“The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations.” ~Jacob Lew
When you veer off to the right or left in almost every grocery store, you are encountered with the healthiest options in the store- the fruits and vegetables. Scanning through all of the delicious options of fresh herbs, on sale mangoes and not quite ripe bananas, one knows this is where they should start filing their carts.
Yet pesky numbers start filling one’s head before they even get started reaching for the first fruit. One hasn’t even accounted for the grains, meats and dairies that will also need to fill the cart to create a balanced diet. You could buy a head of broccoli, but for the same amount you could buy an entire bag of chips! Soon you find yourself skimping on this section to make sure you have enough money for the rest of the store.
We all know that eating healthy is often seemingly not the most affordable option, but there are ways to try to navigate healthier eating on a budget. Here are five tips to assist you in creating a more manageable grocery list chock full of healthy foods.
- Buy In Bulk
The upfront cost of buying in bulk can serve as a major barrier to entry for many individuals, but it can save you a ton of money. Especially buy non-perishable items like rice, dry beans, oats and spices are a great way to get the best bang for your buck. Learn to regularly integrate these cheap and easy dry ingredients into your meals on a regular basis to save tons of money.
Pro tip: Make sure you don’t waste money on buying bulk amounts of food that you want use in time, because this is an easy to go wrong with bulk shopping.
- Shop VitaCost, Vine and Other Online Vendors
The world of online shopping expanded the amount of retailers we have to choose from when it comes to buying food. Comparing and contrasting costs, shopping sales and considering memberships to websites can make a huge dent in creating a feasible budget for grocery stores. As a bonus, having groceries shipped right to your door is already a nice change of pace from the usual.
Pro Tip: Subscribe to your favorite food website and always have an eye out for bargains on foods that you would buy anyways.
- Skip Pre-Made Snack Foods
While non-whole snack foods may seem like they are cheaper than regular foods, they are often filled with empty, non-filling calories. Let’s be honest, who couldn’t sit down and eat a whole bag of potato chips without feeling full? These often addictive and unhealthy foods often cause us to overeat and skip out on healthier options. Once you stop keeping these types of snacks around, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to just forget about them all together.
Pro Tip: Keep other easy snack foods around like nuts, salad, bananas, cheese, oats, granola and bread for quick and easy snacks.
- Waste Not, Want Not
Every single time you end up wasting food is money thrown into the trashcan. Whether you are letting food go bad, not eating left overs or eating more than you need, it all results in burning a lot of money. Make sure you buy only what you need and be mindful of any waste that occurs to avoid it in the future.
Pro Tip: When fruit is about to go bad you can throw it in the freezer then use it in a smoothie later. This will serve as a natural ice cube to your smoothie while adding nutrients.
- Shop By What’s On Sale
Often people go to the grocery story with a meal planned out in their head. Instead it is a better idea to go to the grocery store with an eye out for sales. This way you can base a meal around the sales rather than paying extra for any ingredients. While this may only save you a small amount of money at the grocery store, over time this saved money will quickly add up!
Pro Tip: Do not buy snacks or unhealthy items just due to the fact they are on sale. Grocery stores are always trying to reel people in into unhealthy items like chips by offering great bargains! Learn to say no to a deal on unhealthy foods, no matter how much of a bargain it is.