Do you feel like every time you go to the grocery store you spend half your paycheck and leave with like one bag of oranges, or is that just me?
I love eating healthy (relatively), but how can we make our money go a little bit further without resorting to ramen noodles and chips every night? Here are some tips I've found helpful:
1. Don't shop while hungry.
Make sure you at least have a snack before you head to the market. This may sound silly, but studies show we are more likely make impulse buys and spend more when we shop for food when we're hungry.
2. Always shop with a list.
I know if I go grocery shopping without a game plan, I'm going to end up buying my favorite trash foods. If you don't have a list, you'll get lazy and complacent and probably make bad choices. For me, that means ice cream and frozen pizzas. If you know exactly what you need at the market, you'll be less tempted to buy things that aren't on your list.
3. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables.
Did you know Americans throw away half of all produce? This is outrageous and it's not only an expensive waste, but to me it feels morally wrong. I've found that by purchasing frozen bags of vegetables and fruits, I'm able to save money and reduce my waste. Frozen fruits and veggies are great because they're generally picked at peak freshness and they're just as healthy as their thawed counterparts. Obviously, I'm talking about frozen produce that doesn't have anything added...those frozen strawberries soaked in sugary syrup are delicious but excluded from this tip. If you're a meat eater, also consider buying meat when it's on sale and then freezing it for use at a later time. Your freezer is truly your greatest money saving tool.
4. Always buy generic.
Particularly with kitchen staples (i.e. sugar, flour, cereals, etc.) you don't need to spend the extra money on the brand names. Go for the generic versions which are generally found above or below your eye-level (the most expensive items are always at eye-level!)
5. Use couponing apps and the store's circular to find the best deals.
RIght before you enter the grocery store there should be a stack of this week's circulars. Just like your grandma used to do, pick one up and take a gander to find the best deals. You may also want to check out couponing apps like SnipSnap, Yowza, or Coupon Sherpa (I don't have any affiliation with these apps, I just recommend tools based on my own research!)
We can all do better at the grocery store. With a few minor adjustments to our shopping habits, we can save hundreds each year. Remember, small changes pile up!