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One of the biggest obstacles I hear women complain about with budgeting and saving on weekly groceries is their weight, their ability to make healthy choices while maintaining a budget. Dieting on a Budget isn’t a hard thing, just takes planning and a little of organization.
These start with one simple step – getting your diet in order!
It’s no surprise that one of the most common concerns about starting a healthy diet is the cost involved. Fresh meats, produce, dairy products – the list goes on and on – and can look daunting on a budget. It doesn’t have to be scary. You CAN diet on a budget, and I’m here to give you tips to show you.
1. Remember That Dieting Brings Other Benefits
First off – thank yourself for taking a step in the right direction. Not only are you going to feel better, but if you stick with it, you’ll find that you are healthier. Reducing health issues reduces health costs, and you’ll soon find that sticking with healthier foods keeps you fuller longer – thus balancing out the cost of the diet foods a little bit.
2. Make A Plan
Your first step in dieting on a budget is to make a plan. Not a meal plan (yet!), but a plan for what you’re going to be focusing on. Do you want to follow a plan written by your doctor, a fitness professional, your friend Nancy, your own plan, or just healthy fruits and veggies?
Your plan will guide you on the right path.
Once you’ve figured out what plan you want to follow, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. Now is the time to make a menu plan (meal plan) . With the boom of the internet, there are loads of recipe sites you can use.
Pinterest is also one of my absolute favorite places to search for recipes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors or ideas. That’s what keeps “dieting” fun, less scary and more achievable!
Once you have some recipes or even a list of foods you like write these down, write down the meals you are comfortable preparing, place them in your calendar and well, voila, there’s your meal plan/ diet plan/ healthy eating plan.
3. Create A Shopping List
Now that you have a plan, recipes that you want to follow, etc. You can create your menu for the week and create a shopping list. I would never recommend going to the store without a list but that is especially true when you are on a diet.
Once you’ve got your shopping list, it’s time to head to the store!
4. Use Online Tools To Help Save Money
There are several tools you can use to help you save even before you step in the store. Favado, an online or app based shopping tool is just one of them.
You can search for items that you need and find the best price from the stores that you prefer. You can even create a custom list in your shopping cart so that each week you can search those favorite items and see where the best price is. You’re already making smart decisions before you even reach the store.
You can also use the Walmart app to find the prices for the items you are considering and see if there are any better priced alternatives in the weekly ads from your other local grocery stores.
5. Watch for Markdowns/Clearance
Once you’re in the store, be sure to keep an eye out for manager specials and markdowns. This is a great way to save on produce, meat, and dairy. Stores will mark down produce – not because it’s gone bad – because it is getting close to expiring.
Grab that produce up and use it quickly, or throw it the freezer.
Nearly all vegetables and some fruits can be flash frozen to use at a later date. It’s a great way to save! You can also shop seasonally for produce. Stored properly they will last quite a long time in the refrigerator.
In the summer, you can either grow your own or purchase locally from a Farmer’s Market.
The same thing is true for meat or dairy that is nearing its expiration date. You can grab some and freeze it for later or to use in your meals in the next couple of days. Keeping your eyes open for markdowns can help you save substantially.
Another great tip for shopping at the store is to circle the perimeter for the majority of your purchases.The inner products tend to be marked up and not as healthy options. By focusing on whole foods, you will be eating better items which will keep you fuller, longer.
Have you considered growing your own? There are a lot of great vegetables and herbs that can be grown right on your window, in back yard containers and free for the picking!
6. Stock Up
The last tip is to stock up when you can. If you run across a great deal on a product you use frequently, buy enough to last a few months. You might want to invest in a small chest freezer so that when you see meat sales, frozen veggies, or fresh veggies on sale you can get a bunch for the next few months.
Dieting on a budget doesn’t have to be hard. A little time and exploration, and you’ll be saving money.
What tips have you found help you diet on a budget?
These statements are for informational purposes only. Contact your doctor or physician before making any lifestyle or diet changes.