Fitness Minutes: (5,830)
2,510 7/26/13 11:39 A
Frugal items/tips/items that go on sale frequently:
canned tuna eggs (check local farmers) in season fresh veggies cabbage greens (kale, turnip, mustard, etc) olive oil mushrooms carrots frozen veggies on sale make your own greek yogurt bananas make the base of your diet protein, healthy fats, and veggies to stay full longer set aside time/space for even a small garden (or look into community gardening plots) walk anywhere within 1 mile radius of your home carpool
Someone once said, "Don't buy food, buy ingredients."
They were talking about health, but it works even better as your slogan for budgeting. If you make a promise to yourself that you're never going to pay someone for mixing, you save a ton. Just one example: instant oatmeal. Even a generic store brand is going to be $1.50 for a 10-packet box. But generic quick-cooking plain oats are $1.50 for a 24-oz canister. Add sweetener and spices and maybe some dried fruit, and it's still half the price, plus you will undoubtedly put in less sugar and WAY less salt than the manufacturer does. (It takes the same amount of time and work to cook the quick oats as it does to boil water for instant.) Oatmeal is even cheaper if you get it in the bulk barrels-- One store near me (Sprouts, if you have them near you) regularly has it on sale for 50 cents a pound.
As for produce, buy what's on sale. What's cheapest is also what's freshest because they put things on sale when they have too much. Get the store sale flyers for two or three stores in your neighborhood, see what's on sale, and look up recipes before you shop to make sure that you'll have all the ingredients.
And that brings us to the most important thing: don't waste food/money. Never buy anything unless and until you have decided when and how you're going to use it. That great price on canned salmon is no bargain if it sits on your shelf for two years because you don't know what to do with it and you're not sure you really like it. Also, keep a list of what's in your pantry so you don't buy what you already have. (Someone on SP recently mentioned cleaning her mom's kitchen and finding seven jars of pumpkin pie spice, mostly unopened. You KNOW mom bought those because she had a recipe that called for it and forgot she already had some.) And of course, planning your meals ahead of time is also a great way to control weight and eat healthier.
Healthy eating and saving money are actually two sides of the same coin. Most of what you do to achieve one will automatically help with the other.
The bulk food bins at Whole Foods is a real cost saver. You can buy just what you need, for instance get a cup of barley or wheat berries or whatever grain you want for approx $1. Also almonds, etc. are cheaper that way. Stay away from the prepared foods by weight they are very expensive.
Frozen veggies are also a great way to go. Also: dried beans. You might say, but it is such a pain to cook them! Not really if you have a slow cooker. If you google slow cooker dried beans it will show you all you do is stick them in the slow cooker with water and let it cook all day. Then you add up with a giant amount of beans for like 89 cents, you use what you need, and you freeze the rest. I did this with chickpeas and have them out the wazoo. I like to put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them that way, then separate them into sandwhich bags, which are about the same size of a can.
So if you make a dinner featuring chickpeas (for example) 25 cents, plus 1 cup (uncooked) grains $1, and frozen veggies $2, that is $3.25 for an entire meal. Of course you would want to spice that up but usually people have spices on-hand.
For spices...do yourself a favor and go to an Indian or other ethnic grocer...you can get large amounts of spices very cheaply there.
I second the Aldi's. Here are just a few foods I get from there
chicken breast $ 2.49/lb eggs $1.19 a dozen oatmeal 1.49/ 10 serving box canned vegetables $.59 a can pasta $1 a box ( 1 lb ).
I eat low carb and my brother has the pasta, and oatmeal. He is 300 lbs, and I am 220. I eat 1800+ calories a day, and together we spend $50-60 a week. That is the cost of 3 meals at a restaurant. Eating healthy can actually be a LOT cheaper than eating poorly.
Other foods I have seen, but not bought @ Aldi's
5 fiber bars for $1.99 cereal $1.50 a box milk $1.49 a gallon bread $.99 a loaf
The more meals you prepare yourself, the cheaper it will be. You can buy fresh produce for a salad instead of buying one for example. I eat chicken tomatoes, and onion stir fries a lot. 1.5 lbs of chicken a can of tomatoes, and 1/2 an onion, and split it into my lunch and dinner. With my 5 eggs for breakfast, I am spending about $4 a day. Hardly expensive.
Do you have an aldi near you? I buy as much of my food there, my produce is like half the price. Anything else I buy at Walmart or in bulk to save. I also try to meal plan to try to get the most out of my meals utilizing leftovers etc.
I think my biggest challenge in losing weight and being healthy is my diet. There is so much advice out there on what to eat and when to eat. I have found a lot of healthy food is actually expensive. How do I plan for healthy eating on a small budget?
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.