We often equate cheap, inexpensive food with “unhealthy”. While this is quite often true since processed foods are often many degrees cheaper than whole, unprocessed foods which are always healthier, there are still those exceptions that you have to think about.
In other words, it is still possible to “eat well” and eat cheap both at the same time. You may have to skip out on buying all organic for a while, but you can at least still get cheap fruits and veggies at specialty grocers who offer these produce items at a drastically discounted price. How do I know?
My husband and I are going through a serious downsizing phase in our budget, and a big part of that downsizing includes reducing our grocery and food spending bills quite drastically over the next few months. Because we are big eaters, this has proven to save us boatloads of money so far and I can’t believe how much food I can put in my cart for such a reasonable price.
Two of the stores that I now frequent are Aldi’s, which is a very low priced, minimal overhead and frills food store. Their selection can be somewhat limited in some departments and their setup probably leaves something to be desired for some people, but it suits me just fine and I walk out of there with loads of produce and groceries for under a hundred bucks!
Aldi’s has all the staples, they just have one brand of them usually. Most of the quality is decent, but you do have to watch on some stuff as it really isn’t that great. Most of it is just fine though, and well worth the huge money saved.
Their produce section is small but contains most of the basics. I have had no issues with the produce except my husband doesn’t care for the quality of the bananas. This is where you will also save big. For example, a nice sized bag of clementines is $2.99 whereas at my local grocery store they are usually $5.99. That’s just one example though, there are many more.
They operate on a bare bones layout. They don’t have actual shelves, but rather stack the boxes of inventory. You have to pay a quarter for a shopping cart, but you get that quarter back after you put the cart back in the corral area.
You also have to bring your own grocery bags or pay a small fee to use theirs. No big deal, I recycle mine every week.
Marc’s is another great one. While Marc’s is not quite as cheap as Aldi’s, there are still some excellent discounts to regular grocers to be found in their produce and staples. I’ve found the frozen foods are about the same as grocers though, which puts Aldi’s over them in that respect.
All in all you can still eat well on a serious budget. You just have to get creative and give up some of the comforts of “normal” grocery shopping.