Groceries are a major expensive, no matter who you are. It’s something we must constantly be dealing with. I remember when I was in uni. On most days, I would earn $0. I remember thinking that I was going into the red on each one of those days. That’s true because no matter what, I needed to eat!
Since this is a necessary part of life (until Soylent gets to the UK, at least) we should do it right. The following blog post tells who to construct frugal meals.
This isn’t a special diet plan. It doesn’t attempt to hack some grocery store’s system. It’s simply some basic rules that’ll keep you from spending too much on food. And yes, the food is delicious. I find frugal meals to actually be more delicious than expensive meals. You’ll see why:
Use Local Ingredients
A major part of why food costs as much as it does is that it must be transported. Buying local foods eliminates much of the cost. So buy local when possible. Base meals around things native to the UK.
I’ve also read our bodies function better when eating the foods of our ancestors. It’s apparently because our genetics have programmed our bodies to be able to more easily digest and reap the nutrients from these foods. It seems like it makes sense.
Use Whole Foods
Whole foods are actually cheaper to obtain than processed foods. That’s because there’s less work to get them from the farm to the table. Makes sense. Most people think whole foods are more expensive because, at first glance, they appear more expensive. But when you think long-term, they’re not very expensive. IE: A McDonald’s double cheeseburger looks cheap. But if you buy everything in the store, you can compile several burgers for what a McDonald’s burger costs.
Use Substantial Foods
Buy foods that actually get you full. These are items like nuts, beans, etc. Avoid items that are nearly worthless: celery, potato chips, candy, etc. But don’t focus too much on fillers. You still need vegetables to provide nutrients and aid in digestion. An example of a substantial meal would be a chicken breast, brown rice, chickpeas and mixed veggies.
A lot of people buy many ‘extras’ like condiments, cheeses, spices, etc. While these are sometimes fun to use, avoid making them a habit. After all, they provide very little nutritional value but add to the price of the meal. That’s not good value.
Learn to love water! It’s really healthy for you! Things like fizzy drinks and juices are really bad for you for the most part. Fizzy drinks are obviously bad. Tons of added sugar. But you may not know that juices are pretty bad for you as well. Why? It’s because juice is pretty much just the sugar that was squeezed from the fruit. You’re pretty much just drinking a ton of sugar. There’s no fiber or roughage. If you don’t believe me, try this experiment. Eat as many oranges as you can. You probably won’t be able to eat more than two. Now, drink all the orange juice you can. You’ll be able to drink a ridiculous amount more of sugar this way. Juices don’t fill you up, they just drain your bank account.
Stock up When on Sale
I don’t really enjoy shopping for sales. It’s not quite how I want to spend my days on planet earth. Though if you enjoy it, go for it. What I do is if I buy something usually and it’s on sale, I’ll stock up. Just be careful not to overeat when your pantry is overflowing. That can happen with some people when they have tons of food on-hand. I know I can easily binge eat once I’ve just gone grocery shopping.
Leave No Room for Desserts
“I always have room for desserts.” You’ve probably heard that phrase before. It’s usually true. That’s because desserts are tasty and they don’t really fill you up. So you could spend several pounds on pudding but not really be filled up. That’s dangerous. Besides the flavor, it’s about like throwing money away. If you enjoy desserts, that’s great. If so, try making more frugal desserts. Peanut butter biscuits, for instance, only take three ingredients: sugar, egg and peanut butter. Sugar is almost always on sale. Eggs are always pretty cheap. Peanut butter is cheap and nutritious. There are many other recipes out there for cheap treats that actually have some positive attributes.
Remember the Purpose of Eating
Some people eat purely out of enjoyment. That’s okay at times but can be a dangerous lifestyle. Remember why we eat in the first place. It’s to give ourselves energy to do what matters. Food is a means to an end, not the end in and of itself. If you find yourself overeating or lusting after expensive foods, you need to ask yourself why that is. Are you unhappy about something? There must be some reason you’d rather be eating those foods than having a big bank account and a good physique.
Again, food can be fun. And it’s not something you have to always save tons of money on. Just know that assembling a frugal meal can be done regularly with ease. It’ll leave you richer, fuller and healthier. Happy cooking!
Will Lipovsky is a personal finance freelance writer and internet marketer. His most embarrassing moment has been saying to a Microsoft executive, “I’ll just Google it.” You can get in touch with Will at FirstQuarterFinance.com.