When you go grocery shopping, do you have a list from a meal plan you’ve created and try to shop directly from that list? Do you ever keep a tally of the things you run out of during the week? These are just a couple of ideas that can help you feel more organized and keep you from overspending when you go grocery shopping.
A future Wellness Workshop that I’ll be presenting on will be how to shop for healthy foods on a budget. It’s in the works now so I thought I’d share some ideas with you. These ideas aren’t new. Some you may already implement so if you have anything to add that has worked for you, please share!
10 ways to shop for healthy foods yet still keeping within your own budget.
1. Plan some meals for a couple of days or for the entire week, make your list and stick to it. I wrote in my last article HERE on Meal Planning. When you think of what you are going to eat for the week, it gets you organized. The more organized you are, the less likely you are to “go off the bunny trail.”
2. Love your freezer! Cooking once and eating two, three or four times (depending on the size of your family) is wonderful. I love leftovers. Not everyone does so that is when a freezer comes in handy. I have a Minestrone soup recipe that we like so I make a double portion and then fill up wide mouth pint jars and stick them in the freezer.
3. I whine a little when I notice that half of my groceries are things I can’t eat! You know what I mean – when you need toilet paper, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, napkins, shampoo, etc. Work on spacing out these purchases to cut down on your weekly bill.
4. Buy whole food, not prepared, boxed, bagged, or processed. Whole foods cost much less than anything prepared (think bags of chopped veggies or shredded cheese.) Buy grains, nuts, seeds, spices, andherbs in bulk. When I buy what I need for the week I can shop for good quality and can even afford a number of these items organically.
5. If you enjoy getting your hands dirty, go grow a little something in a patch of dirt. It’s about time to buy seeds in the northeast and start growing some food. That will save you money. Start out slow. Pick out just two or three vegetables or herbs and get to it! You will notice that the veggies you grow will taste better too.
6. Check on what is hanging out in your refrigerator. You don’t want things to go to waste. If you find veggies that you forgot about in the crisper, toss them into a pot of soup or chop them up and roast them. Some items you can even put into the freezer.
7. Instead of buying meats that may be too expensive for you, stock up on alternativeprotein sources like beans, canned salmon, nut-butters, and eggs. Whole grains like oatmeal, rice, millet, and barley are quite inexpensive, especially if bought in bulk. And if fresh produce is a bit too pricey for you, especially when it is not in season, buy frozen fruit or frozen vegetables. They are still very nutritious.
8. You can stock up on produce in season, locally at local co-ops, health food stores, or farmer markets. Heck, you can even go and pick your own apples, pears, peaches, and blueberries if you want. Canning these foods or freezing and even fermenting some of them is worth the effort. Just imagine how wonderful it is to find a bag of frozen berries or a jar of fresh applesauce in the freezer in mid-February.
9. Cook at home. This will help for two reasons. First, you will save money by cooking at home rather than eating out and secondly, you will have control over your ingredients and what you are putting into your mouth.
10. Get organized. Make sure you can easily see what you have in your cupboards so you don’t end up buying “another jar or this or that.” No one needs three jars of olives or two containers of cinnamon. Been there!
I’m sure you have some great ideas of your own to save money when you go shopping. Our families are all unique and we have all found what works for us. I hope the ideas you’ve just read have spurred on your own creative juices to find new ways to save on your shopping bill.