Want to eat healthier? But it seems like it costs a fortune? Well look no further, here are 12 money saving tips and tricks to shape up your body and bank account.
Create a budget.
Spending $100 per person per month is a fairly reasonable budget. Try this: take a look at all of your grocery receipts (or bank statement) over the past month for you and your family. Now divide this amount by the number of people in your household (yikes?). From here you can get a clear understanding of what you're currently spending vs. what you'd like to be spending.
Also worth checking, how much did you spend on eating out? We'll cover ways to avoid frequently going out to eat as well.
Plan your meals.
Get online, get inspired, and have an idea of what you'll be eating for the next week. This takes the guess work out of what to make for dinner; because what's a better excuse for going out to eat than "oh, well, I don't have anything taken out to make so...Applebee's?" That's at least $30 you just spent and a whole lot of calories and poor ingredients you just stuffed yourself with. And the goal here is to eat healthy and save money, right? Plan your meals.
Get a coupon app.
Check and see if your favorite store has a coupon app! Costco, Safeway, Fred Meyer, they all have 'em! And if you haven't heard of Ebates, what are you even doing?! This is a great tool to save money almost anywhere! It doesn't link up with all grocery stores, but they do with Walmart! They get a spiff from the partnering company, and they split that spiff with you; why not get cash back for things you already have to buy anyway?
Only grocery shop once a week.
Once you figure out your total monthly budget, break that down per week and stick to it. If you wind up with extra cash, great! Save it, but don't roll it over to next week! And please, don't make a 'quick stop' on a Wednesday after work for this new gluten free dairy free mayo you just heard of. Chances are, you're hungry, you'll end up buying something else you think you need, and before you know it, a 'quick stop' turned into $18.57. If you want that mayo, put it on your list for next week.
Don't shop while you're hungry.
We should all know this one. Shopping while you're hungry can lead to impulse buys, and could end up breaking your weekly budget. Eat your meal, have your grocery list ready, and stick to it!
Buy in bulk.
If you have a coupon for an item that you use frequently, stock up! We'll use a canned food item for example. Let's say olives are $1.29 a can, but you have a coupon for $0.89 a can. That's a 40 cent savings per can, that's pretty good! So purchase 5 cans of olives for $4.45 and you just saved $2.00...and you won't have to buy olives for awhile! Apply this to more foods you eat frequently and watch the savings add up. You will ultimately spend more up front on that trip, so you'll want to work your budget around that if feasible. And if it's a perishable item, check to see if you can freeze it! We talk about that more below.
No need to go for the name brand.
Grab your favorite name brand food and see if your store offers a generic brand of the same item. Look at the ingredients and nutrition side by side and see if it's really worth paying that extra $. Now, if you're eating healthy, you should be focused on perimeter shopping (next tip), where name brands won't matter much since they're mostly fresh ingredients.
Shop the perimeters and frozen food.
If you shop the perimeters of the store, you'll notice that's where all of the produce, meat, and dairy (healthy foods) are. In the aisles are where the cookies snacks and candy (junk food) reside. Of course you'll need to make your rounds for the coconut oil, seasonings, and canned goods; but do not, I repeat, do not, go down that candy aisle, especially if you're hungry!
Now within the frozen food section, look for the "frozen vegetables" sign (put the blinders on, pizza, pretend it doesn't exist!) and check out what they have to offer. A potentially HUGE money saving tip here is to buy your veggies and fruit frozen! Check out the price for a bag of frozen broccoli florets vs. a fresh head of broccoli. It's almost always cheaper, you can get coupons for frozen goods, and all you have to do is heat it up!
And to do a proper price comparison, always divide the price by the unit of measure you'll receive.
Example: $1.99 for a 24oz bag of frozen asparagus bits vs. $4.99/lb (16oz) for fresh asparagus.
That's: $1.99/24=.08 per oz. for frozen vs. $4.99/16=.31 per oz. for fresh. Wow!
Cook from your shelf.
Remember all that bulk food you bought? Start using it! When you're planning out your meals, try and use at least one item daily that comes from the pantry or freezer. Save money on your weekly grocery store trips and make some space for the next good deal!
Prepare meals in bulk.
Soup, stew, baked veggies etc. can be made in one night and enjoyed over the next few days. It's easier than cooking every night and won't leave you guessing what to eat. As for lunches, meal prep containers are a great way to go here. Maybe you enjoy a salad with a side of nuts, veggies or hard boiled eggs for lunch, well that'll keep for a day! So when you're in the kitchen putting together your lunch for today, grab a container and make one for tomorrow while you're at it. That way, tomorrow, just grab n go!
Freeze your food!
If you notice your produce is going to spoil before you can eat it up, freeze it! Carrots, bananas, berries, bell peppers, kiwis, mushrooms, you name it, you can probably freeze it! This saves you from wasting $$ by throwing out spoiled food.
Smoothie Recipe (saving you time & money): grab a freezer safe baggie (or 6!), throw in some fresh banana, spinach or fruit or veggies of your choice, stick it in the freezer, and use later for a smoothie! Keeps your food fresh and is a super quick way to get in a healthy meal.
Create a WHY.
At the end of the day, WHY are you trying to save money and eat healthy? Keep this goal in mind every time you're shopping or feel hungry and 'don't know what to eat'.
We hope you enjoy these tips to help keep your body and bank account happy.
Let us know if you have any more tips in the comments below. We'd love to hear how you've found a way to save money while eating healthy!