Eat Healthy, Save Money
have you ever said to yourself “I would eat better, but it’s so expensive”?
I think we all have that inner voice that tells us things, probably because we’ve heard them so often. I’ve always heard that eating well is expensive, so I naturally believe it’s true, without actually looking into the truth behind that statement.
It’s true, if you simple go to the store and choose the organic produce, the fancy bison burgers, and all the foods you “know” to be healthy, you’ll probably end up spending more money than you could if you bought ramen and mac and cheese and the lunchables that are on sale for $1 a piece.
BUT, if you make smart choices, you can pay less, eat better, and even save time in the long run.
Step 1: MEAL PLAN I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s so important it bears repeating. If you create a plan, and stick to it, a number of things happen.
You only have to go to the store once a week (saves on gas and impulse buys).
You’re less likely to eat out since you already know what’s for dinner (big $ saver).
You can make healthy meals instead of freezer food, and even plan for using the leftover meat for another dish later in the week (big $ savers).
Step 2: Research Online Shopping Options in your Area
Many grocery stores have options for online shopping, including Safeway, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Walmart, and others. If you have a grocery store in your area that offers online shopping, I HIGHLY recommend it. I used online grocery shopping exclusively for the year and a half I lived in Virginia, and it was THE BEST. Not only did I save time wandering up and down aisles, and dealing with the challenge of shopping with my toddler, but I also saved a bunch of money, but not impulse buying anything. I literally only bought what was on my meal plan, because I never stepped foot in the store to see what looked delicious and tempted me when I was feeling rushed, hungry, and-or frustrated with the crowds.
Step 3: PREP & FREEZE I know it can be challenging to make a fresh, home cooked meal every day. I get it. I’m driving to gymnastics, ballet, swim class, church praise band, and doctors appointments in the afternoons. That’s why when I plan, I make it a point to buy double ingredients for our favorite meals, cook a double batch, and put the extra in the freezer. OR, if it’s a casserole, I’ll make 2, pop 1 in the over for dinner and the other in the freezer for a night when I don’t have time to cook. That way, when I am having a crazy day, I can text my husband and ask him to pop the buffalo chicken and spaghetti squash casserole in the oven instead of popping a Digiorno in the oven.
Step 4: Plan for leftoversAs you spend more time planning and cooking, you’ll begin to learn your family’s habits, and how much extra your recipes will give you. I plan at least one day a week as leftovers night. This is a night “off” for me, and my family still gets a home cooked meal, albeit cooked a couple days ago. 😂 Don’t let leftovers go into the trash. Save time and money, and get those leftovers EATEN!
Bonus Tip: Use coupons carefully! Coupons can be awesome, but only if you use them wisely. Make sure that the foods you’re buying with coupons are foods you would buy otherwise, and match your meal plan. Avoid the lure of “amazing” deals, if it’s food that neither you or your family need in the house in the first place. Saving money on cookies doesn’t make them any healthier. Also, check out money saving apps like Cartwheel for Target, your local grocery store for easy deals that require no coupon clipping, and ibotta, which works with many retailers to give you cash back for the things you were actually going to buy anyway. Here’s a link for you to check it out and get a $10 welcome bonus.
What are your favorite ways to eat healthy on a budget? Comment below, or join the conversation on Facebook.