Eating Healthy On A Budget

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eating_budget As many of you know, I’m currently “unemployed.”  I put that in quotes because although I technically do not have a job that pays me a big fat check every two weeks, I do work full-time.  Yea, I know…confusing right?  Well, I’m currently close to finishing up my 11 month dietetic internship/fellowship program – my full-time job that doesn’t pay me to work.  Yup.  In fact I paid to work.  Ha…let’s not go there.

But to help manage my finances (or lack thereof) I’ve made some changes here and there in my spending habits.  Spend a little less here…skip a splurge buy here.  You know.  Though I’m sure as my husband reads this he’s rolling his eyes.  But I could have purchased way more pairs of shoes and a fun summer purse!  Trust me!
eating_budget3 I’m sure I’m not the only one trying to save a few bucks these days.  The economy still semi-sucks and most people are more than interested in finding ways to keep the cash in their wallet instead of someone else’s.  So one of the projects my internship partner and I put together, we created tips that focused on how the average American can save money on their weekly food bill.  And since you can’t skip out on purchasing food to eat, you might be interested in the following few tricks to eat healthy on a budget.
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  • Stay Local.  Now that Spring is here and Summer is just right around the corner, farmers markets are in full swing.  The produce, local dairy products, meats and canned goods found at these markets can usually be bought for cheaper than the regular store.  The food travels less and is processed by fewer hands.  This equals a lower cost for you.  In addition, stock up on the cheaper produce and freeze in large batches for the Fall and Winter months.
  • Buy In Season.  This is mainly in regards to produce.  If you buy asparagus in the Winter, I guarantee you’re going to pay twice as much than when you buy a bundle in the Spring (asparagus season).  This goes for most types of produce.  Check out seasonal veggies and fruits here:  Seasonal Ingredient Map from Epicurious.
  • Sign Up for Rewards Cards.  Most people belong to their local grocery store’s rewards program.  I’m a member of several – and I can get the good deals at a whole bunch of stores.  It’s worth signing up for at least 3 from local stores.
  • Do Your Own Prep Work.  Sometimes this is easier said than done.  But a few times of good savings, will keep you moving past the pre-package/pre-washed/pre-cut foods.  The more work the manufacturer does for you, the more they’re going to charge.  For example, take time to wash and chop your own lettuce.  It takes 10 minutes and saves you money!
  • Go for the 10 for 10 deals.  You’ve seen them…10 cans of tuna for $10 or 10 yogurt cups for $10.  Well, I generally don’t want 10 cans of tuna.  That’ll take us forever to eat!  But did you know, you don’t have to buy all 10 to get the deal?  Nope…buy 1, 2 or 5 and you still get the sale price no matter how many you buy!
  • Go Vegetarian.  I’m not just throwing this in because I’m a vegetarian.  It’s actually quite an economical choice.  Meat and seafood can be really expensive.  Beans, lentils and grains?  Well you can’t really get too much cheaper than that!  Stick to a few meatless meals a night and you’ll definitely notice a few extra bucks in your pocket!

 

You tell me!  How do you save money at the store?  What are your favorite food splurges?  Do you buy produce in season or whenever you want to?

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