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Why I Made My Teenagers Buy Their Own Food

children buy their own food

Guest post from Teresa of TeresaWhiting.com:

It was nearing dinner time, and the question kept drifting through the kitchen… “Mom, what’s for dinner?”

My answer was met with varying degrees of dissatisfaction. I was growing really frustrated when suddenly, I had an epiphany!

“I’m not buying groceries, or cooking at all next week!” I announced.

My four kids, ages 12-17, were curious and a bit concerned. But I had a plan that would teach everyone just how grateful they should be for all my planning and preparation.

Our Family’s Meal Planning Experiment

The next week, I took out our budgeted grocery money and divided it up evenly between the six of us (my husband and myself included). It came out to only $35 per person.

I told the kids they would be in charge of planning, purchasing, and preparing all of their food for the entire week.

I admit that my motives weren’t exactly pure when I had this idea. I wanted to teach everyone a lesson in gratitude. But despite my distorted motives, something wonderful happened!

I was so impressed with my kids. They definitely took the opportunity to buy things that would never make it into the house on my watch; but overall, they did a fabulous job!

It was fun walking through Aldi and hearing them strategize with each other…

“If four of us go in together, we can each get one stick of butter from this pack.”

“Does anyone want to split a loaf of bread with me?”

At home, we unloaded the groceries and labeled everything with our initials.

The evenings got a little chaotic with six people in the kitchen, all preparing meals, but overall, the week was a huge success! When it was over, almost everyone asked, “When can we do this again??”

The first time we had a BYOF (Buy Your Own Food) week was about seven years ago. Since then, it has become a fun activity we do a couple of times a year, with some variations!

One year we had them take turns shopping and cooking for the entire family. They bought breakfast and lunch items as well, but weren’t required to prepare those meals for everyone.

At times when we needed things like paper goods or toiletries, we had everyone pitch in to cover those costs, or we assigned each person something to buy.

Here were some added benefits to BYOF week:

  • Everyone was a little more aware of and grateful for the work of being a planner, shopper, and chef.
  • My kids learned to budget, plan a menu, shop, and prepare basic meals.
  • When Greg & I had to travel together, we knew the kids wouldn’t spend the whole week eating frozen pizza for dinner!
  • As they’ve all grown up, they’ve taken these skills into adulthood and built on them.
  • What started out as a mom’s desperate need for a break and a reality check for her kids, morphed into a well-loved family tradition!

Person holding produce bag

Is this something you would try with your kids?

If so, here are a few suggestions:

1. Set general guidelines.

For example:

  • You have to buy at least 2 fresh items – fruits/vegetables)
  • You have to make at least one meal that involves a recipe (you can’t have all frozen dinners).

2. Think about the ages of your kids.

My kids were on the older side when we started this, but I definitely think an 8-year-old could handle it. If you have a wide range of ages, maybe pair a younger with an older to help in the kitchen.

We had been rotating the chore of “Dinner Helper” for some time, so my kids knew the basics already. Before starting something like this, make sure your kids have SOME experience in the kitchen with you.

3. Let them eat cake.

One week of junk food won’t kill them. I remember the first time we did this, the child with the most junk food was most grateful for my cooking the next week!

4. Help them make a plan.

It helps to give them ideas of a sensible menu and an idea of prices to get them started.

5. Allow your kids to fail.

What better place for them to learn than in the safety of your own home?

I’d love to know how this goes if you decide to try it. Your kids’ choices may surprise you. And who knows? You might start a new family tradition!

Teresa Whiting lives in Northeast Ohio. She is a mom of 5, grandma of 1, writer, speaker, and ministry wife. Through spoken and written word, her passion is to hold out hope to women in the midst of their mess. Visit her at teresawhiting.com.

Why Sinking Funds are Your Budget’s Best Kept Secret

What is a sinking fund? And how does it help your budget? Read this post to read why sinking funds are your budget’s best kept secret!

