Choosing foods that are healthy for the family while staying on budget may seem like a difficult combination. The good news is that a well-balanced diet that’s full of whole nutrients doesn’t have to be boring or unaffordable. Planning a menu and cooking as a family can be surprisingly cost-efficient, and it’s a great way to spend time together. In many cases, you can make several different meals for the price of one meal out. Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing all of the ingredients in your food. Once you implement these six tips for eating healthy on a budget, you may never dine out at a fast-food restaurant again.
Shop Multiple Stores to Stretch Your Budget
Shopping at one big grocery store may save you time, but it might not save you money. Prices for different foods can vary from store to store, so it’s wise to watch grocery store sales so you can stock up on items when they’re discounted. Many consumers get steep discounts by shopping at no-frills grocery stores. These stores will often make you bag your own groceries, but you’ll save money in the process.
Plan Your Meals to Save Time and Money
Meal planning is an integral part of sticking to a grocery budget. It gets very easy to opt for take-out when everyone’s hungry at dinnertime, but if you’ve planned and shopped for easy and healthy meals, it’s not so difficult to pull dinner together for the family. Some families like to do meal prep together on the weekends after they shop, which makes weekday dinners even easier and faster to prepare.
Eat Your Leftovers to Save More Time and Money
When you have leftovers from your meals, make a plan to use them before they go bad. Store your leftovers in containers in the front, center shelves of your refrigerator so you don’t forget about them. Family members might take leftovers to work or school for lunch the next day, or you can designate one night a week as leftover night, serving up all of the leftovers from other meals.
Organize Your Shopping to Fit Your Budget
As you shop for groceries, organize your cart so you keep tabs on what you’re purchasing. Place all of the ingredients you’re buying for meals together in the cart. Group staples such as eggs and milk in another area of the cart. If you’re making impulse buys, place these items together in the cart. Before you check out, take a moment to glance over your shopping cart to make sure you really want to buy everything you’ve selected. You may find that when you take a final inventory, you decide you can do without a few items.
Use Coupons to Save Hundreds of Dollars a Year
Coupons might save only a few pennies off select items, but when adding up the savings, the difference can be sizable. Check your local paper to find coupons for items you need. Regular coupon-clipping might be enough to save you a few dollars every time you buy groceries, which could add up to hundreds of dollars over a year. Don’t forget to check for in-store coupons, too.
Shop Locally to Help Your Budget, Your Health, and Your Community
Shopping within your local community has a number of benefits. When your spent dollars stay within your community, it benefits your local economy; local farmers and small-business owners make a profit, and they collect tax revenue that can be spent on things that benefit local residents, such as parks or events. Shopping locally also gives you the opportunity to interact with the people who grew or made the items, so you can learn about how these products were made. You may even be able to negotiate prices with local businesses.
Shopping smart is a big part of living within a family’s food budget. Likewise, planning ahead for the unexpected is also important. However, the sudden and expensive nature of emergency situations can be hard to cope with on a tight budget. For that reason, we are proud to offer families and individuals alternative lending solutions that can be used to make ends meet during times of financial strain. Title loans and personal loans may be a good solution to help manage unexpected financial burdens. Here are other resources, too, that can help keep your food budget in check.
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