How do you save money on groceries used to be a question I asked myself all of the time!
Whether you're shopping at your local grocery store or a high-end market, you've likely experienced a grocery bill that wasn't exactly what you were expecting.
That's why as a nutrition coach who specifically helps people eat healthy on a budget, I knew that tackling this problem was essential for my community. Because if you don't feel like you have the budget to eat healthy, you're not going to.
If you've been frustrated with how expensive it is to eat healthy, you're going to love this post, where I share my top 5 money-saving grocery tips! Click through to watch.
5 Money-Saving Grocery Tips With No Coupon Cutting Required!
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for couponing. If you're like me you've likely forgotten to bring the coupons you spent hours clipping with you to the grocery store or that app you downloaded with all the coupons you spent collecting doesn't work at the checkout.
That's why my approach to saving hundreds of dollars on my grocery bill entails practicing a few simple habits. Here are five of my favorite:
1. Shop Your Pantry First.
If you've been following me for a while, you know that I talk heavily about the importance of using what's in your pantry. The reason is that often I hear clients say that they don't have anything to eat in their homes, which often translates into I don't have anything convenient to eat in my home.
For many of us (myself included) that have enjoyed the luxury of being able to easily grab fast food, coronavirus put a pause on that. So, learning how to prepare healthy meals using what's already in your kitchen is going to be key not only for the pandemic but for years to come.
So, one simple thing that you can do is by taking an inventory of what's in your kitchen and googling "what to cook with [insert food item]" and you will likely get thousands of different recipes to choose from. You might not have every single ingredient in that recipe in your kitchen, but you can at least reduce your grocery bill by starting with what you already have on hand.
2. Shop Sales.
Now onto my second favorite thing to do - shop the sales! I know there are some with strong opinions about this because sometimes things that are marked "on-sale" are actually not that much cheaper. That is true, which is why I love looking for things like "managers special" and keeping track of the prices of my favorite items.
If there are a few things that you know you and your family buy often, you're going to notice when it goes on sale. When those items are self-stable or can be easily frozen, I highly recommend stocking up on what you can.
This is especially important when you're thinking of planning your meals ahead of time, (which we'll get into more detail on that in a second). By shopping for the things on sale versus choosing a random recipe you're creating your grocery list with your budget in mind. That means when you get to the checkout you're less likely to experience that sticker shock when you see your grocery total.
3. Plan for Leftovers.
For anyone that grew up with "Sunday" dinner, you know the drill all too well that what is cooking on Sunday is likely what you're going to be eating all well. So leftovers aren't anything new or groundbreaking. Just because you know to do it, doesn't mean you are doing it.
Hence whenever I'm working with a client, I'm all about helping them plan for leftovers when it comes to meals and snacks. Especially those, like me that actually don't like to cook, but do like to eat and save money. Leftovers are what will easily enable you to do.
This is not to say that you won't get bored at times and want to eat out. The great part about planning for leftovers that can be frozen is that if you decide you really don't want to eat what you planned for dinner you don't have to. Just freeze it for later and enjoy whatever meal you want without guilt that you're letting food go to waste.
4. Shop Online.
From Thrive Market to Instacart, the options for shopping online for groceries are plentiful. While you might not be exactly thrilled to wait for things to get shipped to your home or have strangers shop for your groceries, there is a level of convenience that comes with shopping online
For those with very limited time on their hands, shopping online is a great way for you to reduce the need (and desire) to dine out. When you have food at home, you're more than likely going to eat it.
Let's be honest, you have to eat. If the choice is skipping a meal because there is nothing to eat in your house or driving to the closest fast-food spot, I think we all know what choice you're going to make. So, let's make it less convenient to get on the road again.
5. Shop Different Grocery Stores.
Last, but certainly not least one of the most effective strategies that I've personally used to save money is shopping at different grocery stores. When I first moved to Massachusetts, I shopped at the same grocery store by my house because it was convenient. That's until I discovered how much I could be saving if I shopped at another grocery store that was a little further away.
If you're like me, you're not likely going to be shopping at multiple stores for every shopping trip. What you can do is focus on getting certain ingredients from certain stores. For instance, the store that is further away is where I tend to stock up monthly on items I use more frequently. The store that is closer is where I buy more fresh items that I plan to use that week By doing this you can save money and shop where you'll get the best bang for your buck!
Although you certainly don't need to use all of these habits, just implementing one or two can help you save hundreds of dollars a year. I can't wait to hear which ones you try!