Healthy eating on a budget can sometimes be complicated. Visiting the grocery store the other day with my husband, we were stunned to see that a pack of 12 mini cakes were priced at 2$. Imagine what could be the ingredient list for the manufacturer and the store to sell this at that price and still make money on it! Not surprising that so many people buy unhealthy foods when there’s such a big price difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. However, there are still some things we can do to save money on healthy food.
1- Choose local: Not only is food grown nearby is cheaper, but it’s also more greener and often more nutritious.
2- Buy in bulk: Buying in bulk is also a great way to save money. And it’s great to reduce over packaging too!
3- Split with friends: This goes well with the buying in bulk tip, and it’s also allows to buy perishable items this way too. This way, you and you friends can benefit from the lowest prices (and greener packaging options)
4- Grow your own: This might not be possible for everyone at every time, but growing your own fruits and vegetables is a fun way to have cheap, nutritious and always fresh foods. Living in the city? Why not plant some tomatoes on your balcony? Gardening is not for you? Look for farms that allow you to do your own harvest. It’s very common here in Canada for berries and apples, and it’s much cheaper than to buy it at the grocery store.
5- Know what’s in season: fruits and vegetables that are in season are not only cheaper, but they are also more nutritious because they are harvested at their peak. You can also apply this tip with the “buy in bulk” one and split with friends, or freeze some to have it year-round.
6- Learn to cook: It’s well known that prepackaged food is always more expensive than home cooked version. It also sips all the not so interesting ingredients that are commonly found in prepackaged foods. It’s also a much friendlier for the environment.
7- Get in touch with the store owner: I know it might sounds strange, but it’s a very interesting idea for those living in a small village or following a raw diet. Sometimes, stores don’t stock up on things that they think might sells less. You could see with the store owner if you can buy by the case, and often you will not only benefit from a better price, but you might have access to items that would not be available otherwise. If a case is too much, find some friends to split the bill (and the goods!)
8- Stock on sale: Sales are often cyclic, which means that an item will often be on sale at the same period of the year. Next time you go to the store, jot down the items on your list that are on sale, with the date next to it. After a while, you’ll be able to see the sales pattern and predict when a particular item will be on sale. This way, you know exactly how much to stock on that particular food.
9- Preserve it: Don’t let the foods that you bought in bulk and stocked from sales to turn bad. Preserve it, or freeze it to make sure you have everything you need all year-round.
10- Look for cooperatives: Cooperatives can help you save on food, and there’s often some specialized in health food. Becoming a member can give access to interesting rebates.