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“Not wasting money is the best way to save money.”
I am the type of woman who loves to eat organic, whole foods, and limits the amount of processed foods and sugar in her diet.
The behaviour of my children has improved as I learn how to “master” the art of clean eating and budgeting. With that being said, I also find immense value in limiting food waste. It saves money, resources, time, and my sanity above all.
So you can connect with my eating habits, I provided some resources to help you connect:
- Eat organic has many health benefits, from reduces heavy metals, toxins, hormones, more antioxidants and nutrients. Findings ways to make this option affordable is basically my livelihood.
- Reducing sugar is obviously beneficial for weight loss, healthy teeth, mental health, mood, skin, behaviour, and digestion. Caring for your body, heart, brain, and mental health is extremely important. After all, we were only given 1 body on this earth.
- It’s quite funny how ditching processed foods reaps all the same benefits of reducing sugar in your diet. Benefits such as mental health stabilizer; improved muscle tone; hormonal balance; fewer colds and illnesses; and intuition within your body, spirit, and mind.
Over the few years of adulthood I have experienced, I have learned some tips and tricks on the how to eat healthy on a budget. I love having family, friends, play dates, and ANY kind of company over to enjoy home cooked meals, or fresh from scratch muffins.
Being able to save money in areas of my life, such as groceries, has allowed me to be generous in other aspects of life. In this blog post, I am including my biggest tips + some of my favorite meals that are healthy and affordable.
Here Are My Biggest Tips:
1. Take Inventory of Every Food Item
I have seen many thrifty individuals do this on a regular. Taking inventory allows you to see the big picture of what you have, what you need, what you’re lacking, and displays your eating habits.
Visualizing how prepared you are, or unprepared, for that matter, is really interesting.
The Budget Mom has incredible content on how she does this, and why it works for her. She has free worksheets that allow you to write the product you have, the expiration date, and when she did the inventory check last.
I do this activity every 3-4 months to ensure that everything is up to date.
2. Meal Prep Will be Your Best Friend
If you follow my social media, you will hear me preach about the grace of meal prepping. I make large meals to be used to multiple dinners and lunches through the week. I am able to:
- Reduce the amount of trips to the grocery store. (Equals less money being spent from the tempted snacks calling my name!)
- Buying majority of the meals in bulk.
- Saving precious time, and reducing stress.
- Cooking from scratch will give you the opportunity to choose how much to make, what you add to it, and will generally cost less per serving.
I have always found value in meal prepping! I am a busy mom of 2 under 2, college student, and jobs on the side. Saving money and time are priorities in my life.
I feel as if anyone could benefit from planning meals, and being mindful of their day to day habits with food.
3. Follow A Seasonal Food Calendar
When purchasing in season, the crops are more abundant, making the product less expensive to consumers. Not to mention, there are numerous studies done proving eating in season is the healthiest route.
The fruit or vegetable has been ripened on the tree or vine at the right time, thus containing more nutrients and flavor.
“Studies have shown that some crops can have up to three times more nutrients when grown in season.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables don’t have to endure as much travel, so they don’t lose those vital nutrients.”
If you are interested in learning more about seasonal food, click here for 6 benefits of eating seasonally, or here for 10 ways to start. These are my favorite resources because I have truly used them myself, and found value.
(Pro tip: frozen fruits and vegetables are generally harvested right at the peek, therefore significant in nutrients and low cost when you are craving them out of season.)
4. Buy in Bulk
I eat gluten free and try to eat as organic as I can. By buying in bulk for pantry essentials at places such as Bulk Barn, I am able to save significantly compared to any other grocery store near my area!
Not only is this option generally zero waste, plastic- free, and waste- free, you generally get more bang for your buck. Here is a link to help you get started with bulk buying.
Another amazing way I save money is through buying my meat and produce in bulk. I usually search for the manager mark down (generally 30% off) on stores such as Superstore, Sobeys, or Save- On- Foods.
Meats I buy on sale, as long as frozen immediately, are just as valuable and useful.
I will usually purchase about $100 worth of meat on manager marked down, thus only spend $70! Saving $30 may not seem like a “huge win”, but I could buy $30 worth of veggies and have my dinners and a few lunches for nearly 2 weeks.
2 weeks of healthy meals for under $100 is pretty useful if you ask me. I will also grab the bananas 50% off for my muffins- saving every little bit of money I can.
I encourage you to buy in bulk, or search for ways where you can get more of your money’s worth for items you use often. Comparing the difference on paper can be an eye opener.
Learn to divide the grams/ pound of an item by price so you are able to have an educated comparison.
5. Following the True Expiration Date
I never knew this until one of my friends and I were on the topic of living a minimal waste free life. She had mentioned these 2 sites that have provided clarity on how long food truly last for.
I am able to save so much more of my groceries, because of the limited food I now throw away. Save these links, if it’s the only thing you take from this post:
I think in our culture, we just allow whatever is said to be the “truth” without ever digging deeper. This goes so much further than just food.
This link talks about 77 surprising expiration dates that have definitely caught me off guard, and made me search a little more heavily. Having knowledge about the food going into your body is the most empowering thing you could do.
