5 Ways To Stretch Your Grocery Budget
Grocery prices have been rising across the board, but here’s a few things you can do to help stretch those food dollars and still eat healthy.
1. Make a list
It sounds cliche, but it really does help – as long as you make that list and stick to it. Keeping a list and sticking to it helps prevent those impulse buys that the grocery stores just love to entice you in to. Just about every grocery store out there lets you check out their weekly ads online, in many cases even printing out the coupons a head of time, so you can check out what’s on sale and plan around their enticements. Find a way that works best for you, either a simple sheet of paper and pen or using some of the latest tech on your smart phone. I have a simple text file that I keep my list on. I can update it from my computer as I browse the store ads, add things from my tablet when I run out of something in the kitchen, and pull it all up on my smart phone to check off as I am shopping.
Stocking up on staples, like canned fruit, vegetables, dried beans and other things that keep well, especially when they go on sale can make a huge difference in your overall budget. Check the bulk sections too. I get my oats from the bulk section at a cost that’s about 15 cents cheaper per pound. If you have a large enough family or other reason to purchase a warehouse store membership, they can help keep your budget low too, sometimes on items you might normally not consider -for example my local Costco has the best price I’ve ever seen on quinoa at under $10 for a four pound bag. Just be sure to store things properly so they don’t go bad on you prematurely, resulting in wasted food.
3. Shop in season
With this global market economy, we can get certain fruits and vegetables nearly any time we want… but you pay a premium when buying them out of season… not just in cost but in loss of flavor. So consider eating more seasonally, not only will things be cheaper (most stores even put these foods on sale when they are at their peak!), but they’ll taste better too. Shopping at your local farmers markets can also play a role in this, as not only will you be shopping in season, you’ll be buying local as well.
4. Make double batches
Take advantage of those sales and when you stock up on an item, make a double batch of whatever you’re cooking up and save some of it for other meals. Besides saving time, you can have some great tasting, nutritious food ready and waiting when you need it – keeping you from being tempted to go out to eat when time is short.
5. Save the extras
If you have the freezer space, buying fresh fruit when it’s at it’s peak and on sale, and then freezing some of it can mean some great tasting fruit for months to come. Sure, strawberries aren’t the same once they’re frozen and thawed, but you can use them in smoothies, to make your own fruit spreads, or in so many other ways that still taste great. And when you make double batches of things, you can freeze them either in bulk or as individual meals that you can pull out as needed.
If you would like some more help in finding ways to stretch your food dollar while you shop for healthy foods, contact me about my Smart Shopping class.