I want to start today’s post off by saying thank you for all the wonderful comments on my post about ginger. I am glad that so many of you found it informative and useful and thank you for all the added tips about ginger as well! 🙂
So I didn’t get around to writing at all this weekend due to being out of town. My boyfriend, Chris, and I went back to our alma mater, Miami University, for the weekend. I haven’t been back there in a couple of years and the campus was as beautiful as I remembered it being. It brought back so many memories! So needless to say, this weekend completely threw me off of my schedule and normal eating habits. I managed to find a few vegan options at the places we went to, but between not eating regular meals, a few drinks here and there, and not a whole lot of sleep, I was craving some great healthy food when I returned home. I woke up this morning wanting a green smoothie so bad to rejuvenate my body from the long weekend. It was so good 🙂
While sipping on my green smoothie I was creating my grocery list for the week and trying to plan out meals. That is what inspired today’s post about how to eat right on a budget.
I definitely know what it feels like to be on a tight budget. Four years of being a broke college student will surely teach you how to stretch a dollar. While in college, I was going to school full time and working part time at various jobs around campus to try to pay my bills and make ends meet. Grocery shopping was always a challenge because I have always been very health conscious. I wasn’t the broke college student living on Ramen Noodles and cheap pizza. I wanted to eat healthy, really healthy, except that usually meant having to buy more expensive items. I would walk into the store knowing exactly how much money I had in my bank account, down to the cent, and how long it would be before I would get paid again. Now that I have been out in the working world for a few years I still find it difficult to grocery shop on a budget. At first it was another challenge because I was living with my boyfriend and shopping for two people instead of just for myself. I might add that I was shopping for two people with entirely different eating habits………..guys can eat a lot I found out. We have compromised some over the past couple of years and I think I finally have him hooked on some healthier options. He’s even enjoying all of my vegan meals! Anyway, I thought I would come up with a list of tips on eating healthy on a budget.
Clip Coupons – This is something I had trouble doing at first. We don’t get the newspaper and on the rare occasion I did have coupons, I would forget to use them at the checkout! So find a system that works for you (ex. Filing them in categories, making time to clip coupons weekly and plan meals accordingly, put them on the refrigerator with your shopping list so you don’t forget) Sometimes you can even go online to the store and print coupons from their website! Also, try Coupon Mom at www.couponmom.com.
Plan you meals – Once you have your coupons cut out, plan your meals for the week around what’s on sale at the store. Sales and specials are always changing so you will still get plenty of variety in meals week to week. I have also found it helps to plan meals out before going shopping. There have been many times I went to the grocery without planning and ended up back at the store another couple times throughout the week to buy additional items for meals. This usually causes me to spend a lot more because I am not keeping track of the total from all shopping trips.
Don’t stray from your list – This is another one I have trouble with, but I’m getting better at it. Make a list before you go to the store and stick to it. Plan your healthy meals, buy what you need and be done. Sometimes I find myself wandering around the store for a while only to put 10 more things in my cart that I definitely did not plan on purchasing. Try to avoid spur of the moment purchases due to do crazy marketing tactics within the store.
Try to stick to shopping as much as possible around the perimeter of the store only– This is where your healthier options will be. You will be amazed at the savings from not buying all the processed foods in the middle isles.
Buy produce that is in season– I understand that buying a lot of fresh produce can sometimes be pricey, but items that are in season are generally less expensive. So find out what’s growing now and plan meals around seasonal fruits and vegetables or find a local farmers market in your town. You can usually get really great deals and your supporting the local growers! Check out www.localharvest.org to find a farmers market near you.
Figure out your spending budget– Pay attention to what you are spending from week to week on groceries. Figure out what you can spend each week on food and try to stay as close to that figure as possible. If you find you keep going over your budget, see what unhealthy items you bought that you maybe could do without.
Hope this list helps! Let me know if you have any additional tips for eating right on a budget 🙂