These days, a trip to the grocery store can cause some serious sticker shock and if you are trying to eat more of a healthy diet, well, healthier foods are even more expensive now too. With the consistent rise in the cost of food, I thought I would share some of my grocery shopping budget tips with you so you and your family can still eat healthy without breaking the bank, so here’s how to cut down on spending before and during your next trip to the grocery store:
Use What You Already Have at Home
Before heading out to the grocery store, take stock of what’s already laying around in the dark corners of your fridge, freezer, pantry, garage, etc. You may be surprised to find frozen meats or canned food that are still good to go as well as spices and cooking accessories like foil and other goodies. Based off of what you have, there are plenty of dishes that you can prepare without spending a dime. There are many easy recipes that require just 3 to 5 ingredients, so base your meals on food you already have at home.
Plan Ahead & Write Your List
Now that you know what you have, think about the next 2 weeks. Write down the meals you plan on eating and the number of people to prepare for. It’s important to be realistic regarding what people in your household will eat and don’t forget about adding healthy snacks to your plan (such as apple slices with peanut butter, string cheese, cherry tomatoes, nuts, seeds, or trail mix). Now, based on your meal plan, you can start preparing your shopping list. Also, some foods will last longer than others, so it’s always a good idea to have them around and many of them are affordable staples, especially if purchased in bulk:
- Canned Fish (such as tuna, salmon, or sardines)
- Canned Soups & Chilis
- Rice (brown or white)
- Lentils & Dry Beans
- Nuts & Seeds (preferably unsalted)
- Peanut Butter
- Pet Food (don’t forget your fur babies)
Other staples require freezing, refrigeration or cool storage, but can last for weeks:
- Some Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
- Chicken, Pork, Beef & Seafood
- Frozen Vegetables
- Milk or Non-Dairy Alternative
Once you have a general idea what meals you will be preparing for the next week or two, set your grocery budget and start writing your list.
The Grocery Shopping Trip
If possible, shop in familiar stores. It makes shopping easier if you know your way around. Sales and discounts are very tempting (especially on junk food or foods you really do not need), but unless a product is on your list, try to resist temptations and if you decide to buy something on sale that’s not on your list, make it a replacement for something else you were planning to buy on your list.
Shop Your Local Farmers’ Market
The foods at a farmers’ market are typically fresher than at the grocery store and often cost less in season. If you are on a tight budget (and who isn’t), wait until the late afternoon to shop the farmers’ market because you are likely to get better bargains since many vendors prefer not to truck their produce back to the farm.
Although it is tempting to stock up in times of uncertainty, make sure you don’t buy things that will go straight from your fridge or pantry to the trash. Try to prepare meals that can be refrigerated or frozen, then reheated (save time and effort by preparing big batches of soups, stews, chilis, pasta dishes). However, don’t make the batches too big. Eating the same meal over and over for more than a few days will eventually lead to tossing out the remaining portions. Also, when fruits get to the over-ripe stage, they may still be a good candidate for smoothies or jams. Vegetables that are beyond their peak may still be good for soups or sauces.
Prepare Simple Meals And Serve Twice
One of the best ways to save money is to keep your meals easy. Serve grilled, broiled, or baked meat, poultry, or seafood as the main dish with a steamed vegetable and a side salad and use the leftovers for lunch or dinner the following day.
There’s An App For That
Using an app on your smartphone is another great way to save money on your next shopping trip. Here are few apps available on iOS and Android that are free to download and use: Ibotta, Shopkick, Fetch Rewards, Coin Out, Makeena & Coupons.com.
Along with following the tips listed above, you should also familiarize yourself with your weekly grocery store circulars to see what’s on sale and always take advantage of coupons. Also, if your local grocery store offers a rewards card, get one and start saving money and if you spend a little time each week planning and clipping money saving coupons (usually found in Sunday newspapers) or printing digital coupons, you will be surprised at how much you can save and still eat healthy food.
Do you have money saving tips you use when grocery shopping? Let us know in the comments below and until next time, be happy, healthy, and beautiful!
*This blog post is not sponsored. All of the links are affiliate links and I make a small commission that is used to support my blog. You are under no obligation to use any of these links, but if you do, thank you very much and I appreciate your support of Glam Budget Beauty!