"I only eat out because I'm on the go." "It's just too expensive to buy healthy ingredients." "I don't even know where to find quality foods in my supermarket." "I'd rather just have someone else prepare my food." Do any of these sound familiar? It's a pretty fair assumption that we've all justified poor food choices with any number of seemingly-legitimate excuses. But the fact of the matter is that quality intake is an investment worth making, and with a little focus, it's quite possible to eat well without breaking the bank. Want to know how?
1) Shop in season. Learn to match your buying habits with fruits and vegetables that are abundant during certain times of the year. Chances are the surplus inventory may drive down costs. If there's something you're especially fond of, buy it in bulk and freeze it for future consumption. 2) Don't plan your meals around cravings. Rather, plan your meals around sales. If there's a tremendous deal on rice and beans, use that as your launchpad.
3) Buy store brands versus major brands. Local producers often have competitive prices that compete, and often cut the price of household name brands.
4) Make your own healthy meals. Eating out adds up. Period. Set aside time each evening to prepare your meals for the day ahead. You'll not only save money on the price per dish, but you'll rule out things like tips and parking fees that make eating out even more costly.
5) Save your leftovers and repurpose meals for future snacks.
6) Stick to a strict grocery list and never shop hungry. It's far too easy to wander the aisles of a market and return home with frivolous, often indulgent and unhealthy snacks.
7) Bulk up on bulk options. Consider a Costco or Sam's membership and take advantage of larger units. Sure, you'll accrue a membership fee, but the annual savings will surely cover the cost and then some. Certain stores even provide yearly kickbacks based on your total purchases. Just flip any earnings right back into your next set of groceries.
8) Explore online trials and first-time offers. As an incentive measure to win over new customers, many online food vendors offer new shopper discounts and coupons. As long as you only fully commit to options that work in the long run, there's potential to reap intermittent savings by shopping around.
9) Plan family and neighborhood potlucks. Chances are you know another family who is also interested in prioritizing their food intake while cutting costs. Work together to plan meals and portions that work for everyone.
10) Try a quality meal replacement or protein smoothie! Rather than cooking lunches with fresh meats or other expensive ingredients, stock up on delicious protein powder and blend a delicious smoothie for lunch or a post-workout pick-me-up. The cost per serving will likely be drastically lower compared to the monthly price of the alternative, and you'll be harnessing the muscle-building properties of quality protein and other nutrients!
With a little practice, you'll be eating better and saving money in no time!