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Eating Right on a Budget

August 21, 2013

  • Compare the cost per serving or meal.  Sometimes the lowest price per pound is not the best buy if food has parts you cannot eat, like bones. For example, ground beef gives you about 4 servings per pound, while a rib roast only gives you about 2 servings per pound. To find the best buy compare the price of the amount you need for a meal.
  • Limit extras like sodas, alcohol, candy, gum and chips, which have no nutritional value.
  • Watch the price scanners at the register and check your receipts for price errors and make sure you get back the correct amount of change.
  • Stick to your shopping list and avoid buying extras.
  • Buy only food items at the grocery store. Get nonfood items at discount stores, where they will cost less.
  • Be flexible with your shopping list. If you have planned corn for tomorrow’s supper but carrots are on special, buy the carrots instead.
  • Buy store brands or no-name brands. They are usually cheaper than name brands and taste just as good.
  • Look up and down. The most expensive items are often stocked at eye level. Look at the top and bottom shelves for cheaper items.
  • Use coupons for items you buy, but always consider the store brand. Often the store brand will still be cheaper.
  • Compare unit prices. The unit price is the price per pound or ounce most stores have unit price labels on the shelf. Usually, the large container will have the best unit price. But if it spoils before it is used you will not save any money. Individually packaged foods usually cost more. Buy the size that fits your budget and your meal plan.


Michael Ann Kelly, MS, RD
Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist


Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,, retrieved June 11, 2013. 

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