Most people seem to assume that eating healthy is an expensive choice. For some reason, the overall view on food is, if you want to be frugal, then you’ve got to eat junk. That’s just not true, and I will show you why with a personal story about how I changed my eating habits. In the process, I ended up saving money on groceries, and you can, too. Here are five lessons I learned about how you can be frugal and eat healthy at the same time:
1. Stop eating canned and frozen food.
I used to think that buying frozen pizza was a cheaper option than making my own. So, like many Americans, I found myself doing most of my shopping in the freezer and canned good sections of the grocery store. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking too much about health while I was shopping, instead I focused on getting food that I enjoyed at what I thought were killer prices. Needless to say, after a little while, I started to develop what looked like a beer belly.
I’ve always been in pretty good physical shape, so the belly scared me a bit. Once I realized what was happening, I decided to change my eating habits. I made a promise to myself that for a minimum of a month, I wouldn’t eat canned or frozen foods. I hoped that by doing so, I would change my taste for certain foods. After about two weeks, I started noticing that not only did I stop craving those cheap, frozen foods, but I was also eating a much healthier diet.
Not only did I start saving money, but I also started losing weight, even though I was eating the same amount or even more than before.
2. Consider the hidden costs of packaged food.
That’s when I realized that packaged foods often include the costs of preparation. After all, it takes someone time to cook and package that food. There are also added expenses involved in preserving the food longer than it would naturally last. So naturally, these expenses need to be paid by someone. As with expenses on any product or service, the added cost is sent down the line to the end user, which is you and me.
3. Cut down on snack foods.
In the past, I ate quite a bit of snack foods, including chips and other junk food. The cost of those small meals added up, and they didn’t help my health goals, either. I cut unhealthy snack foods out of my budget and by doing so, saved about $40 a month.
4. Fight the fast food diet.
Up until about six months ago, I was addicted to fast food. My favorite daily habit was going to McDonald's during breakfast time and getting sausage burritos, hash browns and a soda. By changing my morning habits from burritos to fruit, I not only feel better throughout the day, but I also save about $70 a month.
5. Consider your health an investment in itself.
By eating a healthier diet, I’m also saving money on future health care costs, and that’s a savings that many people forget to take into account. If I continued on my destructive eating habits, I would have had several health problems to look forward to in the future.
The bottom line is that not only is eating healthy good for your well-being, but it can also save you a significant amount of money. In total, I save at least $200 each month on family groceries just by following these guidelines. I hope my experience inspires you to do the same.