Home > 2014 > Personal Finance

4 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

While less healthful food often seems like the cheaper or easier option, it’s a good idea to factor in the value of your health when deciding what to eat.

Making meals at home is often more economical than eating out. Plus, it gives you greater control to create healthy, delicious, budget-friendly meals. This may seem easy to say and hard to implement, but we have the tips to help you eat well without breaking the bank.

1. Plan Ahead

The first step in smart food shopping is making a plan for the week. This means thinking about what you will eat for each meal and making a grocery list. It seems obvious, but working on a meal plan and sticking to your list is difficult for many people. It’s a good idea to get versatile ingredients that you can use for different meals throughout the week.

Search the Internet and clip coupons for deals on the groceries that made it on your list. Be a little flexible with your menu so that when you check the grocery inserts that come in the mail and read your inbox, you can adjust to incorporate the items on sale (by swapping one vegetable for another that is on sale for example).

2. Shop Smart

Another way to eat well on a budget is by looking backward instead of forward. Similar to how you track your spending when creating a budget, try tracking your past shopping to streamline your food shopping.

Go through past food receipts and assess what items you used and liked. Also take stock of what you ended up throwing away or what you didn’t like. This information can help ensure your shopping list consists of food that will make it onto your plate.

It’s a good idea to determine where you can cut costs by going with a generic version instead of a name brand. Also, there are certain foods that are better to buy organic than others. Often, frozen vegetables can be just as good as fresh ones and are much cheaper.

3. Cook in Bulk

Just as buying in bulk can save money due to a lower cost per unit, making large batches of food can mean more meals for less effort. By cooking once and eating for multiple days, you save time and money. Cooking single-serve meals can be wasteful and expensive, but making large amounts means leftovers can be eaten throughout the week.

4. Grow Your Own

Another way to eat well on a budget is to grow your own food. Whether it’s herbs on a windowsill, a garden in the yard for vegetables, trees or plants for fruit or raising chickens, growing your own food can help you cut back on grocery costs. While it’s not always possible to do this on a grand scale, it can help you add little touches (like herbs) to those store-bought ingredients so you don’t get tired of the same taste.

Just like with your overall budget, it’s important to check back in and see if your food budget is still on track or if it needs another makeover. Overspending on food can actually drive you into debt, which can affect more than just your pocketbook — it can have a long-term effect on your credit. If you want to see how your spending is affecting your credit scores, you can check two of them for free on Credit.com, plus get a personalized action plan for improving your credit.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team