Despite what many people may think, healthy eating doesn’t need to be expensive. Check out these tips for eating healthier and still sticking to your budget!
Plan Menus and Make a List
Bring a list to the market to avoid buying foods you don’t need and making last-minute trips to the store to pick up forgotten items. Check the store circular and your pantry. Build your menu around foods you already have on hand and what is on sale at the store where you shop. Look for menu planning and recipe help on your supermarket’s website.
Use Coupons and Rewards Cards
Did you know the Sunday inserts in your local paper contain $50 to $75 worth of coupons? Clipping coupons can save you 10 to 15 percent on your grocery bill. Also consider joining your supermarket’s shopper’s club. Not only will you enjoy price specials, but you may receive additional coupons for items you purchase printed on the back of your receipt.
Purchase Store Brands
Private-label brands often are 15 to 20 percent less expensive than national brand counterparts, and you may not even notice a difference in quality. These products may be cheaper than buying a brand-name product with a coupon.
Buy on Sale and in Bulk
Cruising the aisles for sales on shelf-stable items or products you use regularly is a great way to save money. Buy larger quantities if you have space to store them and you can use them before they spoil. Examples include rice and dry pasta (whole-grain varieties), canned beans, frozen and canned vegetables (no salt added), frozen and canned fruit (canned in their own juice), ready-to-eat cereals and hot cereal such as oatmeal, and canned tuna or salmon.
Start on the Perimeter
Fresh produce, meats, dairy and breads tend to be on the outer perimeter of supermarkets, so start there before hitting the inner aisles. These foods will give you more nutrients for your money.
Shop Seasonally and Locally
Fresh produce often costs less when it’s in season and local. Try visiting a local farmers market or roadside produce stand or joining a produce club to take advantage of seasonal fruits and veggies.
Store Foods for Optimal Use
Use dating information (“sell by” and “best used by”) to select the freshest foods at the market. Once you’re home, store foods so that the oldest will be used first. Put cold and frozen foods in your shopping cart last, and store them right away in the refrigerator and freezer. Freeze leftovers if they will not be consumed within two to three days.