This is a guest post by Stacy B Miller, a digital content editor at Oak View Law Group.
“Take care of your body. It’s the place you have to live.”
What good would any advice do if you can’t take care of your health while leading a frugal lifestyle? After all, health is wealth. I agree that it isn’t an easy task to live a healthy style when you’re trying to save every penny for managing your debts or sticking to a budget on a variable income. But this isn’t an impossible task.
The cost of food is increasing, however, your paycheck isn’t. You need lean meats, fresh vegetables, healthy fats, fruits, and carbohydrates for proper brain and body functioning.
There is no need to neglect your health just to save dollars. Just follow these 6 steps to eat the healthiest foods without breaking your frugal budget.
Step no 1: Prepare your meals at home.
The best part of cooking food at home is that you can prepare meals as per your taste bud. If you have high cholesterol, then you need to avoid oily foods. You can prepare meals with less oil.
I have high cholesterol and my doctor has asked me to reduce it without any medicine. So I try to avoid using butter or too much oil when I’m cooking.
I love baking. When I bake a Christmas cake, I use refined oil instead of butter. This reduces the cost of cake and doesn’t affect my health as well.
Eat food at home before going out to eat. There will be less chance to overeat and waste money. Carry nuts and fruits to feel less hungry. You won’t be tempted to buy foods and spend money.
Step no 2: Buy healthy foods while being frugal.
You need healthy foods to stay fit. Period.
Here is a list of healthy foods you can buy for under $5. It’s a myth that you have to spend lots of money for eating healthy.
- Healthy fruits like oranges, apples, grapes, bananas, pears, watermelon, etc.
- Fresh vegetables like carrots, tomato, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, etc.
- Healthy proteins like chicken breast, tuna, eggs, and salmon.
- Whole grains like brown rice, whole grain pasta, popcorn, etc.
- Other food items are black beans, greek yogurt, low-fat milk, water, peanuts, etc.
Step no 3: Stick to your shopping list.
Please don’t take your friends with you when you go grocery shopping. When you take your friends along with you, you may get tempted to buy what they are recommending.
Your friend may buy frozen foods to save money and time, but that’s not good. Frozen foods are quite costly and they are not good for health. You don’t need to buy frozen foods just like your friend.
Prepare a list ahead of time. This list should consist 8 weeks’ worth of food. Don’t get tempted to try new things. Stick to your grocery list to have more money for the things you need.
Explore the local market where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables at a price less than what popular stores are charging.
Buy generic foods. Don’t get tempted by the advertisements you see on TV. Explore your neighborhood store’s brands. You’ll see that most of them have just as many nutrients as popular brands have at half the price. I agree that there is a slight difference in taste but it’s negligible.
Step no 4: Opt for cheap protein.
Healthy proteins help to burn fat and build muscle. Buy costly steak and lobster for special occasions. You don’t need to eat lobster daily for building your muscle.
Buy cheap protein powder and supplements and exercise regularly. You can have a healthy body and strong muscle. The best part of this tip is that you can do everything on a healthy budget.
Step no 5: Cut down your unnecessary expenses.
Which is more important? Food or a designer bag? You have to prioritize.
If you want to stay healthy, then you have to spend less on entertainment and more on healthy foods. You need to cut down your unnecessary expenses.
Create a budget and track where you’re spending money. Look at the products and services where you spend money. Do you need all of them? If not, then cut down your expenses to have more money for food.
If you don’t have a budget, then create one soon. It will help you control your finances. You’ll always have money when it’s time for grocery shopping.
Step no 6: Shop from the nearby grocery store.
There is no valid reason behind shopping at 14 different grocery stores to find the best deal. Time is money and gas. You know it. Why would you burn gas and waste time exploring numerous places? There must be a few grocery stores around your home that can give you everything you need.
Of course, there are stores where you can find many things, but they should be on your way. Research and find out the places where you can grab most of the deals on the items you need. Don’t waste your money and gas trying exploring various places to find just one deal.
You can be hale and hearty while living a frugal life. You can easily eat proper foods without incurring debts. Keep track of your spending and stick to your budget. Cook food at home, shop from the local market, avoid buying food on impulse and have cheap protein.