Consumer IQ

Foodie Resolutions for a Healthy and Frugal New Year

Foodie Resolutions for a Healthy and Frugal New Year :: Mint.com/blog

Maybe it’s the extra holiday cookies talking, but food-related New Year’s resolutions account for two of the top New Year’s resolutions, according to USA.gov.

That’s “lose weight” (No. 1) and “eat healthy food” (No 8). Smarter eating habits can also help you out with Nos. 6 and 10, though: “save money” and “manage debt.”

Spending on food can have a big impact on the rest of your budget.

Government figures put the average consumer’s annual spending on food at $6,599 in 2012, and food prices rose a scant 1.2% this year.

In 2014, the USDA is projecting prices to rise at a faster clip of 2.5% to 3.5%.

In other words, sticking to small frugal food strategies like these will have a potentially bigger payoff:

Shop with grocery apps

Eating healthier and saving money are easier with these apps, which help you track coupons, list needed groceries, assess nutritional info, and compare costs per ounce, among other tricks.

Coupon

Even if you don’t go to their lengths, taking a leaf from extreme couponers can result in big savings.

Plan out meals

Prepared shoppers maximize sales and minimize food waste, a combination that could cut your grocery bills by more than $100 a week.

Read: How to Plan Meals and Save Over $5,000 a Year]

Load up on loyalty memberships

Sign up for restaurant loyalty clubs, using a separate email address you reserve for sale-mail.

Then you’ll always have coupons to use when dining out or taking out with those chains, without the email overload.

Read: 7 Ways to Save On Takeout]

Eat seasonally

Year round, eating what’s in season is one easy way to save.

Read: Top Picks for Spring Farmer’s Market Produce]

The freshest produce tastes at its best, and is at its cheapest.

DIY

When it comes to food, making your own at home—be it jam, beer, or gourmet salts – can be cheaper than buying them ready made.

Homemade food-based cleansers and beauty treatments can also be a relative bargain.

Maximize your nutritional buck

Eating healthier can be cheaper, if you know which foods are both nutritionally dense and cheap.

Some superfoods come in at well under $1 per serving.

Read: 10 Superfoods That Are Super Cheap]

Save on other resolutions

Finally, make sure your weight loss resolutions don’t end up breaking the bank.

If you’re resolving to take up juicing or try a popular diet program, that’s no reason to overspend.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.