how do you eat right on a tight budget?

Brooke Secoy member since Jan'11

7.2k rep

GREAT question and some GREAT tips! I always automatically think fresh veggies which, lately, have doubles and even tripled in price. It is crazy! I'm always griping to my husband how much more "healthy" good costs. Seeing all these tips made me realize I am just looking at the wrong things. Thank you, everyone!

posted : 4/2/2011 at 4:15 PM

gphx member since May'11

182 rep

Someone told me something once which put things in perspective for me.

'It's cheaper to pay the grocer than the doctor'. Grin

posted : 5/10/2011 at 12:24 AM

jeca1813 member since Dec'10

1.3k rep

Some of the 'healthy' food that is also pre-packaged, like frozen dinners, snack type foods or meal replacement bars are more expensive than buying ingredients and cooking yourself. It is harder and takes up more time, but it can be considerably cheaper.

Washing and cutting up fresh fruits and vegetables over packages that are already prepared lowers the cost as well.

Also, some vegetarian sources of protein are less expensive. Tofu doesn't cost as much as a similar portion of meat.

Some healthier recipes I try out have some obscure ingredients or spices that really add up. What I do on weeks my budget is tighter is skipping those ingredients or substituting something I already have or which is not so expensive. You can trade out green peppers for yellow or red peppers that cost more.

Another thing to look at is whether the produce is sold by the pound or by the item. If it is by the item it doesn't matter how much it weighs and you can pick larger produce and get more for the same price. If it is by the pound then you really want to watch how much you're getting.

I think it's already been mentioned, but regular rice is cheaper than instant rice and dried beans are cheaper than cans.

Being the grocery shopper and main cook makes it much easier for me. My family has to eat what I cook or they have to make it themselves, and I dont' have to eat unhealthy things for them or the budget.

Frozen fruit is great.

Cutting out all the junk food and instant food has saved me so much money. I had no idea how much I was spending on fast food, high fat and sugar coffee drinks, chips, cookies, ice cream etc until I stopped.

Good Luck!

You can do it. The healthy food might cost more sometimes. But it's much more filling and that is a better bargain in the long run in addition to the health costs you aren't going to have by changing your lifestyle.

posted : 5/27/2011 at 11:22 AM

5kaday member since May'11

97 rep

I understand completely where you are coming from as far as being the only one in the household who cares about eating right. I have very little "willpower" to say no to junk food, so even when I do buy the "right" food, it's still super-hard for me to stick to the healthy stuff when there is an abundance of junk in the fridge, on the counter, and in the cabinets.

My staple foods are: Instant Oats, Whole Wheat Bread, Natural Peanut Butter (the kind w/o hydrogenated oils), Eggs, Skim Milk, Chicken Breasts, Ground Turkey, Brown Rice, Canned & Frozen Veggies, and Frozen Fruit. I rarely buy fresh because it saves money.

Good luck!

posted : 5/31/2011 at 6:54 PM

veronicabradley member since Jun'11

878 rep

This blog has helped me so much. I need to come to the blog more often. Getting frustrated and burned out on food choices and prices. THANKS SO MUCH!!

It is a battle being the only one serious about losing weight and getting healthy and not having the motivation to cook. Guess I will try fixing my meals on Sundays for at least 3 days ahead.

Heres to progress!!
Rock On

posted : 7/7/2011 at 11:55 AM

member since Jun'10

rep

Just dont eat too much tofu unless its made with non-gmo soybeans. Assholes at Monsanto are trying to poison the entire continent with their roundup ready crap crops

posted : 7/7/2011 at 12:42 PM

kevinh988 member since Jul'11

416 rep

I food shop for fun and this is what I have found. Kroger owns almost everything with the exception of Wallmart so pricing is consistant across the country. A 3.5 lb bags of boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenderloin runs @ $13.00 - $16.00 but they have to rotate the stock every 4 months. When this item goes on sale they price it at $10 - $12, but wait! 10 days later they cut the price in half from the origional price and sell the same chicken for $6 - $8. Watch for the initial sale and wait a week then buy it at half price on this item. I have seen them do this for years. Canned tuna goes on sale every 4 months as well. Solid white Albicore in water, normally $1.89/can on sale is $0.99/can, Raisens @$5- sell for @ $2.50. Peanut butter, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, canned beans, all canned items - there is a regular scheduele for in store discounts. Manufacturers and grocers have coupons on line so use them and buy what you can store in your cupboard and freezer only when it is on sale. Wallmart is not the low price leader. Each store gouges you on something. I buy apples, frozen fish, avacados and bananas at Wallmart because on these they are the best price here; other then that I stock the cabinates with what I get on sale. Fresh veggies and leafy greens I find 'The Fresh Market' for better quality and relatively the same price as Kroger and Wallmart. Shop around and watch the prices. Window shop at different stores, you don't have to buy there. I do not buy everything at one store - that is how they make their money. I buy what I want when the price is acceptable to me. In regard to Kroger owning everything - Von's, Mayfaire, Ralph's, Safeway, Albertsons,Dillons, Fry's, Smiths: all accept Kroger cards so the food deals are the same.

posted : 7/8/2011 at 3:04 AM

tattedup23 member since Aug'11

114 rep

Going to an orchard and getting your apples,pears,peaches,grapes etc.. can save alot of money than going to Harris Teeter,Food Lion,Lowes Food, or wherever you shop. my father raises beef cattle so I dont buy any beef from the store. but knowing not all of you have that option, you can go to the slaughter house and buy your meat there alot cheaper than at your local grocery store. With the fruit you buy from the orchard you can make your own juices, smoothies, and even desertsHappy

posted : 8/21/2011 at 3:03 PM

stoebejm24 member since Jul'11

923 rep

SALES! It isnt easy finding healthy food that is always super affordable. But your best bet is tons of produce, tuna or other fish and chicken, whole grains in either bread or pasta, yogurt, granola bars.. just look for things low in sugars and such. And have you talked to the other family in the house about eating your food? If not, try explaining your situation and suggest that if they eat something of yours they pay you for it? Otherwise a mini fridge might be the way to go and just go shopping more frequently, but buy less quantity at a shot. Best of luck!

posted : 8/24/2011 at 1:33 PM

Sleepin member since Dec'10

5.5k rep

I try to stick with chicken breasts, rice and frozen veggies. All are pretty decent on the pocketbook. The chicken can be expensive, but rice and frozen veggies are pretty cheap.

Some good info in here...maybe my menu will change up a bit!

posted : 8/25/2011 at 5:10 PM

nanamissy member since Aug'10

5.1k rep

A couple things that I have found that helps, that I am still working on and still struggle with at times is cutting out the fast food, soda (one of biggest problems), planning weekly meals, which can be hard, and just trying to keep the healthy snacks in the house over the junk food.

posted : 9/6/2011 at 4:31 PM

reply to this conversation