Share Your Tips For Staying Healthy on a Budget



  • nsk1951
    nsk1951 Posts: 886 Member
    I love the idea mentioned in a previous post to use the water from cooking vegetables to water your house plants ... but I'd like to add a CAUTION to that ... Don't salt the cooking water if you are going to water house plants with it. Far better to use that as a broth for your soups and sauces.

    There were many good tips I read on here! Thanks.

    My own contribution is to have a budget. And then once it is set, exercise inventive thinking for how to stick with it. Many ideas will eventually crop up and some of them will stick.

  • allaboutthecake
    allaboutthecake Posts: 1,530 Member
    This is a great thread. I find plain frozen veggies/fruit a lot cheaper than fresh plus they don't go bad as fast. Probably the biggest money saver for a food budget is to eat at home vs out. I never could understand how people could spend their money eating fast food/lunch out every day. I always brought my lunch. lol

    I also love my Vitamix. I can take any leftovers and whip them up with a touch of water or broth in the Vitamix and Voilà -- instant hot soup!
  • jyoti_0
    jyoti_0 Posts: 48 Member
    Thanks to my food allergies, I am unable to eat any kind of packaged or proceeded food. No dairy, no gluten. Follow the FODMAP diet. And thanks to my being a total vegetarian (only plant-based food), my grocery budget is low, but fulfilling.
    I hardly spend $8 a week for my 3 meals a day and snacks for the whole week. I had watched a video on YouTube about "$10 grocery budget for a week" and it inspired me to buy only as much as I can eat in a week.
    1. Breakfast- freshly boiled hot potatoes with olive oil, salt and dried/ fresh herbs. This gives me carb, protein, and potassium which helps with my food allergy.
    2. Lunch - a stew of some rice, lentils, cooked with watery vegetables like bottle gourd, pumpkin, or yam (again, for their medicinal benefits). A tablespoon of olive oil and half a teaspoon of mango pickle makes it the tastiest food. Sometimes, I used grated coconut powder with this stew, which adds to the healthy fat content and taste.
    3. Evening snacks- one Orange and one tomato diced together, with some salt. Half a cucumber with half a carrot, again sprinkled with salt. This gives me a burst of vitamin C, to keep me healthy.
    4. Dinner- fresh mung bean sprouts (home made), with soaked walnut, olive oil, salt, and herbs.
    It has the lowest cook time, mostly raw and boiled, and I swear, the tastiest food I get to eat. The natural flavors and juices are just awesome, not to say very, very inexpensive.

  • RosyBest
    RosyBest Posts: 298 Member
    I utilize the sales, especially on protein. Buy 1 pack of drumsticks get a 2nd pack half off type deals. I just put them in my freezer until I'm ready to cook. Definitely saves money.
  • denasqu
    denasqu Posts: 5 Member
    OMAD, Costco, and farmer's markets. Probably spending 1/3 of what I used to at Whole Foods. Still shop Whole Foods for certain items and sales. I buy meat on sale, make big pots of stuff, and vacuum seal everything. My freezer is stuffed. OMAD has made the biggest difference. I'm still "re-learning" how to buy groceries.
  • Buy frozen vegetables and frozen berries. Make a shopping list before heading to the supermarket. Check out farmers markets for cheaper and fresher fruit and vegetables.
  • DebbsSeattle
    DebbsSeattle Posts: 59 Member
    I began buying tinned sardines. Walmart has $0.99 Great Value sardines in water…ton of protein, super good for you, low cost, 100 calories per tin, a fish serving and so yummy on Wasa crackers with homemade lowfat hummus. Match that with easy to transport, three year shelf life, can live in a desk drawer at work, needs no refrigeration and it is a winner! Perfect for your disaster preparedness kit too!

    I do two major shops a month with an interim veggie shop bi-weekly. I buy meat in bulk, pre-portion it and vacuum seal for the freezer. Makes meal prep easy and can always ID the portions to log. I do not over buy fresh because I do not want to waste food.

    I comparison shopped a Winco receipt at and $100 at Safeway cost $80 at Walmart and only $66 at Winco. Comparison shop your local stores for your standard cart contents. You may be shocked!

    We custom butcher beef and pork through a local family farm. We don’t save money after all is said and done, but we do get higher quality organic meat over standard butcher block offerings at the grocery store. With that said, plant based proteins are far less money per pound. We eat tofu at least once per week but usually twice and it runs about $1.50/# compared to $10+/# for fish, $7/# for beef or even $3/# for chicken. We also eat legumes too. Those run us $0.50/# buying bulk.

    We grow a garden. Easy to do on 6 acres, but even a city dweller with a balcony could grow herbs through the summer and dry them. You can easy grow $50 worth of herbs in a large flower pot through one summer.

