When it comes to debt reduction and looking at budget expenses, many are fixed and there is very little that can be done to reduce them. One area where costs can be cut is with the grocery budget. Unfortunately, many people decide that the only way that they can save money on their food budget is to begin purchasing unhealthy food. This is nothing more than an excuse for being lazy. While you may need to work a little harder finding the deals, there are plenty of ways to save money while still eating healthy food. Here are a few ways that you can save money on the healthy food that is out there:
Purchase Seasonal Produce
One of the easiest things that you can do to save money is to purchase fruit and vegetables that are in season. Seasonal produce is much cheaper because there’s an excess of stock which drives the prices down. Obviously this means that out of season produce is more expensive. So, for example, strawberries will be cheaper during the summer than they will during the winter. Simply understanding what fruit and vegetables are in season and planning to use them in your meals will go a long way to reducing meal costs.
Don’t Buy Pre-Cut Produce
When you’re at the grocery store, have you ever grabbed pre-cut fruits and vegetables because you thought you didn’t have time to cut the produce yourself? It’s easy to grab the simple, pre-cut option. It saves you time, but it doesn’t save you money. It’s usually much less expensive to buy fresh produce and cut it yourself. yes, it does take a little bit more effort, but if the choice is healthier food or having to get less healthy food in other areas because you spend it on pre-cut fruit and vegetables.
While there’s nothing that’s as delicious as fresh fruits or vegetables, sometimes they’re more expensive than their frozen counterparts. Most frozen fruits and vegetables are frozen with all their nutrients included, so you’re not missing out on any health benefits. It’s also cheaper to buy frozen fruits and vegetables which are out of season rather than their fresh counterparts. it’s important that healthy doesn’t always mean it has to be fresh.
Buy the Supermarket Brand
A lot of big name brand companies try to market their products, such as low-fat drinks or high fiber cereal, as being the only options out there. However, most supermarkets produce their own brand of healthy foods that are just as good as the name brand ones. Best of all, the supermarket brands are usually cheaper. If you’re really trying to cut your budget when you shop for healthy foods, consider picking up a healthy option in generic brand form.
Grow Your Own Food
You might not be able to grow every type of food you enjoy, but it’s perfectly possible to grow some produce and spices in your house or apartment. Growing your own food will help you cut costs and provide you with delicious, healthy food. If you’re an excellent gardener, you’ll hopefully be able to re-grow these plants each season. Best of all, you know exactly how they have been grown.
Buy in Bulk
Many health stores, farmer’s markets, or co-ops sell whole or organic grains by the pound. If you know you’re going to be eating a lot of grains, it’s probably in your best interest to buy bulk. For instance, a co-op might sell oats for $1.50 a pound whereas a can of them at your supermarket might run for $3.99. You’d be saving at least $2 for every pound you buy. If you buy five pounds, that’s $10 you could save.
One of the most obvious ways to save money on any type of food is by using coupons. While coupons for organic and other types of healthy foods were once few and far between, there are more and more coupon deals than ever before for healthy foods. These coupons aren’t limited to a single source, either. They can be found in your local paper, online from sites like grocerycouponnetwork.com, or directly from the manufacturer’s themselves. If you’re serious about trying to buy healthier options, keep up on the coupons that might be available.
Visit a Co-Op or a Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets or co-ops generally have the same type of produce and healthy grains that you would find in a supermarket, but for a lower price. You also usually have the option to buy in bulk, which can be significantly cheaper than buying products individually. Certain co-ops and farmer’s markets might also specialize in organic or locally grown foods, which would otherwise be outrageously expensive at most supermarkets.
Don’t Shop at Brand Chain Grocery Stores
A lot of well-known supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Shaw’s, Safeway, or Wal-Mart tend to have similar prices for their food items. Their sales might differ each week, but many supermarket chains have set prices to keep up with their competitors. If you’re looking to save money on produce, grains, or other healthy foods, try shopping at ethnic supermarkets. Asian, Mexican, or Middle Eastern markets, for example, tend to have lower prices for spices, beans, grains, and other similar items.
By using a bit of creativity, looking for deals in atypical places and being familiar with seasonal food, it’s not only possible to eat healthy, you can ear healthy for less than you were likely spending before. Here’s a chance to win $100 cash and just think of all the wonderful healthy food you could buy if you won!