Looking for more posts on how to budget? Go HERE.

what is a sinking fund

Guest post from Jessi of JessiFearon.com:

There’s sort of this best-kept secret in the world of budgeting and all things personal finance. Maybe you’ve heard of it before or maybe it’s a new concept. Regardless, I have to tell you about it because it has saved our family’s financial life more times than I can count!

So, what is this mysterious secret? Sinking Funds.

Yeah, I know, it doesn’t sound all Hollywood glamour but trust me, these bad boys work!

What is a Sinking Fund?

A Sinking Fund is a separate entity fund that you fund from your monthly household budget for a specific purpose. So in our household, we have Sinking Funds for auto-related expenses, home-related expenses, Christmas, and Vacations (we’re still working on setting up one for healthcare).

Each one of these Sinking Funds is a separate bank account (we use online banks for these as they typically don’t charge you bank fees) that we keep funded. For example, in our Auto Fund, we prefer to have a minimum of $1,000 in that account. So if we use that account and the balance dips below a $1,000 then that Fund becomes a priority in our household budget to bring the balance back up.

How does this help your budget?

To illustrate this, let’s talk about Edna. Edna was my husband’s 2006 Chevy Colorado. Back when we were first married in 2009, Edna started having issues. She spent a ton of time in the shop and no one could figure out what was wrong with her. Long story short, we ended up paying over $5,000 trying to fix a problem that should have only cost us around $20 to fix.

The issue is that we were newlyweds and I was still in college — meaning, we were broke. We not only drained our checking and savings accounts to pay for this mystery repair but we also put a lot of it on a credit card. To say that we were stressed was an understatement! But the outcome of this stressful event was the creation of our Auto Sinking Fund.

Our Auto Fund exists to keep a similar situation from ever occurring again. Now whenever one of our vehicles needs a repair or even just regular maintenance like an oil change or tires, we just take the debit card that is linked to the Auto Fund and pay for it. There’s no stress on our household budget for that month. And we get to avoid having to dip into the Emergency Fund to pay for it.

Money in a Pot with Growing Tree

How do you set up a Sinking Fund?

The key to setting up Sinking Funds is to remember that you’re not going to be able to set them all up all at once. You’re going to need to take some time to build up these funds. I suggest you start with the most pressing Fund that your household needs in place. For my household that was the Auto-Fund but maybe for your household, it’s the Healthcare Fund or Home Fund.

Regardless of what Fund you decide to start with, pick one and then determine a minimum balance threshold. Again, with our Auto-Fund the threshold is $1,000. If you picked a threshold of $1,000 then you would work to build that account up to $1,000. Then once you’ve achieved that goal, you’d then pause contributing to that Sinking Fund and then start building your next Sinking Fund.

Why banking accounts and not cash?

For most of our Sinking Funds, we use bank accounts to save versus keeping them in cash. Mainly this is due to the fact that I’m married to a Spender and keeping money just hanging around is a little too tempting. Also, we’re both not comfortable having thousands of dollars just sitting in our home.

However, we have used the cash method before to build up certain Sinking Funds. Mainly those types of Funds are “quick” ones. Meaning, they’re going to get used up sooner rather than later. For example, when my husband was turning 30 we were still on the debt-free journey. However, I still wanted to gift him something special. He had his eye on this massive cabinet saw (my husband is a Master Carpenter), but it was $700. So, I set up a Sinking Fund where I set aside a certain amount of money from our budget every month into an envelope to build up the cash I needed to hand him on his birthday to go buy his saw.

That type of Sinking Fund is more temporary than our other ones. So using cash to build up Sinking Funds is a great idea when it is a temporary type of Fund, but for the more “guaranteed” type of events, I think an actual bank account should be used.

White Piggy Bank

How do you budget for these Sinking Funds?

