5 Ways to Shop Healthy on a Budget
In a previous, less hectic time of my life, some may have rightly labeled me a semi-”extreme couponer”. I would spend hours comparing store prices, clipping coupons, and driving all around town for deals. But, then life circumstances changed, and I no longer had time for all of that. BUT, some habits stuck and I have found them easy to implement even in the busiest of times – so, I’ll share those tips with you!
Make a Plan.
This one may seem a bit obvious, but is probably the hardest to implement. Making a plan requires you to sit down and think. And then get up and check current on hand supplies. And then think some more. But, taking 10 minutes to plan will save you oodles of time (and money) later.
Step 1: Plan your breakfasts – I like to keep this simple by eating the same breakfast each day and batch preparing for the week. Overnight oats are an absolute favorite of mine.
Step 2: Plan your lunches – Again, I keep this simple and consistent. A regular option for me is 2 packs of StarKist Selects Tuna with a bag of Birds Eye Superfood Blends Quinoa & Spinach (frozen). Find what works for you and your family, and make sure you have enough for the week.
Step 3: Plan your snacks – Same as before, figure out 1-2 daily snacks that are easy to prepare and transport, in case you need to eat on the go. My favorites are Perfect Bars (refrigerated), Fage Greek Yogurt with berries and granola, or an apple and cheese stick.
Step 4: Plan your dinners – This is what may take the most time, as most people don’t care for eating the same thing every day. I like to plan about 4 meals each week, planning to make enough of a couple to have for leftovers on another night. Find lots of quick and easy recipes on our website.
Step 5: Make a list – Take the recipes (or ingredients lists) with you to your fridge, freezer and pantry to see which items you already have, making a list of what you need.
Use a Grocery Service.
Once I have my list prepared, the surest way for me to NOT spend extra money buying things I don’t need is to use an online grocery pick-up service. Simply go on the store’s website, place your order for the things you need, and pick up at the designated time. It saves you time and money, and likely saves you some stress as well (especially if you have to shop with kids)! I enjoy using Walmart’s Grocery Pick Up for this, as it’s free, convenient, and their prices are pretty hard to beat.
Shop Sales to Stock Up.
In addition to my weekly grocery pick up, I keep an eye on weekly sales from a local grocery store for items that I use regularly. Now, unless you have tons of time, I would resist the urge to look at ALL the circulars. Instead, pick one store you like and follow it each week. For me, that’s Publix. Some items they tend to put on sale regularly, making them lower than the Walmart price include: meats, frozen vegetables and blends, Perfect Bars, wine, kombucha, etc. BOGO sales are the best for stocking up, and I also love their gas card coupons (I know I said no coupons, but this one is in the store, so it really doesn’t count…right?).
One of the biggest issues we have at my house with food waste is letting vegetables spoil on the counter. An easy way to help prevent this (and to save time chopping) is to buy frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious (and sometimes more so) than fresh, and are often priced cheaper – and they don’t have to be used immediately! Easy way to save money in the short and long term.
Use Rebate Apps.
Rebate apps are an easy way to save without clipping coupons. The way they work is that you pay for the items upfront, and then get cash back after the purchase. There are several of these apps available, but Ibotta is the one I use most frequently. It tends to offer rebates on more healthy food options than other apps I’ve seen, and makes claiming your rebates easy! Just by using the app and buying things already on my list, I’ve earned an easy $280 in rebates.
These are my top 5 tips for saving money while shopping healthy – without taking up too much extra time. Do you have any other favorite tips? If so, I’d love to hear them!