Most of us are feeling the sting of higher food prices at the grocery stores today. Prices have risen on produce, meats and almost every other item – except, of course, for that junk food. You can still find that on the cheap in almost any location.
The average family of four paid around $160 per week at the grocery store last year. This year, that’s up to around $200. And for families who eat all their meals in house, cooking with all-natural, organic ingredients, that bill may realistically be closer to $300 every week – around $15,000 a year on food alone!
It’s no wonder that many people cannot afford to eat healthy anymore. In fact, many families out there are eating far less than they used to.
In this article, we will go over a few handy tips you can use to eat like a king on a peasant’s budget. If you’re willing to put in a little time and effort to cook the healthy meals, then you can eat well every night without spending too much at the store.
Check for value packs of food at the grocery store. You will find larger packs of chicken, beef and pork that are a lot less expensive than smaller, butcher-tailored packs. For example: Whole chickens are usually around $1 per pound, whereas cut-up, prepped chicken can be around $4 or more per pound! That’s just outrageous.
Do your shopping in bulk whenever possible and never be afraid to practice your butchery skills at home. If you can find a whole pork loin for around $2/lb on sale, you can slice and store this yourself and have a dinner item for half a dozen different meals without spending a lot of money. The same principle applies for any bulk meat item.
Having mac-n-cheese or mashed potatoes on the side with your meals every night can run your grocery bill up and it isn’t very healthy. You do not need a four-course meal if three of those courses aren’t really that good for you to begin with. You’re draining your wallet and receiving bad nutrition all in one meal. Instead of worrying about fancy sides, try some one-pot meals and eat bread or crackers on the site.
Some of the one-pot meals you can fix at home and save a lot of money on include:
- Arroz con Pollo
- Sloppy Joes
- And an endless variety of rice and chicken dishes
Those mega-marts are always charging more than local markets. Stopping by the flea market or the roadside farmers’ stands will help you save a lot of money on locally grown fruits and vegetables. You can pick up carrots, onions, cabbage, cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelon, and plenty of other fruits and veggies. Getting in good with your local farmer will also turn you on to some deals. They’re looking to sell what they grow; they’re not businesspeople worried about tremendous profit. Most are more than happy to throw in something extra for repeat customers.
Change Cooking Methods
Using oils to cook your meals is not only unhealthy but it can also be quite expensive. The price of crude oil isn’t all that’s on the rise; vegetable oil, olive oil and other oils are also going up. By steaming, baking or grilling your foods, you can cut down on your oil consumption. It’s only a little off every week, but that’s money you can spend elsewhere to bulk up your pantry.
Explore the Freezer Aisle
Fresh produce is quite expensive, as you may have noticed. But down that long frozen food aisle, you can find an endless variety of frozen veggies that are available for a lot less money than their fresh counterparts. You could also shop for canned veggies, but the pasteurization process used for canning veggies pretty much kills the flavor and even some of the nutrition. Your frozen veggies can be used as a quick, healthy side dish or as a complement to your soups and stews.
Overall, there are many things you can do in order to save money. The most important part is that you take your time and actually plan a store trip. If you fly by the seat of your pants and just shop for what’s on sale, you will probably end up with few healthy choices and a cart full of junk food.