Have you blown the budget over Christmas with all of those decorations, gifts, and sumptuous holiday spread? Well, now that Christmas is over and we’ve headed in to 2021, it’s time to catch up with your finances and start to save money so you can patch that hole in your hip pocket.
One simple way to do this is by eating cheap. But cheap doesn’t mean unhealthy or boring. After all, it’s not only your budget that needs to recover – it’s easy to over-indulge during the festive season, so now’s the perfect time to whip your body back into shape after all that cholesterol-laden Christmas fare.
Here, we give you some excellent tips on how to eat cheap and healthy so you can recover from blowing the budget over Christmas.
Head to the supermarket instead of a drive-thru
Sure, you can head to a drive-thru to pick up that mouth-watering burger and crispy fries. But we’re talking about eating cheap and healthy after all those expenses and fatty foods over Christmas. So, let’s forget about the Macca’s and KFC drive-thru’s for now and head to the supermarket instead. It’s always cheaper and healthier to cook yourself, anyway.
If you really want burgers and fries, your local supermarket has plenty of ground beef and frozen fries to choose from. Or maybe you could swap the fries for a healthy dollop of creamy cauliflower mash (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!) You’ll have heaps of other choices in the supermarket that you’ll never find in a drive-thru, and at much lower prices too. Buying from a supermarket won’t just help you save money – it also lets you opt for healthier ingredients to put into your food.
Plan your weekly meals
Before you head to the supermarket, plan your meals for the week first. Make a list if you can – it will help you to save money and time. It will also ensure that you will have well-balanced and nutritious meals throughout the week. A bag of carrots, beans, potatoes, and other veggies, together with some seasonal fruit and cheaper cuts of meat can feed a family for days and you’ll be surprised how affordable it can be if you look out for those special buys.
Having a list and planning your meals will help you avoid grabbing junk food when you’re hungry, so make sure you also plan to include some healthy snacks (there’s nothing like a fresh coffee and a banana to keep the hunger pangs at bay). Another benefit of shopping with a list is that you’ll be less likely to throw unnecessary items into your shopping trolley.
Buy food items in bulk
As we all know, the more quantity you buy, the cheaper the food item usually is. If you buy in bulk, it will save you money, as well as packaging. That’s a win-win for you and the planet too! Don’t worry about the space if you don’t have enough to store everything. You can always ask some close friends to shop with you and split-up the items. At the end of the day, you’ll all have some savings.
Cook larger portions
When you’re busy whipping up a yummy dinner, think about increasing the quantity so you have some leftovers. These can be used for lunches the next day or frozen in single-portion sizes to be used later when you’re too tired or too busy to cook a nutritious meal.
Invest in a slow cooker
A slow cooker is definitely worth the investment and will help you to create mouth-watering dinners that are thrown together in the morning and ready waiting for you when you get home. What’s even better – just throw in a handful of pasta during the last hour or so of cooking and you’ve got yourself a delicious, nutritious and budget friendly one-pot dinner!
Some cheap meal ideas
If you’re having a hard time planning and thinking of cheap but healthy meal options, here are some ideas for you.
Just do it!
It’s definitely not difficult to eat cheap, and we hope that our tips here will help you do just that. With the cost of Christmas now well and truly behind us all, there’s never been a better time to start saving money and get the finances back on track. But if Christmas has left you gasping for some extra cash, we’re here to help. Just take a look at our cash loans from $1,000 to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually deposit the cash into your bank account within a few hours - so you can use the money for whatever you need.