When you are on a tight budget, eating and staying healthy can sometimes be a real challenge.
It astounds me that fresh, whole foods are more expensive than prepacked, chemical-laden, processed junk found in abundance on store shelves.
But, don't let that get you down. There are so many ways to save money on your weekly grocery shopping trip plus save tons of time on food prep each day.
Read on for our money and time-saving tips to keep you on budget and on track with your weight loss goals.
SAVE TIME & MONEY AT THE GROCERY
BUY IN BULK
If you haven’t checked out the bulk bins at your grocery store, do it! You would be amazed how much more you pay for nuts, oatmeal, quinoa, rice, or other pantry staples simply for fancy packaging or brand names. If you buy in bulk, you can buy exactly the amount you need, save money, and store your goods in containers at home so they are always on hand.
BUY FRESH PRODUCE IN SEASON & FREEZE IT
Fresh produce is always great, but the cost can add up fast. Stick with buying what's currently in season, and consider stocking up when you find a good deal.
For example, in the summer I will buy three or four dozen ears of corn when it is on sale, cut it from the ear and freeze it in bags. Even in the winter months, you have really great tasting sweet corn for cheap that lasts for several months. Same goes with other vegetables, too!
LOOK FOR SALES & PLAN MEALS ACCORDINGLY
If your local grocery store offers a savings card be sure to sign up (& use it), and check the weekly circular to see what's on sale. Instead of shopping for groceries based on your weekly meal plan, consider planning your meals around what's on sale.
If your grocery store has a weekly circular, check it every week and plan your meals around what's on sale. This is a huge way to save some cash and also forces you to get creative and maybe try some items or dishes you wouldn't typically go for.
If you do not like prep, I strongly recommend watching for sales on frozen vegetables (or using your fresh produce that you have frozen). Where I live I can sometimes get 10 for $10 sales on frozen vegetables, so I always stock up on onions, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and peas. Makes it super easy to make something healthy.
TRY LESS EXPENSIVE CUTS OF MEAT
Whether it's veggies for the week, tomorrow's breakfast, lunches or dinners, prepping food in advance is a step in the right direction towards eating healthy. Plus, it's also a good way to make sure you're eating what's in the fridge to minimize waste.
For example, you could cook two meals on Sunday night, package them up in portable containers and be set for lunch and dinner all week — with just one night of cooking. This only works if you don't mind eating the same thing every day.
Or, you can always freeze portions of your meals to save for busy weeknights when all you have time to do is pull something out and reheat it. At least you know it will be healthy and homemade!
Have you seen the new way to prep slow cooker meals ahead of time? This one is a real time-saver in the morning when you're trying to get everyone out the door. Simply gather all of the vegetables, meats, spices and sauces you'll need for the recipes you are preparing. Make sure you have some gallon size zip top baggies, add in your ingredients for one of your recipes and freeze! Repeat for the rest and you have a freezer full of meals you can pull out in the morning, place in your slow cooker, and miraculously have dinner waiting for you when you get home at the end of the day!
::TIP:: Freeze them flat to save on space (like the photo below).
KEEP AN ORGANIZED FRIDGE & PANTRY
Leftovers are always great, but it totally defeats the purpose if they get lost in the back of the fridge. Label leftovers and keep your fridge organized to help minimize food waste.
Waste of leftovers or frozen food can be minimized by keeping an orderly fridge/freezer and by labeling. Take a strip of masking tape and a Sharpie and write the name of the dish along with the date it was made in order to keep track.
Package foods in amounts you will use, such as freezing chicken pieces by twos and hamburger in patties separately wrapped.
If you freeze meals, make sure you periodically go through your freezer and eat everything in there. Sometimes this step can be forgotten, but your wallet and evening hours benefit when you use up all your frozen food!
If you would like more tips on organizing, check out our ways to Spring Clean Your Pantry!
GO TO THE FARMERS MARKET AT THE END OF THE DAY
Depending on where you live, farmers markets may or may not save you money during regular hours. Consider visiting the market at the end of the day, when you could very likely score some great deals.
You can get some very good bargains on produce by hitting up the local farmers market an hour before they close. The sellers want to unload as much as possible before they close up for the day and sometimes, they'll throw in a little extra just to be nice!
