Every week, you have a good idea of what you’ll eat. Maybe you’ll enjoy a cup of coffee alongside a bagel for breakfast or have sandwiches every day for lunch. Perhaps you’re a baking queen and think nothing of knocking up a Red Velvet Cheesecake or some choux buns as a home-made treat. You’ll even buy chocolate moulds for Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts. Whatever you do, though, you’ll eventually find yourself back at the grocery store for another round of standing in line at the till.
Do you nervously watch your total rise with each scanned box of pasta and container of ice cream? It’s all too easy to overspend on junk food, but eating healthy may seem like the more expensive option. With the right tips, you could start eating better and saving money the next time you grab your shopping cart.
Check out these five tricks to save money on food but still eat well. You don’t need to compromise your budget or health to get what you want. Approach your diet in a new way so you can stop overspending and enjoy all your favourite foods.
1. Stick With Store Brands
When you walk down an aisle at the grocery store, you recognize your favourite brands from a mile away. You instinctively grab them as you head for the next item on your list, but consider choosing the store brand alternative instead.
Store brand foods have cheaper price tags because grocery stores don’t need to pay for advertising to sell them. That cuts down on the cost per box or can and makes a big difference in how much you pay at the register. You’ll get the same healthy food, like sweet potato fries or yoghurt, and watch your savings add up.
2. Try Meatless Dinners
You may not live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, but it’s worth your time to go meatless at least once a week. Beef and chicken cost a good chunk of grocery budgets, whether you get them in bulk or not. You could save up to €565 per year if you eliminate beef or steak. Eating meat regularly increases your risk of heart disease, so it’s worth skipping if that runs in your family.
3. Cook With Beans
Canned beans are cheap, and dry beans are even more affordable. Look up a few recipes and learn how to cook with both. Beans are a great source of protein, contain high amounts of fibre and are low in sodium.
4. Buy Canned Veggies
Fresh vegetables are delicious, but it’s not easy for everyone to afford them. The next time you want to load up on green beans and corn, head for the canned vegetable aisle. You can get them frozen, but canned veggies cost less since you can buy them in bulk. They’re an easy way to feed yourself or host a party on a budget, whether you’re throwing a birthday party or celebrating a holiday.
5. Learn to Freeze Food
Once you get that healthy food you crave, the last thing you want to do is throw out spoiled leftovers. When you can’t eat an entire meal at once, freeze your leftover servings so you don’t waste the food you bought.
6. Read Nutrition Labels
Before you throw that boxed dinner in your cart, check out the nutrition label to discover what you’re really eating. It will list information like how much energy in kilojoules (kJ) are in each serving and how many kilocalories (kcal) you’ll get. When you consider those numbers alongside fat, sugars and protein, you’ll get a better idea if you’re saving money on food that’s good or bad for you.
7. Know Your Beef
If you want to include beef in your diet, learn which cuts to get so you minimize the fat in your meal and pay a fair price for what you bring home. Talk with your local butcher so you get fresh skirts and top rumps without breaking your budget. These meats are easy to cook and replace expensive steaks and roasts, so you can still eat the meals you love.
Try Something New
You may not be used to doing things like buying canned veggies or getting your protein from beans, but it will save you money. Try something new to see how it transforms your budget and your diet.