To budget for these Sinking Funds, take the minimum threshold balance you decide on and determine how quickly you want to save up. For example, if your threshold is $1,000 and you want it saved up in three months you’ll need to set aside at least $334 every month to achieve that goal. You could then further break that down into how much you need to set aside from each paycheck. If you’re going to receive two paychecks in a particular month, you’d have to set aside at least $167 from each paycheck to achieve your goal.

It takes a lot of self-discipline to achieve these types of goals but I have no doubts that you can do it! Trust me, once you start using Sinking Funds, you’ll be in a much better spot financially! You’ll also be less stressed! Nothing compares to the radiator blowing in your car and not having to stress out over the repair costs because all you have to do is go into your Auto Fund to pay for it. Honestly, it is an incredible feeling not having that stress of financial doom lurking over your head!

Do you use Sinking Funds currently? Have you thought about starting one?

Jessi Fearon is a wife and mom to three little kiddos. Her family paid off just over $55k of debt in 2 years and they’re now 100% debt-free after paying off their mortgage in January 2019 – all on a $47,000/year salary. She loves coaching others towards achieving their dream life by learning to manage their money and embracing their own real life on a budget.

5 Vegetable & Fruit Plants That Will Save You Money

Interested in growing your own vegetables and fruits? These 5 plants are certain to save you money and are well worth trying to grow at home!

{Trying to save money on groceries? Sign up to get 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill By $50.}

growing your own vegetables to save money

Guest post from Courtney of The Kitchen Garten:

I absolutely love gardening, and while many people envision this hobby as a way to save lots of money at the grocery store, that isn’t always the case.

Large slicing tomatoes, which we can eat by the pound in the summer, are notoriously difficult to grow to maturity with birds, disease, or neglect getting them first.

Then there’s the actual cost of soil, trellises, and maybe even a raised bed that cuts into any savings a gardener might expect.

Thankfully there really are some herbs, fruits, and vegetables that can be grown at home that add up to savings each week at the grocery store! These easy-to-grow and harvest varieties taste better than their store-bought counterparts, and you get the added bonus of exercise and outside time that comes with gardening.

Grape Tomatoes in Hand

Vegetables & Fruits You Can Grow to Save Money

Grape Tomatoes

Notice I didn’t say all tomatoes. Grape tomatoes, and other small varieties, are heavy growers in the summer season. They can bear for months from a single plant that could easily cost only $2.

One pint of grape tomatoes at the grocery store can run between $2 and $5 dollars depending on if you choose organic. If your family purchases a pint each week during the summer, you could see a savings of at least $36 — even if you’re only opting for the cheaper pint at the store.

Raspberry Bush

Raspberries

One small half-pint of raspberries can cost up to $4 at the grocery store, and you have to be really careful there are no rotting berries under that label.

Two years ago, my family and I planted two raspberry canes in a flower bed at the side of our house. They now produce abundantly in the summer and into the fall.

We are easily saving $50-$60 each summer in not buying raspberries. And if the plants produce more than we can eat, my kids have had the entrepreneurial idea to begin selling them to friends and neighbors.

We don’t spray our raspberries with pesticides, so our berries are high quality and delicious — a win for everyone!

Blueberry Bush

Blueberries

Blueberries are one of the easiest berries to grow, and they are easy to freeze for use all winter long.

Blueberry half-pints from the grocery store range in price from $3 in-season to $5 out of season. Our single bush produces more than a gallon each summer, and everyone loves going out to pick them.

We’ve now added three more bushes in our side yard. They blend in easily with the landscape and save us lots of money in the process!

growing your own herbs in a planter

Herbs

This past summer, our daughter planted four different types of herbs to use as a summer business. Herbs grow prolifically if they’re tended and pruned. Bunches of cilantro and parsley can cost between $1 and $2 at the store, though the distance they’ve traveled to get to your store can be hundreds, or thousands, of miles.

Fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, dill, and stevia can be grown easily each year. While hardier herbs like parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano can be perennials in certain areas, so they’ll come back year after year.

