Here are 15 simple tips to help you save money and eat healthy foods at the same time! Bet you haven’t heard of all 15!
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Let’s talk about your grocery budget. For most of us, it’s our most flexible expense.
With it, we decide what we eat, how much we spend, how much work we’re willing to do to eat, and how well we fuel our bodies.
Get our list and a printable version below!)
How can I save money on food but still eat healthy?
Saving money and eating healthy isn’t easy. Many peope think those are two opposite goals. Doing both together creates some unique challenges – as you already know.
But I also know you can do it.
I know you can do it because I’ve been doing it for 13+ years, in all these different circumstances:
- living in different cities,
- with very picky eaters,
- on different grocery budgets,
- while managing food allergies,
- and a growing family,
- with all the other real life challenges.
Here are 15 ways you save money and eat healthy right now.
1. Plan Your Menu
I don’t personally love menu planning. Honestly, I don’t even do it most weeks. So this isn’t me telling you that you need to make a rigid meal plan and never waiver from it. But whenever I need to recalibrate my grocery budget, menu planning is the best first step.
Try it for 1-2 weeks and see how it changes your spending.
2. Make Mostly Budget-Friendly Meals
Quite often, we over complicate meal time. It doesn’t have to be a Pinterest-worthy meal every night. It doesn’t even have to be that good. Just put some simple healthy foods on the table and high-five yourself for not getting takeout.
Quick list of budget-friendly dinners nearly anyone can make:
- Spaghetti and salad
- Burrito bowls
- Hamburger soup
- White bean chili
- Broccoli and parmesan pasta
- Cheesy lentil pie
- Cajun sausage, beans and rice
- In a pinch? Just try bread, cheese, and sliced fruit. It might be your kids’ favorite meal.
You might love these tips too!
3. Eat Less Meat
Mkay, this is a less popular budget-saving tip, but it’s legit. Meat is expensive – meat that is actually sustainable and maybe even good for you and the planet is even more expensive. Save your money and the world by eating less of it.
Try it however you like:
- Make a meatless meal one night a week
- Don’t eat meat until dinner time 5-6 days a week
- Go plant-based one week out of every month (use these recipes!)
Find what works for you!
Here’s how we buy grassfed, free-range meat on a budget.
4. Drink Water
Switch from juice and soda to mostly water. Try to limit yourself to one glass of something else a day. Drinking water is better for you and your budget!
5. Do a Pantry Challenge with Healthy Foods
Do you have a big food stash? If you do, consider doing a pantry challenge every 6-12 months. It will help you use what you have, prevent food waste, and avoid grocery shopping for a while.
Try it however you like:
- 1-month pantry challenge (only spend $25/week on fresh groceries each week)
- 10-day pantry challenge (just freeze right where you are and spend the next 10 days eating healthy foods you make from what’s already in your kitchen)
6. Don’t be a Snob about Healthy Foods
I’m a foodie, and I love fresh, healthy foods. I prefer fresh-squeezed lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Don’t try to over-cook my chicken or my steak, and I’m always up for sushi.
But I don’t eat like that all the time. Saving money and eating healthy means doing the best we can with what we have. I could easily put us in debt chasing the latest food trends, my favorite brand of canned tomatoes, and buying organic free-range almond milk (don’t ask).
Use what you have, be grateful, and enjoy the better stuff when you can.
7. Change Your Snacks
This one snack rule helps us save money, eat healthy foods, and empower our kids to make good choices.
8. Use Cash
I know it’s one more step, but using cash makes a difference. When I switched from using a card for groceries, it felt like we got a pay raise. Our grocery budget stayed the same, but I didn’t have to keep track of it in my head or on a note in my phone.
Cash makes it easy to stick to your budget because you know exactly how much you have left, and once it’s gone, it’s GONE.
9. Shop Clearance & Sales for Healthy Foods
If we create our meal plan based on what we’re in the mood to eat, we will spend more money. But if you tweak your menu plan just a little – check what’s already in your kitchen, check what’s on sale, and create meals from those, you will save so much money.
I talk more about taking a grocery inventory in this post!
10. Buy Generic
My friend swears by Muir Glen canned tomatoes. Maybe they are amazing. But the reality is that generic canned tomatoes taste great too. Save the name-brand stuff you care about for special occasions, and save big over time by using generic for everyday use.
11. Empower Your Picky Eaters
Sometimes our biggest struggle with saving money and eating healthy has nothing to do with us. Sometimes we need to empower our picky eaters to help us eat healthy foods on a budget. I’ve written extensively about that. Go here to learn more!
12. Meal Prep Healthy Foods
If you’re trying to cook more, you need to find a way to fit it into your real life. Meal prepping can save your bacon figuratively and literally.
Try it however you like:
- Weekly meal prep
- Baking day
- Freezer meals
Find what works for you!
13. Shop Your Local Farmers for Healthy Foods
If you’re trying to eat better, you might want to try shopping for local products. A quick internet search and post put out to a crunchy Facebook group usually turns up a bunch of local farms that sell fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, bread, honey, and probably some essential oil side hustles.
Find a farmer you feel comfortable with who has prices your budget is comfortable with too. Look at CSAs, cow shares, and bulk buying.
Here’s what happened when we tried a CSA.
14. Remake Your Leftovers
Food waste is a huge problem. Every time we throw leftovers away, we might as well toss dollar bills into the garbage disposal.
I’ve learned how to remake leftovers constantly so we don’t throw healthy foods away. Follow my Instagram Stories for meal time inspiration.
Here are 4 BIG ways we prevent food waste.
15. Make-it-Yourself Healthy Foods
Finally, homemade food is usually better for us – less ingredients, no preservatives, and you can decide exactly what ingredients go into each dish! Learning to make some simple food staples yourself can help you save money and eat healthy over time.
You decide how far to take it – will you make dinner 4 nights a week? Bake some bread? Make a pot of oatmeal instead of cereal in the morning?
Homemade broth only takes 5 minutes and uses vegetable scraps. Beans only take 10 minutes of active work. Find what healthy foods work for you in the season you are in.
Here’s a list of Make-it-Yourself recipes.
Want the Save Money & Eat Healthy Food Tips Printable?
Download 2 different designs here!
While you’re at it, you’ll probably like this printable too!
Okay, I hope these tips help you save money and eat healthy!
Most of all, I hope this list shows you that there are a ton of ways to get creative with your grocery shopping. Everyone is different, so give yourself grace and don’t feel like you have to do everything on this list. Find what works best for you right now.
What You Can Do Now:
What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes? Baked? Mashed? Fries?
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Slash your grocery budget and feed your family real food! Get simple, frugal, real food menu plans every month for FREE in the Cheapskate Cooks’ 1-Min Email. Get your first one here.
Great advice Steph! Anyone who finds it difficult to stay on budget will definitely benefit from these money-saving tips. Appreciate your helpful insights!