You don’t have to choose between your healthy meals and a tight budget! If you shop smart, plan ahead and stay organized you can make healthy meals and maintain your budget. Follow my unique tips to keep your weekly budget low and your fridge stocked!
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Find Healthy Meals at Aldi:
I cannot say enough about Aldi grocery stores! They stock such quality foods, healthy options and fresh produce! I will estimate that you could save 50-75% on your grocery bill each week. I buy most of our organic produce from Aldi. They have definitely improved on quality of Organic items they offer! I buy so many organic items for our family, on a very tight budget!
See my Guide of what Organic Items to buy from Aldi, Here. I am very impressed with Aldi Stores. I have heard that they are also renovating and modernizing all of their stores over the next 5 years! Our local store was completely rebuilt and I love it even more now! If you haven’t, you’ve got to shop at Aldi!
Plan Ahead to Save on the Tight Budget:
Meal Plan before you shop. Keep in mind portion sizes. Keep handy your list of each ingredient that you will need for each meal. Remember fresh fruit, home-made snacks and desserts. Cover breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day. (Unless you cook in bulk for the week). This should also cut down on how often you may panic and order take out food each week, too!
Stay on Budget: Shop Seasonal
Shop for squash, apples and zucchini in the fall. Get your organic berries and fresh pineapple on sale in the summer months. Stay flexible with your produce items. Go with the flow of the seasons. Hit up your local farmer’s markets! The city is wonderful for organic fruits and veggies!
Follow Store sales to build your Healthy Meals:
Go Meatless for a few days a week to Help out Your Tight Budget:
Focus on other sources of protein. You can also mix and match your favorite healthy carbs and grains for a meal or two per week! We aren’t huge meat eaters in our home. Even though Harry is 15 months old now, he’s only eaten organic meat twice.
We focus on healthy fats, he loves avocado. We love our organic eggs around here, as well as sweet potato, organic fruits, and veggies. I am not against meat at all, I just never really crave it. However, when we eat meat twice a week, it’s home-made, organic meat meals. We are all well fed and have struck a balance that works for our family!
Freeze larger portions of your Healthy Meals:
Once or twice a month I try to cook double or triple the amount of a large meal. We love casseroles and hearty soups. I also love to know I have control over the organic ingredients in all of my meals! I freeze half of the large portions to have another time.
DON’T buy in bulk, I personally Believe it is WORSE for your tight budget:
I participated in a bulk-store membership for a few years. I believe that I ended up spending more in the big picture. I DON’T buy in bulk to avoid waste: food going bad, overspending on single items, and simply getting sick of what you have.
I understand the appeal and necessity for large families to buy in bulk. For my family of 3, this is not a great fit. We ended up wasting products. We also lacked multiple items of our weekly produce needs. I ended up with 30 mini strawberry yogurt, and 20 paper towel rolls. That blew our budget for the week, and after 4 days I didn’t want strawberry yogurt anymore. Overall, I prefer a small amount of many different items.
Save on your Tight Budget each week by taking Inventory:
Go through your freezer and panty and make a list of your food items. Take note of your proteins, veggies, fruits and healthy grains you can make meals out of this week. You can work through those items during your meals for the month. You can supplement your shopping list and you won’t have to buy those items this week!
After I took inventory, I realized I had about 4 containers of almonds, 6 cans of organic black beans, 9 boxes of pasta and 12 frozen tilapia filets in our freezer for about a year! Luckily, they were still pretty good! We built our meals around some of these items for the week, that surely helped out our tight budget!
Keep the Tight Budget in Check: Pay with Cash
Bring your exact budget-in cash to the grocery store. Keep track as you shop. Remember to cut out the impulse purchases as much as you can. Keep your budget goal in mind when you are ringing up your items. Make note of how successfully you stayed on budget.
I keep my budget goal in mind, but I know perfection is not reality. I may be over by $5 or $10 this week, but hopefully I can learn from this and improve next week and next month!
Shop once every week, Consistently for all of your Healthy Meals:
I find that if I shop once a week (on the same day every week), our tight budget stays on track, and our meals are more consistent. We don’t run out of food (if you buy and plan your meals for 7 days, you need to stick to that schedule). This also cuts down on impulse take-out orders during the week.
