Being prepared before heading to the store is the best way to make sure you stick to your grocery shopping budget. But there are also some strategies to keep in mind and ingredients to keep an eye out for at the store to make budget shopping easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of our favorite ways to save while shopping-and still load up on delicious and healthy food.
Skip the prepackaged salad mix
Sure, bagged salad mixes are convenient (and anything that makes it easier to eat your veggies is a good thing), but they’re expensive and can go from crisp and fresh to wilted to downright slimy in a heartbeat. Opt for buying heads of lettuce instead, and make your own mixes. Try mixing up romaine, radicchio, red leaf, escarole or any other head lettuce that’s looking fresh. You can store your mix in a gallon zip-close bag in your crisper. The key to longevity? After you wash and cut your greens, make sure they’re completely dry before returning them to the fridge.
Buy in bulk
One of the best ways to save money when eating healthier is to buy in bulk. Believe it or not, many local co-ops and health food stores offer discounts if you order items by the case. Even if you have never heard about it, it never hurts to ask because sometimes business owners are willing to give you the discount. This could mean 10 to 30 percent off of an entire case of produce or products. Make sure you buy something you know you’re going to need a lot of every week, such as bananas if you use a lot of them every week. If you are only buying for yourself or two people, sometimes you can order half cases in bulk as well.
Pad Your Meals with Whole Grains and Beans
Whole grains and legumes can be very inexpensive, but provide lots of filling protein and fiber that can really bulk up a meal for minimal cost. When making burgers, soups, or casseroles, use less meat and incorporate more whole grains and beans.
Plan and Prep in Advance
When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, planning and preparing ahead is essential.
Pick one day each week and on that day, plan your meals for the upcoming week. Then, make a grocery list of everything you need to prepare those meals.
Also, make it a habit to cook at home, rather than deciding to eat out at the last minute.
Some people find it best to cook for the entire week on the weekends, while others cook one meal each day.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are underrated. They come pre-chopped and ready to use, are just as good for you (try to avoid those with added salt, sugar or fat), and are often cheaper than fresh varieties.
Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of freshness and then frozen to seal in their nutrients.
With these budget shopping tips, you’ll be eating healthy and delicious meals and saving money too. It’s a win-win-win.