Money Saving Hacks That Won’t Throw You Off Track From Healthy Eating
Hello there and happy Friday! It’s your BFF (balanced fit foodie) here to help ya save some money. As a graduate student, you could imagine I don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to my budget, and that means a tight grocery limit. It can be daunting to try to eat healthy sometimes when all these new trendy “health” foods like gluten free products, energy bars, and miracle drinks (to name a few) are filling the shelves, accompanied with intimidatingly high price tags. At first, fresh produce, lean meats and other “healthy” foods might seem so much more expensive than all the easy mac, frozen pizza, and potato chips. But I promise that if you’re smart about it, eating healthy can actually come out a lot cheaper than buying all that junk on the shelves.
You don’t need to shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or raid the overpriced gluten free section to eat healthy. If you focus on buying whole, REAL food (not all that processed, boxed, packaged, stuff) both your body and your wallet will thank you. I’ve decided to share a few little tricks that I’ve learned over the years that come in handy when you’re watching what you spend. Whether you’re a student, new professional, or parent trying to feed a family, these tips are bound to help you stick to your healthy goals without breaking the bank.
If you read my last post about meal prepping, you should not be surprised to see this as number one on the list. Planning ahead is going to be the key 100% of the time in saving you money on your grocery bill. I cannot stress this enough. If you take nothing else away from this post, I hope you remember this one point. Making a grocery list before you go to the store and sticking to it will prevent you from spending extra money on items that you don’t need. On a side note from that, eating before you go to the store will limit those tempting purchases that weren’t on your list–don’t let hanger get the best of you!
If you want to take it a step further, menu planning/meal prepping will not only help save you money on groceries, but it will prevent you from succumbing to the convenience of fast food or dining out (which in turn usually saves you $$ too). If you have no idea how to meal prep, follow or subscribe to my blog for weekly menu and meal prep ideas, or send me a message! And if you have no idea how to cook anything other than pasta, then just start super simple and work your way up… because in the long run, cooking and preparing your own food is going to be a lot cheaper than buying lots of packaged and prepared foods; plus, your body will definitely thank you.
Utilize your freezer
Now I don’t mean buy a bunch of lean cuisines and skillet meals from the freezer section.
Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh veggies but they are usually much cheaper for the same volume and they don’t go bad. You can get blends that incorporate many varieties of veggies for an extra vitamin and mineral kick that would be really expensive with fresh veggies! Be sure not to go for the cheesy and saucy options though; get the plain veggies and season them yourself.
Another way to utilize your freezer is for meats/poultry/fish. Try to get bulk amounts of fresh meat/etc when it is on sale and then store it in your freezer. Often pre-frozen packaged meats are more processed and have added sodium and preservatives, but they can be sufficient if your budget is really tight.
The same idea applies for bread. You can buy loaves of fresh or whole wheat bread when they are on sale and store them in your freezer.
Buy store brands and find bargains
Store brands are almost always cheaper than name brands and are usually an essentially identical product, so choose store brands when available!
Now let’s talk bargain hunting. First of all, you could just look for sales within the store. An even more productive strategy is to look at the local ads ahead of time to inform yourself about the sales/promotions at varying grocery stores. And then of course there are always coupons! Lastly, many grocery stores offer some type of reward/saver card. It is usually some sort of free system that you sign up for and get a little card to scan each time you check out and it has some benefit such as providing you with deals you wouldn’t be able to get without the card or building up points to get rewards
I hope that some of these tips are helpful. What are some other tricks that you use to save money while staying healthy? Leave comments and let me know!! Thanks for reading; if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to comment or contact me using the contact button at the top of the page. Have a great weekend everyone!