Bad economy, blah, blah, need to cut back, blah, blah. I’m sure you guys are all sick of hearing about the squeeze on our budgets, so I won’t bore you with the gorey details of how much more money you spend when you eat out. Let’s just assume you know that it is cheaper to grocery shop and cook at home than it is to hit the drive thru and restaurant scene everyday.
Cause you’re smart, right? Right.
There is an art to the grocery shopping game. It is easy to overspend at the grocery store too, and just your luck, those foods that send you over the top on your budget also send you spilling out over the top of your pants.
Here are some tips to grocery shopping like a pro:
- Stay on the perimeter of the store. The healthiest choices are right around the outside: produce, dairy, meats, and whole grain breads. The processed foods, sweets and soda are along the middle aisles. There are a few exceptions: frozen and canned fruits and veggies are in the aisles, but when heading to your destination, keep your blinders on so you aren’t tempted.
- Bring a list. This cuts down on time, which we all need a little more of, but it also helps you avoid impulse buys, which tend to usually be more unhealthy options. Decide what you are going to make for the week ahead of time, and list those ingredients accordingly. Try and organize your list so all the produce is in one section, meats in another, etc, so you don’t have to back track to get something.
- When searching the shelves, look up and down. Big name companies pay to have thier products put at eye level, so the cheaper versions on the same foods are usually pushed to the bottom or top of the shelves.
- Always use the club savings cards– you can save an arm and a leg. Coupons are kind of thing of the past, but manufactures often put coupons for their products online that you can easily print out, and use right along with your savings cards.
- You pay for packaging– the further something is from its natural state (individually wrapped, pre-chopped, portable) the more its going to cost you. They do save time, though, so decide which is more important to you.
- Read the label. If you cant pronounce all of the words, or if there are more than about 7 ingredients, its highly processed and should be avoided.
- Some say canned and frozen veggies aren’t as healthy as fresh, but most disagree. Veggies are frozen at the peak of freshness and nutrient density, and some canned veggies, like tomatoes, are actually more nutritious than fresh due to the manufacturing process. Canned and frozen foods last way longer than fresh and cost just a fraction of the price, so stock up.
- Some people think stocking up on things on sale is a great way to save money, but make sure its something you are always going to need, like shampoo and deoderant (hopefully) or foods that wont go bad, like canned.
- Protein sources like meat and fish can be expensive, so dont feel bad about going the cheapie route: canned tuna and canned beans provide just as much nutritional value for just pennies.
What are you tips for saving money on a healthy grocery trip?
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