Let's talk about eating on a budget

Jess Henshall

With college and uni starting again soon, money is on a lot of people’s minds, specifically how to eat well on a low budget. Here at Archie’s we strongly believe in making a healthy balanced lifestyle accessible to everyone, no matter your budget, so here are our 10 tips for eating on a budget. 

1. cupboard staples

Stock up on cupboard staples such as grains and pulses, and plan meals around these as a base. That way, the bulk of the meal is cheap (such as wholegrain pasta, brown rice, chickpeas and lentils) and all it needs is some fresh vegetables to transform it into a meal.

2. prepare your own meals

Home cooked food, generally speaking, is a lot cheaper than buying already prepared meals. Plus, because you’ll be making the food yourself, it’s likely to be healthier than anything you would buy, because it’s made from real ingredients. 

3. bulk cook

This saves both money and time. If you cook big batches of meals, such as soups and stews, it means that it will do multiple meals, so not only will it be cheaper because you aren’t having to buy extra ingredients, but it creates homemade ready meals. If you have access to a freezer then this is perfect, but if not then you can still cook in bulk to have meals ready for the next couple of days.

4. transform leftovers 

One problem with bulk cooking is that you can get pretty bored of having the same meal over and over again. By turning them into a new meal by adding a few extra ingredients, it still holds the principle of bulk cooking, but you won’t get bored. 

5. take food on the go

Once you get into the habit of cooking your own meals, the next step is to take food with you wherever you go, so you don’t have to buy emergency food when your energy levels fade. This saves money as snack food is often the most expensive as it adds up, but also you’re more likely to balance out your blood sugar levels more effectively as your homemade food will likely have less sugar in it. 

6. plan meals and snacks

You can save a lot of money by planning out your meals (and snacks) for the week, however tedious that may seem. It means that you can get all the ingredients in stock, and then stick (mostly) to the plan. 

7. make a shopping list and stick to it

How many of us end up spending more because we don’t stick to a list? I’m sure plenty of us are guilty of this, and just like how you shouldn’t shop when you’re hungry, shopping without a list can make those pounds add up a whole lot more. My sticking to a list you only get what you need, plus maybe a few things you don’t, so you spend less money.  

8. buy seasonally

With fresh produce, buying what’s in season locally is so much cheaper than buying imported food from across the world. So you can reduce your food miles and save money by buying in season! 

9. non organic vs organic

With eating on a budget, you have to weigh up what to buy as organic, vs non organic. Organic isn’t always a cheap option, but there are certain products where the organic version doesn’t cost much more so is worth the slight extra cost.

10. avoid substitutes 

Meat or dairy substitutes are generally expensive (such as vegan cheese, and vegetarian bacon) and can be easily removed from day to day eating. By removing these non-essentials from your regular shopping, you can save a lot of money, and are avoiding more heavily processed foods.