Tips for eating right when money is tight

Saving money on food can be a little easier when following these tips.

It is no secret that in this day and age prices of everyday items are rising. With that, comes the struggle to constantly cut corners and save money wherever we can. Eating healthy is not a corner we should have to cut in order to save pennies.

In an attempt to make ends meet, work has become a second home for a majority of the middle class population. So why is it that many are so frugal at home, but when it comes to lunch in the workplace there is no problem spending anywhere between $10-$15 a day? If we take our “brown bag lunch” every day for 5 days for an entire year, we could on average save about $3,000 a year. The Brown Paper Bag Budget Calculator  is a great way for us to put in actual numbers and see just how much money we could potentially be saving a year by packing a lunch. Budgeting can be a scary thing to many people but the USDA has many tips and resources on how to “Eat Right When Money is Tight.”

Tips for "brown bag lunch" buying
  • Make a plan, include:
    • a budget
    • plan a menu for the period you are shopping for (a week for example)
    • a grocery list
    • get coupons organized
  • Eat something before you go shopping
  • Try store brands, compare prices
  • Buy healthy snacks to be eaten throughout the day (examples include nuts, fruit, cheese, yogurt or granola bars)
  • Plan to use leftovers
  • Canned foods for lunch when on time crunch such as low sodium soups, tuna or salmon
  • Prepare the night before, be sure to keep cool by refrigerating or using a frozen gel pack in your lunch bag

Michigan State University Extension has many resources and classes in each county in order to assist the public in making these healthier choices. Saving money does not have to be scary or stressful.

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