DON’T shop at bougie health stores unless you have a trust fund or make more than $70,000 a year.
DO imagine how cool it would be to only spend $50 per week on food.
DO read ingredients lists.
DON’T be fooled by Tropicana’s orange juice that has 50% less calories and sugar. It is now 50% orange juice and 50% water. Add your own water, fool!
DO pull a product from the back of the shelf to get the latest expiration date.
DO buy non-dairy milk sometimes, like almond or coconut, because it’s better for you, costs about a dollar, and doesn’t go bad for like a year.
DON’T buy your vitamins at the grocery store. Amazon.com is way cheaper.
DON’T buy groceries when you’re hungover, hungry, or sad.
DON’T get stuck in the self-checkout. You are buying lots of vegetables and it will be hard.
DO learn to know and love Trader Joe’s if you live close to one.
DO buy a little bit of chocolate if you are running low at home. And if you like milk chocolate more than the healthier dark chocolate, then buy it!
DO write out a list prior to heading to the store and don’t leave it at home. Or, even better, get a grocery list app on your phone!
DON’T get lured into buying sushi or chicken strips from the deli.
DO bring your own bag(s).
DO read this before buying Oreos.
DO splurge on really good produce, and balance it in your budget by going to restaurants less.
DO buy bananas every time you go to the store. They’re practically free, and super filling.
DON’T buy cosmetics and toiletries unless you need them immediately. These can also be purchased at a discount and in bulk from Amazon.com.
DO remember that there are no regulations on products being labeled as ‘natural.’ Natural does not equal healthy. A squirrel is natural. A chicken that got its beak cut off and was farmed in tiny cage is natural.
DON’T let keywords fool you. Of course those tortilla chips are gluten-free. It’s corn.
DON’T buy strawberries in January when they are half white, half red.
DO buy produce that’s in season. A mango is designed to cool your body off in hot climates. You have no business eating one in January.
DO get comfortable with the “natural foods” section of your supermarket. There’s the word “natural” again, but remember, this is the aisle where you’ll find better quality eggs, organic or non-dairy ice-cream, and a-little-bit-better-for-you coffee creamer.
DO buy some healthy frozen dinners for emergencies.
DO go check out some farmers’ markets.
DO maybe get some Top Ramen for emergencies ,but know it’ll be used sparingly.
DON’T think something is healthy just because it’s vegan. Wonder Bread is vegan.
DO buy Dave’s Killer Bread. The company has gone national.
DO buy wine on sale, or online at near-wholesale prices.
DON’T spend more than $10 on any single item unless it’s fish or maybe a big bag of pistachios.
DON’T forget to buy stamps.
DO have an idea of how much money you want to spend when going grocery shopping, and don’t let your total be $82 because you found some anti-aging face cream and chocolate-covered almonds.
DO some inventory of what you already have in your kitchen. Have some quinoa in your pantry and peanut sauce in your fridge? Cool, all you need to get for dinner is broccoli.
DO buy some crunchy, preferably organic peanut butter for emergencies, but don’t spend $8 on it. That’s silly.
DO wear yoga pants and sneakers to the store so you feel sporty and more inclined to buy a bag of spinach.
DON’T buy kale if you don’t want to. It doesn’t matter how easy and delicious your friend’s baked kale chips recipe is. It’s not like Vitamin A is hard to get elsewhere.
DO buy a couple sweet potatoes. Like bananas, they’re practically free and microwave to perfection in about 6 minutes.
DO write your grocery list by the section each item can be found in the store, especially if you shop at one of those SUPER supermarkets that are a mile long.
Most importantly, DO whateva’ you want, lady. And DO add your own to these tips because most of them are personal and absurd! You’re a strong, bossy, fit, working woman. Let grocery shopping EMPOWER you, not send you into a panic.
Theresa Healey writes the blog You Do The Math.