Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Penny pinching

According to today's news food prices are on the rise again. A shortage of cattle feed and the cost of oil are driving up meat production and food transport costs. This isn't good news given a lot of people are already on pretty tight budgets.

Sadly for those not tuned into health, economizing on food can mean choosing the cheaper processed ready foods leading to a reduction in the nutritional value of their diets.

However if you'r restricted on your food budget then now's the time to critically assess what you're spending on and see if you're getting good value for money in terms of nutritional content.

For example, £2 spent on a bag of apples to snack on versus £2 spent on a bag of funsize chocolate bars - same cost on your wallet but nutritionally one is positively good for you and the other is positively bad.

Some healthy choices will even save you money:
Processing costs companies money so unprocessed wholefoods are usually cheaper on a gram for gram basis for example microwave rice versus rice you cook from scratch. Don't pay for the processing, instead of buying ready meals or processed snacks buy whole ingredients and do more cooking from scratch. Not only will this save you money but your meals will be more nutritious as the processing usually removes a lot of nutrients.

Travel costs money - jetsetting fruit and veg come with the added price tag of their airticket. Save the money by buying British fruit and veg that's in season. It will be cheaper and more nutritious as the farmers can pick it when it's ripe and ready to be eaten, rather than being picked prematurely and then artificially ripened with chemicals. Look on the shelves as to where fruit and veg comes in from and you may be surprised/horrified.

Go veggie - a very obvious way to deal with the ever rising price of meat is to stop eating it altogether. I don't buy meat for cooking at home and use the savings to fund my organic food habit. Even if that's a bit extreme for you, just cooking a couple of veggie meals a week could save a couple £500-600 a year which is not to be sniffed at.

Get on the wagon - I haven't tried to add up how much money I save by not drinking but I'm sure it's at least a grand. That isn't why I don't drink, but if you're feeling the pinch it's such an obvious way to save money and improve your health at the same time. Just tell people you're not drinking because you're on a detox, or blame your doctor for telling you to drink less. I'm honest and tell people it's for my health and that I also don't want to waste any time being hungover!

Another habit to kick is starbucks - £3 for a hot drink? I don't think so! Save coffee for a treat and take your own teabags (preferably green) into work. You'll not just have more cash but you'll probably sleep better too.

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