How do you shop for healthy groceries on a budget? And stop throwing your money away while you’re at it too?
I say this because; every time I was about to “start eating healthy again,” I was walking in then out of the grocery store, having spent way more than I needed to. I mean there I was again picking up and buying anything and everything that I didn’t need. Random snacks I’ve never tried, pricey “healthy food,” AH the list is endless, and I repeat, pricey.
I never realized how much money I was spending on groceries until I finally hit rock bottom with my finances, like zero dollars to my name rock bottom… Yeah!
And the way I bought groceries drastically changed because I had no choice.
So, if you’re still telling yourself that eating healthy and getting in shape is too expensive, I’ve got you covered. I’m not going to tell you to stop buying everything you enjoy. But I will share with you what worked for me and help you save some cash on your next grocery bill.
(update: I paid off $36,000 worth of student loans & credit card debt and became debt free nine months after starting my debt-free journey )
Plan simple meals and Always have staple items on hand
Having to work two jobs, six days a week with three 12 hours days while trying to pay off my debt meant I wanted to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen.
And flexible dieting really helped me stick to my budget because I found a better way to shop and cook my meals for the week. I stopped thinking I had to make exotic recipes and spend crazy money on expensive snacks, drinks, or foods.
So here’s my tip, having the essentials is key—protein, carbs, and fats. Make sure to have at least 2 of each to give yourself variety throughout the week.
For protein, you can have Tofu and Shrimp.
Carbs, you can have sweet potatoes and rice + 2 different veggies.
And for fats, you can have nuts and avocados.
Trust me when I tell you that your recipes will also start to get creative. Yeah, maybe you’ll have broccoli and avocado the entire week, but you’ll be able to turn one dish into an entirely different one another day.
Oh, and you want to make sure to have a variety of seasonings on hand. They make simple budget meals go a long way.
Grab a Weekly AD
I’m a huge fan of saving time and money. And over the past couple of years shopping from the weekly ad really, Did That!
So if you always walk right past those weekly ads they have at the front of the store, turn around and take a look at it before you start shopping, or you can even check it out online before you head to the grocery store.
The weekly ad cuts the time I spend in the grocery store in half because I spend less time trying to plan what I’m going to eat for the next two weeks and base my meals around what’s on special. Plus this way you won’t get bored with your meals because when the ad changes, so do your meals. It’s also a great way to experiment with new recipes and open up to trying new foods.
Don’t Buy in Bulk
I know this sounds contrary to what you would normally think. And yes, it makes sense to buy in bulk, but not always. Before you buy in bulk, ask yourself who you’re buying groceries for. Are you just one, or are you also cooking for your family? Do you really need this much of something right now?
This usually goes for fresh fruits and vegetables. So, if you buy fresh fruits & veggies, but don’t think you’ll get to them before they expire, slice them up and store them in the freezer. They taste just as good.
Rotate Your Veggies
Remember we talked about that weekly ad? I’m bringing it up again because it really is the holy grail! Is broccoli on this week’s specials? I guess oven-roasted broccoli, broccoli stir fry, and maybe a broccoli salad is on the menu this week.
This is what I mean when I say you will get to experiment making different recipes with the same ingredients, and whatever you don’t use, toss it in the freezer.
Wash Your Vegetables and Fruits asap
After a day out of fighting for a parking spot at the grocery store, roaming through aisles of people standing around reading nutrition labels, and carrying five grocery bags on each hand from the car to your home (because one trip is all it takes), you’re exhausted. And all you want to do is finish eating the snack the rode shotgun on the way home.
But before you plant yourself on the couch, you need to wash your vegetables and fruits.
As soon as you get home, fill up your sink with water, dump all your veggies in there with a veggie cleaner, or make your own with vinegar and lemon juice.
Listen, washing your vegetable asap is very important because you’ll be more likely to cook and eat your veggies if you’ve already washed them. I can’t tell you how many times I threw money down the drain by letting my veggies expire. Yes, blame it on being lazy.
Buy Canned Goods
If you’re looking to save money while getting fit, canned goods can be your best bet. Should you buy dry beans or canned beans? Dry beans are going to be the cheaper option, but the amount of free time you have will determine your decision. Be realistic with the amount of time you have to spend in the kitchen.
At the moment, canned beans and chickpeas are my go-to. One reason being that I don’t know how to cook chickpeas and am scared I will waste them and my time.
If this sounds like you, it’s ok to buy canned goods.
Just when you thought to put your health off because ‘”it’s too expensive,” you stand corrected. I completely get it though, trust me. I use to haul all the unnecessary “healthy” foods at the grocery store.
But hey a girls gotta pay off these student loans. And simplifying grocery shopping feels a lot better once you get better at not buying things you don’t need.
Plan simple meals and shop through your local grocery stores weekly ad to cash in on savings. I hope these tips helped put money back in your pocket and you’ll never go back to paying for overpriced groceries.
Let me know if you’re someone who thinks you have to break the bank to get fit?
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