It's Q & A Saturday! This is a special weekly post of answering reader questions in more elaborate detail.
This weeks question comes from Sherry:
"Eating healthy is expensive! What are your tricks to buying within a budget?"
1. Become a Coupon Clipper.
I always hated the thought of having to clip coupons because I never needed to do it. I was able to buy what we needed whenever we needed it. Until our circumstances changed which FORCED me to have to learn how to work within a budget. I was a newbie baby couponer and my misconception of coupons and stockpiling was that it wouldn't be for anything other than processed foods I didn't want to give my kids. I was WRONG! Yes there are those things like cereals and junk food which I buy rarely, but I learned how to save on toiletries products so that I would have more money to put towards the healthier foods I wanted for our home.
I follow fabulous sites that help me to use coupons and they send updates when sales are happening at my local stores like Target, Walmart, CVS, RiteAid, Whole Foods, Super Stop-n-Shop and Shaws.
- Money Saving Mom: Her series 31 days to a better Budget is a great start to begin.
- The Krazy Coupon Lady
- Money Saving Queen
Although Aldi's doesn't accept coupons I buy my basic weekly staples there. I purchase the following items because I simply haven't found anywhere cheaper even with coupons.
- eggs, butter
- grated cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, shredded cheese
- milk, juice
- fruits (bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, grapefruits, apples, avocados)
- condiments, spices
- frozen and fresh veggies (carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers)
- rolled oats
- some dried fruit like apricots, raisins
I use more frozen veggies then fresh and stock up abundantly when they go on sale at my local market and with coupons.
We have a Sam's Club membership where we purchase our fish and meats. I also again watch the flyers for the sales going on at my local markets.
2. Scour the Marked Down Items for Deals
You can find fantastic fresh produce and meats in the marked down area of your local market.
Whenever my hubby and I would shop together he was big on looking for marked down items. I was embarrassed. I always would frown at him even looking over the marked down items. I didn't like "spur of the moment , not on my list " buying! It made me feel pressured and I thought fresh produce and meat would go bad before I could use it.
I finally figured out the biggest reason for my dislike and maybe this might be something you can relate to. I had no idea what I might cook up quickly before the expiration date came creeping up on me. This leads into tip number 3!
3. Plan Your Menu with Weekly Sales.
Having a list of meals your family loves that you can rotate around during a month is a huge help when looking through weekly sales ads.
Begin able to buy the items on sale or marked down will save you money but if you have no idea what you could make it it for your family for meals you will become frustrated and discouraged.
Organize yourself by starting with at least dinner meals your family loves. Then write down the items from that meal that would be most likely to go on sale. Continuing to follow that simple task will make you a better shopper and saver! You will be quick on your feet, able to make a purchase knowing exactly what to do with the food before it expires on you!
What do you have to buy healthy foods on a budget?