On this week’s episode of Making It Work, one woman explained how she cut her household budget in half while still eating healthy. Her main tactics: shopping your pantry, creating the right kind of list, and cutting a few certain “indulgence” items for the month. If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out below:
There are, of course, a few cardinal rules of grocery shopping. Don’t go to the store hungry, and always make a list! But everyone has different tactics for keeping food costs low while still eating well. Just because you’re limited to a certain budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice eating satisfying, tasty meals. We decided to reach out to the greater TFD community for more tips on grocery shopping on a budget. Below are our favorite tips for saving money on groceries, and be sure to head over to Twitter to see even more!
1. “Bulk rice, frozen grilled chicken strips, and eggs by the 5 dozen keep us fed forever. The combinations are endless with cheap veggies and spices/condiments.” – Caitlyn
2. “Shop the perimeter (home of real food), and Aldi has cut my grocery bill in half.” – Taylor
3. “Probably will catch flack for this, but stock up on the processed stuff during BOGO sales. Keep frozen pizzas in the freezer. Maybe not the healthiest, but it’s way cheaper than grabbing fast food or ordering delivery when you’re out of energy.” – Josh
4. “Not everyone has one available, but I LOVE going to Sprouts and buying as much of the bulk items I need as possible. So, if I’m making a cake, I only buy the amount of flour I need instead of a big bag I likely won’t use again for a while. It’s cheaper per pound & less wasteful!” – Yaya
5. “Make a list make a list make a list! And don’t get sucked into buying stuff that isn’t on it…” – Melanie
6. “Schedule allowing, take smaller, more frequent trips to the store when buying fresh/perishable items. I used to waste so much fresh fruit n veggies because I’d try to ‘stock up’ in one big trip, but couldn’t eat it all before it started to go bad.” – Lyss
7. “Shop alone! If I have my husband or kids with me, the grocery bill goes through the roof!” – The FruGirl
8. “Eat lentils. So cheap.” – Susan
9. “1. Create a menu based on what’s on sale.
2. The freezer is your friend. Make extra and freeze it for busy times.” – Jackie
10. “The pre-made foods at the deli counter (i.e. potato salad or sushi at my HMart) usually go 50% off after 8 pm, so I’ll usually go a little before that. Also building a meal based on what meat or fish is on sale. Cod is always on sale, and you can’t beat Costco’s $5 rotisserie. I’ve learned how to make stir fry, enchiladas, curry, etc. with that chicken.” – Jen
11. “Go in with a list and a full stomach.” – Andrea
12. “Local farmer’s markets give you the chance to shop locally, seasonally, and at a great price. With being flexible on what’s available week to week, staples like fruits, veggies, and dairy products can be a steal.” – Claudia
13. “Meal plan before shopping based on what’s currently in your fridge/pantry/freezer, write a list for the meal plan, only buy what’s on the list :).” – Phia
14. “If you can’t be bothered/don’t have time for full-on meal planning, count portions as you walk around the shops. E.g. dinner is (7 mains + 7 veg + 7 starch x no people in the household) – any days you won’t be cooking.” – Martha
15. “I plan out my recipes based on which ingredients can be recycled. For example, if I need Kale for one recipe, I’ll find another recipe that calls for Kale or can have Kale swapped in.” – Meg
16. “I browse a few recipes on Pinterest, write down a few favorites, dot down the ingredients I’ll need on the notes section of my phone and stick only to the list!” – Lindsay
17. “Just bring a certain amount of cash with you. Then you can’t go over your ideal spending limit and you really think about what you need.” – M
18. “1) Price matching or switching brands for the deal!
2) Being flexible with your grocery list to avoid outrageous prices.
3) Shopping for large packages of ingredients versus single meals of prepared foods.” – Ange
19. “Going only once a month, finishing everything in the pantry before buying new stuff.” – Christine
20. “Sticking to produce and meats almost exclusively, and creating a seasonal-friendly menu before going to the store so you don’t get distracted by the flashy marketing.” – Jessamyn
21. “Sprouts always has great sales, their 72-hour sales are a must. My boyfriend and I always take advantage of those. Produce is not expensive there.” – Janet
22. “Make a list and stick to it, figure out the store best for regular items (e.g. always Costco for maple syrup, granola bars, cheese, etc. and everything else at my local budget grocery).” – Zoe
23. “This is nothing new, but we keep to a list and a budget and buy store brand. Also, this isn’t the main reason we do this, but bringing our own bags helps ensure that we don’t buy more than we can carry.” – Gemmie
24. “Make time to do it right. Use a list and a calculator. Weigh your produce so you know what you’ll have to pay. Understand the taxes. Don’t be embarrassed to ask the cashier to check a price if it’s higher than the sticker and leave it behind/swap it out if it’s too expensive.” – Jill
25. “I only buy veggies for the next few days. I used to bulk buy because cheaper bulk but most ended up rotting so I save money and waste by buying only what I’ll manage to eat while it’s still fresh!” – Zero
26. “Buying online and picking up/getting delivered. You can easily compare prices, not be tempting by a bag of cookies or unnecessary items that are not on your list, and see your total as it is adding up.” – Taylor Anne
27. “I made a list of meals we love & put in a plastic sleeve. Every week we choose meals from that list (for the week or two weeks). Check prior to shopping, so if I am out of specific ingredients I don’t re-buy them, and then I only buy what I need for those meals.” – Paulette
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