We all know that eating healthy has many challenges. When you first start out, just knowing the difference between healthy and unhealthy can seem overwhelming.
Once you start reading labels and getting a feel for what makes foods bad for you, next comes finding food that meets both your health requirements and your palate’s approval.
Just as important though is finding food that fits your budget. A lot of people don’t think of the food budget as an important part of finances. After the rent or mortgage payment, the car payment, utilities, and insurance whatever money is left over is used as the need arises.
When grocery money comes out of that leftover money, every week can seem like a struggle to feed the family. And the unforeseen things that come up can challenge any budget.
For the money that you do have to spend on groceries, I suggest you spend some time checking a few stores for the lowest prices on your favorite items. Check the weekly sales, and clip coupons.
Coupon clipping for me was fine when I subscribed to the local newspaper but once I no longer was getting the Sunday paper, coupons were few and far between. Now that there are a lot of coupon services on the internet, that is where I get most of my coupons. I use coupons.com and grocerycouponnetwork.com.
They usually have coupons for the most popular food and non-food items, but not very many for organic and higher quality foods. Many of the food companies that I do buy products from offer coupons on their website or with an email subscription.
You may not think that clipping coupons will save you very much money, but it really can. I frequently clip coupons for $.50 to $2.00 off. I look at it this way—if I saw a dollar on the ground I would sure pick it up! So, think about shopping sales and clipping coupons like finding money lying around.
Shopping regularly like that can save enough money that you can occasionally splurge on yourself with something special. It’s always nice to find your favorite cut of steak on sale and not feel bad about spending a couple of more dollars on a steak than you normally spend on ground beef.
To help make our food budget stretch, we usually make a large meal with the food that is on sale so that we have leftovers for lunches and at least one evening meal.
Leftover night at our house usually happens after we have prepared several large meals that week so that it feels a little bit like eating at a buffet. Everyone can always find something that they want to eat. Sometimes we make a fresh vegetable to add more variety.
And speaking of variety, especially in the winter packages of frozen vegetables are very often cheaper than fresh vegetables. This can really broaden the types of healthy foods you put on the table.
This week our food budget is especially tight, so let me share with you what we bought at the grocery store this morning for the next week. To make stir-fry: skinless, boneless chicken breast; fresh asparagus, sugar snap peas, julienned carrots, mushrooms, an onion, organic basmati rice, and some seasoned wok oil (we already had some canned water chestnuts and bamboo shoots).
To make spaghetti: two jars of organic spaghetti sauce, rice pasta, an onion, ground beef, grated parmesan cheese, and two loaves of frozen garlic bread. We already have some frozen mixed vegetables.
To make a hearty soup: a package of dried 16 kinds of beans for soup, 3 small packages of preservative free cubed ham. I may make a loaf of hearty gluten-free bread with a mix I already have.
Breakfast items included one dozen eggs, two large containers of Greek yogurt, fresh blueberries, and fresh blackberries. We also picked up a couple cans of organic refried beans. We have some fresh strawberries already.
We will be able to feed 3 adults breakfast, lunch and supper for most of the week on all of this. Our total bill was $92.83. I did not have any coupons, but we did buy meat that was on sale. Also, not everything that we bought was organic. Adding a few items that I already have at home also helps stretch the food budget. I have certain staple items that I like to keep on hand.
While it can be tempting to buy less expensive items like frozen dinners and pizzas, what you will find is that they are less filling and satisfying than eating real home cooked meals; you end up buying more food and not really saving money.
I hope this helps you with your food budget.
May your next week be a good one; stay encouraged!
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.