Share Your Tips For Staying Healthy on a Budget

Betty
Betty Posts: 8,535 MFP Staff
edited June 24 in Food and Nutrition
How do you save money and stay healthy? We want to hear from you!

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Money doesn’t go as far as it used to—and that’s especially true at the grocery store. But just because prices in store aisles are high doesn’t mean you should stop putting healthy choices in your cart.

Stephanie Nelson, our registered dietitian at MyFitnessPal, wants to make sure that people, no matter their budget, can have a balanced, healthy diet. Some of her tips for keeping nutrition high and costs low include:
  • Purchasing in-season produce. It’s fresher and often costs less than out-of-season produce.
  • Buying in bulk. Stock up on staples like grains and legumes, and see the savings add up.

Read Stephanie’s full list here: 10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Eating Healthy

But what about YOUR tips and tricks? We’d love to hear about what you do!
  • How do you make your money go further at the grocery store?
  • Are there specific resources or tools that help you keep costs low?
  • What else do you want to learn about staying healthy on a budget?
Post your responses below and join the conversation on Instagram to see what else others are sharing and recommending.

We’re looking forward to reading your responses!

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Replies

  • JayneWingrove
    JayneWingrove Posts: 1 Member
    Buying in bulk where I can. Staple items that I know I am going to eat day after day. Low carb wraps, no sugar added applesauce, oatmeal, etc. Even things like bread I find are cheaper at a wholesale club. Two packs for the price of what I would pay for one in the regular store. Produce can also be a good deal if you have enough people in your household to get through it before it goes bad.
  • julieprayer
    julieprayer Posts: 6 Member
    We are saving money on fresh veggies by planting a garden. We also do not buy food until one day before we need food and we limit going out to restaurants. I stop when people raise prices so high at coffee drive throughs since I can make these drinks myself for pennies.
  • audreyleedean
    audreyleedean Posts: 1 Member
    Things that have worked for our family:

    Shop at the local co-op. Local and in season is usually much cheaper. Also our co-op you get money back each year based on what you spent, so it is like getting a couple weeks free groceries just for doing my normal shopping.

    Cook at home over going out and buying convenience foods. Bonus is you get to control exactly what goes into your food and leftovers make a great quick lunch option the next day.

    Eat less meat. I started cutting the meat in half for a lot of recipes and increasing the veggies.

    Don't be afraid to try store brands.

    Beans/lentils are your friend. Healthy and very cost effective.

    Also one thing that has worked for us is to not try and cook a lot of different dishes each week. We either rotate a few dishes that week and change it up the next or we plan different dishes that use a lot of the same main ingredients that week so we don't have to buy a huge variety each week.

    Get to know the meat/seafood department staff and know when they mark down their products. Our co-op has a discounted section and I try to go when it is freshly stocked with newly marked down options. So, for example, the same chicken I would have bought yesterday I can get today at 25% to 50% off. Freeze what you can't eat in the next couple of days and thaw it as you need it.

    Be flexible with your meal plans. If something is on sale that fits in your goals then be willing to switch up your plan for that week to save yourself some money.

    Eat simple. It really doesn't take a multitude of options to eat healthy. Switch up simple meals as often as you need but always keep them simple so you don't have to invest in a ton of ingredients.

  • siberiantarragon
    siberiantarragon Posts: 136 Member
    When you go out, always have emergency snacks and water on you to avoid having to buy something more expensive and unhealthy.

    Check to see if your supermarket has an app for digital coupons.

    Buy fresh produce when it's in season, and supplement with frozen produce and dried fruit in the winter. Produce in the winter is not only more expensive but also goes bad a lot faster in my experience, so it's not even worth it most of the time.

    Buy regular (plain) yogurt instead of Greek yogurt because it's about half the price and just as healthy. Also buy whole-milk yogurt instead of nonfat or low-fat because it has more calories for the same price, and the fats will help you to feel full for longer.

    Potatoes are considered to be a budget friendly food but they're really not worth it. A 5-pound bag of potatoes is anywhere between $1 and $3 and only contains around 1800 calories. Then there's always a few in the bag that are rotten. And on top of that, potatoes are high on the glycemic index. Just don't buy them and get a box of whole-wheat pasta instead (1440-1600 calories for $0.75-$1).

    Organic, wild-caught, grass-fed, cage-free, etc. are mostly marketing tactics and usually don't make the food any healthier, more sustainable, or ethical.

    All the hype about canned foods being bad is just hype. You can substitute canned fish for fresh or frozen fish, and canned beans are also good.

    Staple foods that are cheap, fast and easy to prepare, and nutritious: dried lentils, canned beans, peanut butter, whole-wheat pasta, old-fashioned oats, canned fish (especially sardines), blocks of cheddar cheese, kale, bananas.

    Healthy food is an investment in your future. If you can, cut spending from other areas so you have more to spend on food.

  • lizmvr
    lizmvr Posts: 2 Member
    I'm lucky that I live within walking distance of a grocery store that has many daily and weekly deals. I get exercise by walking there and carrying my groceries home, and by going more frequently I can get the deals on items while they last. I do stock up on sale items and keep my freezer full. I've started using a closet in my basement office room as a pantry since my kitchen space is actually fairly small.

    I do try to scan the local store ads weekly on Wednesdays and make a list for all the stores, while comparing prices. Then I keep the list handy throughout the week and try to make stops at stores near other places I need to go in an attempt to avoid additional car trips.