These herbs can easily be dried at home, cutting down on those pricey bottles of dried herbs ($2-$4 each), not to mention the fresh herbs in the plastic packaging in the refrigerator section of the store. (And don’t forget that you can also freeze extra herbs!)

Also, have you ever bought one of those plastic herb packages in the cooler section only to use half and the rest dies a miserable death in the back of your fridge? Guilty as charged.

growing your own vegetables romaine lettuce

Lettuce

Many lettuces are a “cut and come again” crop. This simply means you can harvest as many leaves as you need for your family’s meal, and the vegetable plant will continue to grow!

Many lettuce plants, such as romaine, can be grown in a container on a porch or patio and save you dollars each week at the grocery store.

Spinach, arugula, and spring mix are the same way. Harvest what you need, and they keep growing. (Bonus: You’ll also be able to skip the recalls on e-coil tainted lettuce!)

Most romaine packs and clamshell containers of salad greens are $3 to $5, so that $2 package of seeds or container of plants will go a long way to saving money in your weekly grocery budget.

Even for those of you who don’t consider yourselves gardeners, planting a few of these items can really help save you money! And I think you’ll learn that growing your own vegetables and fruits isn’t as hard as you think. Gardening isn’t a natural gift for most people. It’s a practiced skill, and you can be a gardener, too!

Courtney is a master gardener and owner of The Kitchen Garten — a site committed to helping people learn to garden with tips, tutorials, and fresh recipes using garden goodness. Grab her free email series: How to Start a Garden to start your own green thumb adventure!

Cut your grocery bill!

Psst! Crystal here! Want more help saving money on groceries? Go here and sign up (it’s free!) I’ll send you my 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill By $50.

How I Saved $175/Month in Two Easy Steps!

Looking for easy ways to cut your monthly expenses? Try this simple solution!

How to Save Money Each Month

Guest post from Kari of Esavings Blog:

Do you budget but just can’t seem to get ahead.? Maybe you cut everything you possibly can out of your budget and still can’t seem to save money.

If this sounds like you, I have a simple tip that could possible save your hundreds of dollars each and every month!

I am pretty frugal already, and I was able to save over $175 per month following these steps:

Step 1: Do a Bill Audit

You can skimp on every area of the budget (groceries, entertainment, etc.) but the biggest expenses are always the ones you just pay automatically each month — insurance, cable, phone, and more.

These are the areas that have the biggest impact on your monthly expenses and are probably bills you just set and forget about.

But what if you could cut these expenses down? Think about it, when was the last time you actually looked at your phone bill? How about your cable bill? Your electric bill?

With electronic billing these days, fewer people are looking at their statements and it’s costing them a lot of money! So let’s look at how you can audit your bills and save.

How to Do a Bill Audit

1. Gather your billing statements or bring them all up online.

Start with bills such as cable, phone, and insurance. These will be the easiest ones to lower. Don’t forget to also bring up your bank statements, as you will want to audit them as well.

2. Look at your statements closely and see what it is you’re actually being charged for (you may be surprised).

    • Are there interest fees?
    • Are there questionable items on your bill?
    • Are you being charged for something you never even use?
    • Is there a fee for paying monthly versus paying in full?
    • Has your bill gone up significantly over time?

These are some of the things you want to look out for. This is also a great chance to think about what you actually need and use on a monthly basis.

For example, you may be paying for HBO but you never watch it. Or you may be on an unlimited data plan for your cell phone but you’re only using 4GB of it.

Be strategic and look at your bills like an IRS auditor would look at your taxes. Make notes on the bills or in a notebook of anything you find.

After performing your bill audit and gathering all the information, you can move on to step 2 below.

Step 2: Make Some Calls

Did you find anything questionable in your bill audit? Any fees you didn’t realize you were paying? Maybe subscriptions you had forgotten about?

Give the company a call and ask them questions about any fees you see and how you can get them waived.

Even if you think your bill audit didn’t reveal much, you still want to reach out to your billing companies and let them know that you’re looking to lower your bill and would like to know what they can do to help.

