Eating Well While Eating Cheaply
If you would like to make the most of the money you spend on food, it is easy to develop a practical strategy to eat well without spending a lot. The first thing you should do is jot down a list of the sorts of things you eat now, as well as whether you typically cook the food yourself or eat out at restaurants. Note how much each item costs to order or prepare at home. You might be surprised as to how much less you spend on ingredients to cook in relation to the cost of prepared food.
Should I Buy in Bulk?
Before I say anything else, remember that buying in bulk is a risky proposition. Oftentimes there is little, if any, per-unit price difference when purchasing larger quantities of a product. Even if savings can be realized by buying in bulk, there is a large chance that you will become tired of an item before you finish consuming it. A case of your favorite breakfast cereal might come cheaply, but consider how long you are willing to eat the same thing each morning.
If you have available space for storing a large amount of food and the need is there, then go ahead and shop big. Bulk stores make a lot more sense if you have a large family than if you are only shopping for yourself or a small group. Non-perishable foods might be an exception because your “consume-by” timeline is extended greatly. 12 jars of peanut butter in your pantry is not as big of a deal when you have three more years to finish them.
Food Shopping on a Budget
What you buy once you arrive at the store is important if you have a strict food budget. You are not just looking for cheap food, but also food that tastes good and will adequately provide you with energy and nutrients. Dry pasta is an excellent source of carbohydrates, especially if it is whole grain pasta. On any given day, your local supermarket is probably running a sale on some brand of pasta. You can often find prices of around a buck per one-pound box of penne, spaghetti, macaroni, or bow tie pasta. Similarly, three for $5 deals on 16-ounce jars of marinara sauce are common, in my experience.
When it comes to meat, chicken is a great choice in my opinion and, as the most popular type of poultry in the world, apparently many others agree. Chicken is easy to prepare and is extremely versatile. The leftovers from the whole chicken you cooked for dinner can easily become chicken salad for lunch the next day or so. Keep in mind the presence of bones and freshness when pricing chicken. Finding chicken for $0.68 per pound might seem like an amazing deal until you realize the price is for frozen drumsticks. Fresh, boneless chicken breast of good quality could run you three times that, if not more.
The Importance of Eating Snacks Wisely
Many people find themselves eating even when they are not particularly hungry. This can become a problem from not only a health and nutritional aspect, but from a financial standpoint as well. When becoming legitimately hungry between meals, a snack is often in order. Eating a reasonable amount of peanut butter on crackers, for example, can hold you over until mealtime in a way that is healthy and inexpensive.