Okay, so last night I ate cereal for supper. One night I had two different types of ice-cream. Store bought vanilla, and some that I made with Big Red; just in case you were wondering. Being in grad school reminds me of the good ‘ole days as an ungrad, cooking Ramen noodles in a pan inside my dorm room. Oh, you know you’ve done it! Don’t judge. Now that I’ve grown up a little bit, it’s still hard to find the time to stop what I’m doing and eat something decent for supper. Plus, money can be tight. Oh, why don’t we just go out to eat? That’s usually a quick fix but not a very cost-efficient solution. Here are 10 ways to eat healthy without having to break the budget (or the bank).
#1 - Always keep sandwich stuff around. Bread, meat, and cheese can go a long way.
#2 - Shop at Dollar Stores. I shop a lot at our local 99 Cent Store off Texas Avenue. A lot of Dollar Trees are beginning to carry food items as well.
#3 - Use crockpot meals. There are tons of books with easy crockpot ideas, or look on Pinterest. These are easy to make and supper is ready when you get home!
#4 - Use cash. I use cash at the store to keep from overspending. Not sure how to get started? Keep your receipts for a few weeks to see what you are spending and then take this amount out in cash next time you head to the store.
#5 - Buy in bulk. When I see a good price on meat (anything less than $3 a lb. for beef) I snatch up several packages and freeze the extra. I do this with toiletries as well and keep a small stockpile in a hall closet.
#6 - Take a lunch. I know those days of being stuck in the library all night and not being able to get back home until dark. If this is the case, then I would suggest taking something with you to eat. Every day, during the school year, we each pack a lunch and take to work/school. This enables us to eat healthy without having the cost of eating out.
#7 - Make a list. Since being in grad school, I have found out that it’s difficult to do things like creating a list before heading out to the grocery store. I always regret it when I don’t because I usually buy things that don’t add up to a meal. So, take the time to make a list a home. This will prevent you from spending impulsively.
#8 - Shop online. I am in love with online shopping. So far, I have shopped at Walmart and Kroger. (HEB also offers this service.) If you’re new to online shopping, I would suggest you give it a try. It is so easy to sit in my recliner at home while ordering groceries (with cookbooks in my lap). Then I just have to pull my car around and pick up my groceries. PS...If you haven’t shopped at Wal-Mart before, you get $10 off your first order.
#9 - Use coupons when eating out. Even if you do have to eat out, make sure and grab coupons from apps or newspapers. Circulars that come in your mailbox also have coupons. We save the Subway and Burger King coupons from those circulars to use in case we can’t get home to eat.
#10 - Use coupons on food. There’s no reason not to save money these days with all the new technology out there. Use paper coupons or download coupons directly from your favorite shopping store app. Never used coupons? Here’s a video I made showing you how to get started.
I hope all these ways will help you to see that it’s more affordable, and healthy, to stay home and eat if at all possible. Here’s to a healthier lifestyle on a budget! Happy eating. (Now back to those Ramen noodles.)
Whitney Sparks is a Masters student in the Education department.