As my time studying abroad began running out, so did my bank account.
Healthy eating is sometimes considered an expensive habit, and while avocados and wild-caught salmon are great for you, they’re not always healthy for your credit card. If you’re focused on eating healthy while saving money, or just want to see how easy it can be to save some cash on this week’s grocery run, this article is for you.
First off, you’ll likely need to make some compromises. This might mean not buying your favorite brand of nut butter or deciding to go for frozen instead of fresh fruit.
I made a few compromises on my eating habits. I eat a paleo-ish diet, but my only real food sensitivity is gluten. But more generally, I feel my best with a good amount of protein and fats, along with some carbs.
Meat can get expensive, so I stocked up on some lentils and beans to keep my protein intake high and costs low. See what areas you can make a few small compromises to manage your budget!
Plan, Plan, Plan!
Next, meal plan and make a list.
It’s so much easier to see where you can save when you have a plan going into the store. This helps you realize what you actually need versus what you want. It also helps you keep a closer eye on sales, the next big money saver. Stock up on sale items that are non-perishable, like canned goods, oils, and spices. Freeze sale items that may go bad, like meats, fruit, and veggies (hello smoothies!). The next time you need them, they’ll already be in your kitchen – convenient and frugal.
Shop Generic Brands
Finally, take advantage of store-brand items. Yes, the organic, all natural, local items might seem better, but if they have nearly the same ingredients as the store brand, and are more expensive, it probably isn’t worth it. Unless you have a serious aversion to certain ingredients, the difference between a well known brand and the store brand might just be the amount of money you’re paying for it.
Overall, I learned to be easier on myself about my food choices. While shopping for local, organic products makes me feel good mentally, it doesn’t always correlate to me feeling that much better physically (TBH, I forgot how tasty foods like lentils, hummus, and grapes were when I was skipping over them). And with the extra money saved on grocery trips, you can spend it elsewhere on items that will make you happy in other ways, like nights out with friends, shopping for clothes, or paying bills that are stressing you out! By shifting your shopping mindset, paying attention to sales and brands, and shopping with a plan, eating healthy can be made much less expensive.
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