Eat Well Spend Less…
When you’re looking to eat healthy, you don’t have to break the bank! In fact, there are lots of ways to keep up a nutritious diet without overspending. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
#1 Shop with purpose and a list!
Having a shopping list is vital, every time you hit the supermarket. It means you won’t get too distracted by an extra pack of doughnuts, or those perfectly-placed impulse items on your way to the checkout – keep that list and stick to it to avoid buying on impulse. Also, make sure you never go to the grocery store feeling hungry! If you can’t find your paper list, try an app like Out of Milk to keep you on track. Don’t leave home without it!
#2 Learn to cook from scratch
Instead of buying more expensive pre-packed, pre-cooked meals, start buying fresh and learning a few simple recipes. This is a much better way to ensure that everything you’re eating is as healthy as it could be – without added sugars or preservatives. The BBC have a huge list of healthy recipes of varying difficulty to get you started.
#3 Take up a loyalty card programme
Loyalty cards are great for helping you make the most of your purchasing power – whether it’s accruing points, getting freebies or special offers, etc. Get more for your money and often you can also capitalise on cash back. In this way, you can get more bang for your buck, and stock up on more healthy treats as part of your weekly shopping trip. Remember to always look out for good deals in different chains at different times – don’t let your loyalty cloud your bargain hunting instinct! For a great list of bargains and offers to reduce your check out sum, take a look at Student Money Saver’s list of supermarket deals.
#4 Buy seasonally when you can
We’re used to everything being available at all times, but eating seasonally can mean you also eat more cheaply – and access more fresh produce. Trying to buy mangoes or pineapples in the middle of winter is a lot more expensive than it’s worth, and eating seasonally will mean that you can eat the best and most natural produce at the right time of year.
#5 Buy own-brand products
It’s been shown that own-brand items are often just as healthy and tasty as more independent brands. These products are more affordable, and they normally don’t sacrifice much quality. You can make huge savings by picking up the own-brand items from your local, instead of fancier independent brands. For a quick guide to how these own-brand compare to other independent brands, check out Supermarket Own Brand Guide. Be sure to check, as there are a few cases in which own brand items are more preservative-heavy.
#6 Choose loose items over pre-packaged
There’s a reason those convenient, pre-cut and pre-packaged items cost a bit more – they had to be prepared and packaged for your convenience Save yourself some cash by selecting the loose fruit and vegetables, or those that are not already pre-cut. The same goes for the deli counter, where the selection of processed meats will be a lot cheaper than those conveniently packaged in the other aisles. Sure, it’s a tiny bit more effort, but the packaged versions are often a little bit more expensive.
#7 Eat more vegetables
Instead of packing every meal with meat, consider more vegetables and fruit in your diet. Not only does the average adult eat too few portions of vegetables and fruit in their day, meat is also generally the most expensive part of a meal. Up the vegetable proportion and save!
#8 Buy in bulk
This is especially helpful if you have a decently sized freezer. Buy items in bulk, cook them and freeze in smaller chunks in order to save yourself a lot of time and money. This way, you’ve got healthy portions of soups, sauces and more on hand for when you’re too lazy to prepare meals from scratch. You can also freeze leftovers to minimise waste, and keep bread in the freezer as well. It is all much cheaper than ready-meals or take away, when you’re feeling a little lazy, and also means you can take advantage of buying in bulk upfront.
Take advantage of these ideas and ensure that your meals are more composed of healthy base products, as well as being more affordable. If you get used to cooking up large meals, having healthy leftovers for lunch the next day, and reducing waste, you will save money, time and eat better. Good luck!