How to Save Money Shopping For Food


When it comes to shopping for healthy, nutritious food without spending more money, there are three basic rules that need to be remembered.
1) Buy in bulk.
2) Avoid prepackaged and pre-prepared foods.
3) Eat simply.
Like most things in life, saving money on food is a matter of trade-offs. Whether the trade-offs are worth it to you depends on your personal priorities. If enjoying expensive, ornate meals is a large part of your life, you may want to save money by driving a smaller car, or by not taking expensive vacations. If your culinary tastes are simpler, read on.
Buying in bulk not only saves money but reduces packaging and waste as well. A household can save an enormous amount of money over the years by planning ahead and buying all non-perishables, such as rice, oats, beans, sugar, etc., in large bags. These can be acquired through store front co-ops, pre-order clubs, wholesale outlets, and online suppliers. An internet search for things such as these in your area will yield surprising results. Why pay for 6 ounce boxes of rice over and over when you can buy a 50 pound bag, and not only save money, but have it on hand whenever you need it for a year in advance? As long as grains, nuts and beans are kept dry and cool, preferably in a sealed container such as a five gallon white plastic bucket, they will last indefinitely.
Whenever you buy prepackaged or pre-prepared foods, you are paying someone else to do what you could be doing yourself. In addition, you are eating less healthy food, due to the preservatives that are necessary to keep processed food edible for long periods of time. Any action that reduces the number of steps and middlemen between the source of the food and you will, in general, decrease its price and increase its physical and health benefit to you, the consumer.
Our bodies have evolved to survive on simple, whole, minimally processed foods. For most of human history this is what we have eaten. Vegetables, nuts, berries, and occasional meat made up the bulk of the human diet until very recently. Speaking of meat, you can further decrease your costs and increase your health by doing away with it altogether. If you are a meat eater, hold onto your grocery receipts for several months, then go through them and itemize everything you spent money on, separating it into categories such as meat, vegetables, grains, desserts, etc. You may be surprised at what you find. Ask yourself if you can be happy without some of these categories. If the answer is yes, do away with them, and use the money you save for something you would enjoy more.
Instead of going to restaurants, invite friends over for a pot-luck. Everyone bringing and sharing dishes not only makes for an enjoyable and inexpensive social event, it provides an opportunity for sharing recipes and food ideas.
For those with the space and the time, gardening is certainly the best way to acquire healthy, inexpensive food. Knowing where your food comes from, and eating it only minutes after it leaves the plant, are added benefits to the money you have saved. For families with children, gardening is certainly a valuable way of connecting young people to the source of their food, and planting the seeds of a lifelong healthy involvement with and respect for the work and money that goes into producing it.
Bulk buying, avoidance of overpackaging, and simple eating are the three basics of inexpensive eating, and, not coincidentally, lead naturally to more healthy food as well. By being constantly aware of our food: its origins, its effect on our bodies, and the best way to prepare and use it, we not only increase its health value and decrease waste, we save money, while eating as well as or better than before. The money saved can then be used to improve other aspects of our lives, thus creating a circle of ever increasing well being and conscious spending.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

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