Budget Eating Ideas from Our Readers

farmers market shopping

We talked yesterday about eating better on a budget, which I’m sure is something a lot of you have dealt with. How can I be so sure? We got some wonderful, thoughtful comments with even more ideas on food and budgeting!

Commenter Jennifer said she would add:

…eat seasonally (that out of season asparagus from Chile doesn’t taste good anyway), and do whatever you can to reduce food waste — no sense in paying for food you don’t end up eating. Also, if you’re at the farmers’ market near closing time, you can often score some great deals on organic locally grown produce. My spouse and I (both vegetarians) eat healthily and well for under $50 a week.

I’m so glad that someone brought up eating local, seasonal food! Not only is local food often less expensive and tastier, it’s better for the environment than food shipped halfway around the world.

Full disclosure: this next comment was actually from another writer here, but Rachel Shulman’s thoughts on budgeting for food were too good not to share:

I do what many cultures in the world do: cut back on everything else before I cut back on food. :)

My feeling is, why cut your food budget first when food is so crucial to your health and so pleasurable?

Instead of eliminating pricey (but healthful) items like good olive oil, nuts, and wine, I cut back in other ways, like living without cable television.

Such a simple idea – I love it! She raises an excellent question: why do we look to our food budgets first when times are tough? If you’re in a situation where you’ve trimmed the other budgetary fat that you can, it’s a different story, but most of us probably have a few expenses that could go before we resort to a mac and cheese diet.

Vines N Cattle had this to say about my recommendation to cut back on meat to save money:

Cut the meat? Nah, buy half a beef, or some pork, lamb, or chicken from a local farmer. It’ll save you in the long run, and keep your dollars local. Plus it will taste better!

If you are going to have meat in your diet, I agree that this is probably the best way to not only save money but ensure that the animal was humanely raised and cast your food dollar vote against industrial agriculture.

Thanks for the thoughtful, insightful comments, everyone! If anyone else has tips for maintaining your healthy diet when money’s tight, I’d love to hear them. Share away!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Corey Templeton

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