    We raise chickens for eggs. 5 hens provide us all the eggs we need and eggs to give to friends and neighbors. Again, easy in the country but not possible in an apartment.

    Buy bulk dried beans and rice…self explanatory but I can cut the cost per pound by 50%. I go to the trouble of vacuum sealing portions but a large sealed canister will work too.

    When some veggies are on ultra great sale price, I will buy a lot, prep it and freeze it. Great for green, red, hot peppers…onions, carrot and celery. Makes grabbing veggies for soups or omelettes simple. Pay attention to sale cycles for your favorite products. Like I know boxes of teabags will go on sale every other week or so…they cycle through one brand or another. I simply will not buy until it’s on sale, then buy 2 or 3 rather than one.

    Be flexible in the brands you will buy…French’s Yellow Mustard or store brand…which is cheaper, is how I choose. Organic is also sometimes better priced than conventional…cruise past the organic shelf before the conventional to be able to compare prices. Learn to do without or make do…become a better cook who can deal with substitutions on the fly.

    Shop your local farmers market in the summer. There are fussy crops we don’t grow, but buy flats of at the market and prep and preserve as though we did grow it. Even our kids who live in an apartment in the city have a small freezer to make the best out of sales and summer produce.

    Weigh and measure everything…smaller portions, fewer calories, smaller waistline and preservation of the food budget.

    Stop wasteful snacking on prepared foods. When you were a kid, your mother probably nixed the after school snack for fear of you ‘ruining your supper’ and then nixed your late night snacking…’next time eat more dinner’. I promise you will not die from only eating three meals a day…no need for 6. Institute intermittent fasting. Choose your 8-12 hour window for eating and that is that. Teach your body how to eat normal again. Keep a food container of chopped celery and carrots at the ready. If you think you might die without a snack, grab the ready to roll veg bin.

    Have a standard menu list for your week or even eat the same menu every day. Structure can really help you stick to plan and make meal prep (and shop) easy. Don’t shop hungry! Absolute NO on foods not on the list and not diet approved.
  • kizanne2
    kizanne2 Posts: 123 Member
    I save a bunch of money with my garden. The last year I've worked to expand it including some hydroponics for indoors. Even with the electricity cost I'm saving quite a bit of money. I never buy lettuce anymore and can eat 4-6 big salads a week. I haven't been to the grocery store in 2 weeks. I will be going soon though for some dairy and a few veggies.

    I'm being more careful to eat what we grow or buy. Being more careful about buying only what we will eat. Eating the left overs. So cutting down on food waste. Cutting down on snacks as well.
  • MuffinTopMan74
    MuffinTopMan74 Posts: 28 Member
    Chicken & Rice Recipe for budget
    I am a weightlifter, so affordable High Protein meals to build and maintain muscle, carbs for fuel, and Dietary Fiber are my main concerns, and as low fat as possible. You can divide it into proportions or serve it as a main dinner meal for a family.
    10 lbs of leg quarter on sale when 39-49 cents a pound (3.90 -4.90). When on sale
    5lbs rice white rice 2.94 at Walmart
    1 stalk of celery .99 cents at Walmart
    1 medium yellow onion for 50 cents?
    1 tsp of poultry seasoning
    1 can of green beans 50 cents.
    (salt and pepper to taste after cooking)
    1. I pressure-cook the chicken with 5 cups of water. (you can boil)
    once done, I remove everything except the meat but keep the broth.
    I strain the broth into a bowl or pot and put it in the refrigerator. Once chilled, I skim the fat off the top as it rises to the top and condenses into a solid.
    2. I measure 2 cups of uncooked rice and 4 -1/4 cups of skimmed broth. In the boiling broth, add the chopped onion, celery, green beans, and seasoning, then add the rice. Stir and let low boil for about 5min. Then turn down and simmer for 10 min with valid on your pot. Remove from heat and add 3-4 lbs of chicken and stir/ fluff; put the lid back on and let it finish cooking in its "own" heat for about ten more minutes.
    This dish is simple to make. It is high in protein, low in complex carb calories, and it makes a lot of food. I break it up in 9oz storage containers you buy from Walmart, Dollar Tree, etc. 1 lb of chicken has about 123g protein, and 1 cup cook white rice has 200 calories, 4g protein, and is a complex card; which is good, and dietary fiber in the veggies.
    I salt and pepper after I cook, and I know there is natural sodium in the food, but I do not know how to measure that. I could Marco out the calories, protein, and carbs for anyone, but it is 1 am. lol. I get a lot of dishes/meals out of this recipe, and my mom fed a family of six with no problem. It is a tasty and healthy dish. You can substitute store-brand broths and vegetables as you like, sodium or fat-free type of stuff. Also, you can readjust the recipe to larger or smaller quantities as you see fit for storage problems.