Eat great AND save some cash!
Managing your health and budget can seem overwhelming at times. Whether the struggle is grocery store budgeting or food waste at home, we all know that saving money while eating a balanced diet can be a struggle. To help, we’ve gathered the top kitchen and grocery hacks to save money and help you reach your health goals. Check them out and you may just find the perfect fix for your budgeting needs!
Shopping seasonally means that you focus on buying produce that is recently harvested (ideally from local farms). For example, you’d go for watermelon in the summer and apples in the fall. It’s cheaper to buy seasonally because fruits and veggies that are harvested locally don’t have to travel as far to reach you, and they are in abundance at that time of year.
You can always find local, seasonal food at your community farmers market, or just be aware of changes in prices or big sales in the produce section. If you’re in the mood for produce that isn’t in season, we suggest checking out the frozen aisle. Not only will they be cheaper, but frozen foods are picked and flash-frozen at peak freshness, so they’ll have an even higher nutrient quality than fresh produce.
Check out this Seasonal Produce Chart for more guidance in the fruit and vegetable section no matter what time of the year it is.
Buy in Bulk
Although it may seem more expensive at the time, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money over time. When you buy nonperishable items in large quantities, you’re literally getting more bang for your buck. Buying more at once means you’ll be less likely to keep going back to the store to pick up things that you hadn’t planned for your budget.
Keep an eye out for good deals and buy a few at a time. That way, your pantry is always stocked with the essentials and you save money in the long run.
Avoid Packaged Items
When perusing the grocery aisles, try looking for items that are less processed and contain less packaging. This means looking for full heads of lettuce instead of a bag of lettuce or freshly baked bread instead of pre-sliced bread. The more processed or packaged an item is, the more it will cost, so stick with simple, whole foods that you can prepare at home.
Want to up the anti? Make your own baked goods, snacks, dishes, and even staples like pasta at home rather than buying them prepared and packaged at the store. You can use a lot of the same simple, low-cost ingredients like flour and eggs as the base of many different recipes.
Try to Go Generic
There are so many different brands to choose from at the grocery store, which can be overwhelming! Our advice: Go with the generic store brand. It will have most of the same ingredients and nutrients, just at a lower cost, saving you money and stress! You can usually find these products by looking for the grocery brand name, i.e. Kroger or Safeway.
Make a Grocery Store Game Plan
Keeping a grocery list really does help with meal and budget planning. When you go into the store with a plan, you know exactly what you’ll get and how it fits into your budget. A list will also help you avoid those tempting but unnecessary items. Keep a notepad on the fridge (or use a smart gadget like Alexa) and update your list whenever you run out of essentials. That way, you know what you need and don’t need to make any additional grocery store runs.
Not only do grocery lists help your budget, but they also help you reach your health goals. Knowing exactly what you’ll get at the store helps you stay on track. Pro tip: See if your local grocery store does click and collect or delivery so you don’t even have to go into the store to avoid temptations.
Plan Your Meals Around What You Already Have
Before you head to the grocery store with your list, do an inventory check of your kitchen. Try to plan meals and snacks for the coming week based on what you already have. Based on what we mentioned earlier about bulk buying, check your existing bulk pantry items to see what you can already create or only need to buy a few new ingredients for. That way, you’ll use up what’s already in your fridge and pantry rather than going back and buying more of what you already have.
Here are some meal planning tips that will help you plan ahead!
FIFO (First In, First Out)
If you’ve ever worked in the foodservice industry, you may be very familiar with this inventory hack. The idea is to make sure that the food that is purchased first is used up. So, if you buy a jar of peanut butter every week, try to store your newest jar behind the first jar so the older ones can get used up. That way nothing gets lost on the top shelf pantry vortex that’s filled with half-eaten and very expired items!