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How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

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How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

If you want to eat healthier but don’t want to spend half your paycheck at the grocery store every week, I have good news for you. You can eat healthier and save money doing it.

It’s certainly not easy, though, especially when you can hit up the McDonald’s drive through and feed a family of four for under 20 bucks. But these tips will show you how to kill two birds with one stone… so you can eat better and keep a little of your hard-earned cash in your pocket.

First, let’s look at why healthy food is generally pricier.

Why Is Healthy Food More Expensive?

This is a tough question, and I could give you a very long-winded explanation about the perils of the food industry. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version instead: we have a food system in place that makes unhealthy, highly-processed junk food and fast food more affordable than fresh, healthy foods.

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This is detrimental to our collective health because when you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you’re probably going to look for the cheapest, most convenient food possible to feed your family.

Not to worry, because you can still “beat the system.” Here’s how.

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

1. Shop locally

The absolute best way to eat healthier and save some cash is to buy food from farms close to where you live. Locally-grown produce is delicious. It’s cheap. It’s healthy. It’s better for the environment. And it supports small farmers in your local community. Check out Local Harvest to find a farmer’s market near you.

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2. Eat your beans

Beans are one of the most affordable, nutrient-dense sources of protein and fiber. Plus, they’re super cheap (just make sure you go with the salt-free versions if you’re buying canned beans).

Next time you’re at the store, load up on some garbanzo, black, kidney, navy, white, Lima, or pinto beans and eat them as a snack or as a side with lunch or dinner. Here are three of my favorite ways to eat beans:

  • Combine black beans with a diced avocado, some minced onion, lime juice, and minced jalapeno.
  • Combine garbanzo beans with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt to make a delicious homemade hummus dip.
  • Combine pinto beans with cilantro, corn, and Italian dressing for a tasty side dish.

3. Grow your own

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Another great way to eat healthy for cheap is to grow your own food. Even if you don’t have the space or sunlight available to have a garden outside, you can grow fresh herbs and lettuce in your windowsill. Try some fresh herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, dill, cilantro, marjoram, mint, and sage. All you need to get started is a few seeds packets, containers, soil, and water.

4. Shop the sales

This one may seem simple and obvious, but plenty of folks fail to take advantage of buying healthy food on sale.

Here’s how to do it: check the ads each week at several grocery stores near you and look out for sales on more expensive healthy foods like chicken, fish, dairy, and nuts.

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5. Buy in bulk

This one goes hand-in-hand with shopping for sales. One of the easiest ways to save money on your food bill is to scoop up larger quantities of healthy foods like nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats and dairy products.

6. Don’t be everything organic

Organic food is healthier for you and the environment… but it’s much more expensive then conventionally grown produce. Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group has identified a list of fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated. Check out this list of the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.”

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These are six of the easiest ways to eat healthy for cheap.

Now let’s hear from you… what are your favorite methods for saving money on healthy food?

More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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