Most people convince themselves they cannot afford to eat healthy. It can be a challenge. And it can seem like a lot of money. But it does not have to be as expensive as we make ourselves believe.
Our generation “buys out” more than any other. Instead of packing our own lunches, we go to the nearest take out. We may not spend the bulk of our money at the grocery store, but we do spend it on food. The problem is that we don’t even realize it.
A few weeks ago, I refused to buy 4 breakfast sandwiches at the grocery store for around $12: it just seemed like too much money. But that same day I spent $11 on lunch at a local restaurant. For almost the same price, I could have had 4 meals. It doesn’t make sense, but we all do it!
The good news is we can rewire our brains. If you kept track of the money you spend on food, chances are you would realize that you could afford to eat healthier.
Meal plan. Plan in advance what you will cook each night, take note of what you will need, and buy only those items. Don’t browse or shop when you are hungry because you will buy a lot of unnecessary items. Stick to your meal plan.
When buying fruits and vegetables we often find that they spoil. To help save money freeze your fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
There is a running joke that we buy Rubbermaid containers to throw our leftovers out in. If we actually used our leftovers (instead of just throwing them out) we would save a lot of money every month.
Cook at home. Do not buy food out every day. When you cook at home (and pack a lunch for each day), not only can your keep better track of how much money you are spending on food, you can also end up saving money.
Buy whole foods. Instead of buying pre-cut or chopped items, buy the whole item and cut it up yourself.
Buy generic. Generic brands are just as good as the brand name items and many times they are much cheaper (not always so be sure to check the prices).
Stop buying junk food. If we eliminate all junk food from our usual shopping lists, we would be able to afford more foods that are much healthier.
Buy in bulk whenever possible. Yes, it seems like a lot of money put out at one time, but if you keep track of what you are spending on that item, you will find that you are saving money down the road.
Drink mostly water, and while we are on the subject, stop spending money on water. Filter your tap water, and take your water with you. If you buy a drink every day, that is at least 2 drinks each day. That is at least $600 a year. That is a ridiculous amount of money that can be saved by buying a filtered pitcher and a to-go water container.
It may seem like a challenge, but you can train yourself to spend money differently. The hard truth is either you budget to buy healthier foods now, or you will have to budget to pay more medical bills down the road.