When you’re broke you have to cut back on a lot of things because, obviously, you can’t afford them anymore. One of the biggest ways to waste your money is food, so here are a few ways you can cut costs dramatically while still having good, regular meals.
Cutting back means cooking meals yourself, but that doesn’t have to be difficult. Liz Weston, writing for MSN Money, has a bunch of suggestions for cooking on a very low budget without spending a ton of time in the kitchen. What it comes down to is cutting out fast food, processed food, and eating at restaurants. These all cost too much (plus they’re bad for you). You’ll also want to reduce the amount of meat you consume, as meat is probably the most expensive non-processed food you can buy. Instead, buy more veggies. This does not mean cut out meat entirely, but just eat less of it at meals. If you’re still feeling hungry, you can always add rice, bread or inexpensive foods with high fibre content so you’re satiated even if you’re eating less. Keep an eye on how much you eat. Weston points out that Americans waste about 40 per cent of their food, so only buy what you need and cook what you’re going to consume.
Although I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford food, I actually eat like this anyway (although I skip rice and bread) because it’s easy, quick and healthy. I cook with frozen vegetables (fresh is great, but frozen is about the same nutrient-wise by the time the fresh stuff gets to the grocery store), black beans, and either egg whites or tofu for protein. A little garlic, salt and crushed red pepper make a really great simple seasoning, and if you’re a meat eater you have more options than I do. These meals take about 3-5 minutes to make (in a pan) and taste a lot better than you might think (I was surprised, at least). They also only cost a few dollars each. You may not want to go this route if you’re not broke or a little nuts like I am, but it’s a really good way to cut your food costs dramatically whether you need or just want to do it.