October 19, 2019

How to Buy Healthy Food on a Budget

It is often said that it is too expensive to have a healthy diet. Many people think that if they want to buy healthier foods, they will have to spend a lot more money and perhaps even take out a loan to afford it. This is not always the case though and you will often find that you will be spending less. Below are some tips that will save you money and help you to get healthier.

Reduce portion sizes

Many of us eat far more food than necessary. We might start to get used to having larger portion sizes and we might even slowly increase the amount of food that we are eating as we get used to eating more and more. Cutting down the amount that we have on our plate can be hard to start with. However, if you reduce it then you will consume less and you should be healthier. You may need to make sure that you cut down the right things though.

Cut down meat and increase vegetables

Meat can be expensive and many of us eat far more than necessary. If we cut down on this and dairy, then we will be reducing the amount we eat and cutting own foods that are high in calories and fat. If we increase the vegetables, these are not only often cheaper than the meat and fish but they are full of healthy nutrients. Remember that you can buy them frozen, tinned, jarred or fresh and they are all healthy as long as they do not have added sugar and salt. There are plenty of vegetable recipes available if you are not keen on them plain so you can add sauces, dressings and things like this to liven them up.

Cut out snacks and puddings

One place that we often like to indulge is in puddings and snacks. These are normally unhealthy, perhaps with lots of sugar and fat and often very little in the way of nutrients. They are often things that we do not need to satisfy our hunger but just things we eat because we are bored, fancy them or out of habit. If we can break the habit of having them, then we will be a lot healthier. It can sometimes help by replacing the items with healthier choices, cutting down and then cutting them out if you cannot imagine cutting them out completely to start with. So replace crisps, biscuits, cakes, chocolate bars and sweet puddings with fruit, veggie sticks and houmous, oatcakes and nuts.

Stop eating out and buying take away food

Eating out can be extremely expensive and it can be really hard to find healthy food. Even if you do find some healthy items on the menu, it can be really tempting to have something unhealthy or to have a pudding. Do remember that you might be able to replace items such as replacing chips with potatoes or salad and things like that. You might also be able to ask for smaller portions or perhaps even order off the children’s menu. It is best to eat at home though as if you do not have unhealthy food in the house, you will not be tempted to have it.

Cook meals from scratch

Buying ready made meals is so easy and convenient but it is expensive and unhealthy. Try to avoid doing this if you can and make the meals yourself. You will find plenty of recipes online if you do not know how to cook them yourself. As well as being able to make meals healthier by adding in more vegetables and reducing the sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, you can also make it exactly to your taste by adjusting the seasoning accordingly. It can take time to cook, but once you get used to it you will get quicker and you can always cook in bulk and freeze portions of a meal to reheat at a later date.

Cut out boxed cereals and buy oats

Boxes of cereal can be a really expensive part of our grocery shopping. They are really overpriced and often contain very high levels of sugar and salt and are rarely wholegrain. They make all sorts of claims about containing healthy nutrients but these tend to be added in and they may say they are multigrain, but this just means they have a mix of unhealthy grains it is not the same as wholegrain. Even things like muesli and granola, which look healthy because of the nuts and fruit in can be packed full of added sugar. Even the ones that look fairly healthy may be worse if you consider the portion size on the box and compare it to what most people have, you will see that you will be having far more of the unhealthy ingredients than the manufacturers state on the packet. Oats are wholegrains and have properties which are benefit to the heart. They can be eaten raw (as they have already been cooked) or cooked as porridge and topped with nut butter, nuts, seeds and fresh fruit. It is so easy to make your own muesli by adding nuts, seeds and dried fruit of your choice or you can make granola by toasting the oats or baking them in the oven with nuts and seeds. There are lots of ingredients for these online and there is neve any need to add extra sugar.

So, you can see that there are many ways that you can improve your diet without paying out more. It is worth avoiding anything that is a health food or labelled as healthy as these tend to be very expensive. You can eat healthily by eating normal foods and just avoiding the overly expensive items.

Easy Ways to Reduce your Debt

Many of us have loans and they can be a really useful way to better ourselves. It might be that we use them to buy a house or to finance a university course and these will help us to have a better financial future. However, we may feel that we would like to reduce our debt a bit. If we are able to keep up with the required repayments then this is a good start, but repaying a bit extra can help to clear the debts more quickly. There are different things that you can do which will help.

Pay off the dearest debt first

It is wise to pay off debts in the order from dearest to cheapest. So, look at the different loans that you have and examine how much they are costing you. Often the interest rate is the thing that we will look at to compare, but it is wise to also look at any fees or charges that we have as well. Many loans will not have these, but some will. Therefore, compare them carefully. By repaying the most expensive one first, it will mean that you will reduce the interest that you are paying and be able to pay off the debt more quickly.

Pay off some extra when you get paid

It can be a really good idea to make those extra repayments form the loan as soon as you get paid. It can be even better to set up a direct debit to do it so that you do not forget. This will mean that you will put some money towards it before you get tempted to spend it on other things. There is always a temptation to buy things once you get paid and so you may find that you have run out of money and there is none left to put towards the debt. So, paying it first should help you to budget better through the month and make sure that you have not spent the money that you were intending to use for the debt repayment on other things.

Cut spending on luxuries

Most of us will spend money on things that we do not really need. Whether that is a cake with our morning coffee, a new handbag when we have lots, that pretty piece of jewellery, a new app, mp3 or whatever. There are many temptations and it is not surprising that we buy all sorts of things. However, it is wise to be really careful when buying things and think about whether we really need and want these items. If our priority is to repay the debt, then we should be concentrating on doing this and cutting out these luxuries. Even the little things ad dup and therefore it is good to try to do without them. It is worth remembering that this will only need to be don until the debt is repaid and then you will be able to spend a bit more and treat yourself to more things.

Do not pay more than necessary

We often just buy the things that we are used to buying and do not think any more about it. However, we might be paying more for those items than necessary. Some people do compare prices on everything that they buy and make sure that they are getting the very best value for money. However, many of us will just stick with what we are used to buying and not think about what else is available. It might be that we are paying a lot more than necessary. Therefore, it can be worth comparing the cost of what you are buying with other items or other similar items to make sure that you are not paying too much.

Look for earning opportunities

There are many opportunities available to earn more money. You might just think that you do not want to do any extra work and so you cannot make extra money. However, although doing extra work would help, there are other ways to make money as well as this. This can include things like selling items that you own to make some money and picking up small jobs online. You could earn money online doing surveys or doing small easy jobs. They may not pay loads, but you can still earn money in the comfort of your own home.

An important thing to remember is that while you are gaining more money or reducing your spending, you should make sure that you are using that money to repay the debt. This might sound a bit obvious but it can get so exciting to have this money to spend that you might actually forget what the purpose is and start to treat yourself. Although you might feel like you deserve a treat, you need to make sure that you are working hard for the purpose that you originally started working towards.