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Eat Well on a Shoestring Budget

What do you do when you find yourself low on cash? Most people find ways to cut down on extra expenses, and sadly food is one of the areas that end up getting “tightened”. But just because you’re on a shoestring budget, that doesn’t mean the quality of your meals has to suffer!

Here’s how you can eat well even on a shoestring budget:

  1. Stop eating out — Yes, Date Night is important for you and the spouse, but perhaps it’s time to cut back for a while. You can save AT LEAST $25 to $50 per week just by NOT eating out, and that money can be spent on quality food to enjoy at home.
  2. Fill your shopping cart with quality – ONLY buy the foods that are high quality (fruits, veggies, whole grains, proteins, dairy, seeds, nuts, etc.), and stay away from the junk food (cereal, bread, cookies, sweets, etc.). This will help you save a lot on the shopping, and you’ll end up eating far better quality food for far less.
  3. Cut back on junk --  You’d be amazed by how much you spend every month on junk food, which ends up thickening your waistline while slimming your wallet. Start eating healthy, and stop eating all that junk that doesn’t do you any good anyways.
  4. Cook large meals -- Did you know that it’s cheaper to cook larger meals? You use less ingredients and have more leftovers, which can be reused another day. Make it a point to cook two meals at a time, and simply reheat the meal a few days later. You can even freeze entire meals, making it easier to put dinner on the table in a hurry.
  5. Soups and salads rock -- If you want to cut back on your shopping expenses, you should buy more veggies to make soups and salads. You’ll spend far less on “filler” foods (carbs primarily), and you’ll end up eating healthier meals thanks to the added veggies. Plus, veggie-heavy meals are far more filling, so you’ll eat less at every meal.
  6. Buy healthy carbs -- Brown rice, beans, lentils, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds should be purchased every week, but you should avoid carbs like white bread, noodles, refined sugar, white rice, and sugary foods. The former are much more filling and healthy, while the latter are unhealthy and actually make you hungrier.
  7. Buy local produce – Instead of shopping at Whole Foods or other organic food stores, why not shop at your local Farmer’s Market? You can often find better deals on locally grown food, which, though it may not be organic, is still healthy, fresh, and clean. Plus, you’ll often find that there are amazing deals on food that is slightly older or bruised.
  8. Always buy generic -- There are very few things that you MUST buy name brand (electronics, vehicles, etc.). For the majority of your shopping, generic brands will be a cheaper option of almost exactly the same quality as regular brands. Try buying generic products as often as possible and save big on your weekly shopping.
  9. Try vegetarian proteins – Proteins like soy protein, tofu, beans, lentils, and other legumes are far cheaper than chicken and beef, so they’re worth buying. Even if they’re not the primary source of protein in your meals, you can use them to make the meals more filling or stretch the primary proteins (soy protein in your pasta sauce, beans in your salads, lentils in your soups, etc.).

Follow these tips, and you can still eat like an athlete while shopping on a shoestring budget.

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