Eat Healthy on a BudgetPosted at by ifydcat on category Personal Finance
It is well-known that eating nutritious food is key to maintaining good health, but it can be expensive to buy a variety of nutritious foods. Especially in this economy, every penny counts. But there are some strategies that you can use to eat well and economize at the same time.
You may want to look into the possibility of growing at least some of your own food. If you have a yard, you can turn all or part of it into a garden where you can grow vegetables and herbs. Squash, cucumbers, peas, beans, peppers and tomatoes are popular and fairly easy vegetables to grow, but you can try growing anything you like that will thrive in your area. If you live in an apartment, growing your own food is a bit more challenging, but you can still grow some items in pots on a windowsill. Herbs can do especially well in pots, and being able to snip fresh oregano, parsley and sweet basil to use in your recipes can save you from having to spend money on those items at the store.
If you do not have the time, space or inclination to grow your own vegetables and herbs, you might want to buy produce locally. Farmer’s markets have become popular in recent years, and you can buy all kinds of fruits and vegetables that are fresh and in season during the spring and summer months. It may also be possible for you to join a cooperative in which you agree to purchase certain quantities of produce from a local grower throughout the year. When you buy your produce locally, you are likely to get it at a better price than at the supermarket. Plus, the food is probably going to be fresher and may even be organically grown, providing you and your family with additional health benefits.
Another option to help you save money on food is to buy in bulk. Keep an eye on the sales that your supermarket runs, and when items that your family uses go on sale, buy those items in quantity. Clip and use manufacturer’s coupons to save even more, especially if your supermarket offers double coupon savings. Cereals, rice and beverages are some items that have a long shelf-life that you can store in your pantry. If you have a freezer, you can also buy meats and seafood when they are on sale. You may find it worthwhile to join a warehouse club, such as Costco or Sam’s Club. You must pay an annual membership fee to shop in these warehouse stores, but they sell many food items in bulk at prices that can save you money. However, it is important to know your prices, because sometimes it is still cheaper to buy your groceries at the supermarket when they are on sale. Also, you must be sure that you will be able to use the items you buy before the expiration date. You will not save money if you buy a commercial-size jar of mayonnaise and you wind up throwing half of it in the trash because it goes bad before you have a chance to use it.
Whether you grow your own food, buy produce from local farmers or buy in bulk from your supermarket or warehouse club, learn how to preserve your foods. Canning and freezing your fruits and vegetables can allow you to buy fresh produce at a low cost when it is in season and enjoy it all year long.
It is possible to eat well on a budget. Grow your own, buy locally and shop judiciously. It may take a little extra planning, but the health benefits and the monetary savings are well worthwhile.
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