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Eating Well on a Budget

Posted by on Sep. 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 43 Replies

The excuse many people make for not eating healthfully is that it's too expensive. But it doesn't have to be, if you plan well, shop well and are willing to trade a little time for savings.

1) Skip convenience foods. I know it is so tempting after a long day to grab a frozen meal, open a few cans, or call for takeout. But that stuff is generally way more expensive than making your own food, and if you are willing to give it a little time on weekends, you can make great freezer meals for those nights you just cannot stand the idea of cooking. You can even start a freezer club with friends, where you all exchange a number of freezer meals so no one gets bored or has to cook all. that. stuff.

2) Rethink meat. Try meatless Mondays. Even meat and potatoes people tend to like Tex/Mex-ish flavors, for example, and you can whip up a batch of veggie chili or black bean enchiladas that costs a few dollars per serving, at most, and tastes delightful (beans are the go-to for cheap protein in my house). And if you just can't skip meat in these dishes, you absolutely can stretch a pound of hamburger into a hearty dinner and leftovers the next day.

3) Buy in bulk. Many health food stores and ethnic markets have a bulk food section where you can buy just what you need for a recipe. Whole Foods might get called Whole Paycheck for a reason, but it's actually a great choice for bulk grains, spices and more because you can spend just a few cents for the exact amount of a spice you need for a recipe versus buying the whole bottle for $5.

4) Accept less than perfection. Buy baked goods and produce from the "manager's special" racks. They might be less than lovely and you'll need to eat them right away (or freeze them) but it can be a great way to save bucketloads of money on stuff you'd buy anyway if you look there first. Alternatively, shop the farmer's market at the end of the day....the farmers might be wiling to cut you a deal so they don't need to truck all that perishable food back home.

5) Don't forget coupons! Yes, there are coupons available for healthy food, but you have to dig (and sometimes give up a little personal info). Mambo Sprouts (which appears to have been taken over by Coupons.com) is great, and there's a huge list from Mother Nature Nature Network of natural food manufactuers that offer coupons on their sites. Combine these with sales from your local grocery store and you can save a bunch.

How do you save money on eating healthfully?

Image ©IStockPhoto.com

by on Sep. 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
taniamorse85
by Bronze Member on Sep. 11, 2013 at 5:05 AM

The main grocery store I go to has "manager's specials" in every department.  I go to those racks before any others.  I've never had any problems with them, and I've gotten some incredible deals on them.

Lauren486
by Lauren on Sep. 11, 2013 at 5:56 AM

Great tips!  Coupons are not easy to come by over here but at least the commissary has started a coupon program.  Every little helps.

I enjoy making meatless meals but DH usually complains and returns for a second dinner later in the evening on meatless days.  I think I will have to find a recipe for black bean enchiladas, as that is something he would like. 

Lauren486
by Lauren on Sep. 11, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Hitting up the farmers market at the end of the day is a great tip.  Around here the fruit and veg is packed in bowls and they often offer them for £1 a bowl at the end of the day. 

I have started using a produce delivery service.  I can't decide if it is costing us more or less yet.  Price wise it is about the same I would pay in town and that includes delivery. They also include things I otherwise would not buy.  I do find the veggies especially stretch through more meals and make me think of better meal plans. 

michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Sep. 11, 2013 at 6:48 AM

Great tips!

Meatless dinners are a no-go in this house.  We don't eat beans....it's grounds for divorce  LOL

We don't eat grains or much dairy, and eliminating those foods sure cut out a lot of our food costs.  I add a lot more veggies (and we do eat some cheese and real butter) which add back to food costs, so the change of unhealthfully to healthfully didn't really affect our grocery budget very much.


TerriC
by Bronze Member on Sep. 11, 2013 at 7:07 AM

I am always looking on line and in newspapers for coupons and do check the managers specials.

TerriC
by Bronze Member on Sep. 11, 2013 at 7:08 AM

 I like the idea of going to the Farmers Markets at the end of the day!


Quoting Lauren486:

Hitting up the farmers market at the end of the day is a great tip.  Around here the fruit and veg is packed in bowls and they often offer them for £1 a bowl at the end of the day. 

I have started using a produce delivery service.  I can't decide if it is costing us more or less yet.  Price wise it is about the same I would pay in town and that includes delivery. They also include things I otherwise would not buy.  I do find the veggies especially stretch through more meals and make me think of better meal plans. 


 

Peachy34500
by Gold Member on Sep. 11, 2013 at 7:11 AM
Coupons
sukainah
by on Sep. 11, 2013 at 7:59 AM

These are good tips.  I usually try to hit the manager's specials.

matt_sara_mom
by Member on Sep. 11, 2013 at 8:06 AM

We have recently cut out most processed foods and after a few weeks of adjusting we have started to spend much less on groceries. I still don't want to cook some nights but I have made it a point to always make enough for a leftover night to cover those nights. 

  I find making my own baked goods is a huge cost cutter. Now if only a loaf of bread would turn out less like a brick


Mom2jngnc
by Member on Sep. 11, 2013 at 8:33 AM

We will eat beans but meatless dinners are still grounds for divorce.

Quoting michiganmom116:

Great tips!

Meatless dinners are a no-go in this house.  We don't eat beans....it's grounds for divorce  LOL

We don't eat grains or much dairy, and eliminating those foods sure cut out a lot of our food costs.  I add a lot more veggies (and we do eat some cheese and real butter) which add back to food costs, so the change of unhealthfully to healthfully didn't really affect our grocery budget very much.



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