6. Be Resourceful
We have an entire blog posts about how to save money:
“There’s nothing quite like walking into the produce section at Whole Foods. The riot of bright, blotch-less colors, the crisp smell of fresh herbs, and the knowledge that everything in this store is just so good for you.
But is it good for your frugal budget? Whole Foods didn’t come by its nickname “Whole Paycheck” for no reason – their level of quality comes at a cost that can scare away the more frugal among us.”
If you want to learn the 11 different ways to save money, plus bonus content, click here.
One of my most fulfilling habit when I need to buy groceries is online shopping therapy. Online shopping simply saves you time and money all around.
(And gets my to- do lists done that much faster, while saving some cash.) Some opportunities save you a few dollars and others save you several hundred dollars, some give you cash back right away, others some time later.
Being resourceful is about taking the extra minute to find opportunities that will make your bank account thank you.
Here is one of my favorite online shopping posts. I found a lot of value in this post, because I felt like I was given all the valuable information on how to online grocery shop the most effective way.
This has allowed me to find the freshest and very nutritious food on a discounted price by the exclusive email sales they offer.
Healthy eating doesn’t come with the best price tag, however. Healthy eating on a budget is kinda my thing, and it all comes down to being resourceful. It isn’t a secret that your outer self is a reflection of how you are feeling inside.
Eating healthy, moving your body, and practicing gratitude will make you feel as amazing as you look.
Healthy, Affordable Meals
7. Utilizing The Internet
Utilizing Pinterest will probably forever save you. I find all sorts of wonderful meal plans specifically for those with a tight budget. I started researching for cheap, healthy meals after I quit my job and made the jump to work from home.
Then, I was a college student, had a 6 month old, pregnant, and wanted a brighter future. This included saving money to create a better future.
I basically screamed for help as I was nearly broke. Sometimes all we had to spend on groceries was $40, and you bet I searched the store for an hour, with coupons in hand, to spend less than what we had on healthy food.
Here are my fav resources to share with you that helped me in such a time of desperation:
- I have absolutely fallen in love with this website that has $5 dinners, $5 meal plans, and $5 freezer meals. This website has some great ideas for meal plans, that can have simple swaps to alter to your health needs! (Ex. swapping gluten free noodles/ bread; interchangeable veggies or fruit in recipes; dairy for a plant based option).
- If you have never heard of the Frugal Farm Wife, this is your opportunity to jump right into it. Her $20 healthy meal plan feeds two people based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. It’s gluten-free, provided 117 grams protein per person, limited processed foods, and can easily be made dairy-free by swapping out the butter for another cooking oil, and the cheese for your preference of substitute. She focuses on healthy eating, meal prepping, and crock pots all the way to canning, creating your own condiments and sauces!
- I love the idea of monthly grocery shopping. I know some of my friends have found success, so I picked up on the idea of it. I do weekly produce stops, but for nothing other than the vegetables and fruit I need for the week ahead. I found a great site to help us both be coach even further. The biggest trick is to have a theme for each week that you can utilize leftovers.
- Ex: Week 1: Taco Tuesday; Chili Bowl Wednesday; Make- Your- Own Pizza Thursday. You could potentially have majority of the meat cooked, and all the topping used throughout the 3 meals.
- Week 2: Monday: Roasted turkey with fixings; Tuesday and Wednesday: homemade soup and leftovers. Do not overthink this process, and don’t be afraid to get creative with your cooking. Here is the site that is super beneficial.
8. Keep it Simple
Reducing sugar, reducing processed foods, cooking from scratch, and using real food will save you big bucks. There is a misconception that eating healthy will cost you in the long run.
But let’s break it down: you can buy premade meals or go out for dinner with a family of 4, and be paying $60 minimum for the table or $40 minimum for premade meals.
Sure, it is absolutely convenient, but this is generally processed, carby, deep fried, unhealthy food anyways.
Or you can spend $60 on the veggies, fruit, rice, and meat that you will need to make filling meals with plenty of leftovers. Here are my go- to’s that are super cost and time efficient:
- Buying meat that is the manager mark down price, as mentioned under my “buy in bulk” tip, will save you money extremely fast. I utilize my crock pot very often for this step 99.99% of the time. In the morning, I check my weekly food theme, and choose the meat that will last us a few days accordingly. I go from a 1- 1.5 hour meal prep, to taking 15 minutes to assort what I will be doing with my veggies.
- Using multiple leftovers in soup. The best soups are the unscripted ones: steamed veggies, leftover meat and bones, and add a few spices! Soups usually last 2- 3 days before they are completely gobbled up. (Here are 15 genius ideas to use up leftover in soup!)
- Choosing meals that are extremely basic. There are 3 easy steps: choose a healthy carb such as potato, sweet potato, corn, or rice; choose 1 or 2 veggies such as carrots, peas, corn, broccoli, or peppers; and choose the meat that goes along with it. Overthinking dinner ideas seems as if it is a daunting task, but I can reassure you that it is simple.
- Spices. Period. Investing in a $10 bottle of your favorite spices seems silly, but it can quite literally “spice” up a meal. I feel like I have to go less “over the top” with using multiple different ingredients to get a desired taste.
I do not think there is this quick and easy button you push to save money on groceries. Being mindful, creating a budget, and applying what you learned from this post is the great start.
You will become better at budgeting and saving money once you realize the capabilities you have!