They say it’s pretty expensive if you plan to live and stay healthy. But don’t you know that there are affordable ways to do it?
In a commentary on Channel News Asia last month, it was projected that as many as one million Singapore residents will have diabetes by the year 2050. Thus, the government now requires soda producers to reduce the sugar content of their products.
On the other hand, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy’s visiting professor Asit K Biswas and Kris Hartley of Cornell University opines that people need access to healthy food.
The problem is that most people think that a healthy lifestyle is expensive.
So, here are 15 ways to save money on groceries and stay healthy.
To save money on groceries, the first thing you should do is make a weekly meal plan. Then, you’ll know what ingredients to look for in your kitchen cupboard and what to buy in the grocery.
You don’t have to plan every meal of the day. Instead, start with just one meal, say lunch, that you’ll eat for the next seven days.
Before you go to the grocery, it’s essential that you have a list. Check your pantry and fridge to see which of your items need replenishing.
That way, you won’t end up buying butter only to find out that you still have some at home.
Instead of going to high-end supermarkets or those that only display imported goods, shop at discount supermarkets like FairPrice or ShenFong.
You can also opt to shop online through RedMart or HonestBee. Doing so allows you to select and compare what you need to buy carefully. As a result, it prevents you from buying a lot and saves you time and money on taxi fares.
You can buy them at discounted prices in a specialty shop if you’re buying toiletries.
Where can you find specialty shops? They’re usually located in HDB areas. However, you may also be lucky to spot them in some malls near your place.
While it’s true that buying in bulk can help you save money, it’s not always the case.
Imagine buying four dozens of large, fresh eggs that cost around SGD 4 per dozen. However, you and your family only consume around two dozen eggs per month.
What are you going to do with the other two dozens? You can’t keep it for another month as fresh eggs have a short shelf life. Thus, buying a lot can also mean you’re wasting money.
Websites like Shopback and PAssion Card allow you to sign up for cash backs.
These websites get commissions whenever a member purchases on their associated merchants. These commissions are then returned to the members through cash backs.
In addition, some banks also offer cash backs when you buy your groceries using their credit cards.
Besides the discount supermarkets, you can also buy meat, fish, veggies, poultry, herbs and spices in a wet market. Doing so can help you save more.
However, wet markets in Singapore are only open until noon. That’s why you need to set a time to go there. You can do it during your day off if you are employed.
They say fresh food is healthy, and it’s true. But that doesn’t mean that frozen goods are not as nutritious as fresh ones.
According to Jayne Yenko, fresh produce is frozen to retain its maximum nutrient value. Thus, it’s still healthy.
In addition, Elaine Magee of WebMD shares tips on storing frozen produce properly. You can also check out her post to know how long you can keep frozen food.
Some fruits and vegetables are crazy expensive whenever they are out of season. Thus, it’s essential to fill your kitchen with seasonal items.
How would you know when a fruit or vegetable is in the season? First, visit your local market and observe the common finds.
Pro Tip: Use the seasonality of produce to plan your weakly meal.
Is your brand of cooking oil on sale? Now is a great time to stock up on it.
The same thing goes for your favourite herbs and spices, condiments, as well as soaps, shampoos, and dishwashing supplies.
These items have a long shelf life. As long as you store them properly and at room temperature, it’s okay to stock on them. In the case of food items, always take note of the expiration date and best before date.
Mainstream media has taught us to eat healthily. You should always have the usual healthy food like salmon. The problem is that it could be costly. Thus, people tend to just forget about eating healthy.
Good thing, there is always an affordable alternative for healthy food.
You can replace it with any cold-water fish such as sardines for salmon. Instead of fresh tuna, you can opt for a canned tuna (look for tuna canned in water).
Take advantage of the Internet and research for food items that as nutritional but not as expensive as those you see on cooking shows.
Food is naturally healthy. What spoils its nutritional value is the way it’s stored and prepared. When you cook your own meals, you can control the ingredients you put in the pan. Thus, it assures you that what you cook is healthy.
And in case you’re unaware, some items in the restaurant costs twice the amount you’ll need when you just cook your meals at home.
A typical European restaurant in Marina Bay can make you shell out around SGD 500 for a meal. But if you spend the same amount going to the market, it could definitely go a long way.
If you’re the kind who likes adding spices and herbs to your meal, there’s a high chance that you frequently buy those items in groceries.
While there’s nothing wrong with buying herbs and spices, you might want to try growing your herbs. First, you can choose to use (or make your own) organic fertilisers for it. Second, it’s one of the easiest ways for you to save money on groceries.
An SGD 500 worth of food items from the grocery and wet market can go a long way.
A half kilo of chicken breast costs around SGD 5. That’s 100 times way more affordable than a single meal in a European restaurant in Marina Bay! You don’t need the entire 500 grams of chicken breast in one meal (unless you and your family can consume that much).
If there’s some more chicken breast left, you can always put it in the fridge. Just thaw and cook it for your next chicken meal. You can do the same for other food items.
However, just bear in mind that every food item has its own shelf life.
Among low-income households, a bag of chips is seen as more affordable than a head of broccoli.
But can you really save on junk food? No.
First, it’s not a healthy option. Second, it doesn’t really satiate your hunger, leading to overeating. And when you overeat, you also tend to overspend because you’re craving more food.
Ergo, junk food defies your goal of saving money on groceries and staying healthy.
As the cliché goes, “health is wealth.” But that doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars just to be healthy. There are ways that you can do to achieve that without breaking the bank. All you need to do is do your research and be wise on how to spend your money on groceries.
What healthy but affordable food items do you tend to stock up on? Let us know in the comments.