This will work especially well with bills like insurance, phone, and cable. Don’t be afraid to call more than once if you don’t get what you want the first time. Sometimes it all depends on what promotions may be going on or even who you talk to that day.

Pro Tip: Do some research ahead of time. For bills like cable and phone, look online to see what the company is offering new customers. Look at what competitors are offering as well and use this information to try to get a better deal on your plan.

jar of coins

I Saved $175/Month!

Still wondering if this is actually worth the time? Let me reassure you!

The last time I did a bill audit, I was able to shave $175 off my monthly expenses! (And I run a personal finance blog and tend to be really good with finances!)

Here’s how I was able to do it…

I have my homeowner’s insurance lumped in with my mortgage so it’s not something I check often. But when I got my renewal notice and opened it, I was shocked at how much it had gone up over the years.

There really was no reason, I have never had a claim and my house hasn’t gone up in value (if anything it’s gone down).

After seeing this, I decided to give them a call and see why.

I made a call to Geico (they’re my home insurance agent because I have my car insured through them). They looked at my policy and couldn’t find a way to lower it without lowering my coverage. I obviously was not satisfied so they offered to look for other quotes from other companies in their network.

To my surprise, they were able to find me another company to insure with and a BETTER plan that covered even more than my old plan for $827 less a year!

Yes, I saved $827 with one quick phone call.

I then did a similar thing when it came to my cell phone bill. I already had a pretty affordable family plan but I wanted to see if I could get it lowered.

When my current company didn’t lower my bill, I decided to shop around.

Around the time I was looking, a great deal popped up from Sprint. They were giving new customers a FREE Year of Unlimited if you bring your own phone over.

I jumped on the deal and have been paying only $13.56 a month TOTAL, to cover taxes and fees, for 3 Lines of Unlimited for my family! Yes, you read that right.

Now you may not be able to get that great of a deal but look around and see what’s out there.

This switch saved me over $107 a month.

So in total, just with those two changes alone, I am saving over $175 per month. That’s over $2,111 each year!

I basically gave myself a raise and you can too!

What can you save on?

Start looking at your monthly bills and see where you can save money. Leave a comment below and let me know how much you were able to save!

Kari is an aspiring financial coach and blogger over at Esavingsblog.com. She uses her knowledge about personal finance to help families save money, stick to a budget, and increase their income. 

How I Cured My Online Shopping Addiction

Do you have an online shopping addiction and find yourself going over budget each month because you can’t control your spending? Read this article for some practical help and encouragement!

how to cure your online shopping addiction

Guest post from Melanie of Sweet Frugal Life:

I didn’t used to have an online shopping addiction…

It all started before Christmas. There I was… feeling like a frugal queen… and then I decided to buy some of my kids’ Christmas presents online.

My first purchase was a set of PJs.

When I realized how easy and painless the whole online shopping thing was, I decided I needed to buy ALL of my Christmas presents online.

I mean, does it get any better than shopping in my pajamas while watching a movie?? Nope!

But wait, it got even better! The packages started showing up and were delivered right to my doorstep. It felt like Christmas every single day!

I thought I had everything under control until I just didn’t stop. All the gifts were bought, but I kept ordering items online.

For the first time in years, I found myself overspending, ignoring my budget, and buying completely on impulse.

I knew something needed to change.

I reached out to my Instagram support group for advice. Just as expected, they came through with a plethora of ideas to help me curb my online shopping addiction.

I started implementing these tips immediately and they really helped! If you struggle with an online shopping addiction, I hope these tips help you as much as they helped me!

Girl on Computer in Empty Room

7 Ways To Cure Your Online Shopping Addiction

1. Delete your credit card info from the store’s database.

One of the biggest draws for online shopping is convenience. Make it a little less convenient by deleting your credit card info from the store’s website.

I found when I had to manually enter my payment info at each checkout, it gave me those few extra minutes I needed to decide if I truly needed to make the purchase or not.

