Food costs can make up a large portion of your monthly budget, especially if there are a lot of fast food options or you eat out. When money is tight, many people rely on prepackaged meals that aren’t good for their bodies.
Poor eating habits can lead to more frequent illnesses, which in turn adds an additional cost in the form medical care. You are not really saving any money. There is an alternative. You can eat well and spend less. Although it takes some extra effort and time, the results are well worth it. Although you may have to forgo regular restaurant meals, you might find enough savings to allow you to indulge in the occasional treat.
7. Plan Your Meals
Planning is the cornerstone of any savings plan. The first step in any savings goal is to set a budget and do the research necessary to make it work. This means looking through weekly circulars at your local stores and creating a meal plan that uses items on sale. It’s also a good idea to stock up on your pantry favorites when they are on sale.
Speaking of the pantry, make sure to look through it when you are making your meal plans. There are many items such as canned goods, dried pasta and jarred sauces that can be used as the base of a meal. You might also find some hidden treasures in your freezer. Try to use all you have.
6. Shopping strategies to be successful
There are many strategies you can use to save money when it comes time to shop. You should not shop hungry as impulse purchases will almost impossible. Be prepared with the relevant coupons. However, be aware that not all stores will have the right kind of whole food or healthy foods that you are looking for.
You can decide which items you will accept buying generic. For many items, there is very little difference other than fancy packaging. You should buy whole versions of items rather than convenience products, such as a whole block of cheese instead of a bag of pre-shredded stuff. Bulk purchases are often cheaper for foods you eat frequently. Also, produce in season is usually less expensive. These strategies will help you save more money.
5. Get Cheaper Meat
Fresh meat is usually the most expensive item on your shopping list. The next section will discuss how to cut down on the amount of meat that you purchase, but let’s assume you aren’t ready to become a vegetarian. There are many cheaper cuts of meat available that will save you money, and they are still delicious if you know how to prepare them.
Cubed beef is a good example, and it’s called stew meat. Cook it slowly for a long period of time. The crockpot can be used to cook your meal. Whole chickens are cheaper than choosing cuts. You can roast it in the oven or grill it. Like stew meat, pork shoulder is relatively cheap and can be cooked slow and low.
4. Find out more about vegetarian cooking
It’s a great way of saving money, and also better for your health. Casseroles and pasta recipes are a great way to start cooking vegetarian. You can also layer your favorite fresh vegetables into eggs, which are a great source for protein.
Beans, rice, and Quinoa are all great options to stockpile. The humble potato can also be baked, topped with cheese or any other vegetable you choose.
3. Skip junk food
Food manufacturers can get away with insane markups on junk food because they know that these foods are addictive. Snacks like chips, crackers, and cookies are delicious, as well as sugary drinks like soda, juice, or electrolyte beverages. They are not very nutritious for the amount of money they cost.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge. Popping popcorn kernels on the stove instead of buying the bagged microwave version is a great way to save money and it’s much healthier. Homemade chocolate chip cookies are much cheaper than buying them in the store. They also don’t contain any harmful preservatives. Oven baked French fries can be as delicious as fast food, but cost less per serving.
2. 2. Cook large portions of onions and use the leftovers
You were advised earlier to make bulk purchases wherever possible. Make a second batch of your favorite meals whenever you can. This saves you time and allows you to make additional meals or freeze for later use.
If you bought meat in bulk, make sure to cook all of it and then remove any that are not needed. You can use plain chicken or ground beef in many ways throughout the week, so it won’t feel like leftovers. This strategy will save you a lot of prep time throughout the week.
You can save money during the summer by growing your own vegetables. You can pick your food at its best when it’s freshest and most nutritious. You will probably have plenty of food left over in the fall that can be stored and preserved to last through winter.
You can start seeds in yogurt cups, or other containers that are similar to used yogurt cups. Seeds are cheap and easy to buy. You might be able to plant your seedlings in a community garden if you don’t own enough land.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to live on ramen noodles if you are on a tight budget. Healthy food is possible if you’re willing to spend a little more time shopping, planning, and preparing it.
Once you become comfortable with the process and begin to see the savings, you will want to make this new way of eating permanent. Why spend more than you need? You can save money on all kinds of things that make your life more fun.