{Eat on the Cheap} Healthy Eating on a Budget

I got this question in from a reader who connected with me through my about.me!

Hello there! I am curious, I am wanting to start using the envelope method but I’m wondering how to go about spending the amount given for me in the grocery amount when on a diet. Diets are super hard to stick to especially when you are on low budget. Any advice?

MyKudos to you for making two great decisions eating clean and trying not to go into debt doing so. The envelope system, by Dave Ramsey, is such a wonder tool that has helped me reshape how I think about money. Truthfully, it may take a few visits to the grocery store for you to figure out exactly how much goes into your grocery envelope. My latest goal that I have implemented into my own life is to set realistic goals. Once you figure out how much is realistic to spend for your budget, lifestyle, and family size, then you are really to maintain a consistent amount every check.

My second recommendation would be to plan your meals on a weekly basis and make a grocery list based on the meals you plan to cook. There are a number of sources that provide recipes to help you eat cleaner by planning your meals in advanced. Choose My Plate is a government website that helps you plan motivational menus on a 2000 calorie diet, provides tips to help you save, and suggests foods that are great for your diet. Here is an example of a sample menu for the week. Another great source is Pinterest, which is filled with thousands of recipes from people across the web who share similar tastes and goals as you. Now that you have an idea of what you want to prepare for the week, then it is time to make the all important grocery list. I really like this grocery list from MomAgendga and I recommend never stepping into a grocery store without a completed list.

Other tips to consider:

  • Never shop on an empty stomach…it often causes people to over shop and over spend.
  • Wear your most fabulous heels to the grocery store: Look good, feel good, right? Well, yes… but wearing your most fabulous heels (which often ends up being the ones that hurt the most) will force you to stay on track so you can get exactly what you need and get out of there so you can get home to more comfy shoes or…no shoes at all. It may sound crazy, but I keep my heels on after work ONLY on days when I have to run errands where I may be tempted to spend!
  • Get a shopping/accountability buddy: My good friend, Kema and I used to make our grocery lists and go shopping together. It made the experience fun, we used that time to catch up, and we helped each other stay on target and budget.

For other tips, check out these 10 tips from Choose My Plate on Eating on a Better Budget

What is your favorite budget shopping tip?

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Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “{Eat on the Cheap} Healthy Eating on a Budget

  1. Don’t let the “eating healthy is expensive” excuse jeopardize your plan to eat healthy! My husband and I also follow Dave Ramsey and use the envelope system. I budget $150 every two weeks (which includes all of our groceries, household items, and hygiene products. I used Jamie Eason’s Healthy Grocery List to make a master list of healthy food items, plus added a few of my own favorites to it. She used to have it on her website, but I couldn’t find that, so I googled and found a link to this (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/62662-jamie-eason-s-grocery-list), which is the list (just not on her site). Before going grocery shopping I will go through the list to determine what I need (I have it saved as a document on my computer and will just print what I need and add anything else I need (ie: dog food, laundry detergent). Some weeks my list gets a little longer, so I will have to budget a little extra money based on our needs, but that is always planned, so I will know what to budget. It sounds ridiculous, but I have to add up my items on a calculator as I go through the store so that I do not “bust” our budget. Some weeks are close, and I have had to put some items back on the shelves (but better than getting to check out and not having enough money). Having a list and sticking to that list is the best plan for sticking to your budget and eating healthy!! You don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list and it helps with both of your goals: budget and eating healthy! GOOD LUCK! 🙂

    1. “You don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list and it helps with both of your goals: budget and eating healthy!” <—- simple and VERY effective. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

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