It’s difficult to eat healthy while sticking to a small budget, but it’s important we try. Our medical bills later on will be astronomical if we don’t, and the future of health insurance is unsure at this time.
- Grow as much of your own food as possible. Having an indoor window garden for growing herbs year round will save quite a bit of money, as will having a garden outside.
- Even a small garden where greens, carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes can be grown will allow you to save a lot of money on your grocery bill, especially if you learn how to extend the gardening season.
- Be sure, when gardening, to use organic seeds. Heirloom varieties are the best choice, but any organic seeds will work. Find these online or in catalogs. Organic seeds may seem to cost a bit more, but will provide you with the healthiest possible produce.
- Use organic soil for gardening as well. Make your own by building and maintaining compost bins. Don’t put anything that is not organic into the bin, and your soil will be the healthiest soil around.
- Learn to can, freeze, and dry the foods you grow, and those that are given to you – or that you purchase. Canning supplies can be found at yard sales and in junk stores, but be sure to get new lids. Also, you may be able to find them free online.
- Try to refrain from buying many overly processed foods. These are the least healthy.
- Learn to make your own items, such as breads and pancakes, using healthy ingredients. Cooking and baking from scratch is usually cheaper in the long run.
- Look for organic products such as tomato paste and pure vanilla extract, or at least products with no added sugar or ingredients that you are unfamiliar with. For convenience, Walmart sells unsweetened applesauce in individual containers. A multi pack costs under $2.00. Read the labels.
- Couple coupons with sales on items you much purchase, whenever possible. Search these coupons out. Get on mailing lists for the companies.
- Brand loyalty should only come into play when one brand has a healthier version of something than the other brand. For example, stick with a brand that offers no sugar and preservatives on an item. Forget about the brand that is loaded with both.
- Store brands, when healthier than the name brands, are an option as well. The taste of store brand items is comparable, and sometimes better. If this generic brand is the same as the name brand nutrition wise, choose whatever is going to be more affordable after the coupon is applied.
- Look for store coupons that can be applied to your overall grocery bill, even if that means stocking up on a few items (as long as they will get used). A general coupon of $7.00 off a total purchase of $75.00 is a good deal, if you can swing it. Especially if there is a good sale going on and you’re able to combine other coupons with some of the sale items. You will save even more money this way.
- Farmers markets are great, but some of the items can be pricey. Check the prices. Cucumbers are often sold three or four for a dollar, and they are a good size. Zucchini is another good item to purchase, as are plant starts. Talk with the vendors about whether or not their products are organic. And, if it is close to closing time, ask about a discount on the more expensive fresh produce and meat products, as well as the eggs. You never know.
- Farm stands often sell fresh items at affordable prices. Strike up a conversation with the owner to see if you can get a discount for buying a bunch of stuff right then.
- Whenever someone offers you food items for free, take them. Then worry about figuring out how to use and store them. This will save you a great deal of money.
- If you notice that someone owns a fruit tree or berry patch, and they don’t seem to take advantage of the bounty, ask if you can have the produce. They wont have to rake up all those little apples, making less work for them.
NOTE: If you are in an emergency food situation, nutrition be gone! Get to a food cupboard and take whatever they will give you. If you’re normally eating fairly nutritious meals, these foods will not hurt you sometimes. Unhealthy food is better than no food.