For some ideas for your yummy farmer's market finds, check out our recipes here and enjoy the fresh produce while you can!
WRITE A LIST, CHECK IT TWICE
Have you had those times when we are at the grocery store haphazardly grabbing whatever looks good simply because you are hungry? I know I have. And usually what I end up with is a bunch of stuff and no real meals. If you make a list and stick with it, you can save a lot more money than you think. As a matter of fact, research from the University of Pennsylvania has shown that people who resist impulse buying can save as much as 23% on their grocery bills.
In this day and age where everyone pays with plastic, try shopping with cash instead of credit or debit cards. If you can only use what you have on hand, you have no choice but to stick to your budget. It has been estimated that people spend from 12 to 18% less on average if they shop with cash. Also, it helps keep you from buying extra junk your family doesn't need.
SAVING MONEY ON HEALTH SUPPLEMENTS
If you are taking a daily multi-vitamin, probiotic, or vitamin supplement, saving money on these things can be tough. We have a few money-saving tips to keep your hard-earned cash tucked safely in your pocket to spend on other more important things.
STOP BUYING IN STORES
First and foremost, the most important of all ways to save money on vitamins and supplements is to stop buying them in stores.
With much lower overhead than physical stores, online retailers can offer you MUCH lower pricing. Shipping is fast, most of the time it’s free, and many times, better sourced.
There are also websites that give first time customers special discounts or you can even sign up for newsletters (which we will talk more about in a moment). Many items are organic, and compared to what you pay in stores, they’re a steal of a deal.
Shopping online saves you on time by not having to go store to store and also saves on gas. Who wants to spend their entire afternoon running around town trying to find the best deal on their supplements?
SIGN UP FOR A COMPANY'S NEWSLETTER
Whatever you do, when buying supplements online, be sure to sign up for the company’s newsletter. I know you hate getting more emails than you already do, but if you just go through guest checkout, you’re missing out on huge benefits for saving money.
By registering with the company and signing up for their newsletter, you get such great deals at incredible costs you wouldn’t otherwise receive.
This is especially true for Okuma Nutritionals. We send out special offers exclusively to our newsletter subscribers - so be sure to sign up and stay "in the know" for our sales and special offers!
We also offer quick, convenient text alerts in case emails just aren't your thing. If you'd like to sign-up, click here.
BUY FROM A COMPANY YOU CAN TRUST
There are a lot of companies out there selling vitamins and supplements. But, not all of these companies are trustworthy. In fact, just last year, four national retailers -- GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart -- were accused of selling fake and potentially harmful herbal supplements and were ordered to remove them from their shelves.
An investigation by state authorities found that a number of top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at the four major retailers did not contain ANY of the herbs listed on their labels, The New York Times reported.
Instead, they contained cheap fillers like powdered vegetables and houseplants, or ingredients that could pose a threat to people with allergies, officials said.
Walmart's ginkgo biloba, marketed as a memory booster, contained little more than powdered radish, houseplants and wheat, even though it claimed to be wheat- and gluten free.
Walgreen's popular store brand of ginseng pills contains only powdered garlic and rice.
Three of six herbal products at Target -- St. John's wort, ginkgo biloba, and the purported sleep aid valerian root -- had no herbs and were made of powdered rice, beans, peas and wild carrots.
At GNC, herbal pills contained unlisted fillers such as powdered legumes, a class of plants that includes peanuts and soybeans, which can trigger allergic reactions.
Sticking with a company who tests their products regularly to ensure their safety and quality is really what you want to spend your money on. By avoiding these cheaper impersonators, you can save some serious time and money and even save your health!
THE BEST WAY TO SAVE TIME AND MONEY ON YOUR HEALTH
The best way that we know to save time and money on your health is to:
2. Take advantage of our Subscribe and Save program
What is Subscribe & Save? This is our convenient program that gives you a discount each month without having to worry about placing an order. Each month, your Wu-Long or Capsules automatically ship so you never run out or forget to re-order. What could be easier?
Take advantage of this amazing deal today from your trusted Oolong tea company!
What are some ways you save time and money on your health? Let me know in the comments below!
Yours in Health & Happiness,