5 Ways to Eat Healthier on a Budget

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Eating healthier is a goal many of us strive for every week.

But, eating healthier can be challenging all it’s own. So, when you’re on a budget, changing your eating habits can be an added expense to your food budget. 

So, planning ahead is key. If you plan ahead and strategically shop, there are ways to eat healthier without breaking the bank.

Before we start looking at all the ways we can save, let’s debunk some myths first.

Myth #1- A salad is more expensive than a fast food burger.

Eating healthier doesn’t have to be super expensive. If you make the salad yourself, then this statement is totally false. Buying a head of iceberg lettuce costs about $1-$2, which can equate to 2-3 salads. Same goes with salad toppings.

If you buy a salad from a drive thru, then yes,  you will be spending a premium for it.

Myth #2- Avocados are expensive.

Avocados are a known source for great nutrition and is a great addition to any healthy eating lifestyle. And they seem to be expensive when you add them to your restaurant meals.

But, avocados go on sale once in a while, and if you shop at international grocery stores, you can find them for a great price.

So, you don’t have to sacrifice avocados to stay on budget.

Myth #3- You have to coupon to save money.

Not. at. all. Shopping using the strategies in this post will eliminate the need for couponing. You’ll be able to save money and save time as well.

It’s important to recognize that food is a budget area with a huge impact. If you can control your food budget, so many other items in your budget will fall in line. Your eating out category will likely be reduced as well.

1- Shop at International Stores

You may not know this (or maybe you do), but buying produce at international grocery stores can save hundreds of dollars per month.

Just this week, vine-ripe tomatoes at Vons are $1.99 per pound, while Vallarta, a Mexican grocery store local in Southern California, is currently offering the variety of tomato for $0.79 per pound.

Here are some more great buys that you can snag from International Grocery Stores. 

While you may not find the organic counterparts of every food item, you’ll still be able to eat healthier than buying processed food.

Eating healthier doesn’t have to be an overhaul, if you start consuming more wholesome raw ingredients, you’ll find yourself eating healthier than before.

I’ve had many instances where I’ve purchased 2-3 bags full of produce and came out spending about $25.  The potential savings you get can make a big difference in your budget.

2- Check Your Local Ads

This was something that I didn’t do in my early shopping days because I didn’t understand their necessity.

In fact, when I was growing up, I didn’t understand why my mom religiously perused through her weekly ads with such an interest and stocked up on those discounts each week.

I mean, really, how much are you saving if one store has bananas for 2 lbs. for $1 and the other has them at $0.69 per pound?

But, I soon came to realize that every penny, nickel, and dime add up to dollars in just one trip. And those dollars add up to hundreds per month and thousands per year.

So, it’s worth it to take 5 minutes to quickly review them just to make sure I’m not missing out on a great price.

I’ve recently started using my weekly ads as a way for me to compare prices and plan my stockpiling for staple or freezer stable items for the month.

We have an upright freezer that makes stocking up so simple, and it’s saved us thousands of dollars so far in the 8 years we’ve had it.

3- Coupon Moderately

I used to be a big fan of using coupons (it’s like legally printing money), but I now do it in moderation. I only use coupons on items that are already on my shopping list.

And I don’t give in to the tempting coupons that are for processed junk food. It’s hard, but I do it.

Because at the end of the day, our goal is to save money and eat well, not use all of our coupons.

Remember that.

4- Buy Vegetables from Warehouse Stores

Believe it or not, warehouse stores like Costco and Sams club can be great to buy some of the more sturdy produce.

I purchase romaine lettuce in a pack of 6 for about $3 and it stays fresh for about 2 weeks. It encourages me to to make salads more often, which supports our healthy eating journey. It’s also the most discounted price I’ve found on lettuce.

5- Stop Eating Out

Or at the very least, minimize the number of times per week that you eat out.

We all like convenience, and for some of us, the thought of eating at home every single day is too daunting.

But, let’s be honest, have you ever been to a restaurant that has a good deal on “healthy” menu items?

If you have, let us in on that gold mine! Let me know where those deals are in the comments below.

There is nothing that bothers me more than paying over $10 for a plate of dressed lettuce. And that’s usually before tax and tip, which adds another $6-$7 to your tab.

At that price, you’d spend close to $20 for only one meal. Eating out can easily add up throughout the week if you let it. Eating lunch out every work day at that rate would add to $100 per week, or $400 per month.

That’s enough money to pay for an entire month’s of groceries for a family of 4.

If you plan ahead, bringing a home made lunch will save you a lot of money and time as well.

Pinterest has a ton of lunch options to try out, here’s one of my favorite quinoa salad recipes I make that keeps in the fridge for days.

If you want to still enjoy lunch out with friends, set a limit on how many times per month you buy lunch and bring your own lunch all the other times.

Swapping out home made lunch more often will make a huge impact on your food budget and you’ll be eating healthier in the long run.

Changing the way you think about your meals, planning ahead, and taking small steps will help you change your eating habits and save money with less effort.

What’s your favorite way to save on food while still eating healthier?

Comment below!

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11 Responses

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  3. Good STUFF, Gina! The eating out is what kills me. And then, when I try to be healthy, I end up spending $15 on a salad, only to be hungry 20 minutes later… lol. I’ll work on my discipline! Thanks for this post.

    1. Glad to help. You are not alone my friend. We all struggle with this! If you make that salad at home you can make it for less than $2 and make it just as gourmet. I know because I used to do the same thing and then started making my salads at home and people at work would ask where I bought from, haha.

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