Make Grocery Shopping Good for You and Your Budget
Most of us agree: Healthy eating starts with healthy shopping. But how do you do that and stay on a budget? We have a few tips to get you started. Find which ones work for you.
Make a list and stick to it.
List only the items you need by area of the store based on how you move through it. For example, if your first stop is typically the produce section, put fruits and vegetables at the top of your list. This will help you plan meals, stay organized and look for best prices. It should also help you avoid buying unneeded items (like cookies and chips) and stay on track to buy only what's on your list.
Buy what's on sale.
If your weekly menu is open to flexibility, consider planning your meals based on what's on sale that week. Check grocery store ads and be sure to sign up for a store savings card if it's offered. No time to chop veggies when you cook? Look for sales on frozen onions, bell peppers, etc., and stock up.
Buy fresh produce when it's in season.
Sticking with produce that's in season is usually cost-effective. If you have a farmers market close by, shopping at the end of the day near closing time might also save you money on leftover items. If you see something you like, stock up — many vegetables can be frozen for a time.
Opt for less expensive cuts of meat.
Try less expensive cuts of meat (think chicken thighs instead of breasts, for example), different recipes and cooking methods. Slow cookers can make cheaper and sometimes tougher cuts of meat tender and juicy.
Add whole grains and beans to your dishes.
Whole grains are generally inexpensive and keep you full longer than many other foods, which can help in weight-loss efforts. And to stretch your meat in recipes like chili, add black beans.
Check the bulk supply or discount areas.
You can sometimes save money when you buy larger sizes or quantities of items (you can repackage food and freeze it, if applicable), or in discount areas of the store for things like day-old bread.
Stay away from rush hour.
Avoid shopping when the stores are crowded. That's when you'll typically experience longer, slower lines — and the possibility to view and buy more items you don't need.
Here's to healthier eating and cost savings at the same time!