January is a tight month for most people after spending a substantial amount of money on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But you should not give up a healthy lifestyle even if you have less to spend on fancy health products.
First and foremost, restaurant bills and drink tabs tend to add up into a hefty sum. Reduce the number of takeaways, because the more food you make at home, the more you save.
Good marketing strategies are directed at consumers to spend more without even noticing.
Preparation is the key to making the most of your money, but there are other tricks you can do to avoid over-spending on food.
There are plenty of simple ways to save money on meals without needing to compromise on eating well.
Especially, as a lot of people choose to eat healthier at the start of the New Year, it is the second most common resolution.
So check tips for salary negotiation to earn more, or follow a simple guide on how to spend your money smarter on grocery shopping.
How To Save Money On Your Diet
Before The Shopping
It is best if you set a weekly (realistic) budget that you want to stay at or under.
There are two golden rules for when you do your groceries. Make a list of the items you need, and do not go shopping when you are hungry.
Plan your meals, check the ingredients you already have, and only add the items you need, and you know you will use.
If you didn’t have a chance to have a proper meal before you are going to the shops, at least have a snack. Otherwise, if you are hungry while shopping, you can end up with impulse purchases, unrealistic quantities, and unnecessary expenses.
Downshift Brands To Save Big
We are all the victims of big brand hypnosis sometimes. We think that if something costs more, it has got to be better. Well, that’s not true.
Whether it is milk, bacon, cookies, or Bolognese sauce, the design and phrasing on the packaging hypnotize us into thinking it is worth spending the extra.
When you choose your item, be aware of the brand levels. Using convincing language supermarkets put the choice in your hands to how ‘luxury’ or ‘basic’ you want to be.
Yet, cheaper items are usually as good as the branded expensive ones, sometimes they are even made in the same factories.
Next time you shop, swap your usual items to one brand lower. So if you normally buy branded coconut shower cream, drop to Lidl’s own brand.
First, make the switch for products that you care about less. You will see when you can’t tell the difference between the lower brand level goods, then why pay the extra?
Downshifting usually cuts grocery bills by 30%, and even if you only swap half your items, that is still 15% in savings.
The Glory Of Freezer Space
Using your freezer will save you money in many different ways. The different foods and ingredients that you can freeze are endless.
First of all, take advantage of low prices when you find them. Consider stocking up on fresh meat and seafood you like when you find them on sale, and freeze them straight away.
Then, save any leftovers. If you don’t want to eat the same thing twice in a row, just put it in the freezer and it will be just as good a week later.
You can also freeze fresh fruits and vegetables that you know you won’t use before they start rotting.
Food waste is a big problem in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USAD), food waste is estimated at around 30-40% of the food supply.
Although some vegetables are best not to put into the freezer such as cucumber, endive, lettuce, chicory, kale, or radishes. If you are unsure of what you can or can’t freeze, you can always look it up on the Internet.
When your bananas are starting to turn brown and you don’t want to eat them, it is best to chop them up, put them in a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer. They will make delicious smoothies later.
Supermarkets often discount products that are going out of date or past their best before the date by the end of the day. Those products are absolutely good for consumption. Use them quickly or freeze them for another time.
This way you saved food that would otherwise have gone to a landfill, and you saved money on your shopping.
Also, a lot of the time, buying frozen fruits and vegetables is cheaper than buying fresh ones, especially during winter. They are just as nutritious and tasty as their fresh counterparts. They are frozen straight after they are picked to seal in their nutrients.
Consider Eating Less Meat
Reducing meat consumption is good for your wallet, your health, and the planet. If you have jobs in environmental sustainability, you know that cutting your meat consumption helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are on the rise. Many people made the switch for environmental reasons or to eliminate animal cruelty.
Yet you may find yourself saving on your next grocery shopping if you choose a veggie dish for dinner.
Buying good quality meat is very expensive, as opposed to the staples of a plant-based diet. If you were to compare the two, plant proteins like lentils and beans will cost less than the same amount of animal protein.
You can get a serving of canned beans for $0.50 or less. They are sustainable, inexpensive, nutritious, and packed with fiber, which makes them the most cost-effective source of protein available on the planet.
Keeping a variety of beans like black beans, cannellini, chickpeas, pinto beans, and butter beans are all great substitutes to meat in sandwiches, soups, pasta, or salads.
Yet, this is a personal choice – some people find giving meat up less desirable or difficult. If you don’t want to remove meat completely from your diet, that is OK. You could try cutting it back with Meatless Monday.
Empty The Pantry
We all have items in our pantries or in the back of the cupboard which we forgot about or we are delaying using. This, however, leads to food waste.
Cleaning out the pantry will show you what you have on hand. Challenge yourself and use at least one item for every dinner.
If you are unsure how to use some of your items, you should see websites like BigOven and SuperCook to help you come up with a recipe.
You already spent money on these ingredients, don’t let them go to waste.
Plan For Treats
It is difficult to consistently feel like you are penny-pinching, and you might want to spontaneously reward yourself.
But to avoid splurges, allocate a budget and plan to treat yourself. This can be something nice after a week or a few weeks of succeeding in keeping to your budget.
It is important to specify an amount in your budget to stay on track.
If you can’t afford to go out, stay in for a movie night or organize your at-home cocktail hour. You can still celebrate your achievements while saving.