When money is tight, it is very easy to make poor eating decisions. But all of those dollar menu meals will come back to haunt you. Not only are these kinds of meal choices not good for your health, but they sound cheap when they actually are not. A dollar and change can buy you a plain burger, but that same dollar could also buy you an entire pound of apples, oranges, potatoes or a plethora of other healthier foods that will last far longer than that lackluster burger. So how can you make better, healthier choices even when you do not have much to spend?
A lot of people get tired of certain foods once they have already eaten it a few times. No matter how hard you try, those cookie trays and bags of chips never really get completely finished, do they? Well, make a bigger effort to eat every drop of food in your home, if it is still in edible condition. This goes for leftovers too, not just snacks. Think of creative ways to reinvent what you already have. For example, if you have leftover baked chicken, you can transform that into chicken tacos or a chicken sandwich. Freeze foods that you are tired of now, but wouldn’t mind enjoying later. Think outside the box. And don’t forget to pack those leftovers for lunch!
Skip the processed goodies
This can definitely be a tough step, but if you want to transition to a healthier lifestyle, cutting out–or at least minimizing–your intake of processed foods is a must. If you shop at the right stores, like neighborhood farmers markets, you will find that eating healthy is actually very affordable. That is because fresh fruits and vegetables do not undergo processing like canned, boxed and bagged foods do. One of the best ways to avoid buying too many processed foods is to avoid the middle aisles of the store. Around the perimeter is where all the fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy products are.
Download some apps
You might be surprised to see how advanced your favorite stores have become. Saving money in the grocery store is a simple as downloading a new app or two on your phone. Some stores have digital coupons that are automatically uploaded to your membership card. Other stores now offer curbside pickup. This allows you to shop and pay online, then a store employee will bring your items out to your car upon your arrival. This service is great if you are an impulse shopper, constantly buying items that are not in your budget and not on your shopping list.
Everyone knows that prices on identical items do vary from store to store. A can of vegetables can cost $0.60 in one store, and well over a dollar in another. What gives? Well, each store has the right to charge whatever they’d like to for the items they sell. But it’s up to you to do your research if you want to save your hard earned money. Keep your receipts, then track prices by store in a notebook. You can even carry the notebook with you. After a few shopping trips, you will clearly be able to see which stores charge more for the items you buy.
Grow your own food
Who says you have to live in a giant, sprawling home in order to have your very own garden? There are plenty of herbs and small vegetables you can grow in an apartment. All you need are the right tools and plenty of sunlight. Think about what fresh foods and spices you consume the most. Then conduct a little online research to see if those items can easily be grown in a small window box garden. It will take time and patience, but it will be very rewarding to see how the fruits of your labor flourish before your very eyes–and at almost no cost.