Let’s have this discussion, my friends. It dawned on me this morning that it has been awhile since things got real around here so, now seems like a good time. I have taught couponing for 10 years and for the most part, people turn to my website when they are in serious financial need or are trying to cut back in order to stay at home with kids, etc.
This message is for those of you in a serious financial situation that keeps you buying cheap food. Let me be clear, you CAN purchase good, healthy foods with coupons and sales. However, for today’s post, this is for those of you who simply need to eat and you’re not choosing to purchase cheap foods necessarily, they’re just the only option.
I started couponing from that angle, I started with $20. That was the grocery budget for 2 adults and a baby. We needed food and I had to figure out a way to get it thus, strategic shopping was born.
What’s the problem?
Cheap food = expensive problems.
Here’s the thing our generation is just now starting to figure out, all of that bad food will eventually lead to health problems down the road and those problems aren’t cheap. Personally speaking, my health issues left me with thousands of dollars in medical bills. And, all of it, came from stress and bad eating. Because, let’s face it, when you’re stressed, you don’t eat well.
For those of you who can afford it, eat better. Use the coupons, use the sales but be sure you’re purchasing healthy foods. For myself, I eat fruit, veggies, eggs and meat (usually turkey and/or chicken). That’s about it.
Those foods, in my opinion, are not that expensive you just have to purchase in season and use them well. I do use coupons, I do use sales but I also buy healthy because I know what happens when you buy cheap.
That being said, I lived through a time when healthy didn’t fit the budget. Here are 5 things you can do when you feel like cheap food is all you can afford.
- Stock up During Sales: Blackberries were .88 a few weeks ago at Sprouts. Guess what? We bought a lot of blackberries. We had smoothies, I froze some of them, we put them in the kids lunches (we have 5 kids). Stock up and save money when you can.
- Try New Things: This is a big deal, try fruits and veggies in recipes you’ve never tried before if they’re on sale and a good stock up price. Get creative. I love avocados, brussels sprouts and leeks. I never thought that was possible but I learned how to cook with them. Pinterest is a great resource for that.
- Use More Filling Healthy Foods: Sweet potatoes and eggs will go a long way and both are inexpensive. I can eat two eggs for breakfast and I’m full for awhile. Snacks are something we teach our bodies to crave, use more whole foods and those cravings are not nearly as intense. That will cut down on the high cost of junk foods too.
- Cut Out the Crap: Yep, I said it. Get yourself off caffeine, high sugar juices and alcohol. Those are empty calories that’s it, not worth the dollars. Use those dollars for healthy foods.
- Plan Your Menu Carefully: I say this ALL THE TIME, menu planning and meal preparation is absolutely key to saving the most money. Sit down and plan a menu (including snacks) around what is on sale for the week including healthy foods. Use plenty of filling foods that are real, not from a box and inexpensive. Make one trip to the store, that’s it. No more back to the store trips at $20 each, just one trip for a carefully thought out week.
I feel like there’s a period of time when we just feel like we will live forever and our bodies will always work. Then, there’s a period where it all comes crashing down and you realize you have to take care of your body if you actually want it to work. I know it’s hard, I’ve been there. I know there are days when you’re just trying to stretch a single dollar (if that’s you, buy eggs-so many ways to eat them), I’ve been there too. But, I am telling you honestly, buying healthy food is worth it.
I’m not telling you to buy organic, I’m not saying to buy everything at Whole Foods (Sprouts is cheaper), all I am saying is to buy good, whole, healthy foods. YOU are worth it!