17 Tips to Eat Healthily on a Budget

Many people today are on a tight budget and trying to cut down food costs. These tips will help you save money and still enjoy delicious, nutritious meals.

A healthy diet is essential for your mental and physical health, as well as your mental and emotional wellbeing. This can have a significant impact on your mood, energy, weight, and overall well-being. 

It can be difficult to find healthy and affordable food in these times when many people are unemployed, have uncertain financial futures or are on a budget. To help, here are 17 Tips to Eat Healthily on a Budget.

Here are 17 ways to eat healthily on a budget

  1. Plan Your Meals

Planning ahead is key to saving money at the grocery shop.

Each week, pick one day and plan your meals. Create a grocery list that contains all the items you need.

Also, look out for the items you have at home already. There may be food in your fridge that you can use, or you might want to plan your meals around food you will need to use before it expires.

You won’t waste a lot of the stuff you don’t need.Plan meals, shop, cook. 17 Tips to Eat Healthily on a Budget


Make a grocery list and plan your week. You should only buy the items you are certain you will use. Also, make sure to check what you have in your pantry before you go.

  1. Follow Your Grocery List

Stick to your plan once you have planned your meals, and created your grocery list.

One can easily get distracted at the grocery store. This can lead to unintended purchases and contingencies.

Try to shop around the perimeter (or the outer edges) of the store as a rule. 

Look to the top and bottom of these shelves if you are in these aisles. An app can also be a great tool to ensure you don’t forget your lists at home.


When shopping, stick to your grocery list. Start your shopping from the perimeter of the store; this is because food items are usually placed in these areas.

  1. Cook at Home

The expense involved in cooking at home is less than that of eating out. You can usually feed four people with the same cost as eating out.

Make it a habit to cook at your home instead of going out to eat at the last minute.

Some people prefer to cook for the whole week on weekends while others only cook one meal per day. Cooking for yourself gives you the advantage of knowing exactly which ingredients you are using.


Cooking at home saves you a lot of costs. Some prefer to prepare their weekly meals on weekends while others prefer to make their meals daily.

  1. Make Large Quantities and Save the Leftovers

You can use leftovers for lunches and in other recipes. You can use them in stir-fries and salads as well as burritos.

This is great if you’re on a tight budget as leftovers can save you money from dining out on days you don’t have the time or energy to cook.

The remaining portions can be frozen in individual portions to be enjoyed at a later time.


Make large meals with inexpensive ingredients and save the leftovers for later.

  1. Do Not Go For Shopping When You Are Hungry

You’re more likely to buy something on impulse when you go for shopping or when you are hungry.

You may reach for processed foods when you feel hungry. These foods have less beneficial nutrients than whole foods. 

These foods are not on your grocery list so they won’t be a good choice for your budget.

You can eat a piece of yogurt before you go to the grocery store. This will ensure that you are not hungry once you arrive.


Impulsive shopping can result from shopping when you are hungry. Before you shop for groceries, eat a snack.

  1. Get Whole Foods Available

Some foods are more affordable when they’re not processed. 

You will also save money by purchasing less processed food in greater quantities. They also yield more servings per pack, which is a plus.buy quantity, batch cook, buy own brands


Whole foods can often be cheaper than processed ones. They can also be purchased in greater quantities.

  1. Generic/Own Brands Available

Many stores sell generic brands for almost any product.

Food manufacturers must adhere to safety standards in order to produce safe food. Generic brands can be of the same quality and cost as national brands but may not be as expensive.

However, make sure you read the ingredients list so that you don’t get a product with lower quality ingredients than the national brand.


Many stores sell generic brands for many products. These generic brands are often the same quality as national brands.

  1. Avoid Highly Processed Food

You might be surprised to learn how much you pay for processed foods such as cookies, crackers, and prepackaged meals.

They are expensive; despite the fact they lack many nutrients and may be high-sodium or added sugar.

You can save money by skipping processed foods and spend more on high-quality, nutritionally rich whole foods.


Avoid highly processed foods. They are not only expensive but also high in sodium and sugar with low to no nutritional value.

  1. Buy Your Needed Items on Sale

You should buy more of your favorite staples or products that you use often when they are on sale.

You can save money by buying the item now if you are certain that it is something you will use.

It should last for a long time and not expire. It won’t cost you anything if you just throw it away.


Save money on your staples and favorite products by buying them on sale. Make sure they don’t go bad!

  1. Get Lower-priced Cuts of Meat

Fresh fish and meat can be expensive depending on where you buy it. Fish can be bought from a market selling to the trade, this costs much less overall and can be portioned and frozen.

Most people think a fish market must smell but it doesn’t. If the fish are very fresh they don’t smell. It is worth going in with family or friends to buy larger quantities, such as a whole salmon. It tastes so much better and costs very much less than a supermarket’s tiny portions.

You can find cheaper cuts of meat such as chuck steak, pork top sirloin, whole chicken, and minced meat or sausages.

These can be used in casseroles, stir-fries, soups, and stews,

You might also find it helpful to purchase a large chicken or other meat that is on offer, that you can use in many different meals throughout the week.


Use less expensive cuts of meat in stews, casseroles, and burritos. These recipes often yield large meals with lots of leftovers.

  1. Eat Less Meat

It may be possible to save money by eating less meat. Go for other sources of protein that you have because they are often less expensive than meat.

They are inexpensive, healthy, and simple to prepare. They are also more likely to last longer than others and will not spoil as quickly.


You can replace meat with beans, legumes, or eggs 1 to 2 times per week. These are all healthy and inexpensive sources of protein.

  1. Find the Best Produce in Season

Local produce that is in season is usually cheaper than those out of season. 

