Frugal Meals and Financial Freedom
Can frugal eating lead to financial freedom?
Not exactly, but you may be surprised how eating inexpensive meals and saving money on groceries can make your financial future much brighter.
Consider this example. Let’s say, by committing to budget eating, you are able to save just $20 per week on your food bill.
According to our savings interest calculator, if you were able to invest those savings over 30 years at 7% interest, you would accumulate over $105,000! That is not a bad reward for a little effort in frugal meal planning.
Tips for Budget Eating
Here are some things to keep in mind to help make your frugal eating easy and enjoyable:
- Plan to eat at home most of the time. There is no question that eating budget meals at home costs less than eating out. Set aside some time for budget meal planning to make this work with a busy lifestyle.
- Only eat out on rare occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. If you don’t eat out regularly, those times that you do will be much more special. When you do go to a restaurant, be sure to take steps to save on eating out.
- Have everyone in the family eat the same thing for meals. If you have finicky eaters in your household, you sometimes may get sucked into a game of fixing several different things to cater to each family member. This is a big mistake for frugal eating. Not only does it require more time in planning and cooking, but it is also more costly because you have to buy different foods and have a bigger potential for waste.
- You will feel better and spend less if you buy cheap, healthy food rather than convenience or highly processed food.
- Drink a lot of water throughout the day to help you feel full. Sometimes we eat more than we need to when our bodies are actually needing fluid. Don’t spend money on bottled water. Just drink tap water.
- Don’t drink soda pop. No soda is good for you, whether it is regular or diet. If you drink very much, it can be a huge waste of money.
- Take frugal eating to a new level by growing some of your own food. If you have adequate space in your yard, grow vegetables or plant fruit trees. If you have some space in your home or apartment, consider indoor gardening.
- If you have time, consider making some of your own food from scratch rather than buying it. Make bread, pizza, jam, or dehydrate fruit.
- Don’t buy junk food like cookies or chips. These are expensive and don’t provide very good nutrition. For frugal eating, always have some cheap snacks on hand that are also healthy, like fruits and raw vegetables.
- Consider purchasing an inexpensive countertop blender/mixer to make coffee drinks, smoothies, and other specialty drinks. After the initial investment of about $50, you can enjoy these beverages in your home for a fraction of what you would spend at a coffee house.
Best Foods for Budget Eating
Here are some foods that are nutritious yet very inexpensive:
- Eggs are high in protein and very reasonably priced. We often buy them on sale for a dollar a dozen. Eggs are versatile because there are many ways to prepare them and they can be used in several dishes. The yolks are high in cholesterol, so they may not be the best for everyone.
- Beans are good sources of protein and fiber. There are several varieties and they can be used as a main dish or in soups, salads, and dips.
- Potatoes are rich in nutrients and can be fixed in a variety of ways. Of course baking or boiling them are better for you than frying them!
- Oatmeal is a healthy choice for breakfast that can help reduce cholesterol. The generic brand we buy costs about seven cents a serving.
- Popcorn prepared in an air popper is another food that is at the top of our frugal eating list. This whole grain food is high in fiber and is great with a drizzling of olive oil or used in place of crackers in soup.
Frugal eating isn’t difficult. It just takes a little commitment and paying attention to what foods you buy and eat. Remember, even saving just a little on food bills on a regular basis will add up over time.
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