Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy can be very expensive, but it doesn't have to be...it shouldn't be! Half of my salary goes to student loans, so I get the most out of every dollar. These are some of the things I do.

1. Clip coupons!
a. I will ONLY buy a Sunday paper if the VALUE of HEALTHY food coupons exceeds the cost of the paper. If the paper contains many eligible coupons, I will buy more than one. I also buy other Sunday papers using the same guidelines to get the best deals. In my town, I have to get to the grocery store customer service counter at 8am on the dot, Sunday morning, in order to get the oh-so-coveted newspaper The Record.
b. Clip online. I do use Coupon.com, but I prefer Afullcup.com where I can search for printable coupons for the brands I want.

2. Watch Sales
a. Scan supermarket flyers and make your grocery list using them as a baseline. If the sales (and/or paper coupons) are crappy that week, I will only buy enough to get me by.
b. Combine supermarket sales with coupons. I search afullcup.com for items I know are on sale.
c. Buy seasonal fruits and veggies. Visit farmstands. Freezing berries bought buy one get one free with the freezer bags you only ended up paying 25 cents a box for ends up being much cheaper than hitting up the frozen fruit section.

3. Don't go hungry! I carry almonds in my purse for such occasions.

4. Measure your portions! This has saved me an amazing amount of money. I bought Jennie-O Turkey Ham buy one get one free, froze one and I've been using the other for countless meals. I like to measure my food in grams because I tend to be more liberal when going by cups, chips, slices, et cetera. When you're not eating more than you need to, it just follows that your food will last you much longer.

5. Don't buy more than you need. Try to plan at least a few meals. Know what you'll be eating. I hate throwing food away and it can be quite tempting to eat more than you might have planned because you don't want to see something go bad. This happened to me a lot with lettuce. I'm not big on salads, but I know I should eat them, so I used to always buy lettuce at the grocery store and every week I'd be tossing it in the garbage can. Now I either plan it into a meal (although I might change my mind) or I don't buy it.

6. Get creative! Try new recipes using food in your fridge and cabinets. I like allrecipes.com because it allows you to search for a recipe using ingredients you have on hand and you can always health-ify them.

7. Eating out! Although I can't remember the last time I paid for a breakfast, lunch or dinner out (sorry honey), I try to help save us some money by using coupons from newspapers, mailings, or the phonebook.

I'm sure there are others that I'm either not aware of or don't put into practice. Share your tips if you like :). I was inspired to do this when cooking dinner tonight. YUMMmmm. A deliciously cheap, 300 calorie black bean quesadilla.

1 comment:

here4megs said...

It is amazing to me that eating healthy isn't cheaper than eating crap all the time.
I am amazed at the prices of the stuff that is "good for you" all the time. Lots of good free advice here on how to save while trying to eat better.
Nothing wrong with not paying for your meals that you eat out. You cook while at home, why should you have to pay when you go out as well? That doesn't seem fair. hehe