Looking for ways to trim your grocery bill while staying healthy? Eating smart doesn’t have to cost a fortune! Here’s how to eat healthy on a budget. This article is first published on Dishfolio, and shared here because it’s awesome!
Hey friends! You may have noticed a little bit over the last year that I’ve been working on refreshing some of my older content on the blog. There are some great posts that are buried in my blog archives that don’t get seen much, and I want to give them some new life.
I’m not a prolific blogger (I don’t write copious amounts of content), but when I do write, I try hard to focus on high quality posts with usable content for my readers. Quality over quantity, baby!
We have some great older posts that can use a small facelift, but otherwise have really great info, so I’m working on doing that with some of my blog posts over the next year. If you have been a reader for a long time, you might recognize this post from about 4 years ago! I’ve added a new image, updated the writing, and an extra tip!
How to eat healthy on a budget
Shopping for food gets really interesting in our house. We usually try to eat pretty healthy: we don’t buy a lot of packaged foods and we don’t buy a lot of canned foods. Our shopping is pretty simple for the most part except that since we have food allergies and sometimes we have to buy the more expensive versions of some foods. It can definitely get challenging to save money on groceries!
Over the years, I’ve found a few ways to save money on our shopping trips that I wanted to share with you! If you’re looking for ways to trim your grocery bill while staying healthy, here are some ideas that will help keep your family grocery bill within a reasonable budget.
1. Always compare price per ounce or price per serving vs. just price per package
Whenever you are comparing the prices of different brands of similar products, it is always best to check out the price per ounce or per serving. Some items may seem like a pretty good deal until you compare the price per ounce. Smaller packages usually cost a bit more per ounce due to the added cost of packaging, so if you can, buy the larger packages if it’s something you’ll use a lot of.
Some companies have made this easy by posting the price per ounce on the price tag so you can easily compare. When in doubt, take a few minutes to check it out with calculator. You can easily save 50 cents or more per item when you double check the price per ounce/serving, and the savings can add up!
2. Buy in bulk
Like I hinted to in the last tip, buying in larger packages can save you some money and it saves on packaging waste, too. Bulk foods often cost less per pound than smaller packaged foods because you aren’t paying for as much of the packaging, but make sure to double check price per ounce with similar non-bulk items.
Buy healthy staples at the bulk bins (like brown rice or nuts) and keep an eye out for sales and stock up when there is a good discount on your most-used items. If you have food allergies, you’ll just want to watch for cross-contamination in bulk bin. If your food allergies are severe, you may want to skip the bulk bins altogether and stick with foods that are packaged without cross-contamination.
The exception to this is that if you’re buying sweets or unhealthy treats, DO NOT BUY IN BULK. If you want a treat, pay a little extra for a smaller package or buy a single serving of your favorite candy or treat outside of your house so it won’t sit there tempting you to eat it on a daily basis.
And don’t get sucked into the savings trap: even if it is affordable or on sale, don’t buy a bunch of foods that you don’t need!
3. Shop in the mornings
I love to grocery shop in the mornings! Morning store visits are not as busy and are much less stressful, plus you get first dibs on the markdowns in the store. Many of our stores mark down their products in the mornings to make way for the day’s fresh produce or meats.
I get good bagged salads on sale in the morning, and sometimes I can get some extra-lean meat at a discount if I make it to the store in a certain time frame. Often these items sell quickly (especially the lean beef), so it helps to ask your grocer specifically what time of the day they do mark downs on your favorite items.
4. Look for clearance specials
I am always looking for a good sale. I often check the sale area of our store first to look for items on my list that might be marked down. You can often find great deals on crackers, cereal, and other staple items. Be on the look-out for dented cans and check package seals and expiration dates.
You can often find clearance or “manager’s specials” on meat and milk as well, but be choosy about your meat and check the expiration date on the milk. If you have to throw it out because it is bad, then the money you saved won’t matter since it had to get tossed anyway.
5. Use savings apps with your favorite stores
A lot of stores these days have savings and coupon apps that you can use to save some more or get rebates. I do a lot of shopping at Walmart these days, so I use the Savings Catcher app on my phone to scan receipts. Since I have started using the app a couple years ago, I think I’ve gotten over $100 back. It adds up!
If you grocery shop at Target, Walmart, or other stores, use their loyalty cards and rewards programs to get a little money back or get more coupons. We also shop at our local Smith’s quite a bit, too, and they always send coupons on the things we buy the most. It helps!
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist