My last article was about helping you guys save money on food in general. This week I want to help you figure out how to stop spending so much money at the grocery store.
Let’s get started…
NEVER Go Grocery Shopping on an Empty Stomach.
My first, and foremost rule (which most of you probably already know) is NEVER go to the grocery store hungry! When you’re there you’ll want everything you see just because of your grumbling tummy. Then by the time you get home and eat, you sit and wonder why you bought all of this food you don’t need.
That, my friend, is a waste of money in every sense. I know that when I’m super hungry, I will eat anything in sight. Now imagine being at a grocery store with unlimited options. I wouldn’t be surprised if you invested in stocks for the company!
The trick is to eat enough before you go to the grocery store, so you’re not salivating when you see food on the counter. Also it allows you to have more of an objective opinion on what you actually need. Now, when you stop buying useless items and (wasting food), you’ll save a ton of money! You can also get in shape without going broke.
Here’s my suggestion for healthy eating on a budget:
If you want to see if it works, eat before a grocery run and then go shopping, then document how much you spent that day. Now, go one day before eating when your absolutely starving, then document that spenditure. I can almost guarantee you that the bill when you went hungry is way higher, and you probably wasted a lot of food because it was only food you were desperate enough to buy at the time.
Plan a List Ahead of Time.
Take the time to think about what meals you would like to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now, write down all of the ingredients that you will need for these meals in a week. I would suggest a notepad (usually found at a dollar store) that has a list of all the groceries at the store and you can just check off what you need.
Then, when you’re at the store, resist the temptation to buy anything else that you dont have on the list. Even if it’s on sale!
If you don’t need it, most likely it will go to waste. Plus, you already have your meals planned out right? Talk about stress relief and saving some moolah.
Search Flyers for Deals and Coupons.
Every week when my flyers arrive, I hunt for the best deals possible. I don’t want to be paying inflated prices just because of the grocery store I chose.
I highly dislike the fact that some items are priced one price at one grocery store, while they are marked up at the “higher end” grocery stores. To me, there’s not too much of a difference, unless you’re making gourmet meals like souffle, I doubt you’ll need to be hitting Sobey’s for groceries.
When you find great deals, write them down on your list (as mentioned above) and find some way to incorporate it into your weekly meals. Technically actually, this should have been mentioned before making the list, so that some of the items you actually need are on sale. Ooops, but I know you get the point because you’re smart enough to be reading this site!
Plus, there are always tons of great coupons in both flyers and recipe magazines. What I like to do is: keep them all (even the things I don’t think I’ll need) and I post them up on the fridge. Then, on my next trip to the grocery store, I can pick and choose what coupons will work for me on that occasion based on the recipe list and ingredients I made.
There’ss no chance of you overspending because:
- You used coupons so you actually saved money!
- You’re only getting what you need for the week, right?
What’s next? You can check out the previous mini guide to healthy eating or continue reading on.
Discounts, Discounts, Discounts!
Now tell me in all honesty, who doesn’t fully appreciate a great discount?
Not too many people I would say, unless they throw thier money straight into the garbage.
Most of the time when you go to the grocery stores they have items that are marked off by a certain percent, usually 30-50%. They are marked cheaper because they are going to go bad soon, which kind of takes away the appeal of buying them unless you’re going to make it right away.
Well, like always, I found a solution to that problem; buy the stuff that is marked cheaper and freeze it, in freezable containers or bags. It will literally never go bad (unless it’s in there for like a year, which I hope doesn’t happen).
I do this ALL the time, I go to Farmer’s Markets and get boxes of tomatoes, that would typically be $3 for 3 tomatoes at the grocery store, and I get like 20 for $5. Then, I put them in ziplock bags and freeze them away until I need them.
Also a good tip to remember is to make portion sizes to put in the freezer, I have to say that trying to break apart frozen tomatoes doesn’t fly so well. I do the same with all meats, since they are so expensive, I buy them when they are super cheap at the grocery store and freeze them for the month. You can never have too much meat, since it is used in almost any dish.
My own personal story of dealing with healthy eating on a budget:
I live in Canada where we have No Frills (bare bones grocery store). Not too sure if you guys are familiar, but that’s besides the fact. I saw that they had a dollar sale on (which happens about once a month),
I took full advantage of this sale!
I bought at least 7 bags of chicken thighs with 5 per bag for $2.47. Let me tell you that, that chicken lasted a whole month and made at least 25 meals. I also bought a crap load of veggies and instant meals all for a dollar. I got a month’s worth of groceries for $75 (and I do like to eat… a lot!). Now, no one here could argue that this isn’t an amazing deal. So to sum it up, look for sales! They are there to benefit you and help you save money.
My final tips for affordable/quick and healthy meals:
- Bring those recycable bags with you (now I might sound like an environmental enthusiast). But the 5 cents you’re spending per bag can add up during the month, and could’ve been used for some little knick-knack you’ve wanted.Plus, you dont have all those extra bags sitting at home, when you toss ’em out anyways (which does impact our lovely planet). OR if you do decide to buy grocery bags, keep them, and use them for next time. Remember from school: Reduce, Re-use Recycle? Hmmm.. maybe that helps financially as well.
- My last tip is to resist impulse. I have got to be the most guity person for impulses, especially those little knick knacks that they have by the cash registers just to reel you in. Well, they do get me sucked in, I’m a big fan of little useful objects that I don’t really need. Sometimes it just feels good to have it, just in case you’ll ever need it. Which you won’t. So avoid the impulse! The all-in-one corkscrew, bottle and can opener, is not a necessity on your list!
I’ll finish off by saying only buy what you need! The rest you can go back for later, when you actually need it.