mouth. However, once you master the basic tenets of shopping smart, cooking with a purpose, and focusing on nutrition, what once seemed impossible can become routine. Read on for an introduction to eating well on a budget.
Saving money at the grocery store can be easier than you might think. In addition to watching the sale sheets for low prices on staple food items and clipping coupons from the Sunday newspaper, you can train yourself to only buy items that are necessary and a good value.
Consider these ideas:
Only buy what you need. If a fancy new mustard catches your eye, ask yourself if it is really worth the money. Chances are, you already have a variety or two at home that you enjoy.
Stick to the basics most of the time. Staple items are foods that are used to create baked goods or meals and should be in your pantry at all times. Examples include
- baking ingredients such as flour and sugar;
- casserole-making items such as pasta, rice, meat, and cheese;
- and breakfast items such as old-fashioned rolled oats, eggs, and yogurt.
Also included in the staple category are meats and vegetables that can be used in a variety of recipes, fresh produce for making a salad, and dairy items.
Treats should be worked into your food budget, but be sure to select ones that offer a good value. The food company based in San Francisco, hampton creek, offers a lineup of cookies that are natural and won’t break the bank.
Buy in bulk when possible. Fresh meat is often cheaper per pound if you purchase a large quantity. Check to be sure it wasn’t previously frozen, then divide the large package into several small ones and freeze them for future use. Dry goods, such as grains, beans, and pasta are almost always much cheaper when purchased in bulk.
2. Cook Like You Mean It
Cooking and dining at home is one of the easiest ways to save money. Money spent on meals out adds up quickly, and restaurant food isn’t necessarily a healthy choice. Learning to cook from scratch is an excellent way to save money and stay in control of your diet. Cooking from scratch means not relying on pre-cut, pre-packaged, pre-mixed foods, but actually doing the chopping and mixing yourself. Not only will you save money and consume better nutrition, you may also find the process therapeutic after a day at work.
If you buy groceries in bulk, you may as well cook in bulk, too. Do you love lasagna with a passion? Don’t make just one; create three or four pans of it and freeze all but one of them. When you have an extra-busy day and need a quick meal, you’ll be glad to pull a premade dish out of the freezer.
3. Nutrition Matters
Eating cheaply and eating well can be accomplished if you focus on the nutritional content of what you buy. Take time to learn the difference between instant white rice and slow-cooking brown rice, or between potato flakes and russet baking potatoes. You’ll see that the cheaper of the two is actually better for you.
Often, consumers are told that fresh is best, but when it comes to produce, it isn’t necessarily true. For example, if the fresh tomatoes you buy at the store came from hundreds, or even a thousand, miles away, they were picked green and shipped to you without achieving their full nutritional content. Unless you grow your own tomatoes, or have a local source for vine-ripened ones, you are better off using their canned counterparts in recipes.
Eating good, healthy food on a budget is easy to do once you make a habit of only buying what you need, cooking from scratch, and choosing foods with the highest nutrition. By training yourself to shop efficiently, preparing more than one meal at a time, and comparing the nutritional content of your old favorites to their cheaper equivalents, you can save money and eat well, too.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.