To stay on budget, Buy necessities First, Prioritize your list:
Some weeks you may need to prioritize your list to stay on budget. What can you supplement? What can you replace? What needs to be at the top of your list, and what can be pushed to next week… Remember, why are you working so hard to stay on budget? What are your true priorities in your life?
Cut out the snack foods from your Tight Budget:
Pre-packaged snacks, that is! I am all about snacking. That’s pretty much all I do as a mom! I snack on my own dinner… sometimes it takes me 3 hours to finally finish a meal!
Cut out the packaged snacks, but feel free to make your own healthy versions. They will be so much better for you and so much cheaper as well! It makes me feel good as a mom, to know that I can control the ingredients in our home-made snacks as well. Or simply choose fruit and a piece of cheese to snack on that afternoon!
We also follow the rule of NO Cereal in our house. Kid’s cereal is usually packed with sugar, high in carbs and offers very little nutritional value. I was never satisfied with cereal as a kid… even after 4 bowls! We stick to REAL foods: real grains and natrual ingredients like fruits.
Keep a Log of every day prices on the items that you buy, to Help Stay on your Tight Budget:
To keep an exact budget each week, I have saved all of our old shopping receipts and made a log of the items we buy. Now I know exactly how much my item will cost and I can adjust the amount or budget accordingly. This has helped me tremendously each week! I like to stay organized and prepared. It may take a few more minutes of preparation, but you may be amazed at how much you can save each month!
See our Log of items we purchase often:
Check Your Receipts:
Check your receipt right after your purchase, in the store! Make sure you received your deals and coupons, check for correct items and also see if they charged you the right totals! Mistakes happen, you never know. And you don’t want to be charged twice for your carrots!
Make your own healthy baby food to keep on your tight budget!
Organic baby food is way easier to make than you may think! See my super-simple, accessible, home-made baby food guide- for anyone to use, Here. It seriously takes 20 minutes… easy! Not only will you SAVE so much money, but your baby can eat fully organic and all-quality ingredients!
Maintain your Healthy meals: Make homemade Soups
My childhood was based on hearty soups! My dad knew how to make delicious home-made soups on a tight budget. He was the original frugal gourmet chef! These soups kept us warm, full and nourished!
You should make home-made soups to maintain your budget each week. This is also wonderful for your super health! You can control your ingredients, add whatever organic protein you choose, and up your veggie intake each week.
Bonus! You can also make soups in bulk and freeze for more meals! Your overall health and tight budget will thank you!
Stay on your tight budget: don’t buy any pre-made meals
My advice: Stay away from the pre-packaged, frozen meals. You will not get enough bank for your buck. Literally, as well as nutritionally. These kinds of frozen meals are usually loaded in carbs and sodium. They are also double to triple the price of making these items yourself! Avoid the frozen meals and maintain your health as well as your tight budget!
Stay fuller longer- know what gives you good energy for your healthy Meals:
Balance your meals properly so you stay fuller, longer. We find natural energy in fruits and good carbs. We stay full during the day with healthy fats, and organic protein. I make our own snacks and our own home-made desserts. This keeps us full throughout the day. We don’t really experience sugar crashes and rarely feel like we’re starving!
There we have it! This is your guide to planing ahead and staying organized so you can make healthy meals and maintain your tight budget. Follow these unique tips to keep your weekly budget low and your tummies full!
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Hi, I am Kelly! Creator and administrator of Little Hat Family, I absolutely adore my squishy, smiley, 10-month old son, Harrison (Harry), and my kind and cooperative husband Stefan. Our little millennial, hipster family lives in Chicago and yes, we do love hats!
As a professional nanny for 11 years in Chicago, and now a new mommy myself, I have picked up so much useful, modern, mommy advice and life hacks! I would love to pay it forward to my fellow mommy tribe!
I also love creating thrifty projects, organization, an organic lifestyle, dancing, blogging, cooking and spending time with our large families!
I absorb every drop of Mama advice I can get; and I’ve created some Modern Motherly advice along the way! We Modern Mommies have to stick together! Subscribe to my blog today, and let’s connect our Modern, Family Tribes! ~Kelly