We have said a few times on this podcast that we needed to do an episode on healthier eating on a budget, and we’re going to do just that today!
Everyone has different budgets, different food preferences, and different dietary needs, so keep in mind that these suggestions are, as always, a your mileage may vary type of deal. When we were researching and putting our ideas together, these were our top 4 tips that we thought would apply to pretty much everyone.
I, for one, am really excited to dig in, so let’s get to it. ( A little disclaimer, we picked these with the assumption that you already know what your monthly food budget is)


  1. The first thing that’s going to make this easier is to have your meals mapped out. Mapping out your meals is a good idea any way you slice it, but especially when you’ve got a monthly budget. This helps in a few ways
    • Planning out your meals helps you think about your food needs, taste preferences, and gives you a map for the ingredients you’ll need for a given recipe.
  2. Having a map allows you to adapt recipes ahead of time to suit your needs. If you’re needing more protein packed meals, this will allow you to pre-plan and think out what types of protein you’ll need to or want to buy, what veggies and other carb sources you can implement, etc.
    • Having your map also allows you to shop faster and more efficiently. This can help reduce impulse buys and taking things home that you don’t necessarily need. 
    • It also helps to not have to make multiple trips to the store
  3. Having a method to the madness also allows you to select ingredients that can be used in more than one dish. Just because the meals you’re planning may have similar ingredients does not meant that everything has to taste the same. Playing around with different flavor profiles can be fun! Also, just because you have chicken for several meals, doesn’t mean it has to be bland. We’ll touch more on that in a sec.
    • Any store that you are shopping at likely has a weekly or even monthly ad with various sales. Most places, anymore, also have keychain cards where you can pre-load national coupons via an app on your phone.
  4. Revisiting your planned meals: you can specifically look up the ingredients you intend to use and see if they are on sale or if a coupon is provided for each item.
    • If you can’t find a coupon or an item on sale for those strawberries on your list, maybe blueberries are on sale and you can make the swap to save some cashola.
    • Even low-value cents-off coupons can really add up. Just by using five 50-cents-off coupons a week, you can end up saving over $100 each year
  5. In season produce is always going to be less expensive than out of season produce. 
    • On that note, try to only buy perishable food items in quantities you’ll actually use. You’ve probably seen that meme about the lettuce decaying in the back of the fridge while you reach for something else? This is what we’re getting at. 
  6. Ultimately, you know what you like and how much you’ll ACTUALLY use. 
    • As always, there is a caveat to using coupons and ads as part of healthy eating on a budget. Be mindful of sales or coupons persuading you to purchase things that you wouldn’t normally buy or use if it wasn’t on sale or didn’t have a coupon. Speaking from experience, this is why a list helps. Instead of JUST looking at the ads or coupons without a list in hand, I’m always less likely to get something I won’t actually use just because it’s on sale.
    • Another budget-loving tactic we use at our house from time to time is shopping Target’s clearanced out meat. I think I’ve mentioned this briefly before but figure out when your local store is putting the $3 and $5 off coupons on meat and go snatch that shit up! You can get a whole smart chicken for less than $4 or $5 each with those coupons. 


  1. Cheaper cuts of protein get a bad wrap. We think they get a bad wrap because of the convenience factor of, say, boneless, skinless chicken breast. While less expensive cuts of meat may take a little longer to cook, or require a little more work on the front end, they can often be the tastiest cuts of meat.
    • Let’s talk about chicken for a second. Whole chickens, a bag of chicken quarters, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks etc.
    • All of these chicken options are going to be less expensive than their already broken down, skin-off counterparts. And in my opinion, always have a lot more flavor, tenderness and juicyness when prepared properly.
  2. If the idea of butchering your own meat freaks you out, watch some Alton Brown videos, he is the person who taught me how to properly deconstruct my cuts of meat. 
    • While they may require a little more work, they go a lot further and can prepared in several ways to make different dishes.
  3. When it comes to beef, sirloin tip steak, top round, round roast, eye of round, bottom round roast etcccccc. Are all going to be less expensive than, say a filet or NY strip.
    • Again, the key to taking these less expensive cuts is going to be in the preparation. 
    • Eye of round is great for marinating and cooking, and is a pretty lean cut. 
    • Sirloin tip steak is considered the low-cost superstar of beef. Great for stir fry, kabobs, stew meat or cubed steak.
    • Top round steak (AKA London Broil) is thick and versatile and is best when broiled or slow cooked (sous vide anyone?)
    • And lastly in our list for today is Round Roast. The Top Round Roast is a lean roast that should be slow-cooked to improve its tenderness, then sliced thinly across the grain.


  1. You can add nutritional value to anything. Legit. Sometimes you just have to be imaginative in the way you’re using a boxed meal. And that can be super fun!
    • Bell peppers, onions, garlic, carrots, celery are on sale ALL the time. And they’re fresh vegetables and flavor enhancers that can be added to just about any pre-boxed meal. 
      • One of my favorite things to church up is a box of Mac and cheese. They cost like 50 cents and you can add more nutritional value to it by throwing an 80 cent can of tuna in, or if you don’t like tuna, you can go for canned chicken. 
  2. You also don’t have to use hamburger for hamburger helper, know what we mean? You could add tuna (which is inexpensive), the chicken or beef options we suggested above, or ground turkey if it’s on sale. 
    • If you’re vegetarian, add some beyond crumbles in there and you’re good to go. 
  3. Use your imagination! 


  1. One thing that isn’t mentioned enough is what “use by” or “best by” on a food label means. 
    • You will see ‘use by’ dates on food, such as meat products and ready-prepared salads. Do not use foods or drinks after the ‘use by’ date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine. Using it after this date could put your health at risk. Remember the ‘use by’ date relies on you storing the food properly, as described on the food label. If you do not follow these instructions, the food will spoil more quickly, and you may risk food poisoning
    • ‘Best before’ dates appear on a wide range of frozen, dried, canned and other foods. The ‘best before’ dates are more about food quality than food safety. When the date runs out it does not mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavor and texture. Always store the foods as described on the food packaging. 
  2. There are many ways to reduce food waste. Some of the foods we see most often wasted are bread/bakery products, produce,  dairy products, eggs, meat, fish and pre-prepared meals. 
    • Using leftovers may seem boring and unappetising but there are plenty of delicious meals and snacks that can be made from even the smallest portion of leftovers and save you money too!
    • The thing with protein is that it can be batch prepared with minimal seasonings and repurposed for a variety of things. 
    • Those grilled or pan tossed veggies can be used up in other dishes, too! overripe fruits can be frozen or just put in a blender for a smoothie, they can also be baked or added to casseroles if you’re looking for a natural way to make a dish sweeter. 
    • Bread that’s on its way out the door can be made into homemade croutons or breadcrumbs which can both be frozen. (OR, before it even gets to that point, you can store your bread, buns, etc in the freezer and take out what you need at a given moment)
  3. Another way to reduce food waste is to make things that freeze easily. Think casseroles, chili or soups, pasta dishes, etc. These all freeze and reheat well. That way, when you inevitably make way too much pasta, you don’t have to fear it going to waste, you can pop it in the freezer and most dishes that are frozen can last up to 3 months.
  4. Annnnd lastly, as we’ve mentioned before, if you don’t think you’ll go through your produce (aside from salads or lettuce), you can buy the frozen alternatives on the cheap, and you don’t have to worry about them going bad, you just use what you’ll eat at a given meal. Frozen is the next best thing to fresh.

There are a variety of ways to eat healthier on the cheap, you just have to plan a little more, and maybe be more mindful. anything can have nutrients added to it. So go forth and eat that gourmet version of hamby helper!






No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.