The Determined Dollar
eating healthy on tight budget

Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget: 7 Key Tips

You guys, I love busting the myth that you can’t eat healthy (healthily? you know what I mean) on a budget. While it’s true that to buy all organic all the time is going to pricier than buying Ramen noodles, eating healthy on a tight budget is entirely possible to do. All it takes is little mindfulness and planning.

Today I’m sharing my top seven tips for enjoying a diet you feel good about and isn’t expensive.

Make more from scratch.

Before you get overwhelmed, don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you go full-on homesteader (unless you want to, which is awesome!) There are several items we tend to buy already made that are actually quite simple and cost-effective to make yourself at home. Bread, pasta sauce (from a basic tomato sauce or even fresh tomatoes in the summer), and vanilla extract are at the top of my personal list.

And for salad, next time you’re at the store, buy a head of lettuce instead of a bag of salad mix and make a simple vinaigrette from lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. You’ll save about 70% and invest only five minutes to make it yourself.

Stick to produce that’s on sale.

I once got a box full of beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes just because I glanced at the store ad and noticed they were actually cheaper than the conventionally grown tomatoes. Use the store’s weekly ad to make your produce list. You’ll save even more if you’re willing to venture to two stores to snag the best produce deals.

Make meals simpler.

Making meals simpler is one of the most significant ways I’ve learned to save money. By simpler, I mean using fewer ingredients and choosing recipes that can be adapted based on what I’ve got in the pantry. Burrito bowls are a perfect example. I can use black beans or pinto beans, corn or flour tortillas, a variety of lettuce types, etc. Avoid too many recipes that require long lists of specialty ingredients.

Buy your whole-grains in bulk.

I’ve got a 25-lb bag of rice in the pantry right now, and I spent less than 75 cents a pound on it. Since it won’t go bad, I figure there’s no point to spending more per pound than necessary! As much as possible, buy grains like rice and quinoa in bulk rather than those little one pound bags. I even started buying flour in bulk and storing it in large food safe buckets in ziploc bags, which saves me over 50% on this pantry staple. Here’s a little tutorial on that (super easy!)

Use a meal rotation plan.

Since making a monthly meal plan using a two-week rotation, I’ve been able to save money AND time planning what to make. I feel it’s helped us to be more intentional about what we eat since we plan for it farther in advance and to make an effort to use up what we have instead of running out to the store every few days. You can get my monthly meal plan printable pack in the Resource Library.

Stock up and freeze meat when it’s on sale.

Start paying attention to your grocery stores’ ads and record when your meat staples like chicken and ground beef go on sale, and the price per pound. Most sales cycles are about eight weeks. So if you can buy two months-worth of chicken and store them in freezer bags, you’ll save a ton of money.

Avoid pre-packaged snacks.

There’s nothing healthier than eating an apple or munching on some carrot sticks with homemade hummus. And there is little that’s cheaper when it comes to convenient snacks! Pre-packaged snacks tend to be less healthy (unless you’re paying a big premium) and a piece of fruit is equally convenient.

Saving money on groceries is all about implementing a few strategies here and there- several small changes add up to BIG savings. Got more tips? Share in the comments what has helped you to eat healthy on a tight budget!

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eating healthy on tight budget