Eating on a Budget — The 3 P’s
Plan meals and snacks for the week according to an established budget. Find quick and easy recipes online. Include meals that will “stretch” expensive food items (stews, casseroles, stir‐fried dishes). Make a grocery list. Check for sales and coupons in the local paper or online and consider discount stores. I shop discounted stores (Aldi’s) first before any other groceries. Ask about a loyalty card at your grocery store.
Buy groceries when you are not hungry and when you are not too rushed. Stick to the grocery list and stay out of the aisles that don’t contain items on your list. Buy store brands if cheaper. Find and compare unit prices listed on shelves to get the best price. Purchase some items in bulk or as family packs which usually cost less. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables in season; buy frozen vegetables when needing to store longer term. Pre‐cut fruits and vegetables, individual cups of yogurt, and instant rice and hot cereal are convenient, but usually cost more than those that require a bit more prep time. Good low‐cost items available all year include:
- Protein — beans (garbanzo, black, cannellini)
- Vegetables — carrots, greens, potatoes
- Fruit — apples, bananas
I love meal prepping on Sundays which means that some meal items can be prepared in advance. Double or triple up on recipes and freeze meal‐sized containers of soups and casseroles or divide into individual portions. Try a few meatless meals by substituting with beans and peas or try “no‐cook” meals like salads. Pre-wash, cut and dice any veggies that can be used throughout the week in salads or meals. Incorporate leftovers into a subsequent meal. Be creative with a fruit or vegetable and use it in different ways during the week.