It’s a dilemma lots of folks face.

Eat what you can afford or eat healthy.

Eat what’s quick and easy, or go hungry.

Alright, that last one isn’t going to happen, but the first one is a common problem.

After all, when you can get a pizza for $5.00 to feed a couple people, it’s tempting.

Today’s Monday Money is about food.

At our home we are down to two adults.  All of the kids are gone & occasionally we have friends or family over to share a meal.

In our quest to see how we could save a few bucks, I looked at what we eat.  I do a portion of the cooking and shopping for food.

Saturday night I prepared scallops with a garlic pepper sauce that a friend makes and served with stir-fry veggies and rice.

A pound of frozen scallops I bought a couple weeks ago for $5. The stir fry was a frozen bag of veggies with the rice included I picked up for a buck a few months ago.

In ten minutes I had a meal for two that we thoroughly enjoyed.  Total cost was under $7.00.  The night before we treated ourselves and a neighbor to dinner out and walked out with a bill for $50.  It was also delicious but which would you rather spend?

Sunday I decided to plan my breakfast and lunch for the upcoming work week.  A couple months ago I bought some plastic containers for a dollar apiece to transport my lunch from home to work each day. In my old job, I had lunch out every day at a cost of $5 to $10 a day or more if I was with a client.  Now with my current position, I am in the office all day and have access to microwaves and refrigerators.

This week, my lunch will be less than $3 a day and much healthier than what I used to eat.  Everything I bought was on sale.  None of it involved a lot of preparation.

I packed my lunch for Monday, Wednesday and Friday in those plastic containers so they’re ready to grab and go each morning.  Each container has 3 compartments which have

  • Salad
  • Fresh Carrots
  • Cottage Cheese

I like crunchy foods.  The carrots will be a snack.  The cottage cheese will be my salad dressing.  It’s healthier than most bottle dressings.   I also have an apple each day.

Tuesday and Thursday this week will be my Tuna days.

charlieslunchkitchunklightThis has tuna, mayo, relish and crackers.  You get to mix the ingredients to include as much or as little mayo you desire.  I also have a couple yogurts that I’ll take and I might bring some soup.  I found some pretty healthy varieties (except for the amount of salt) that I’ll bring Tuesday and Thursday.

Breakfast will be different too.  I’ve been spending about $4 a day each morning at Arby’s.  I’m going to cut that down to 2 days a week instead of 5 and have cereal on the other 3 mornings before I leave home.  Costs less and less calories.

The key to this has been to take it one step at a time, try a few things, allow some splurges but by planning it ahead of time, it works.

I still get my Diet Mt. Dew every day, but I’ve added three bottles of water each day too.  My version of bottled water is to refill the bottle instead of buying bottles of water.

Do you have any tips to add to eat healthy on the cheap?