Today, the word ‘cheap’ has become synonymous with poor quality. It has become a synonym for shoddy goods and services. However, this is not always the case. Cheaper does not always mean inferior in quality. In fact, there are ways to eat cheap without sacrificing your taste buds or health. The key to eating well at a lower cost lies in planning your weekly meals and knowing where to find less expensive alternatives.
Cheap doesn’t have to equal unhealthy; cheap doesn’t have to equal inferior in quality; and cheap doesn’t have to equal boring or lacking variety. If you know how to do it right, eating cheaply only means better opportunities for saving money and resources for other important things like investing or starting up a business that can generate more income in the long run.
Stay organized every step of the way
Keeping a food budget diary will help you stay organized from the start and helps you buy foot at a cheap rate. Write down what you’ve spent, where you’ve spent it, and what foods you’ve consumed for budgetary purposes. This will help you make necessary adjustments for the week ahead.
You’ll have a better understanding of your spending habits, which will allow you to make better decisions when it comes to what to buy and how much to spend on things like groceries. It’s also a great way to stay motivated and accountable. Food budgets are often neglected, but they’re a great way to save money while eating healthy and avoiding excess.
Plan your meals for the week ahead
Now that you’ve calculated how much you’ll spend, it’s time to create a weekly meal budget. Make a plan for every meal you’ll consume that week, including how much you’ve budgeted for each meal. This will allow you to make sure you don’t go over on your budget and make adjustments accordingly.
It’s important that you don’t create a rigid budget wherein you only allow for certain ingredients, like flour only for white bread, meats only for pork, etc. Instead, create a food budget that takes into consideration all the ingredients that go into making a meal. Similarly, don’t make compromises for the sake of saving money, like skipping on well-needed proteins like proteins and fats, or dry goods like grains and legumes.
Eat seasonal, fresh foods whenever possible
There’s a reason why fresh foods are generally more expensive than processed ones. It’s because they take a lot more time, effort and resources to grow, harvest and process. Fresh fruit and vegetables are exceptions, though. So while they might not be cheaper than canned and in-season produce, they’re still a much better deal than processed junk. Try to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies whenever you can in your meals.
If you don’t like eating them plain, try adding them to smoothies, muffins, puddings or other recipes. You can also buy frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, but you’ll save money by buying them fresh whenever you can. Fresh fruit and vegetables are good for your health and help you to avoid diseases and chronic illnesses. They are also cheap, so you can eat healthy for much less.
Dump processed food
When it comes to food, processed junk is the opposite of fresh, whole foods. It’s often associated with high blood pressure, obesity and other forms of dietary disease. As a result, you should absolutely avoid processed foods whenever possible. It’s better to spend a few extra bucks on fresh ingredients than on processed junk that will only cost you in health problems down the road.
A good rule of thumb is to only buy processed food items when you have to, like when you have to buy bread or pasta. Try to make do with unprocessed foods whenever possible. Processed foods are high in unhealthy fats and sugars, and contain minimal amounts of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They also come in packaged and canned forms, which are more expensive than unprocessed foods.
Shop weekly for produce and dry goods
Produce is often more expensive than other groceries, but it’s also worth the extra cost. You’ll need to pay more upfront, but you’ll get back double in the long run. Buying fresh produce, along with other dry goods, like grains, beans and nuts, will allow you to stock up on ingredients that’ll last you for a couple of weeks.
This will help to save money in the long run, as you won’t have to buy as much. Try to stay away from buying processed foods like bread, pasta, crackers and canned goods. You should also try to stay away from buying snack foods like chips and candy, since these will only add to your budget problems.
Take advantage of everyday sales and grocery savings hacks
Even if you’re trying to eat cheap, you’ll have to have some money in your wallet from time to time. Look for ways to make your weekly grocery budget stretch further. This could include taking advantage of coupons, buying groceries on sale or staying away from impulse buys at the grocery store. These are all ways to stretch your grocery budget without compromising on your quality of life or health. * Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to grocery shopping.
This is often a job that can be done by one person. * When shopping weekly for produce and dry goods, try to avoid shopping on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays. This is when people are more likely to buy food that’s not going to last them as long. * It’s also a good idea to shop at the grocery store’s discount or in-season section, rather than their full-price regular section. * When grocery shopping, try to buy only the amount of food that you need. It’s better to buy a lot of food that you don’t really need than to run out of food at the end of the week.
Cheap does not have to mean unhealthy, boring and lacking in variety. It can be done in many ways and it will take a bit of planning. When done right, it’s possible to eat well on a budget, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little planning and a lot of frugal eating, you can make eating well on a budget a reality for your family.