I am an anomaly amongst most people my age. My boyfriend and I stay in (almost) every night and I cook dinner (almost) every night which leads to us having leftovers for lunch (almost) every day. At (almost, ha) 26, the fact that I even know how to cook is so strange among most young people I know. Eating out can be expensive, and terrible for you. We live on a $300 a month food budget. Yes, I said $300 a month. For two extremely active people who enjoy steak quite often and have meat with every meal.
I have seen countless blog posts about families of 4 living on $200 a month for food. While this is entirely possible, I have noticed a lot of those meal plans consist of pasta and lots of couponing. I’ve tried couponing, I have no time or patience for it. Florida doesn’t allow you to double coupons either, which makes real savings difficult. All of these things let me to make this post: How to eat well on a budget. I have listed the tricks I use to keep us in shape and under budget
1. Trader Joe’s: Trader Joe’s just opened in South Florida last year and I am obsessed. I have been a Publix girl all my life, but I have saved so much money shopping at Trader Joe’s. Not only is Trader Joe’s less expensive for so many things, but they have less items in their stores, which means not as many random purchases when I see something I want. Trader Joe’s, you are my savior and I am forever loyal to you.
2. Costco: If you do not have a membership to a bulk store, get yourself one immediately. I do not have personal experience with Sam’s Club or BJ’s, but Costco has great prices on everything from car tires to chicken breast. They sell plenty of organic food there as well and their fruit and vegetable selection is amazing. If you eat meat frequently, Costco is the place to go.
3. Fruit stands: Florida is full of fruit stands. I can go and get bags of fruits and vegetables for $15 They go bad quicker than ones from say, Publix, but they’re ripe, delicious and inexpensive.
4. Meal plan: This seems like common sense, but meal planning is extremely helpful to keep your budget down. Again, it reduces the amount of unnecessary purchases.
5. Stay away from Whole Foods!: This may stir up some controversy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love going into Whole Foods. It makes me feel like I have this healthy lifestyle thing on lock and I feel fancy. But let’s face it, Whole Foods is in no way price conscious. Just stay away.
Those are my main four ways I keep our budget low. Let me know what you think and if you have any ways you keep your healthy food budget low!