Today, I made one of my many monthly trips to the grocery store... I cannot lie, eating healthy can be very expensive, if you're not smart about it. Every shopping trip I have a strict budget, but need to still feed a family of 4. I try to stick to my core desires to serve healthy, organic food, drinks, and snacks. Here's how I shop for healthy groceries while staying on budget...
1. Set your budget, and stick to it! Cash works great, because once the money is gone, it's gone. If using a debit or credit card, link your accounts to Mint.com, this website & app, allows you to set budgets for different monthly spending, and tracks your purchases to keep you in budget. It can be annoying, but I use the calculator on my phone to keep a running total of everything I put in my cart. I aslo round up, so I am sure to stay on budget, or come in under budget- Bonus!!
2. Enroll in Store's Saving/club card. There are tons of savings throughout the store just for club members. Club cards also keep track of what you buy, and print out coupons at the register based on your habits. Don't forget to shop the weekly circular too, it'll help you plan... which leds me to #3.
3. Plan out weekly/daily meals- this work whether you enjoy or hate cooking. Planning out your meals prevents expensive surprises with take-out dinners, eat-out lunches, and on-the-go breakfasts. Making sure you have your favorite coffee and breakfast food in your house, could save you upwards of $150 a month. Packing a couple of lunches each week could save you over $80 a month. Now, you just need to decide how much money you want to save!
4. Clip coupons. Don't be a coupon snob, everyone can do it, and does do it! I'm not saying "extreme couponing" with stock-piles and products you don't like or use. I'm suggesting clipping coupons from the Sunday newspaper or from online to save money on the brands and products you prefer to use. You'd be surprised, a few coupons on certain items can save you quite a bit, especially because most stores double coupons- Double bonus!!
5. Buy Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables. They are usually on sale, and taste the best because they are in season. We run through fresh produce, especailly fruit, but by buying fruit in season I am able to keep our fridge stocked with fresh produce. I also don't over buy, I hate throwing out produce gone bad, so I'll only buy 3 apples sometimes, if that means they will get eaten.
6. Meat eater? This is one thing I do try to buy in larger quantities, once or twice a month. I then portion it out and freeze it, so we have it for later in the month. Keep in mind, I only buy meat when it is on sale, and I plan my meals according to whats on sale or already in my freezer.
7. Don't forget the toilet paper! Yes, you need to budget for this too, and all other houshold cleanng products. I usually plan these into my shopping trips which don't include a lot of meat. I also buy them from other locations besides my local grocery store. I check around to see who has toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, etc on sale. Sometimes, I stock up when it is on sale, for the rainy day when we run out, and I don't have extra room in the budget to replenish the household items... Everyone needs toilet paper!
8. Beware of the Wholesale-Bulk stores. Most of the time, just because it comes in bulk, doesn't meant it's a good deal. Many times it's more, i.e. My local wholesale place had my favorite paper towels fpr $17.99/24 pk, my local grocery store had the same brand, same pack for $13.99 after club card savings. No brainer, right?
I personally try to buy 75-80% of our hosehold products and food as organic or earth-friendly. I mostly shop at my local Safeway, but I do not hesitate to shop around. I also budget out 1-2 of my monthly shopping trips at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. However, I try to have an idea of the average price of items we eat and use, so that way I can pick up something if I see it's a great deal. I do try to stock up on my non-perishables when they are on sale, again for those times when the grocery budget is a little leaner than usual. Even some of the richest people shop on a budget, that's how they stay rich. Saving money is healthy living for the Soul, and of course eating healthy is great for the Self! Everyone can eat healthy, by shopping smart and staying on budget! Try some of my tips and watch the savings talley up on your next grocery bill, Happy & Healthy Shopping!