13 Ways to Save Money on Healthy Groceries
I'm trying to eat healthier, but I’m running into a problem -- nutritious foods like fresh produce and lean protein are expensive! Do you have any tips for eating smart on a budget?
Yup, it can be tricky to clean up your eating when a package of fresh blueberries is often twice the price of a bag of chips. But it's definitely possible to eat healthy without breaking the bank. Here are my 13 top tips...
1. Stock up on frozen fruits and veggies. Frozen produce packs the same nutritional punch as the fresh stuff, and it’s much less expensive. It's typically more convenient, too, since you don't have to do any washing and cutting. I love stir-fry veggies, cauliflower florets, and berry medleys -- just make sure no sugar has been added to the fruit.
2. Check the freezer aisle before you hit the seafood counter. A lot of the seafood at the fish counter is previously frozen, anyway. Frozen fish is generally the same quality, and it tends to cost much less. Plus, it's great for last-minute meals when you've got nothing in the house. My top picks are shrimp, tilapia, and scallops.
3. Make your own frozen meals. Buy groceries in bulk, and cook a few multi-serving recipes. Then portion them out into single servings, and freeze until you’re ready to eat. Cheaper than premade frozen meals and less expensive than ordering in when you realize you've got nothing fresh.
Trick Your Mind Into Saving Money
4. For shelved items, think high and low. Supermarkets tend to place the priciest items at eye level… Don’t fall prey! Stand on your tiptoes and crouch down to see if there are less expensive alternatives. Case in point? Generic bagged cereals and grains versus big-brand boxes.
5. Don't shop while hungry. If you do, you’ll be much more likely to make unhealthy impulse purchases that you really don't need. (How good does that premade mac 'n cheese look when your stomach is rumbling?) Time your shopping trips after meals or snacks. Trust me on this!
6. Resist convenience. Just say no to pre-cut fruits and veggies -- it’s much less expensive to buy them whole, and cut ‘em up yourself. Bonus? They'll stay fresh longer this way.
Be Smart About Sales
7. Never buy shelf-stable staples like sauces and baking ingredients at full price. With so many brands on shelves, some of them are bound to go on sale at some point. When they do, you can stock up!
8. Shop seasonal. Buy produce that’s in season. Not only does it taste better than the out-of-season stuff, but it's almost always cheaper. That's because stores generally have a lot of it and want to sell it off fast.
9. Befriend the clearance section. Some grocery stores have a section of marked-down items, and that can be a goldmine. You’ll often find canned goods and fresh foods that are close to their expiration dates. Just make sure you use them ASAP.
10. Buy generic brands. These foods are often nearly identical to products by the big-time companies. If you’re skeptical, compare the ingredient lists and nutritional info -- if they’re similar, go generic.
11. Become a couponer. Whether it's via a website like CouponCabin or the Sunday paper, you can save tons this way. It may seem old school, but it works! Click here for a massive roundup of online resources.
12. Make a detailed list, and stick to it. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you! Need assistance? Check out HG's Official 2016 Supermarket List, complete with a checklist-style printable PDF!
13. Designate one day of the week as grocery-shopping day. That’ll force you to make a food plan and buy only the ingredients you'll actually use. Plus, going to the supermarket less often saves time (and gas money!).
There you have it… Happy shopping and saving!
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