Learn how to cook.
- If you’re one of those people who says you don’t know how to cook, you’re wrong… Anyone can throw some food in a pan and stir it around until it’s hot and ready. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to understand the basics of cooking.
- With that being said, the first step of eating healthy while on a budget is learning the basics of cooking. I would say go down to your local library and pick up a simple cooking book to get started. You could also watch some YouTube videos if you’re not sure how something is supposed to work exactly. Once you feel ready to start making some delicious, cheap meals for yourself, continue on with my tips.
Shop mostly in the produce section (or go to a farmer’s market).
Only buy produce that’s in-season.
- Google search, “Produce chart (your city) (current month)” and make a list of what’s in season now.
- Not only will in-season produce be fresher since it’ll likely be locally grown, it’ll also be more abundant, and therefore super cheap.
Make your groceries stretch.
- If you go to the grocery store once a week, try to make those groceries last all week. The keys to this are planning and being resourceful.
- What I usually do is buy all my groceries on Sunday and that night I’ll make enough food to last me a few days. (I cook the same meal every week; rice, beans, plantains, and veggie stir-fry. I never get tired of this meal, it’s healthy, and it’s one less decision I have to make.) When that food runs out, I’ll take whatever I have left and prepare a few random meals with it. Using the index of my favorite cookbook, I’ll look up a specific ingredient and find recipes that include that ingredient in them. This is how I spice things up, no pun intended. I’ll keep doing that until I run out of food to cook (usually the next Sunday).
Don’t buy the brand name product unless the taste difference is significant (which usually isn’t the case).
Shop at the budget grocery store for staples (rice, beans, pasta, etc.) and go to the more expensive one for perishables.
- Buy your staples in bulk, so you save more money AND you only have to make a trip here about once a month or so.
Restrict yourself to dining out only on weekends or holidays.
- If you can help it… I know it’s hard… You have to be strong…
Drink a glass of water before each meal.
- This will allow your body to feel full sooner.
Make your own coffee in the morning.
- $5 a day for coffee adds up very quickly.
- If you don’t get extra enjoyment from having someone else make your coffee each morning, why are you spending $150 a month for this treatment? Make your own coffee. Save your money.
When you make dinner each night, make extra for lunch the next day.
Eat less meat (or none at all).
- Meat is very expensive. When I went vegan, I saved a TON of money on food. But I’m not asking you to go vegan. I’m just challenging you to limit your meat consumption a bit so you can save money.
- There were a lot more reasons why I went vegan besides saving money, however. If you want to learn why I stopped consuming animal products, read this short article by Russell Simmons, which just about sums it up.
Minimize your dairy consumption (as difficult as it may seem).
- I used to get stomach aches all the time… Literally every night. As soon as I stopped consuming dairy, I stopped getting stomach aches… coincidence? Probably not. By the way, I’m not lactose-intolerant, according to my doctor.
- The funny thing about not consuming dairy, though, is that I still get to enjoy milk with my cereal. I still get to have pizza and ice cream, and everything else you’d associate with dairy. I just don’t have to take part in the violent, inhumane industry that injects cows with harmful hormones and steroids that are then passed onto us and make us sick. Instead, I consume plant-based products like cashew milk, coconut milk, and almond milk. This way, no innocent animals are affected negatively, and neither am I. 🙂
- If you’d like to learn more about the dairy industry, read this article from Urban Vegan, Surprising Facts About the Dairy Industry.
With this wealth of information I encourage you to evaluate the things you eat, slowly make adjustments, and over time notice the difference in how you feel throughout the day and the extra money you’ll have in your wallet.
If you have any questions or would like me to go into more detail about something, feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message.