A Healthy Diet on a Tight Budget
Are you feeling the effects of the global financial crisis? Many people I have spoken with have, and many are worried about how they can keep good health during the downturn. Well, the BIG thing is to relax, it will come right. We have gone through many downturns in the past and this one is no difference, things will improve so work on your stress levels and try to stop worrying so much! You don’t need to be wealthy to eat well, you may be thinking: “Eating a healthy diet is going to cost me a lot more money”. Well, I can tell you now, that is not true. Chances are that you can most probably eat healthier right NOW and save plenty of dollars on what you are spending on your weekly grocery bill.
Here are some quick links that will take you to different pages of interest:
- Health On A Budget
- Healthy Food Choices
- High Value Foods
- What Is An Antioxidant?
- Dietary Supplements
- Lifestyle Changes
Twenty Tips On How To Save & Eat Well
Here are twenty tips on how you can start saving right away with what you buy, even if you are on a tight budget:
- Choose local foods over organic foods which have been transported into your area from other regions.
- Don’t worry if it isn’t organically grown – if it is affordable and fresh produce then just buy it, wash it well at home, and eat it.
- Look for fruits and vegetables and dairy products from local farms and food co-ops offering raw dairy products, eggs, and produce. This will allow you to cut out the middleman and save plenty of money. I don’t tend to buy my vegetables or fruits or meats from the supermarkets – too expensive.
- Look for a beef and sheep farmer who raises their animals organically (or as free from chemicals as possible) and pay for “home kill”. There are several around who do this, and buying in large quantities can save you money in the long run, as long as you have room to freeze it.
- Long-line fishing is one way of catching plenty of fish and freezing many meals. Another option is to find a fishing vessel in your area and pay the skipper cash, you will be surprised and delighted and what you get! Again, you cut our the middle man and can save plenty. Aim for young fish and learn how to clean and fillet, a big saving if you can.
- Avoid those pre-made meals, refined carbohydrates and “TV dinners” from the frozen section of your supermarket. Too expensive. Better still, make up large amounts of casseroles and freeze in smaller portions. Prepared foods can cost up to double or treble the amount as the unprepared versions.
- Plan your main meals well ahead of time so you don’t splurge on expensive, unhealthy fast-food at the last minute when you are tired an unmotivated to cook. A take-away meals for four can almost pay for a week’s fruit and vegetables, do the math and you will be surprised.
- Watch the impulse buying -avoid buying potato chips, biscuits, fizzy drinks, sweets and those last minute impulsive buys at the supermarket. They often happen when you take the kids shopping and can add hundreds to your annual grocery bill. Just say no!
- Buy plenty of fresh foods, they tend to be much less expensive than canned foods. Just make sure you use them before they go bad!
- Only buy what you need. Keep track of what’s in your pantry so you don’t double-up on foods unnecessarily.
- Buying the “black and white” labelled items can save you money – and the funny thing is that these products often come from the same factories as their more expensively labelled counterparts. When I was young I worked in a flour mill, the day shift would package the more expensive recognised brand, the night shift (using the same flour) would package the “home” brand which sold for an average of 20% less.
- Use those supermarket docket coupons and use them when you can (but remember – don’t buy something unhealthy just because it’s on sale!).
- Check your shopping bill. It is not unheard of for the retailer to be wrong at times, and you may save money by spotting the check-out girl’s mistake from time to time, she may have calculated the wrong amount of items or scan or enter an item incorrectly, at your expense.
- Shop with a calculator so you can determine if it’s really a better deal to buy something in bulk.
- When you get to the supermarket – stay on the outer perimeter, here you will find the fresh foods like the bakery, the butchery, the dairy products and the produce sections. All the rest of the foodstuffs in the middle of the shop is just about all processed apart from a few cleaning and personal care items.
- Make sure you do a detailed shopping list before you head out shopping – and stick with it when you get there! This will avoid impulse buying.
- Buy foods like flour, rice, pasta and other items you use frequently in larger amounts. You will always find the smaller pack sizes are much more expensive as you pay for the packaging and handling. If you have a large family like me then shop for larger quantities as you can save a LOT of money in the long run.
- Watch weekly specials, and be aware of what’s really a good price. You can even find organic produce on sale for less than conventional produce if you know what prices to watch for.
- If you have the space, grow your own fresh veggies such as greens, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, etc.
- Remember this rule of thumb: Fresh food is always better than frozen, and frozen is better than canned.