Staying healthy doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank with buying fancy food. Regardless of whether you’re feeding a small army or simply trying to lower your monthly expenses, these 25 cost saving tips are sure to save you some cash on your next trip to the grocery store.
1) Set a weekly budget and pay in cash
By paying in cash, you’ll be extra aware of every little penny you’re spending on groceries. Keep your phone calculator pulled out, and tally as you shop.
2) Take inventory
What’s in your pantry, freezer, and the back of your refrigerator? Do a lap around the kitchen before you head out to the grocery store so you don’t end up buying redundant items.
3) Meal plan (I know, I know!)
Take the headache out of meal planning with my Free Meal Planner Template. Once you know what you’re cooking for the week, you can take your ingredient list with you to-go.
4) Eat before you go (or in the car on the way)
Feeling hungry? Pack a handful of raw nuts (my favorite) in a snack bag and throw a Spindrift seltzer in your purse (my favorite flavor). Nibble on your commute so your hunger will be tamed by the time you grab your grocery cart.
5) Make a list (and check it twice!)
Don’t go off the cuff. Stick to your list so you can stick to your budget!
6) Shop once a week
Keep a running list of ingredients posted on the front of your fridge. Add to it throughout the week. Try to only go to the grocery store once a week so you’ll be more inclined to get creative in the kitchen and use up as much food as possible before you REALLY need to go shopping!
7) Check store ads and flyers before you go
Scan local grocery stores for good deals on items you already purchase. Be careful of “buy 2 bags of broccoli, get the 3rd free” (haha… this was the first thing that came to mind…). Avoid spending money on flashy marketing ads unless you think you’ll actually consume the entire quantity before the item goes bad.
8) Get in, get out
Pick a store where you know the layout. Grab what you need and then go straight to the cash register.
9) Sign up for store rewards programs
Join an e-newsletter to stay in the loop on sales and special discounts.
10) Get the freshest stock of foods
Ask each department when their scheduled deliveries arrive. The fresher the food, the longer the shelf-life and ideally, the more time you’ll have to enjoy it before it goes to waste!
11) Meal prep
Get the cutting board and knife out first thing when you get home. Rather than store your vegetables directly into the fridge, chop them up right away and place them into containers or single serve baggies. The more barriers you can remove right out of the gate, the less food you’ll waste! (Let’s be honest- when you’re hungry, you are NOT going to have the patience to chop up those bell peppers sitting in your fridge!)
12) Grow your own herbs
Herbs are easy to grow both indoors and out. They’re also simple to freeze and use all year round.
13) Repurpose your meals
Not a fan of leftovers? Use the tips and tricks from the (free) Meal Planner Template to get the most use (and fresh new taste) from your leftovers!
14) Eat whole foods
Processed foods (…I’m looking at you chips, cereal, crackers, and candy!) are straight sugar bombs and empty calories…not to mention, they’re costing you lots of money! Stick to whole foods like carrots and hummus, raw cashews, and apple slices with nut butter to fill your belly and your wallet!
15) Unveil hidden fridge food
Do you have a half-used carton of vegetable stock nestled deep in the back of your fridge? What about the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes stuffed in the back of your refrigerator drawer, slowly shriveling up and getting moldy? It’s time to show them the light! Keep forgotten food physically visible so you’ll use them up before opening anything new.
16) Buy in bulk
Buy in bulk when it makes sense. Avoid buying items from bulk stores that you’ll never be able to finish in time (or will tempt you to over-consume so you’ll use it up before it goes bad).
17) Buy in season
Produce that is grown in season tend to carry the most flavor and nutrients compared to those shipped long distances to be available in the grocery store year round. Shop in season for more affordable (and available) produce items.
18) Leave the kids at home (or learn to say “NO”)
Stay in control of your grocery list and shop solo if at all possible to save on cash.
19) Make it from scratch
Take a picture of the ingredient list on an expensive ticket item and try giving it a whirl from scratch at home. Making your own RxBar or LaraBars is actually easy to do, can save you a ton of cash, AND is likely more healthy when you’re making recipes from scratch using whole food ingredients!
20) Avoid individually bagged or mini version items
Buy in bulk and then divvy up into single servings using (my favorite) containers or snack bags.
21) Eat less meat
Try swapping 1 dinner a week with a vegetarian option. Enjoy vegetable soups, casseroles, and crockpot dishes to feel satisfied (and save some dough!)
22) Make your own salad dressing & condiments
Salad dressings are surprisingly easy to make at home- especially if you have a great food processor (or VitaMix! I seriously use mine everyday). The same can be said for basic condiments like ketchup. You can create double the quantity of marinades for 1/2 the price you’d pay in the store, making them from scratch at home.
23) Consider the Dirty Dozen / Clean Fifteen list
24) Buy whole foods version
Reach for the less processed alternative of certain foods to save on processing costs. Consider buying:
- A block of cheese > a shredded bag
- Dried beans > canned beans
- Rice and oats > processed cereals
25) Buy frozen alternatives to produce
You can really grab a deal in the frozen aisle section! Load up on frozen vegetables and fruits. At home, empty the big bag into freezer safe Quart-sized bags so you can thaw them out one at a time. Some bulk stores have steamable bags already inside the larger bulk bag to make it easier (ie: riced cauliflower at Costco).
Try experimenting with a few of these 25 cost saving tips to save money on your next grocery trip. Share what you’ve tried with the Healthy Habiteers facebook group!