Do you want to start eating healthier, but you’re already spending too much money on groceries and just don’t see how it is possible? I was right where you are not too long ago. My husband and I were always going over budget on groceries… every single week, without fail. Something HAD to change, which meant we needed to reel in our grocery spending.
Around the same time, I really wanted to start eating healthier, and that desire could not have come at the most inconvenient time. I did not know how I was going to transition to a healthier lifestyle AND reel in our grocery spending at the same time. I was 99% sure that it was not possible.
Even though I felt like I was setting myself up for failure, and many more weeks of going over budget, I decided to take the leap anyway. I really… and I mean… really wanted to start getting healthier. There was no way around it… I had to change the way I was eating.
I feel like some of y’all are where I was at the time. You want to start eating healthier, but you are already overspending on groceries, and have no clue how buying healthier foods will fit into your budget. The good thing is that even though eating healthy CAN be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. It is possible to eat healthy without having to spend a lot of money. I want to share some tips that I’ve learned, along the way, that helps me to keep my grocery budget in check, allows me to eat healthy and enjoy the foods that I am eating.
#1 Meal Plan
It’s inevitable that we will spend more money if we do not have a plan for what we will be eating. Meal planning saves us money because it forces us to make a plan for what our family will be eating for the week. That way we are not left pulling into the nearest drive-through or aimlessly walking through the grocery store multiple times a week, without a plan. For tips on meal planning check out the post Meal Prep For Beginners: 8 Tips To Simplify Meal Prep.
#2 Plan Less Dinners
When I am meal planning I always plan 1-2 meals less than what we need. For example: If my husband and I are going out to dinner one night during the week I will plan out 5 dinners instead of 7. If we are not planning on going out to dinner at any point during the week I will plan out 6 dinners instead of 7. Basically, one meal less than what we technically need, because I have found that if I plan dinners for all 7 days of the week, we have too much food and it ends up going bad in the refrigerator. By only planning 5-6 dinners per week we have the opportunity to eat leftovers and not have food go to waste.
#3 Use A Grocery Pick-Up Service
I often set up grocery pick-up for the week. If you have not heard of grocery pick-up its where you go onto a company’s website, order all of your groceries, pay, and set up a pick-up day and time. On the specific day and time that you choose, you simply go to the store, call the store from the parking lot, and they will bring your groceries out and load them in your car for you. It’s super easy to do and it’s convenient. When I set up grocery pick-up, I order exactly what I need and I am not tempted to buy things that I do not need. The specific grocery pick-up service that I use is free, so it’s really a no-brainer for me!
#4 Shop Only Once Per Week
I used to be the person that was at the grocery store at least three nights out of the week. The more times you go to the grocery store the more money you will ultimately spend. You also open yourself up to impulse buys. I remember in the past whenever we would run out of something in the middle of the week I would run to the store to get it. What ended up happening was I would not only pick up what I went to the store for, but I would buy at least 1 extra item that I would not have bought that day if I was not already in the store. Going to the store multiple times a week is the easiest way to go over budget. One way to keep the grocery budget down is to shop only once a week and stick to that. If you run out of something, get creative and use what you have.
#5 Skip Prechopped Fruits and Vegetables
Although convenient, prechopped fruits and vegetables can cost about 3-4 times more than just buying the fruit or vegetable whole and cutting it up yourself. We used to buy pre-chopped fruits and vegetables all of the time until I realized just how much more we were paying for them. Yes, it can be a bit time consuming if you are doing it all by hand, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
#6 Buy Store Brand
When you are trying to save money it’s a good idea to go with store brands in most cases. Store brand products are generally cheaper. Stores are able to offer lower prices for store brand products because they don’t have to pay for marketing costs that larger brands do. The quality of store brands is generally the same as its name brand equivalent but without the added cost.
#7 Eat Breakfast For Dinner One Day A Week
By having breakfast for dinner one night a week you can save money because breakfast items are usually pretty cheap. For instance: it’s much cheaper to have an egg and vegetable scramble, with turkey bacon and toast than it would be to have roasted chicken, potatoes, and a side salad. Having breakfast for dinner once a week can really help to lower your grocery bill.
#8 Buy Frozen Instead Of Fresh
When trying to save money a lot of the time it is a lot cheaper to buy frozen fruits and vegetables, instead of fresh if that particular fruit or vegetable is not in season. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh and in some cases even fresher because they are frozen when they are the freshest and ripest. Just be sure to read the ingredient list on the back of the package to make sure that there are no additives. For instance: if you are looking for green beans make sure that the only ingredient is green beans. If you are looking for strawberries make sure the only ingredient is strawberries.
#9 Keep it simple
When you first start trying to eat healthier it can be tempting to want to try a lot of elaborate meals that require tons of overpriced ingredients, that just don’t fit in the budget. Healthy food can taste really good, without it being extravagant. Fancy ingredients add up, and in most cases are just not necessary. Sometimes spicing things up is fun, but when you are trying to save money, keeping things simple and using reasonably priced ingredients is the way to go. It doesn’t take crazy expensive ingredients for something to be considered healthy.
Transiting to a healthy lifestyle does not have to be stressful or throw you off course financially. Hopefully, I was able to convince you that healthy eating does not have to be expensive because it really doesn’t. You just have to be focused and shop smarter. If you use just two or three of these tips every time you go grocery shopping you’ll be shocked at how much money you will save. Which of these tips do you think you’ll try first?