How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

I know that a lot of people don’t eat healthy because they think that it’s too expensive. While that can be true, it doesn’t HAVE to be.

I believe that many people don’t know how to eat healthy on a budget. Cheap, easy, unhealthy prepackaged foods don’t require much thought or effort to prepare. Trust me, I get it. I’m a pretty frugal grocery shopper. I like to buy what’s on sale and plan my meals around it. Food budgets are necessary, especially when things cost so dang much these days.

There are so many ways to save money and still eat a healthy diet, so saying it’s too pricey is just an excuse!

Effort is required to succeed in saving a buck while grocery shopping, as with anything when you’re on a budget. But it is possible! So don’t let this misconception hold you back from starting and achieving something you’ve always wanted.

And let me just say, I’ve been at the bottom. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to put things back because I couldn’t afford everything. I’ve been ashamed because I couldn’t buy ice cream sandwiches for my son.

I know how it feels to go without, so I had to force myself to squeeze dollars out of pennies.

I’ve done literally everything on this list, because I HAD to.

So, if I can, you can too.

Here is how to stretch your dollar when it comes to grocery shopping for healthy food.

how to eat healthy on a budget

 

Meal plan.

When you plan your meals each week you know what ingredients you need to buy and how much you need. You’re not going to the store thinking “Hm that looks good maybe I’ll have that Tuesday night.” Just no.

This strategy is a big money pit. You’ll end up buying things you don’t need without a meal plan.

Not sure WHAT to plan for? Check out my post on the best foods for weight loss!

 

Make a list.

This goes hand in hand with making a meal plan! When you make your meal plan, you write down the things you need on your list. How innovating, I know right. But have you ever gone to the store without your list? You’ve probably bought things you didn’t plan on purchasing.

If you forget your list often, like me, start making your list on your phone!

 

Buy in bulk.

If your budget allows, shop at stores like Costco or Sam’s and stock up on things you use a lot. Just pay attention to the prices there, sometimes they’re not always the best deal. Just compare the price per lb or oz to your other local stores!

You can also stock up on things that go on sale at regular grocery stores.

 

I used to not be able to afford to shop in bulk unless I put any leftover grocery budget money aside for a larger purchase. That didn’t happen a lot, but I did try.

 

Use coupons.

Couponing can save you some big money. Seeing my total drop from $75 to $20, I mean, wow. It is amazing. Use coupons with sales and stock up!

This method requires the most effort, but it’s the most rewarding. Grab some Sunday newspapers and match your coupons with the weekly sales. This is the best way to maximize your savings. But be aware! There are many coupons for items that aren’t so healthy. Don’t give into temptation. 🙂 You can do it!

 

If you don’t know how to coupon I suggest visiting The Krazy Coupon Lady. You’ll find tons of tips and ways to use coupons. Also, I suggest you find couponers that are local to your area. This is because many grocery stores are specific to one area of the country. Open google and do a search. Many couponing blogs do all of the coupon matchups for you, all you have to do is make your list.

 

I used to go allll out. I had a huge binder full of coupons and yes, I would carry it to EVERY store I went to! People looked at me like I was crazy!

 

Understand sale cycles.

Grocery stores often run their sales in cycles. For example: a store will put their frozen veggies on sale once every other month for 10 for $10.

It might be more or less frequent than that, but just get familiar with the sale cycles on things you purchase regularly. You can even ask an employee.

When you understand sale cycles you’ll know exactly how much you need to buy until the next cycle, and you’ll never have to pay full price!

 

I like to use the app, Flipp, to keep up with all of the sales!

 

 

Create a price book.

This method might be a little too extra, but if you’re on a super strict budget it can be extremely helpful!

Take notes on prices of things you usually purchase when you shop. Keep it all in a notebook, and when you plan out your list, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll be spending. You’ll get good insight of what a good price is and know if it’s a good deal or not.

 

Check grocery prices online.

Grocery stores, like Walmart, and many others now have a pickup option. You can order your groceries online, and pick them up at the store.

This is awesome and super convenient, but I use the online order option to make my list instead of purchasing all of my items.

Call it a hack, but this way I know EXACTLY what my total will be, before I even get to the checkout line.

 

Use money saving apps.

Ibotta: With Ibotta, you can get cash back from items you normally purchase, and trust me, it adds up fast. When you make a purchase, just scan you receipt and submit it. You can also link your store loyalty card and get some savings that way! You can redeem your cash back in the form of gift cards or if you prefer cash, you can get that too. Sign up and get a free $10! Raise tha roof!

 

Shopkick: With this app, you can earn points or “kicks” and you don’t even have to buy anything. You can earn by just literally walking into the store. Just open the app when you enter the store and get your kicks! There are ways to earn more kicks, such as scanning items in store, purchasing qualified items and scanning your receipt.

You can cash out your kicks in the form of gift cards. I’ve already cashed mine out several times!

 

Walmart Savings Catcher: This is part of the regular Walmart app. Just go into the app and tap services, then savings catcher. When you purchase something at Walmart, and it happens to be on sale for a cheaper price at another store, you will get the difference back after you submit your receipt. It’s the same thing as price matching, but with less paper.

I like to save all of the cash back I receive, and use it to pay for a whole weeks worth of groceries!

 

 

BONUS tips!

 

Grow your own veggies and herbs.

Use what you already have on hand.

Keep inventory of your pantry and fridge.

Buy in season fruits and vegetables.

Make vegetable or chicken broth from scraps.

Use broad ingredients, such as rice, for many different meals.

Check the clearance section each time you go shopping. You never know what you might find!

Adding oatmeal to ground beef or turkey will stretch it a little more!

 

See what I mean, y’all? Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive! Just stick to your budget, use this tips, and you’ll stretch your dollar to for healthy and nutritious foods!

What ways have you succeeded in saving some $$ at the grocery store?

 

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