Produce that isn’t in season often has been shipped from far away to reach your store. This is not good for the environment or your wallet.

Purchase produce in bags if you can. This is usually cheaper than buying the product by the piece.

You can either freeze or add it to your next week’s menu plan if you have more than you need.


Produce that’s in season is usually cheaper and healthier. You can freeze excess produce or add it to your future meals.

  1. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and berries are often only in season for a few months each year. They can also be quite expensive.

It is often just as nutritious to freeze quick-frozen vegetables. You can also find it cheaper and in larger quantities. Use frozen produce when making smoothies or toppings for oatmeal and yogurt.

You can also take only what you need. And then keep the rest of your food safe from spoiling in your freezer.


Frozen fruits, vegetables, and berries are often just as nutritious as fresh. They are available throughout the year and are often sold in large quantities.

  1. Grow your own vegetables

It’s great to start your own garden or join a community gardening group if you have the opportunity.

Seeds are cheap to purchase. You can grow your own herbs, sprouts, tomatoes, carrots, onions and much more with a little bit of effort and time.

A constant supply of food at home can help you save money in the grocery store.

You may find out that home-grown produce tastes better than store-bought. It is also possible to guarantee that the product has been picked at peak ripeness.save coupons, buy fresh and local


It’s possible to grow your own vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, and sprouts with a little bit of effort and time.

  1. Be Smart With Coupons

Coupons can be a great way of saving money, but you need to make sure that they are used wisely. You can find great deals on cleaning products and other staples, so you can stock up on quality items.

You can save money on products that aren’t needed in your home and spend more on healthy foods.


Coupons can be a great way for you to stock up on cleaning supplies and nutrient-rich food. Be sure to stay away from coupons that include processed foods.

  1. Appreciate Less Expensive Foods

Many foods are affordable and healthy. You can make delicious, inexpensive meals by making some changes and using unfamiliar ingredients.

Increase your consumption of eggs, beans, and seeds, as well as frozen fruits and vegetables.

They all taste delicious, are inexpensive (especially when purchased in bulk), and are very nutritious.


You can save money while eating healthier by incorporating more affordable, but still nutritious, foods into your daily life.

  1. Shop Online at Low Prices

Many online retailers offer healthy foods at half the price of grocery stores apparently.

Register to receive daily deals and discounts. 

Online retailers can offer unprocessed and nutritious foods.

These retailers sometimes offer great savings by allowing you to buy as much as possible.


Sometimes, online retailers offer healthy foods at half the price of the supermarket. This does depend upon where you live in the world. In the UK I have not seen evidence of this but that doesn’t mean it’s not available.

Myself I prefer to see and check the food I buy to ensure it is in good condition.


To eat well, you don’t need to spend a lot of money. There are many options to eat nutritious foods even if you have a tight budget.

These include cooking at home, planning meals and making smart grocery shopping decisions. 

Many processed foods and ready meals are cheap.  However, you don’t save anything because you soon become hungry again as there is no real nutrition in there.

You can of course buy quality ready meals containing real ingredients but these can cost much more than cooking the food yourself and creating a meal.

If you have a family, buying the basic ingredients for meals will usually be much cheaper than takeaways and much healthier than processed junk food/ready meals.

Another resource for you:

10 Healthy and Cheap Foods to Buy

8 thoughts on “17 Tips to Eat Healthily on a Budget”

  1. all of these are such good tips to save some money! we already do many of these, such as writing a grocery list and shopping for a whole week ahead. We also cut quite a bit of meat from our meal plan and it makes a huge difference. 

    I also prefer to shop in person to see the food I’m going to eat. Online doesn’t seem to be cheaper either, unless you buy all the highly processed stuff, which I don’t.

    • Thank you for commenting Petra, glad you enjoyed the post and found it useful.

      Some of them are common sense tips but it’s surprising how many don’t think to take a shopping list or eat before they shop. Just those can save a lot. 

  2. Honestly I find it difficult to eat healthy on a budget when most foods that are labeled ‘organic’ are pretty expensive while the processed food are fairly cheap. I honestly thought there was no in between prices but these tips definitely opened my point of view, especially the tip about buying the fresh food in season and buying it online from retailers. Never realized that buying online food can be significantly cheaper. 

    • It can be tough finding quality food on a budget Barbara, but it is available. Compare online prices to local prices  because its not always cheaper. 

      Processed food can be very cheap, the trouble is the lack of nutritional value.

      Glad you found the blog post helpful. Thank you for your comments.

  3. Thanks for this list of tips to eat healthy on a budget. I’ve found that the choice of grocery store makes a huge difference on the budget. We probably have at least 10 major grocery store chains in the area, and for the most part, they offer similar items. However, 2 of those grocery stores are consistently offering lower prices. I think choosing the right store and adding some of your additional suggestions will be able to make a noticeable impact on the budget!

    • I agree with you Aly. It’s the same here for choice and like you, we have major chains that are more expensive than the 2 that keep their prices lower. 

      That is an excellent tip, choosing the store/chain you shop at, I should have thought of that myself and included it. Thank you for the tip and for commenting.

  4. Thanks for this, as sometimes it just seems so much cheaper to buy takeaways. Buying in season is a great tip, as you can normally get plenty of healthy fresh food, as long as it is in season. I also try and avoid buying fresh produce out of season as it is just so pricey. Freezing your seasonal produce also helps so that you can buy it cheaply and then eat it out of season.

    • Buying food on offer, can work out cheaper. Make up recipes and freeze in portions for quick and easy meals. Choosing where you shop can make a difference too.

      Very good tip, thank you. Freezing your own produce for year round usage. I tend to forget to put things like that down. 

      Thank you for your comments.


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