Eating on a budget can be a serious challenge. But it’s not impossible. Follow these rules and I promise you can fulfill your nutritional needs and eat cheaply.
- Rule 1: Drink Water and lots of it! Cut out sodas, juice, coffee and alcohol and replace with water. Other beverages contain empty calories.
- Rule 2: Eat suggested serving sizes. This will help you conserve your food and eat healthier.
- Rule 3: Buy generic. Usually you can’t taste the difference, so there’s no reason to pay for brand names!
- Rule 4: Shop sales and use coupons when you can. A little planning can go a long way when saving money.
- Rule 5: Don’t buy prepackaged meals. Replace frozen meals with generic pasta, sauce and frozen vegetables. You’ll only spend $3.00 for four to five servings.
- Rule 6: Replace packaged junk foods with fruits and vegetables. Reach for a piece of fruit or a bag of veggies instead; they fill you up and are low on fat and calories.
- Rule 7: Eat everything in your fridge. Throwing food out is the same as throwing away money. Prioritize cooking or consuming things that are going bad.
- Rule 8: If you’re planning to be price conscious, take the time to add as you shop. You could buy a package of soda for $4.00 or you could get four boxes of pasta!
- Rule 9: Never eat out. Eating out is expensive, don’t do it. Invite people over instead
- Rule 10: Pick something to splurge on once a week. See a movie or head to a happy hour; it will go a long ways to making you feel less like you’re living on a confined budget.
Sample Meal Plan
Meal Option 1: Oatmeal and one piece of fruit
Meal Option 2: Cereal and Skim Milk
- Bananas: $1.50 for 6
- Oatmeal*: $1.50 for box of 6
- Cereal*: $1.50 (10 servings)
- Skim Milk: $1.50/.5 gallon (8 servings)
- Total: $6.00 (16 meals)
Meal Option 1: PB&J with Apple
Meal Option 2: Leftovers from dinner
- Loaf of bread*: $1.50 (15 servings)
- Peanut Butter*: $2.00/jar
- Jelly*: $2.00/jar
- Apples: $3.00 for 5
- Total: $8.50 (5 meals + leftovers)
Meal Option 1: Alfredo fetuccini with mixed veggies
Meal Option 2: Chicken, rice and veggies
- Pasta*: $1.00 (8 servings)
- Sauce*: $1.50 (8 servings)
- Veggies*: $1.00 (4 servings)
- Chicken tenderloins: $4.00 (4 servings)
- Rice*: $1.50 (4-5 servings)
- Veggies*: $1.00 (4-5 servings)
- Total: $10.00 (12 meals)
- Oranges: $.60 x 4= $2.40 (4 servings)
- Carrots: $1.50/bag (6 servings)
- Granola Bars*: 1 box of 18 for $2.00 (18 servings)
- Total: $5.90 (28 snacks)
Total for the week: $30.40 for 33 meals and 28 snacks
* all brands are Walmart‘s Great Value brand