When you’re broke, it can seem like the easiest and cheapest option is to pick up a low-cost burger at a fast food joint. However, your waistline and your wallet won’t thank you later. Cooking and eating at home can save you tons of money each year. You just have to be savvy about how you do it. Here are five tips that can help you save money and calories:
1. Frugal healthy eating tip 1: Do it yourself
When you’re shopping, do you reach for bulk bags of rice or single-use boil in bag rice? Making foods from scratch yourself not only saves you money, it can help you become a better cook. Cutting up your own vegetables, cooking your own rice and making your own salsa are just a few things you can do to cut costs and make your meals healthier. You can even make things like potato chips at home. Use the Internet to your advantage and learn how to recreate your favorite foods in your kitchen.
2. Frugal healthy eating tip 2: Don’t leave home without a snack
When you’re out and about, it’s easy to justify spending a few bucks to tame your hunger. However, if you always have a snack with you, you’ll be able to say “no” to costly restaurants. It’s as simple as tossing a bag of carrot sticks in your bag. If you’re pressed for time, pack individual baggies of snacks on the weekend to grab and go.
3. Frugal healthy eating tip 3: Make a plan
Grocery store runs can get expensive if you go on an empty stomach. Instead, write out your grocery list, eat a meal, then head to the store. If you know what recipes you’re making for the week, then you’ll be less tempted by impulse items. Likewise, plan your meals ahead for the week. If you pack your own lunches (and you should), make them in advance and refrigerate or store the items. Think creatively about leftovers, too. Yesterday’s roast chicken could make excellent sandwiches or soup today.
4. Frugal healthy eating tip 4: Look for food with a long shelf life
Many people have to throw out produce they just bought because it went bad before they could eat it. Instead, look for food that comes in bulk and will last for quite awhile. Good bets are frozen vegetables, oatmeal, dried fruits and veggies, tofu and canned tuna. If you stock up when these items are on sale, you’ll always be able to put together a meal quickly and cheaply.
5. Frugal healthy eating tip 5: Shop locally
Farmer’s markets are an absolutely steal when it comes to produce. Not only are you supporting your local economy, you’ll be eating healthier. Purchase lots of produce in the summer when it’s readily available and freeze or can it for fall and winter.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, most healthy foods are also better for your wallet. Use these tips next time you hit the grocery store to save money and live healthier.
About the Author: Frugal may be her middle name, but Carly Lance does it with class – which is why she loves to write about saving money, to help others learn from her cheap (but classy!) ways. Carly is also a blog coordinator for Personal Bankruptcy Canada, a company of trustees for bankruptcy in Canada – whom she also blogs about finances for.