Eat Well and Save Money
Feeding a family is mighty expensive these days! And everything is getting more expensive all the time. For most families, eating is right up there with housing and transportation in terms of expense. Yet, you’ve probably heard about large families who spend less to eat than many small families. How do they do it? And how can you make a dent in your food budget while making sure everyone eats well and stays healthy?
Bulk Meal Preparation
A not-so-recent trend, bulk meal preparation takes time once a week, or once a month, to pre-prepare at least some aspect of meals. For example, if you like pasta, rather than purchasing expensive pre-made pasta sauces, you can start with less expensive ingredients and make a big batch. Freeze the sauce, so when it is time for dinner, you only need to boil some pasta and reheat the sauce.
This works well with meat in sauce over rice, too. Some families precook the meat, but even if it is just cut up and put in a Ziplock bag with a homemade sauce, the time to cook and the expense go down significantly.
A weekend afternoon once a month in meal prep can make a massive dent in your grocery bill. But if you can’t do that, at least make twice as much every time you do cook and put the leftovers away for another meal.
Eating less meat is most certainly a healthy choice for both your body and your pocketbook. Plant-based meals can help lower cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and balance your blood sugar. Many people with osteoporosis, kidney problems, diverticulitis, gallstones, or rheumatoid arthritis find vegetarian meals help them feel better. Keep taking your multi-vitamins and consider vitamin B12 or iron supplements to round out your diet when you choose to go meatless.
Vegetarian protein options likely leave you with more cash in your pocket when you get to the register. Look for recipes for lentils and rice, tofu, tempeh, edamame, hempseed, nutritional yeast, and spelt.
Limit Restaurant and Fast Food
You can blow the family’s weekly grocery budget in one meal at even a reasonably priced restaurant. Which is fine for special occasions, but not the way to save money. Set a budget for what you’ll spend each paycheque on restaurant and fast food and stick to it.
Use the old trick of putting the actual cash money in an envelope, and when it is gone, it’s gone. Then again, when you have some cash left over, consider a special (non-food) treat or make the deposit directly into your savings account for that new BBQ!
Shop the Sales
Watch your local health food store flyers carefully! Sales on multi-vitamins, other supplements, and food items make a big difference in your budget. In-store sales are always a bonus when you arrive, too. Also, check your favourite stores for the option of purchasing online for pickup or delivery.
Watch for special deals on healthy meal delivery options, easy prep meals, and protein powders or meal replacements for when you are on the go.
Focus on Your Goals
Close your eyes and imagine what you will do when you have more energy and more money! What are your goals? When you feel the tickle of temptation, refocus on those goals. You can save money on your food bill and get healthier while you do!