Frugal Diet Tips

January 17, 2009 at 9:21 PM (Food, Healthy Living, Saving Money, Simplifying Life, Weight Loss)

Last week, my friend Effie wrote these tips for frugally dieting.  She requested that others share tips.  I’ve listed some ways that we save money while trying to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Drink water exclusively. We buy very few beverages.  Ben used to buy a 2-liter of Coke Zero once a week but he has cut it out.  Sometimes we make iced tea.  Overall though, we drink water from the tap both at home and anytime we eat out.
  2. Create meal plans. I recently discussed how Ben and I have started making weekly meal plans.  It is an enormous money and time saver.  Read more here.
  3. Eat at home. These days we eat out very little.  We create a weekly meal plan and shop accordingly.  This allows us to plan tasty and healthy meals.  We are able to save money by creating high quality meals at home for less than they cost in restaurants.  We are also able to control what ingredients we use which is great for healthy eating.
  4. Always keep your eyes out for staple ingredients in unexpected places. I recently wrote a post about shopping at the Dollar Tree for staple ingredients.  I have found great deals there.  Additionally, we were in Big Lots tonight and I browsed through their grocery section.  They had $1 containers of spices–a great deal.  We bought some parsley.
  5. Browse sales ads. We receive sales ads weekly and we scan through them to get a sense for what is on sale.  It also helps us see what produce is in season and on sale.  We sometimes use sales to inspire our meal plan.
  6. Use coupons. We always keep an eye out for coupons and use them as much as possible.  Unfortunately a lot of the foods we eat aren’t covered by coupons (e.g. produce) but we use them when we can.
  7. Really evaluate every potential purchase. Everything that we place in our shopping cart has been thoroughly evaluated.  We want to make sure that we got the best deal possible from the available options.  Keep in mind that we don’t just think of the best deal in terms of money.  Often it is a balance between money and nutrition.  Nutrition rules.  However, we still compare the available “nutritionally superior” foods for money savings.
  8. Eat smaller portions. Eating less saves money.  Period.
  9. Don’t waste food. Again, meal planning is very valuable here.  We calculate how many chicken breasts, apples, bananas, etc. that we need for a given week and buy no more than what we need.
  10. Splurge on what is important and don’t splurge on what isn’t. There are some items that we pay more for simply because the nutritional difference is worth the extra cost.  For example, high fiber bread is more expensive than white bread.  The same goes for processed vs. natural peanut butter.  We splurge for the double fiber bread and natural peanut butter.  We have chosen not to splurge on some items, however.  For example, we typically buy generic spices and generic canned vegetables.  We also buy generic fiber bars rather than those made by Fiber One.  We have found that the generic brand at Target is high quality and cheaper than major brands.

We hope you find these tips to be useful!

– Stephanie



  1. thepennypincher said,

    Great tips! There are other options as well. Let’s take the case of high fiber bread. You can bake your own bread and a high fiber loaf you bake at home will be cheaper than white bread bought in a store.

    • Stephanie said,

      I wholeheartedly agree! Occasionally we make our own bread. In the future we may start making our own peanut butter as well. Let’s hear it for Vitamix! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Amy Constantine-Kline said,

    Thanks for these great tips! I especially love the Dollar Tree one. I never think to look for food in those kinds of stores!

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