- Use coupons
Using coupons does not mean that you have to become a crazy coupon lady… unless you want to of course. I was deterred from using coupons for the longest time because of sorting through all of the papers to find the best ones. The few times I had went through the effort to cut out paper coupons, I would stick them in my purse but forget to actually use them at checkout. Super helpful, right?… Well, now with the beauty of grocery store apps, you can “clip” coupons on your phone & the discounts are automatically loaded to your rewards card. As a Kroger shopper, I scroll through the coupons on the app before shopping, clip them, & watch my total drop at checkout.
Tip: sometimes it may be tempting to buy a product because of a killer deal. Buy one get one free does always sound enticing. But before going for the deal, evaluate if it’s worth it & if you’ll actually use the product.
- Buy at bulk stores
Shopping at bulk & membership stores can also save you lots by the end of the year. I am fortunate to have several options of bulk stores in my area so I like to go to Sam’s club & Winco. Sam’s is a huge money saver when it comes to the meat department. I notice Sam’s having higher quality meats & I spend about half the amount. It’s a win win!
At Winco, I like to fill my jars with spices, grains, & baking ingredients. As we know, spices can have a pretty price attached to them & part of that is because you’re paying for the packaging container as well. Buy your own spice containers & fill them where they sell in bulk for a fraction of the price. As an added perk, purchasing your own spice containers can help with pantry organization. It’s definitely helped my pantry.
- Meal plan
What do you think of when you hear meal planning?? For myself, I would automatically get this picture in my head of a rigid food schedule that has to be followed to a T. I have a hard time operating in strict structure & schedules so that intimidated me to put it in action. However, I’ve learned that meal planning does not have to be so rigid. Meal planning can look different from person to person whether its having a detail-oriented meal schedule or simply having a loose plan or idea of what your making throughout the week.
For some weeks I’ll just plan out what meats we’re going to have for dinners & then pair with a starch & veggie that’s on sale. Other times I do prep more in detail if there are certain recipes I want to make, but our meals often end up being most of the time our meals are inspired by the weekly sales & clearance bins!
Tip: Check the clearance bins because you never know what your going to find. I’ve found so many gems on clearance that I would’ve never bought otherwise. I have to say, the clearance bins are my happy corners at grocery stores.
- Buy off brands
Don’t be afraid to veer from the top brands you see commercials & ads for. For a lot of products there is a store brand of the same item with a lower cost. There may be exceptions in having preference to certain brands, however, items like cheese, cereal, & canned foods are often times on par with the same quality as name brands. One of my exceptions is yogurt. I love Fage yogurt & im stickin to it. You can also weigh the cost & enjoyment. If you greatly enjoy the pricier brand more, by all means get it.
- Shop seasonally
I love shopping seasonally! It is so fun to experience the seasonal changes through food & taste the flavors of a new part of the year. You’ll buy produce at cheaper costs when shopping seasonally because those current crops are being harvested. Availability is not as slim increasing availability and dropping the prices.
Not only are prices lower, but by shopping seasonally you’ll caught the produce at its peak which is the tastiest time to enjoy. Sometimes ther’re recipes that I want to make but know that those produce items aren’t in season for another month or so. Instead of buying the ingredients anyway, I’ll hold off until they are on sale which gives me something to look forward to. The weekly ad for stores reflect the seasonal items in store so make sure to check out the ad before shopping.
A budget friendly diet is not always about buying the cheapest of the cheap. Food is meant to be enjoyed & savored as well so make sure that you fill your cart with items the you are excited to try & enjoy!