Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some tips to help you save money on your next shopping trip, without cutting coupons.
- Shop Clearance – Grocery stores tend to have a clearance section with discounted canned goods or day-old bakery items. I like to scope out this aisle first to see if it features any foods I’m already planning on buying. Just make sure the canned goods don’t have any dents! If you can, go grocery shopping at night to snatch discounted rotisserie chickens that didn’t sell earlier in the day.
- Put Some Work Into It – The more processed a food is, the more it will likely cost. By processed foods, I mean foods that are already washed, chopped, cooked. For example, dry beans are cheaper than canned beans, and a whole head of lettuce is less expensive than a salad mix. It will take you more time to prepare these items, but your bank account will thank you.
- Simplify – Dinners don’t have to be a big feast every night. Sandwiches or an appetizer can be just as balanced and healthy as a family-style meal, but less expensive. Don’t be afraid to eat leftovers either!
- Freeze – Blanch and freeze foods that are close to expiring. Foods that freeze well include: cooked pasta, cooked rice, nuts, flour, butter, grated cheese, peeled bananas, sliced bread, herbs, stock, cracked eggs, meat, and most vegetables.
- Dress It Up – Don’t buy your salad dressings or sauces. Make them at home! Check out A Couple Cooks for easy salad dressing recipes.
- Embrace Imperfections – Imperfect Foods delivers discounted fruits and vegetables right to your door.
- In Season – In-season fruits and vegetables are both cheap and tasty! If you don’t have access to a farmers market in your city, go to Seasonal Food Guide to find foods growing near you this month.
- Take an Inventory – Create a list of what’s in your fridge and challenge yourself to use what you have before going grocery shopping.
- Plan – Making a weekly meal plan and grocery list can prevent you from buying unnecessary items or foods that may go unused. Use the FIFO rule – first in, first out.
- Explore – International grocery stores aren’t frequently visited, yet they tend to have cheaper spices, fruits, and vegetables. Plus, when you shop at these stores, you are supporting local, family-owned businesses.
- Take Advantage of Technology – Shopping online helps you to stick to your shopping list and budget. Also, it reduces your contact with others. Shopping apps like Ibotta can help you save money on products you’re already buying. Just make sure that you aren’t purchasing unnecessary items because you get a 10 cent discount.
- Go Veg – Meat is often the most expensive part of the meals. Choose plant-based proteins, like nuts, seeds, and legumes, often. Top your vegetables with protein, not the other way around.
- Plant – Grow herbs like basil, mint, parsley, and cilantro in your apartment to add flavor to your meals and save money on spices. Vegetable scraps can become new plants too! Check out Rural Sprout for a how-to guide on starting your own mini garden.
- Don’t Look Too Closely At The Expiration Date – Aim to consume products by their sell-by date; however, you don’t necessarily have to throw out food because its expiration date is today. This post by The Food Network provides more information on expiration dates.
What do you do to save money at the grocery store?