By Emily McLaughlin
#10 is my favorite
When you are only buying for one, or maybe two, it’s hard to eat healthy on a small budget. Here are some money-saving tips for the college student on a budget, grad student who can barely afford a can of soup or the young working professional who gets by paycheck-to-paycheck. These tips, of course, can be used by more than just that demographic — I just wanted to be sure to address my main readership. ;)
1. Buy to freeze.
Sometimes that”buy-in-bulk” sale is so tempting, but we know there is no way we will get through all that chicken before it goes bad in a house of one or two. Well, go ahead and buy it anyways but plan on freezing it. Before you freeze it, measure and cut it into 1-2 serving-sized portions and freeze individually.
2. Always buy SOME things in bulk.
When it comes to oats, pasta, rice, beans, seeds and nuts, I like to buy these things in bulk. There is an aisle in most grocery stores with products you can buy wholesale/by the lb. I usually get oats, quinoa and rice here. Make sure they are always in your cabinets to make meal planning… and your life… much easier.
3. Buy fruits and veggies in smaller qualities.
It’s such a tragedy to see produce go bad. Buy what you know you are going to eat and nothing more. It’s okay to have to go to the market more than once per week if it means you won’t be wasting food. Stop on your way home from work to get fruits and veggies you need for the next couple of days.
4. Buy local and seasonal.
You may associate buying from farmers markets and buying organic with a higher price tags. If you buy organic fruits and veggies from the supermarket, this is definitely the case. However, buying produce from a local market could be saving you money. Check to see what kinds of produce is in season, and stick to those (they will be cheaper since they are more available).
5. Got to the farmers market first thing, or at the end of the day.
In the AM there may be bulk sales on the produce you want most. In the PM, you may be able to talk down the farmer’s price a little because they don’t want to ship their fruits and veggies back to the farm. If there is a produce you really want, go in the AM
6. Invest in savings.
Make lists, cut coupons and sign up for savings cards. Make these things routine so that you are invested in saving. Also, make it a habit to check weekly circulars for sales and plan your meals around those sales.
7. Do away with disposables.
Why are you wasting your money on plastic utensils, paper plates and disposable cups and containers? Invest in tupperware and reusable water bottles. You will save SO MUCH MONEY in the long run, I promise
8. Drink water.
While we are on the subject of water bottles… use them often. Aside from your occasional glass of milk, coffee or tea, make water your primary beverage. Water detoxifies your body and naturally hydrates you in a way other beverages can’t. Drinking water can also save you some money in another way. In many cases, when we feel hungry, we are actually just thirsty. When ‘hunger’ hits, drink water before opening up that lunch bag.
9. Think protein.
Buy protein-packed foods. When you are shopping, buy protein-filled foods like Greek yogurt, eggs, nuts, hummus and lean meats. These kinds of foods will fill you up when incorporated into meals or when eaten in between meals as snacks. I love to eat Greek yogurt accompanied by nuts and berries or pair hummus, veggies and hard-boiled eggs.
10. Eat with friends & have potlucks.
My favorite thing to do when food items are scarce is to have friends over. Plan a potluck dinner and make a hodgepodge of dishes to get you all happy and full. Potlucks were clutch at the end of the school year during graduation. No one wanted to buy more groceries, since it would be a waste… plus, we needed to get rid of their random assortments of foods already in our cabinets. Have potlucks before vacation weeks, on a Friday before a long weekend or just for fun! Challenge yourself to make the dishes as healthy as possible.
Do you have tips for eating healthy on a budget? Please share! Also, check out one of SHSH’s most popular posts is 25 ways to eat healthy on a college budget.
Happy saving! :)