Seven ways to eat well on a budget

You don’t have to break the bank to eat well. There are many ways to save money and still enjoy wholesome, nutritious food every day.

Here are seven of our favourite tips from LiveLighter’s Eat Smart and Shop Smart resources, which will help you eat healthily on a budget.

  1. Be a savvy shopper
  • Make a list and only walk down the aisles you need to in the supermarket – this will help you avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks.
  • Avoid shopping while hungry – this will help you stick to your grocery list.
  • Try out the ‘no-name’ brands.

Hot tip: notice where the junk food is at the supermarket and avoid those aisles. You’ll find you can walk around the edge of the supermarket to find a lot of the healthy foods such as fruit and vegies, dairy, meat and bread.

  1. Limit the amount of unhealthy foods in your trolley

You may be surprised by how much you’re paying for unhealthy foods. Even though they offer very little nutrition and are packed with cheap ingredients like sugar and salt, they’re often expensive.

Check out LiveLighter’s Shop Smart booklet where you’ll learn about unit prices and how they help us compare the price of products when they come in different sized packets. This is a great skill as it will highlight which foods are the best value (not just the cheapest!).

  1. Buy in bulk

It’s often cheaper. But remember, it’s only good value if you use it all before it goes off. Use our tips to make the most of your healthy bulk buys:

  • Freeze food you can’t use straight-away into usable portions e.g. wrap up 500g portions of mince, then label and freeze.
  • Store flour, cereal, rice and other dry goods in containers to keep fresh longer.
  • Plan what you’ll need for the week, not just the next couple of days and shop accordingly
  • Go halves on meals with family or friends.
  1. And cook in bulk

Cooking large meals not only saves time, but also money. Leftovers can be used for lunch the next day, or frozen in single-portion sizes to be enjoyed another night.

LiveLighter’s Mexican bean filling recipe is particularly great for people on a budget. Make a big batch of it, ladle individual servings into zip locks, squeeze the air out and seal your bean bag up! You can lay this flat in the freezer for up to six months. This will be ready later to be defrosted and used in burritos and tortillas.

  1. Eat plants

Whole fresh fruit and veggies taste the best and are usually on special when they’re in season, not to mention at their peak in terms of nutrients and flavour. Find out which fruit and veggies you should be making the most of this over the colder months here.

Don’t shy away from frozen and canned fruit and veg varieties – these are cheap, convenient and last a long time. Plus, they’re still packed with plenty of nutrients.

  1. Replace meat with other proteins

Bulk up your meals with veggies and legumes – they’re much cheaper than meat! Check out our examples of inexpensive and nutritious healthy ingredient swaps and which can help you save in the long run.




Stir fry

2 chicken breasts

6 eggs or tofu


500 g lamb

2 cans chickpeas


500 g beef mince

250 g beef mince + 1 can lentils


  1. Be aware of the cost of convenience

You can often save money if you are willing to do a little work. We’ve crunched the numbers and found the convenient home-made truths:



Canned tomatoes $1.50/kg

Pasta sauce $6.50/kg

Whole fruit $4/kg

Fruit snacks $25/kg

Popping corn $5/kg

Packaged popcorn $32/kg

Frozen fruits $8/kg

Fruit ice-creams $15/kg


Why not try making some home-made versions which usually add up to be much cheaper and healthier.

Check out LiveLighter’s popcorn recipe and flavour variations here and give their toasted breakfast bars a go which have a good amount of fibre to keep you full for longer.

So, there you have it! With some careful planning and a bit of extra time, it is possible to eat healthily on a budget.

To find more tips and skills to help make eating healthy food and saving money achievable check out LiveLighter’s Eat Smart and Shop Smart resources.