It's not easy to always eat healthy when you are watching the purse strings, but I'm going to share with you my top tips to keep your waistline and your budget on track. It's even more important if you are looking to smash any bigger goals, say buying a house, adding to your family or just because  you are tightening those purse strings.  

1. Start Now - no excuses
Don't wait for tomorrow and don't over think it. There's no reason you need to get hung up on eating 'perfectly' - believing that only eating organic is healthy. WRONG! Eating organic can be the best option in many cases - choosing fruit and vegetables over processed foods is important, yes. However, you can simplify this by knowing which foods are important to buy organic. Get familiar with the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen (scroll to the end of this post) and plan your supermarket visit. 

If you feel really overwhelmed then start simple, just one small change each week is better than any drastic, unsustainable changes.

Top Tip: Sticking to the outside aisles and avoiding the majority of the inner aisles is my top tip! The more processed items sit in the middle of the supermarket. 

2. Discover the Farmer's Market
I love a good farmer's markets. La Cigale, Oratia, Britomart, Titirangi! I can't get enough (it doesn't do any harm that Oratia has a lovely little vineyard next to it!) You can sample delicious food, go straight to the source and it's a brilliant way to learn more about the food you eat from the people that grow and make it. You can make a family day out of it and even bring the dog! The pug loves a farmer's market day out!!! 

Top Tip: Aim to get to yours first thing (so you have the pick of the bunch) or towards closing (you'll often find that what's left is then discounted). 

3. Follow the Seasons + Buy in Bulk
If you are watching the pennies, then shop in season. Go for fresh winter veg in winter and in summer, salads are your friend! If it has to be imported then you know it will be more expensive. Another trick is to make sure you buy refills and go for bulk where you can. Good For Refillery is one of my fav places to go. Say goodbye to wasteful packaging and buy only what you need.

Top Tip: Look at the bulk section, you can often get a bargin and it's great for lowering your plastic consumption if you're refilling! 

4. Get Creative
Use what you have! Avoid food wastage, think outside the box and mix leftover ingredients together and see what happens. Jazz up pre-made foods by adding to them and bulking them out with fresh produce. Learn to make something new - dips, crackers ... you don't need to go complicated. 

5. Plan Ahead
When it comes to saving money on food, plan, plan, plan!! Set aside some time to plan your meals for the week and the time you'll need to make it. Before you do a weekly shop, check your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you already have and don’t stray from your shopping list. I find shopping online can be super handy to keep me honest and efficient. It also stops any shops when you are hungry or tired and you can see all specials easily. 

6. Cook at Home

Eating out is fantastic, but if you’re trying to pinch the pennies and eat healthily, cooking at home is the way to go. Try new recipes and branch out. With the cooler months approaching, try your hand at slow-cooking. Just think, whilst you are working away your dinner will be too!  Cook bigger portions to fresh and have ready when you don't have time to cook.  That way you’ll be more likely to head to your freezer for a last-minute meal rather than the phone!! This has been a life saver for us as new parents!

Dirty Dozen:

Sweet Bell Peppers
Also: Green beans and kale are moving up on the most sprayed list as well.

Here are the Clean 15, and these are the fruits and veggies that you can eat conventionally because they are not sprayed as heavily with pesticides.

Clean 15:

Sweet Corn (watch for GMO)
Sweet Peas
Sweet Potatoes
Honeydew Melon