To the budget and nutritious-conscious shopper, a trip to the grocery store can quickly turn into a deep money pit. It doesn’t help that healthy staples often get a bad reputation for having hefty price tags, leaving many to wonder: is it really possible to save money without subsisting on Kraft Dinner Easy Mac and Ramen?
Although granola bars and Lean Cuisine are among the stereotypical staples for twenty-somethings living on their own, grocery shopping doesn’t have to be a nightmare for the frugally fit. The key is strategic planning. Some basic nutritional knowledge, combined with secrets of how supermarkets operate, can turn a dreaded chore into an enjoyable component of a healthy lifestyle. Read on to learn more about smart shopping.
1. Wait For Wednesday: About half of retailers update their sales circulars for the upcoming week on Wednesdays, explains Gord Crowson, senior vice president at MyGroceryDeals.com. Not only will most sale items be in stock on Wednesday, but shopping that night will lead to more reduced prices on perishable goods such as meat, fruit, veggies, baked goods and seafood. Don’t worry, these are good as long as they are frozen or eaten soon after purchase.
2. Frequent The Frozen Aisle: Produce is flash-frozen when ripeness and nutritional content are at their prime to preserve flavor and health benefits. Buying fruits and veggies frozen is an inexpensive way to make nutritious meals during any season.
3. Plan A Menu: It seems time-consuming, but a sure way to overspend at the grocery store is to wander the aisles, mindlessly tossing items in the cart. Prevent this by planning what to eat during the week beforehand then write a list of ingredients and stick to it. Need ideas? Check out these recipes for Chicken Fiesta Salad, Portabella Pizzas, Savory Baked Apples and Bacon and Butternut Pasta. (Warning: some of these serve more than one, so be careful with measurements)
4. Buy Store Brand: These products are often 15 to 20 percent cheaper than popular name brands. It’s tough to taste the difference, especially in staples, such as frozen produce or dried beans, rice and pasta.
5. Pass On Packaging: The more fresh meats and vegetables are packaged, the higher their overall cost. Meats cut into smaller portions are about 60% more expensive than larger pieces that can be chopped and frozen at home. Fruits and veggies are also cheaper when purchased whole as opposed to pre-cut.
6. Never Shop Hungry: For those who hit the supermarket on an empty stomach, the entire store looks like an irresistible slice of pizza. Avoid overspending by eating a healthy snack before heading out.
Happy shopping, Feather Girls!