I grew up with the opinion that it is wrong to eat out. At home, we don’t eat out, neither do we eat outside our feeding plan. After secondary school, I gained admission into the University and one of the skills I am grateful I learned from my mum is the ability to eat healthy on a budget.
I had the opportunity to eat out as I liked, junk food was always attractive, but most times harmful. I realized that if I ate more junk than home-cooked meals, I would not have enough money for upkeep and still be in debt. My best friend also believed in eating on a budget, so we made a great team.
Eating on a budget means every food you eat has a plan and purpose. Eating on a budget is purposeful and also has its own benefits.
What are the Benefits of Having a Budget?
After graduation, I asked my bestie how we managed to spend the little money our parents sent us from home on the important things, yet we ate healthy meals.
She replied that we had a budget for everything, hence eating healthy meals was not a problem.
- Having a budget makes you have control over your money
- It helps you focus on your goals
- You become accountable for how you spend your money
- It helps you save
Having known the benefits of a budget, you should also know the benefits of eating healthy.
- Better mood: A diet with many refined carbohydrates like soft drinks, cake and doughnut increases your risk of depression and fatigue.
- It improves your memory
- It helps you fight diseases: A lot of teenagers combat different diseases on a daily basis because they fail to eat healthily.
When I gained admission into the University, I met a few other ladies but we had a contrary opinion on how to spend money. When I met my best friend, one of the first rules we had was visiting the market once a semester, then we had another rule that was so important, that we would not borrow anything from anyone, no matter how seemingly small it was.
The question is: how did we spend 4 years of our lives eating on a budget?
1. Have a plan
A plan is important in everything. You should not only have a plan for your eating habit but also on your academics.
We had a plan, we knew the kinds of food we ate. My best friend brought foodstuff from home, while my parents sent me money to purchase my foodstuff.
Here is an example of plans we worked on
- We usually cooked two kinds of soups each week. We would cook on Saturday evenings and the soup would finish on Friday nights.
- We cooked only twice a day, in the morning and at night.
- We bought our beverages and biscuits when we resumed and managed them until the end of the semester.
The above are the plans we had. We listed the things we needed in a paper, to ensure we didn’t forget anything.
2. Stick to your shopping list
A visit to the market can tempt you to buy things that are not your priority. You can fall in love with a white shirt when you don’t need it. Always cultivate the habit of sticking to your list and prioritize your needs well.
3. Buy in bulk
You must have read earlier that we visited the market once a semester. We bought everything in bulk, including matches.
Here is an example:
I and my bestie often prepared bean cake and other bean meal. Most of these meals are packed in plastic bags and since such were not available at the school, we resolved to buy enough from home before resumption.
Here is another example:
Since we did not have another fridge and we could not preserve fresh pepper, we bought enough preserved tomato and whenever we needed to cook, we would simply buy a little pepper and add it to the available tomato.
4. Prepare your meals
Cook your foods. When you cook at home, you eat enough and eat well.
5. Pack your lunch
One of the skills I also learned while growing is to pack my lunch. When I got into 200level, we stayed more in school than we did in 100level. By then, I had joined the workforce of my fellowship. Some days, we left school at 6 pm and on some days, I went for meetings after school.
At first, I would buy snacks when hungry, but I later realized I was not helping both my health and my purse. I brought my food to school on days I knew I would go back home late.
I must tell you, eating on a budget does not mean you are broke or you are not giving yourself the best.
When I was in 200 level, a friend of ours said she believes the reason I packed my lunch to school, don’t buy snacks, or buy anything outside our shopping list was that I and my bestie were stingy and broke.
The truth is, eating on a budget will teach you a lot more than you can imagine. It helps you understand responsibilities that await you at adulthood.
It is not wrong to visit a cafe and take ice cream and eat cakes randomly. I never mentioned that. It is unsafe for you to eat cakes and take ice cream every day because it affects your health and will drain your purse.
That aside, eating on budget teaches you self control. When you see a shop full of candy, eating on a budget helps you to say no because you know it is not as important as the food you will eat at dinner or the one you ate in the morning.
Do you eat on a budget? What’s the experience like? Or are you willing to give it a try soon? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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