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8 Ways to Eat Healthy Even If You’re on a Budget

8 Ways to Eat Healthy Even If You’re on a Budget

Trying to eat healthy on a budget can be challenging. A lot of the food and recipes you see on websites occasionally require expensive ingredients, and that can be hassle, especially if you have to feed a family. Here are some tips on how to eat healthy even when you’re on a budget.

1. Learn the art of couponing.

eat healthy

    Coupons can save you a ton of money on food every month. It can be difficult to get started because there are so many sources for coupons. Once you get into the flow, it not only gets easier, but you’ll also be able to save money on food that would usually be out of your price range. Here’s a website to help you get started. Some people have boasted that they save up to 50%–90% on food, and when you’re saving that much, you can splurge on more expensive food.

    2. Buy in bulk.

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    eat healthy

      It may seem like you’re buying more than you need, but buying in bulk can save you tons of money. At my local grocery store, Giant Eagle, I can get several pounds of frozen veggies for $5 and that can last for weeks depending on how many people you need to feed. You can buy ridiculous amounts of beans and rice on the cheap. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets. Yes, those Rice-A-Roni boxes seem like a deal at $1, but you can buy several pounds of rice for a couple of bucks more. Rice-A-Roni is also packed with sodium and regular rice can be spiced to your tastes.

      3. Prepare to cook the meals.

      eat healthy

        Microwave dinners and precooked food seem like a great idea and a time saver. However, those foods are generally bad for you. Cooking the food yourself may take longer but you can control what goes in it and you can choose to make it healthy. Plus, with all the bulk food you’re getting from our last tip, you’ll have plenty of ingredients to cook.

        4. Buy generic food brands.

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        eat healthy

          There comes a point where it’s the same thing in a different box and you’re just paying a premium for the right to say you bought the brand name food. This is especially true for cereal. You can get the same cereal for half off by buying off-brand and they taste pretty much the same. Not all foods are good for you, and that means not all off-brand foods are good for you. However, stuff like low (or no) sugar cereal can be pretty decent.

          5. Stop buying bottled water.

          eat healthy

            Bottled water doesn’t seem like it’s expensive but it adds up. Let’s say you buy only $1 worth of bottled water a day. That’s $350 per year (rounded down). You could easily save that money by using a water pitcher (with a filter) and using a re-usable water bottle. With that extra money, you can go buy more food! Plus, those cheaply made plastic bottles really aren’t good for you.

            6. Obey the psychological rules of grocery shopping.

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            eat healthy

              Grocery shopping isn’t always about the physical things. Sometimes it’s about the mental things. With that in mind, you should attempt to exercise the following tips. You should eat before going to the store because you’re more likely to be pragmatic about your decisions when you’re not hungry. You should shop alone because it cuts down on impulse buys from your kids and your husband/wife. Lastly, you should try to make at least a core list and stick to it.

              7. Stop buying take out all the time.

              eat healthy

                Every time you go eat fast food, order a pizza, order take out, or even drop a dollar in the vending machine, you are undermining your food budget. If you eat out once a week for $10, that’s $520 per year you’re spending on eating out. Don’t get us wrong, it’s good to treat yourself every now and then. However, if you’re reading this then you probably have a tight budget.

                8. Try to grow some of your own food.

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                eat healthy

                  Let’s be honest: planting a garden isn’t going to work miracles on your food budget, but it will help a little bit, especially if you plant the right things. Herbs and spices take very little space to grow and you can grow and dry enough to last you for years. Things like peppers and tomatoes are great to grow in most climates and you can use those in almost any food dish. If the garden is big enough, you can grow enough to save yourself a little bit of money. Plus, the stuff you grow is typically going to be good for you. You’re not growing processed foods high in sodium and trans fats.

                  Most people already don’t spend that much on food so we know the budgets are probably pretty tight. Using these tips, you can make your buck go a little bit further and eat less garbage. Your body and your wallet will thank you for it!

                  Featured photo credit: Static via static.squarespace.com

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                  Joseph Hindy

                  A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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                  Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                  The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                  The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                  Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

                  Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

                  Identifying All of Your Debts

                  The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

                  Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

                  1. Own Your Debt

                  Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

                  Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

                  2. Make a Debt Tracker

                  It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

                  Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

                  3. Get Your Debt Number

                  Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

                  Prioritizing Your Debts

                  All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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                  1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

                  Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

                  There are three main types of bad debt:

                  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
                  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
                  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

                  Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

                  • Student Loan Debt
                  • Mortgage Loan
                  • Business Loans

                  2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

                  Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

                  Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

                  If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

                  3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

                  Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

                  Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

                  Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

                  1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

                  “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

                  It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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                  Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

                  Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

                  2. Hide Your Credit Cards

                  If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

                  Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

                  3. Automate Everything

                  Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

                  4. Plan Ahead

                  Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

                  For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

                  5. Live Cheaply

                  The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

                  • Live with roommates
                  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
                  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
                  • Take public transit or bike to work

                  Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

                  The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

                  If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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                  1. Maintain a High Credit Score

                  Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

                  • Never miss a payment
                  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
                  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
                  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
                  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

                  2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

                  Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

                  Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

                  If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

                  How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

                  Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

                  1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

                  Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

                  Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

                  2. Earn More Money

                  There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

                  Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

                  Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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                  Talk to Your Boss

                  Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

                  Start a Side Hustle

                  This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

                  Build an Online Business

                  There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

                  3. Celebrate Your Wins

                  As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

                  While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

                  4. Set New Financial Goals

                  Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

                  Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

                  These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

                  Conclusion

                  Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

                  Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

                  More Tips on Getting out of Debt

                  Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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