Eating Well on a Shoestring Budget

Sometimes it seems that your grocery bill each month is more than your mortgage or rent. It’s true. Eating healthy can be expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be. You can still eat healthily and cut your grocery bill in half.

Here are a  10  strategic tips to eat well on a shoestring budget.

 1. Plan ahead.

Every month write down your net income. (I’m an old-fashioned girl, I like the paper-based budget planning instead of the online spreadsheet, but you should use what is most comfortable for you.)   The first step in creating a budget is to identify the amount of money you have coming in and also the monthly expenses that need to be paid.

There’s nothing worse about the budget than going to the grocery store for tonight’s dinner. Because you’re tired, rushed and probably hungry, you’re likely going to buy whatever is easiest.

This isn’t cost effective. Instead, plan ahead. Make a list of breakfast, lunch and dinner meals on the weekend. Choose recipes and make sure you have the ingredients. If not, add them to your list.

Once you get to the store, shop from your list. If you deviate from your list make sure it makes sense to do so.

 2. Use the store supplements.

The store supplements are often found in the newspaper or online. Before you make your weekly shopping list, grab a copy of the store’s weekly advertisement. Use the ad to plan your meals and create your shopping list.

For example, if apples are on sale for fifty cents a pound, then you know you have apples this week. Maybe apple pancakes or apple bread for breakfast.

 3. Stock up.

Many things freeze well. You can save tons of money each month if you stock up on sale items and freeze them. Bread, for example, can cost five dollars a loaf. If you find it on sale, then buy several loaves. Chicken and other meats often go on sale too. Buy in bulk. Buy family packages.

You can separate them at home into smaller meal-sized portions. Place them in freezer bags. Label the bag so you know when you bought it and what it is.

  4. Visit the butcher.

Often, you can save as much as 50% on your meats if you buy them from the local butcher. Visit yours and compare prices.

  5. Visit the farmer’s market.

If you have a farmer’s market in town, visit it and compare prices. Often, because the produce doesn’t have to be shipped and is local, you can save money. And the produce generally tastes wonderful.

  6. Buy what’s in season.

If you’re trying to buy apples in May, you’re going to pay more for them than in August and September when they’re in season. Buy your fruits and veggies when they’re in season and save money.

  7. Cut back on meat.

Do you need to eat meat every night? Did you know that beans and rice are a complete protein? Beans and rice are a whole lot cheaper than a package of meat too.

Try to cut back and eat a few vegetarian meals each week. You’ll likely be healthier, and you’ll save money on groceries. And there are some really tasty vegetarian recipes.

 8. Use cash whenever possible.

When we want to cut our expenses the best way to track it is to use cash for items that we tend to over-spend. For me, these items are mostly groceries. I tried to take out cash for our weekly spendings, and I never use a credit card for groceries or unplanned stuff.

 9. Find Out Where the Money Goes

The easiest way to see where your money goes is to take into account step 1. Plan, and also use subcategories for your planning and budgeting, meaning that you should write down every single, little grocery item that you want to buy.

For me, planning means also to make the weekly cooking plan and not going to the grocery store/local market more than twice a week, and I use only cash for this kind of payments.

After a few weeks, you will see which subcategory “takes “you money faster, so for the next month, you will have the opportunity to plan a new cooking list and also a grocery need to buy list.

 10. Charity

Maybe it’s funny that I write charity at the how to cut -off a budget list but as far as I concerned charity is an important part of our family’s self-identity as well as its responsibility to the community where we live.

The realistic budget can help you meet your financial goals for your family and also with a little- advanced planning and some thought; you can feed your family really well and still save money. Pay attention to what’s on sale. Plan ahead. And cut back on the pricey items like meat and processed foods.

Being on a strict budget means saying no to some things, like eating out too often. We order Chinese takeout or we might get pizza once a month and also going out sometimes, but usually only on the weekends when we rather go for some short family trip.

When we stay home, we cook together, have fun and organize our special family dinners, because I really believe that cooking together build relationships and help kids do better in everyday life, nevertheless enjoying basic meals with loved ones makes for the best eating.

Advantages of Budgeting:

  1.  It can serve as a financial guide for the family.
  2. Can help the family to use all its resources.
  3. Members of the family understand their responsibilities in storing income.
  4. The budget gives you the opportunity to pay your debt, to be free from financial worries and anxieties.
  5. The family budget provides the family with a feeling of safeness regarding the future.

Cooking Tips: How To Eat More And Weight Less

What if someone tells you that you can actually eat more but still weigh less? Punch them for making fun of your plight?
I wouldn’t judge you too harshly for that after all bullying is a serious concern, but you should still consider apologizing to the person lying on the floor with a bleeding nose because they were right.
Research has shown that the satiety systems in the brain are triggered by the volume of food that you eat and not the number of calories that you consume.

So basically this means that if you eat less calorie dense foods, your body will full while still consuming fewer calories.  Generally, foods that are high in fats and sugar pack a lot more calories per pound than foods that have more dietary fiber and water.

So you can indeed have a healthy and fulfilling diet and still shed that unruly fat. Read the following tips to know how you can opt for nutritious food that offers ample nutrition but with fewer calories.

  •  One general rule is to avoid a lot of oil, which, means no fried stuff. You will be better off ditching the deep fried french fries and eating boiled or baked potatoes. The rule applies to all vegetables and meats. 

Pan frying or sautéing adds fewer calories than deep frying, but some oil is still added and even a tablespoon of oil can add many calories and fat to your diet. Steaming your vegetables is a flavorful and extremely healthy option.
  • Everyone likes their food to be appetizing; by choosing seasonings wisely, you can have the same quality of taste and fewer calories. A little lemon, orange or lime juice, and zest can add oodles of flavor to your salads and meat. So can herbs and spices like basil, thyme, mint, turmeric, pepper and lots more. 

Mustard and chilly sauces are usually less calorie dense and taste great, some ginger and garlic help a lot too. With endless options, you can experiment and get creative, becoming healthier at the same time.

  • Making a mac and cheese? Use skimmed milk or vegetal milk instead of whole milk and reduce the amount of butter. You can also use light cream instead of the cheddar, it will take less amount of cream to make the dish less dry and savory. A few of your favorite veggies won’t hurt either.
  • Avoid sugar as much as you can. Switching to unrefined sugar and using unprocessed honey wherever possible will help you achieve your weight loss aims. Eating a fresh fruit will not only make you feel fuller than commercial fruit juices, which are loaded with sugar, it will also provide a lot more vitamins and minerals.
  • Use whole grains instead of the refined ones. Whole grains have more dietary fiber and various vitamins minerals; these are lost in the refining process.
  • Prefer lean meat, fish, and poultry instead of the fattier cuts. Trim steaks of all edge fat. “Choice” or “Select” grades of beef have less fat than “Prime.” “Loin” and “Round” cuts have the least amount of fat.

  • Have an appetizer! A delicious but low-calorie salad and broth soup before your meals will make you consume fewer calories; it has been proven by research.

Follow the advice presented in these tips and you will soon notice an improvement in the scales. Keep your pantry stocked and plan ahead, munching on some vegetables and fruits throughout the day will keep your tummy satisfied.

One of the most important factors is not giving up, experiment and find the foods that you enjoy eating. There are countless variations and options available which can make your meal both appealing and fulfilling.

Make it simple but delicious…and enjoy it!

For more tips, recipes and useful information, please subscribe to my PURE FOOD NEWSLETTER below!

With love and respect,