It hurt MUCH more when I had to manually input my credit card versus just pressing the “buy” button. It felt like actually spending money (go figure!) rather than clicking a button, and it made a huge difference in my spending.

2. Unsubscribe From Store Emails.

Let’s be real. Who can resist those flashy emails promising you “40% off” or “best deal ever”? Get those temptations out of your inbox by unsubscribing to each and every one of them.

It has been so freeing to not constantly have deals pushed at me every time I check my email, and this has been a big key to helping me cure my online shopping addiction. If I don’t know the sale is happening, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything!

And guess what! There will always be another sale… ALWAYS!

3. Implement the 48-Hour Rule

The 48-hour rule is the golden rule to quit impulse shopping.

It’s simple really. Do not buy any unplanned purchases until you have thought about it for 48 hours.

This 48-hour period gives you time to research to find a better deal or to possibly change your mind.

Most of the time when I stick to my 48-hour rule, I end up changing my mind and not making the purchase! It’s funny how just giving yourself some time to think will make something not look so tempting anymore — even if you felt like you had to have that item before!

4. Delete Shopping Apps From Your Phone

As mentioned earlier, the less convenient you make online shopping, the less likely you are to give in to the temptation.

If you have any shopping apps on your phone, delete them immediately. Apps make giving into an online shopping addiction quick and easy.

Make it harder on yourself and get rid of the apps!

Girl on Computer and Phone With Shopping Addiction

5. Rely On A Support System

A good support system is a huge key to success. I am so grateful I had my Instagram support system to encourage me to quit online shopping.

I decided to open up to my Instagram followers and admit I had an online shopping addiction. This was scary to do (I am usually frugal!), but afterward I received so many wonderful messages full of encouragement, support, and advice.

Knowing that I had all of these great friends supporting and encouraging me was the push I needed to finally do something about my addiction.

Find yourself a strong support system — people who will challenge you, encourage you, and motivate you to stick to your spending goals.

6. Give Yourself a Reward

Rewards work great for my kids… and they work just as great for me!

I promised myself that if I could go an entire month without shopping online, I would treat myself to my favorite salad from my favorite restaurant (Café Rio).

This reward was in my mind constantly. Whenever I would get that temptation to click and buy, I remembered my salad and changed my mind. Go me!

If you’re struggling to keep to your goal, promise yourself a mini reward. Maybe you can get your nails done or treat yourself to a movie.

Just make sure it’s something that you don’t do very often so that it feels like a special treat. (Just remember to budget for your reward! ;))

7. Keep Busy

Online browsing is addicting and a fun way to spend time when you’re bored.

If you relate to this and feel like you might have an online shopping addiction, find a hobby that will prevent you from having this extra downtime.

This might be starting a new hobby, reading a new book, or taking up an exercise class. Do whatever it is you need to do to keep yourself off the computer.

My Results

I am proud to say that I am now a reformed online shopping addict! Yay me!!

I accomplished my goal of no online shopping for an entire month.  And now that the month has come and gone, I can proudly say I still haven’t been shopping online. The addiction is gone!

I’ve heard it takes 21 days to break a habit and I am living proof of that.

If I can do it, you can too!

If you are struggling with an online shopping addiction, try to pick one or two of these ideas to implement in your life.

My hope is that these tips will help others cure their online shopping addictions, too!

Melanie runs the blog Sweet Frugal Life where she shares all things frugal. Her world was turned upside down when her husband came home unemployed five years ago. But it also shaped who she is today. She learned how to stretch every dollar, be content with less, and appreciate the sweet life they have. Melanie is now passionate about sharing these important life lessons with everyone else. She truly believes that being frugal does not make life any less sweet!

15 Foods that Give You the Most Nutritional Bang for Your Buck

Trying to eat more healthy foods on a budget? Check out these 15 foods that give you the most nutritional bang for your buck! This is a big list of great ideas!

