Have you ever been surprised by the small amount of groceries you come out of the store with for that large total bill you paid the cashier?
It seems that grocery shopping for your family or even just for ourself adds up way too quickly. How in the world are you expected to et healthy when it takes a huge chunk of your paycheck?
I want you to stop thinking that healthy foods are out of the reach of your grocery budget and start adopting certain buying skills that will almost seem the healthy foods are the bargains and the “cheap” foods you have been buying are the sticker shockers.
Healthy grocery shopping on a budget can be accomplished for you and your family with these top 10 tips I have put together to help you in your quest for budget-friendly and healthy grocery shopping.
Make a list before you head out to the store and stick with it.
When you shop with a list, you are less likely to buy food that you don’t know. Those impulse buys are what is killing your budget, not the healthy whole foods. With this list you will also cut down on your trips back to the grocery store for items you forgot and buying items you don’t need that will end up sitting on your shelf or spoiling before you get around to using it.
Buy fresh produce that is in season to cut back on your grocery bill.
Produce that is NOT in season has to be shipped from across the world and is less easily come by which shoots that price up pretty quick. Educate yourself on what produce is in season before making up that shopping list of yours so you can make sure you are getting the best bang for your produce buck.
Avoid the middle of the grocery store.
Did you know that the majority of Americans only get about 7% of their daily calories from fresh whole foods? That means the majority of your calories are coming from packaged or processed foods. These foods have very little nutritional value compared to their whole foods counterpart which means in reality you are paying a lot of money for those packaged foods with very little nutritional gain. You are paying for chemicals and additives that will eventually lead to disease. Make sure you are spending your grocery budget wisely by getting the most nutrients you can get.
Buy in bulk.
This is probably not something you haven’t heard about before but it truly can make a difference in your overall grocery budget. Save money for the items that you consume a lot of and buy bulk.
Calculate the cost of the packaged food you are buying using the cost per oz or pound.
I actually learned this one from my husband! The majority of grocery stores we shop in display the cost per unit oz in small print right next to the cost of the product on the shelf. You may be surprised how much money you can save by comparing the packaged foods you do decide to buy and choosing the products with the least cost per unit oz or pound.
This seems to go along with buying in bulk but it really can help you cut the costs of those packaged foods you buy. There was actually an episode on Dr. Oz show where he talked about this. He was comparing generic brands to the name brands and found that when they are compared side by side, they are almost identical. Don’t spend your money on buying name brand when you get the same product when you buy generic.
Choose meatless protein sources.
Plan to have a couple nights a week vegetarian and you will dramatically cut the amount of money you spend on protein. Animal protein is not superior protein to plant protein and costs a lot more. Try to start making more of your daily protein calories come from plant sources rather than animal sources and your health will thank you.
Go grocery shopping alone.
Whether you have a family to feed or just a spouse or roommate, going shopping alone will save you money. When you take others along, you both are more likely to impulse shop for food that is not on that grocery shopping list you made. This all leads to that grocery shopping budget dwindling pretty dramatically and you probably find yourself blaming it on that bunch of bananas in your basket rather than the real culprit of those chips or ice cream.
Choose your groceries wisely and alone with a list.
Do not buy from the checkout aisle or from special displays. Usually when you grab food from these areas, you are impulse buying and really do not need those items anyway. If those items happen to be on your grocery shopping list, then by all means grab away!
Eat a meal before you head out to grocery shop.
When you are less hungry, there are less of those impulse buys that will turn your eye. I have found that when I am full and go shopping, less of the junk type and packaged foods sound appealing and I focus more on the whole foods which is where the focus should be anyway. Experiment with this one. Go grocery shopping on a full stomach and go on an empty stomach. How do your grocery carts compare? Which one gets you the healthier options?
Before you go grocery shopping make sure you plan a grocery shopping list to take with you and you eat a meal before you head out. It is also important to get your money’s worth when you are planning your meals and buying food at the grocery store. Would you rather spend your money on chemicals that resemble food (processed and packaged foods) or whole foods that give you the most nutrients for your hard earned dollar that will enable your body to function healthfully?
Use these tips to help make your grocery shopping trip healthier and less expensive.
Question of the day: What is your most common impulse food buy when you are doing your grocery shopping? Leave me a comment below and let me know!