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Quick Tips: Healthy Eating on a Budget - Get started

There are ways to make healthy eating fit your budget. You'll be surprised by how spending just a little extra time can save you money. And the more time you spend—in planning, shopping, and cooking—the more money you'll save.

Save money by learning and planning:

  • Plan and shop for a week’s worth of meals at a time. You're less likely to go out to eat or buy expensive convenience foods during the week when the ingredients for dinner are already in your kitchen.
  • Keep a list of what leftovers are in your refrigerator and freezer. That way they won't go to waste because you forgot they were there. And you can use the list when you're planning next week's meals.
  • Watch grocery store ads for sales so that you can stock up on items you know you will use. You can sometimes save money by buying more of something. For example, some stores may give you a discount if you buy 12 cans of chicken broth instead of just 2 or 3.
  • Learn how much food costs. That way you can tell when an advertised sale is really a good deal.
  • Use coupons. People who invest time in saving and organizing coupons often save a lot of money.
  • Learn how to grow your own vegetables. If you don't have the space, see if there is a community garden in your neighborhood. Or try growing a few vegetables or herbs on your porch or in a sunny indoor room.
  • See how many convenience foods you can cross off your list by planning something healthier and cheaper instead. For example:
    • Instead of potato chips, buy unpopped popcorn you can make at home.
    • Instead of ready-made desserts, make your own cookies, cakes, or muffins.
    • Instead of packaged snacks, buy crackers and peanut butter to make your own little sandwich snacks. Or snack on fresh or dried fruits.
    • Instead of sweetened cold cereals, buy oatmeal or other hot cereal.

Save money at the grocery store:

  • Always shop with a list. Try not to buy anything that’s not on your list, but be open to unexpected sale items that you know you will use.
  • Shopping with family members can cost you money if they talk you into buying things that aren't on your list. Shop by yourself if you have to.
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables when they're in season. They are likely to be fresher and cost less.
  • Buy frozen vegetables. They are picked at the peak of ripeness and have just as many—or more—vitamins and minerals as fresh. And they cost less.
  • Buy store brands instead of name brands.
  • Shop in the bulk foods aisle, where things like beans, rice, pasta, and other dried foods may be cheaper.
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