Does feeding a family have to strain expenses to the maximum or is it possible to buy food that actually saves money? It all depends on how consumers shop and what they buy. Is it possible to buy nutritious food by spending just $8 per person, per day? Can that figure go down to $6 or even $5? One person out of seven in America is on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under this Federal program, low income families get just $4 per person, per day, to buy food. With some careful planning and wise choices, it is quite possible to eat nutritious and tasty meals with just that amount.
How to shop
Among the biggest causes of inflated grocery bills are shopping too often and shopping for too long. Grocery shopping should be restricted to about two or three times a month. This saves on gas and prevents impulse buying. This will also help in planning out meals in advance and enable bulk buying of items that will not spoil – all of which can contribute to lowered bills.
Avoid going to the grocery store as a form of entertainment, with no fixed purpose or idea of what is needed. Make lists of required items and if possible also write down the required quantities of each item. Avoid wandering up and down the aisles looking at all the products and brands and focus on what is needed. Get to the billing counter as soon as the shopping list is completed. Pay with cash as often as possible.
Buying food that has been made convenient in any way will inevitably cost more. This includes meat that has been boned, cut or cubed, rolled into pastry or processed. It also includes pre-cut vegetables, bottled water, half or pre-cooked soups and meals. Retail strategies also always place the higher priced food items in the middle shelves, which are the easiest to reach. Try the brands at the highest or lowest shelves and there may be a price difference.
What to buy
Whatever food can be bought in bulk or in larger quantities will always help save money. This includes items that will keep for a long time such as brown rice, pasta, sugar, wheat, beans and pulses, whole spices, etc. Non-food items that can be bought during sales or in large quantities include toilet paper and kitchen rolls, and cleaning and bathing supplies.
When planning a special or gourmet meal, shop with cooking subscription services such as Plated and Blue Apron. They will send across the exact ingredients for the meal with the quantities required for the number of people dinning. This prevents the problem of having to store leftover ingredients that may not be used again for a long time.
So is it possible for a person to eat healthy food on just $4 a day? Including the following items will make it very possible. Brown rice has vitamins and antioxidants aplenty and the high fiber content slows digestion. “Fiber is one of the best [nutritional components] that helps with satiety, or the feeling of fullness,” comments food and nutrition consultant Rachel Begun.”They (fiber) also help to spread the food dollar because they’re a component of meals that can help you make a fulfilling dish.”
Dry beans can be bought at about $1 a pound and when cooked, one serving expands to about three times of their volume. A little goes a long way. Potatoes, peanut butter and protein bars are also great and inexpensive sources of carbohydrates and protein. A little research and planning can generate many more food ideas that will not only save money, but will also contribute to a natural and healthy lifestyle.
By Grace Stephen