How many times have you used the good old excuse: “I’m on a low budget, so I can’t afford healthy food”? The myth of a healthy diet being expensive has spread like a wildfire, but we have good news for you: eating healthy even on a limited budget is completely possible. Even more, you can enjoy tasty and versatile food without worrying about your wallet.
But how to accomplish all of this? We have a few simple tips that will make all the difference to your wallet and your eating habits.
1. Make meal planning your number one priority
A lot of reckless money spending happens because of unplanned grocery shopping. The ambiance, the smell of baked goods, the sheer volume of products and choices available – all of that can make your head spin and if you head to the grocery store without preparation, you almost set yourself up for failure.
To avoid spending too much money, make a solid grocery list of all the items you need for the week, according to your weekly menu (and if you don’t have a weekly menu, create one).
Before adding items to your grocery list, do a quick scan to your kitchen cabinets to see if you already have something at home. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to forget what you actually have around the house.
If you plan your meals ahead and shop accordingly, you won’t be tempted to buy useless products that would usually add several bucks to your grocery check.
2. Find discounts before you head to the store
To take your meal planning a step further, use online resources to find discounts before you even head to the store. You can compare supermarkets’ catalogues and specials online, for example, to find the latest offers and discounts for top brands like Shoprite and Game, all at your fingertips with just a few clicks.
Why is it necessary to check out offers before you head out, you might be wondering. Well, the answer is simple: you won’t need to play guessing game with your budget. Instead, you can open the latest leaflet and find out where your meats, dairy products or vegetables are the cheapest.
Even more, knowing where the best discounts can be found helps you plan your weekly meal plan: if you find beef with an extraordinarily cheap price, it’s clearly much wiser to buy beef instead of chicken.
3. Don’t be afraid of generic brands
Nearly all stores offer a nice selection of generic brands for just about everything, starting from grains and ending with sauces, dips or whatever else you can imagine.
Generic brands are usually a lot cheaper and though they don’t look as fancy as their more expensive counterparts, there’s nothing wrong with them. Keep in mind that all manufacturers need to follow a strict list of standards when it comes to food safety, generic brands are no different.
The only factor to consider is the ingredients used to produce generic products. To make sure you’ll get the best bang for the buck and you’ll buy something healthy, read the ingredient list to confirm the product is high-quality and is truly healthy.
4. Don’t buy junk food and processed food
That bag of crackers or chips or that microwave-meal can look so tempting after a hard day at work. However, consuming junk food deteriorates not only your health but also your finances.
Processed food, prepackaged meals, and junk food are all clearly more expensive than fresh products you need to prepare yourself from scratch.
These food items are created solely for people who are too busy or just can’t find the motivation to cook a nice homemade meal, but unfortunately, convenience is their only perk. Highly processed food items usually lack healthy nutrients and are instead packed with unhealthy ingredients such as huge amounts of sugar, salt or saturated fats.
To eat healthily and keep your budget under control, always buy fresh products and cook at home – this can single-handedly change both your finances and your health tremendously and only in a better way.
Bottom line: eating healthy on a low budget is possible
Healthy eating habits can be tough to break in, especially if you’ve been tempted by processed foods for a long time and you have a strict budget to follow. However, healthy food can actually be even cheaper than stocking up on junk food. Just by switching out processed food for healthy fresh products, you’ll turn your health and budget around.
Just keep these few steps in mind:
- Always plan your meals ahead and use a solid grocery list when shopping
- Use online resources to find the best offers and discounts
- Don’t be afraid to use generic brands
- Steer clear from junk food
No matter your monthly grocery budget, following these 4 steps can help you out when you’re looking to eat healthier on a low budget.