You can eat well on a tight budget, and it really doesn't have to break the bank. Get cooking.
One thing's for sure, you do pay for convenience. If your biggest problem is lack of cash, you can make up for it with a little more time and effort.
- Avoid ready meals and take-away foods, as well as being expensive they are often unhealthy and full of additives.
- Learn to cook a few quick and simple dishes such as pasta, stews, or filled baked potatoes.
- If you buy your lunch, make your own sandwiches.
- Don't buy everything at an expensive supermarket - use local shops and budget supermarkets wherever possible.
- The larger supermarket chains often have useful basic ranges, including tinned tomatoes, baked beans, and bread.
- A little bit of a good thing goes a long way. It's occasionally alright to buy decent olive oil, some fresh parmesan etc.
Following the suggestions above, you can save around 50% on your weekly grocery bill, and still eat really well.
Other top tips
- Aim for a balanced diet: plenty of fruit and veg, starchy foods, enough protein, not too many saturated fats, and not too much sugar or salt.
- Never go food shopping when you're hungry, you'll end up buying snacks and junk that you don't need.
- Work out what you need before you go to the shops, and take a shopping list.
- Stick to your shopping list most of the time, but be flexible if a real bargain turns up.
- Club together with friends and buy in bulk. Good for rice, pasta, potatoes, beans, coffee, tea, sugar etc.
- Buy your fruit and vegetables from your local market, and get what's in season.
- Make friends with your local baker, greengrocer, fishmonger, or butcher. Ask them about which ingredients are good value for someone on a tight budget.
- Try to get some variety into what you eat. Look at how many people can't eat baked beans any more after they've graduated from university. Scary.
Written by Karla Fitzhugh
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