Most people spend about 10% of their take-home money on food, but it's a misconception that you can't buy quality, healthy foods on a tight budget.
SparkPeople members contradict that myth by sharing the many ways they stay healthy and eat well for less.
"When I make my shopping list, I write things like 'dinner for 3 days' and then once in the store, I see what's on sale. Also, look in the short-dated section in the chill cabinets. I quite often get something for that night's dinner or to put away in the freezer."
"I have a co-worker who goes to the farm and buys a whole cow at one time, then pays a butcher to cut it up so she can deep-freeze it. Sometimes they go in on a cow with a friend since it gives you tons of meat at a lower price."
"I take a list. If it isn't on the list, it doesn't go into the cart. Period. No impulse items. I also bring my little calculator to be sure that I am getting the best deal on what I need. And buy generic when possible, if it is cheaper."
"We plan our meals for the week, so we know what we're eating and buy only what we need. The exception to this is if there is something we use a lot that is on sale, we will take advantage of the sale price. We use this also with produce—a recipe may call for red bell peppers, but if the yellow ones are cheaper, we get those instead."
"By eating less meat, we can save our money for wild salmon and seafood and lean chicken or turkey."
"I've stopped using coupons on most groceries because they evened out the prices on a more expensive brand or tempted me to buy things I didn't need."
"At the store we buy from bulk bins as much as we can, even buying teas, spices, and granola. We have a coffee grinder we use to grind whole spices, so we don't get both a whole and ground version of the same spice. We reuse our own spice jars, filling it up from the bulk bins."
"We buy quality meats and fish, but use discount grocery chains for pantry items like milk, bread, yogurt, etc."
"Slightly limp or wilted fresh vegetables don't need to be thrown away. Sautéing them will bring them back to life."
"I always thought I couldn't afford to buy the healthy foods that I knew I should be eating. Then, when I got serious about losing weight, I stopped buying cookies, candy, donuts, chips, and such. Lo and behold, I had enough money to buy fresh fruit, veggies, whole grain cereals and pasta and more!"