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Tips for Eating Healthy on A Budget

With food costs seemingly rising faster than pay increases for most, we face further challenges when it comes to finding affordable healthy options on the grocery store shelves.

The cost of living percentage added to our yearly paychecks doesn't quite seem to cover the added costs of living, especially our rising food costs.

As a busy mom of two bottomless pits here are some of my money saving tips that I use to help make a dent on those rising food costs.

- Bring your own bags. Not only is it good on the environment, but it saves you 5 cents per bag. Say you use 6 bags every time you grocery shop that is .30 cents. Even if you do that once a week it will save $15.60 dollars a year. That is just groceries, imagine if you did all retail locations...

-Coupons - This doesn't apply to everyone, as it depends on what you eat. I eat quite a bit of vegetables, some meat but no processed food so I haven't had much luck saving money with using coupons. I find the coupons I generally come across are yogurt, snacks, bars, cereals, paper goods (the major commercial brands) etc.. I have heard of people saving a lot of money couponing, I just unfortunately am not one of them.

- Menu Plan - Planning what you are eating for the week is very important. This way you have your plan, and grocery list on hand when you go to the store and you are not tempted to buy impulse items (you know those snacks near the cash register??). You can also plan your meals based on what is on sale in the flyers.

- Price Match - Might sound a little silly, and it just feels like you are saving pennies but this adds up! There are several grocery stores that offer price matching in Ontario. When you get the weekly flyers, or use an app to select which items are on sale that interest you, take them to the store, find the same item and present the competitors advertised sale price to receive that same price.

- Don't go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. I know I tend to buy more food when I am hungry, so I am assuming other people do too. Also, I find people tend to be geared towards buying pre-made items which are generally less healthy for you and more expensive.

- Go Shopping alone.... I am not sure how many of you have kids, and are all too familiar with "MOM CAN YOU BUY ME THIS??" but all these little things add up on the grocery bill. Luckily the most my daughter asks me to buy is baby tomatoes, avocado or to get her a smoothie (depending on which store we are in) :). Things may change as she gets older though.

- Buy in bulk where possible. Some small local health food stores will offer a discount if you buy a case of something. I know one that always offers a discount if you get a case of almond milk, or a case of canned coconut milk. It never hurts to ask if you will use them (remember it is only a deal when you use it all).

- Amazon! Cheapest place I've found to get 1 Kg packs of flour, Seeds and Nuts.... There is this brand called Yupik, it has organic varieties and 1 Kg of it usually costs the same as a small bag at the grocery store. They have everything from flax seed, to pumpkin seeds, tapioca flour etc... You can also subscribe to a monthly, bi monthly etc... delivery service and save 5% off the bag, 15% if you sign up for 5 or more per month (which you can change before it ships if you're not out of the month before. This really makes a difference in my food bill!

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