Eating Healthy on a Budget, Part One

1)  Make a list
The most basic thing you can do to keep your grocery bill to a minimum is by making a list of the things you need and sticking to it. It sounds simple enough, but when you're actually at the store, the tendency to buy extras can be very tempting. The only time I break this rule is if I forgot to put something we need on the list, or if I see something that is at rock-bottom price.

2)  Shop sales
A mistake many people make is, deciding what meals sound good for that week and making a list to go along with their meal plan. You will end up spending far more than you want, if you take this approach. Instead, take the store's sale ad and draw your meal inspiration from items that are on sale.
--Meat department: only buy the meats that are on sale, and buy the larger family packs. When you get home, divide the packs into individual meal portions and freeze the portions that you are not planning on using right away.
--Produce: You should rarely have to pay full price for produce. Plan to use produce that's in season, and therefore on sale. 
--Shelf stable: Keep an eye out for sales on items that you frequently use, such as condiments. It is frustrating when you run out of Miracle Whip and have to pay full price for it because it is not on sale that week. Instead, if I see that it is on sale (especially if it is B1G1) I buy it and save it for when I need it.
--Dairy: Certain things, such as butter, should be bought when they're on sale, and not when you run out. Keep and eye out for B1G1 sales, and use them for stocking up on things like cheese. With the exception of milk, I rarely pay full price for any dairy item.
--Store brands: Don't be afraid to try store brands. Most stores offer a money back guarantee, and some stores even a double money back guarantee. This way, you won't be wasting any money trying the product, and you will save money in the future if the product is a reasonable substitute to the name brand. Also, many store brand items are actually made by a name brand company but are labeled as a store brand (an opportunity for the brand to have a higher profit margin over competitors).
--Cleaning/laundry/toiletry products: I know these aren't food items, but the savings potential is great. Don't wait until you run out and risk having to pay full price. These items regularly go on sale and there is no reason to ever have to pay full price. Again, B1G1 sales are the time to buy.

I have more tips to share, so keep an eye out for Part Two.

No comments: