I often see and hear people not choosing to eat healthier foods because, “healthy food is expensive and it’s not in our budget.”
I say malarkey!
My husband and I eat vegan and sometimes, organic food on a budget of $300 a month. It really doesn’t take much work except being mindful of what you’re buying. I don’t have any super fancy tricks like preparing meals 3 weeks in advance and freezing them. I don’t clip coupons. We eat fresh, healthy food every day, all month long. Here is how:
- Use cash. We have used the Dave Ramsey method with our food, gas and entertainment budget categories and love it. When not using cash, it’s easy to go over budget and keep purchasing items you think you need.
- Buy only the necessities. Don’t purchase items that are super expensive and can only be used for one meal the entire month. Be sure that every purchase can last at least a few meals. There have been a handful of times that I purchase soy cheese($6 a bag) because I wanted a pizza or quesadilla. The problem is, it only lasts two servings. I consider it more of a treat.
- Buy in bulk. I shop at Costco and purchase bulk food items like beans, rice, quinoa, rice milk(doesn’t need to be refrigerated), and others of the sort. This typically lasts a few months and will cost around $150 a trip. Leaving me with $200 for fresh foods for the rest of the month.
- Use store apps. Safeway has a wonderful app that keeps track of the foods you typically purchase and will give additional discounts to you specifically. The app is called “Just4You”. It’s wonderful and I have saved up to $40 in one trip because of it. Plus, I love that it adds points to gas savings. Double WIN!
- Purchase fruits and veggies a week at a time. I feel like this should be a no-brainer, but I learned the hard way when we first got married and watched my fresh food rot because we didn’t eat as much as our families did. I figured out that my fruits and veggies don’t last longer than a week. Go shopping once a week to avoid having to toss out rotten food…that’s literally throwing away money! Along with that, purchase foods that are in season and stay away from exotic fruits and berries.
- Treat yourself! It’s easy to get caught up in saving money in every little area, but it’s ok to treat you and your spouse with a special ice cream or cheese every now and then, just be sure it doesn’t eat up your entire food budget. This keeps you happy and doesn’t make you feel trapped in a money saving mindset. Saving money and eating healthy should be a fun thing!
I think that every person can eat healthy, good food without compromising his or her budget. Health should always be on the forefront of our minds and ensuring our bodies are being fueled properly means we need to be aware of the foods we put into it. This little system has helped us and hopefully it helps you!