With specialty food stores and going organic, eating your best can come at a high price. Luckily, there are tons of actions you can take to not fall into this food trap. It all comes down to planning ahead.
- To get the best value in the food world, start buying in bulk. Bagged apples are cheaper than individual apples and a case of chickpeas at a warehouse store (for fabulous hummus you can make at home) will cost much less than an individual can from your local grocery store.
- Keep a list and plan ahead. You’ve got the menu, now make the list (and stick to it). Budget experts say that making a list and sticking to it can help save you hundreds of a dollars a year on your grocery store bill. Making a list helps in the avoidance of the “impulse” purchases we end up making for products we don’t really need.
- Look for (and only take advantage of) the healthiest grocery deals. Dried beans, nuts, whole grains, lean meats and dairy, and herb products and produce are items that you’ll want to stock up on when a sale occurs in your local store. Meats and whole grain products can be easily frozen for use at a later date.
- Buy generic. In taste tests, consumers rarely tell the difference between the generic options and their brand name favorites. Remember, the most important aspect of your item should be avoidance of the five food felons.
- Go dried when you’re using herbs. The cost difference between fresh parsley, basil, rosemary and thyme is huge. Dried herbs last and provide great flavor to any dish! Another option is to grow your own herbs. You can do it year round with a few pots and some TLC.
- Sign up for a store card. Most grocery stores provide reward cards to customers that can be used to save additional bucks when shopping on certain items, No card, no deal!
- Go green by bringing your own shopping bag (some stores credit you for this) as well as seeking out local produce.
- Forgo convenience. You’ll pay more if you but your food products pre cut, pre-skinned, etc.
- Make more! If you find that a recipe on your 14-day budget menu seems too much for one person, make it anyway and freeze it to enjoy at a later date.