Psst! Looking for more ideas? Check out these healthy freezer-friendly snack ideas, frugal and healthy snack ideas for kids, and these healthy breakfast ideas for busy mornings.

15 healthy foods on a budget

Guest post from Mary of Healthy Christian Home:

“That’ll be $157.12, please,” said the cashier as I stood, bewildered.

I thought, “Wait – I’m at ALDI! Surely the total can’t be that high??”

A quick survey of my shopping cart led me to realize that gourmet cheeses and unnecessary “healthy” snack foods contributed toward my hefty grocery bill.

As a family of real foodies who support our local farm and buy high quality foods on a tight budget, grocery shopping is a struggle.

How can we eat the most healthy, nutrient-dense foods without spending all of our hard-earned dollars?

When you ask a typical family why they eat junk food, the most common answer is “Because it’s cheaper.” While many junk foods are inexpensive (I’m looking at you, ramen noodles), it’s totally possible to purchase healthy foods on a budget!

With this in mind, I went on a mission to find the top 15 foods to give you the most nutritional bang for your buck.

Each of these foods will help your family stay healthy without emptying your wallet. Over time, they might even save you money on supplements/doctor’s bills because of how they improve your health. Plus, there are creative shopping/cooking ideas to help you incorporate them into a budget.

Are you ready to get the most nutrition per penny? Let’s dive in!

Yogurt with Granola

15 Healthy Foods to Buy on a Budget:

1. Yogurt

Everyone loves yogurt (especially kids), and it boasts high amounts of calcium and B vitamins. The best kind of yogurt to get is plain, unsweetened whole milk yogurt (you can add your own healthy sweeteners like honey or ripe fruits).

$ Tip: If your family eats a lot of yogurt, it’s easy to make yourself! There are lots of tutorials online for making your own yogurt in the crock pot or Instant Pot to save even more money.

2. Ground beef

Ground beef is an economical source of protein that is essential for building muscle. It’s also a great source of zinc & selenium and provides 41% DV of vitamin B12 and 18% DV of iron per serving.

$ Tip: While grass fed ground beef is the healthiest, it can be expensive. But if you have an ALDI near you, you can find it for $5.29 a pound! Other grocery stores typically charge around $7.50 per pound, so this is a great deal.

Or, contact a local farm and ask them about pricing for buying a cow or half a cow. You can often get better deals on quality meat this way, and store it in the deep freezer to use all year long.

3. Butter

Butter-lovers, rejoice — this one makes my list of healthy foods on a budget!

Many studies have now confirmed that healthy fats like butter are necessary for brain and organ function and do not increase your risk of heart disease (source). In fact, butter is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

And never, ever buy a tub of margarine (made of rancid polyunsaturated vegetable oils) as a replacement for butter. It has no nutritional value whatsoever!

$ Tip: Stock up on butter when it’s on sale – it freezes well. During the holidays, butter is steeply discounted for baking season.

Psst! Try this Homemade Whipped Honey Butter for a special treat!

4. Brown Rice

Did you know that lots of people are magnesium deficient, and that homemade cooked brown rice is an amazing source of magnesium and B vitamins? You can also make fluffy brown rice that’s not sticky with a bit of practice.

Cooking Tip: Soaking your rice overnight before cooking eliminates anti-nutrients like phytic acid and unlocks all the vitamins and minerals within the grain. Learn more about traditional diet principles and why it’s important to soak grains before consuming to get the most nutrition.

5. Eggs

At around $2 a dozen, eggs are the perfect healthy food when you’re on a budget — and they’re SO versatile! You can’t go wrong with eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! They are extremely nutritious, with lots of selenium, vitamin D, B vitamins, folate, and vitamin A. There’s a lot of nutrition in just one boiled egg!

Cooking Tip: Here are 3 tricks for making the fluffiest scrambled eggs.

Half Dozen Eggs in Carton on Counter

6. Beans & Legumes

Beans are one of the cheapest overlooked superfoods! Pinto, black, kidney, navy, great northern… there are so many yummy varieties. Beans are loaded with folate, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and iron.

$ Tip: Purchase dried beans instead of canned, since dried beans are MUCH cheaper. Canned beans also have added salt/preservatives that are best avoided. Make sure to soak beans overnight before cooking for maximum nutrition.

7. Seasonal Fruits

Eating fruits in season never crossed my mind until recently. In the past, I bought whatever fruit I craved without realizing why sometimes my favorites didn’t taste so good. It’s because I wasn’t eating them in season!

Eating out-of-season fruits means they have to be shipped from long distances to your store, making them less flavorful and more expensive.

When you buy in-season fruits, they’re often local and have higher amounts of vitamins and minerals too. Plus, they taste SO much better! Summer blackberries and winter citrus, anyone?

$ Tip: A rule of thumb — whichever fruits are on sale are usually in season. Triple-win for your tastebuds, nutrition, and wallet!

8. Whole chicken

Chicken is a wonderful source of protein that’s also rich in tryptophan, a stress-relieving mineral.

$ Tip: To get the most bang for your buck, buy a whole chicken and cook it in the crockpot or Instant Pot! Then, use the bones + veggies to make stock and these homemade bouillon cubes!

Psst! Need more inspiration? Check out how to get three meals out of one chicken!

9. Organ meats

Believe it or not, organ meats are one of the best healthy foods you can buy on a budget!

Traditional cultures knew that organ meats are some of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. For example, a serving of beef liver contains over 3000% DV of vitamin B12, plus a bunch of other nutrients!

Cooking tip: Don’t throw away the organs inside your whole chicken! Add them to the pot while you make broth. Other sneaky ways to add them to your family’s diet is to grind and add to meatballs, meatloaf, or chili. They’ll never know!

10. Potatoes

Cheap, starchy potatoes are the most versatile veggie, rich in vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6. Eat the skins for additional nutrients!

Healthy Foods On A Budget: Oatmeal with Blueberries

11. Oatmeal

For approximately $2 a pound, oatmeal is a healthy and cheap breakfast. Reap the benefits of iron, magnesium, & B vitamins!

Cooking Tip: Cover your oats with water and soak overnight before cooking for better digestion & increased nutrition.

12. Canned wild salmon

Fish is an important part of a balanced diet, especially for Omega-3s. But wild caught fish is expensive. So try canned instead – you can usually find wild caught at a low price. Buy canned salmon with bones, which adds a great dose of calcium!

13. Canned tomatoes

One of the best sources of lycopene for heart health, plus vitamins C and K, canned tomatoes are a cheap base for so many meals and sauces. They also retain much of their nutrition when canned. I always have them in my pantry!

14. Carrots

We love buying a large 5 pound bag of carrots (only 68 cents a pound!) and adding them to smoothies and soups. They are rich in vitamin A!

15. Whole Milk

At just over $2 a gallon, milk is a wonderful source of nutrition as long as you tolerate it well. Make sure to get whole milk, not 2% or skim. (Healthy fats are important, remember?)

If you have a bit more wiggle room in your budget, try some raw dairy from a local farm which contains enzymes and probiotics (these are eliminated during the pasteurization process). Just visit the farm first to make sure they have sanitary farming practices.

$ Tip: Don’t bother with most store-bought organic milks, since many are UHT (ultra-high temperature) pasteurized. This kills almost all of the enzymes and probiotics in the milk. You’re better off with regular store-bought whole milk if you’re on a budget.

I hope this list helped you find some new healthy foods on a budget!

What are your favorite nutrient-dense, healthy foods on a budget?

Mary is a minister’s wife, mom of two boys, and former missionary to Scotland. She’s also the creator of Healthy Christian Home, where she points to God’s spiritual and physical nourishment through the natural world He has created. In her free time, you can find her with a cup of hot tea and a stack of books — or watching a new BBC series.