Ah, grocery shopping!
The weekly chore we love to hate.
The task of sifting through endless aisles of food, trying to figure out which brand of cereal to buy, and doing mental math to make sure you're not overspending.
Grocery shopping is a necessity for most people, but it can also be one of the most significant expenses in a household.
Not to mention- it can be a real headache, but fear not!
OnPoint Nutrition has served thousands of clients who are looking to eat healthier -- and one of the biggest concerns brought to us on this pursuit is not breaking the bank.
This is a very common topic that everyone grapples with. Whether you are simply trying to plan better or diligently hashing out your nutrient intake, everyone can benefit from having a budget-friendly approach to grocery shopping.
With proper planning and smart shopping, you can save a considerable amount of money on your grocery bills. We are here to help guide you on the best way to get the deed done without feeling sick at the register.
So, grab your shopping cart and let's roll!
Checklist For Pre-Shopping Prep
Believe it or not, one of the biggest things you can do to save the budget happens before you even enter the store! Planning your grocery haul will set you up with a basic plan to get you in and out of the store with a mission and hopefully avoid the deadly impulse shopping that gets us all in trouble.
Well before you go, grab a pen and paper and begin to reflect on the week ahead, your schedule, your cravings, and your budget.
While considering these factors, make your way through this useful checklist:
- Plan your meals: Plan your meals for the week in advance. This way, you can purchase only the ingredients you need for your meals and avoid buying unnecessary items.
- Make a List: Before you head out to the grocery store, make a list of the items you need. A list will help you avoid impulse purchases and ensure that you only buy what you need. Don't forget to take inventory of what you already have!
- Clip Useful Coupons: Coupons can save you a lot of money on your grocery bill. Check online coupon sites or your local newspaper for coupons on items you need.
We understand that not everyone goes shopping on a weekly basis, but if you can keep this frequency, it is a great way to develop a solid plan that you can stick with.
Once you have your plan for the week, you will have a great idea of what you need to purchase to fulfill this. Take your plan, your list and your coupons and head off to complete your mission!
You have go this -- one week at a time! But what happens when you enter that bright and shiny building with your list. How do you avoid the tempting realm of goodies that you didn't plan for?
Read on for some strategies to make your shopping go smoother.
Game On: How To Save While Shopping
If you're looking to save money on your grocery bill, then it's time to get strategic. By using some simple techniques, you can shave dollars off your grocery bill -- and you can still eat well.
So, sharpen your pencils and let's get ready to shop!
Here are 3 tips on how to save while shopping:
- Shop the Sales: Check your local grocery store's weekly circular to see what items are on sale. Plan your meals around the sale items, and stock up on items that you frequently use when they are on sale. If you notice something is on sale that you hadn't planned for, but it provides an easy swap--go for it! Take advantage of the chance to put a little extra cash back in your pocket.
- Embrace Generic Brands: Generic brands are often just as good as name-brand products, but they are usually much cheaper. Try out different generic brands to find ones that you like. Making the switch where it's reasonable, nutritionally comparable, and cost effective is a great strategy that will save you big in the long run.
- Buy non-perishables in Bulk: Purchasing items in bulk can save you money in the long run. Look for items that have a long shelf life and that you use frequently, such as rice, pasta, and canned goods.
So, as you know, the grocery haul, as much as it's dreaded can also be a fun time where you explore new products and get bombarded with exciting things to add to the cart. How do you avoid spending a ton of extra, unplanned money on junk that you don't need?
Read on for strategies to avoid the impulse shopping nightmare that we have all admittedly succumbed to and regretted at one point or another.
Strategy For Avoiding Impulsive Shopping
Okay, savvy shoppers! Now that we've covered post-shopping strategies, let's talk about how to avoid impulsive shopping at the grocery store.
We've all been there - wandering down the snack aisle and suddenly finding ourselves with a cart full of chips and cookies we didn't plan on buying. This is obviously not ideal, particularly if you are a health journey and trying to limit and replace things that are less nutritious in your diet.
Don't feel bad, you are not alone. You are not a failure for being prone to this circumstance.
So, fear not! With a few simple strategies, you can resist the siren call of junk food and stick to your budget.
Grab your shopping list and let's get started!
- Stick to the Perimeter: The perimeter of the grocery store typically contains fresh produce, meats, and dairy products. These items are usually cheaper than processed foods found in the center aisles.
- Avoid Convenience Foods: Pre-packaged foods and convenience items are often more expensive than making things from scratch. Invest in basic kitchen tools and learn to cook simple meals to save money. These items are often not the best choices, though there is some exception with many nutritious options being added to the shelves to serve the busy body looking to maintain a balanced diet on the go.
- Bring your Own Bags: Certain grocery stores charge for reusable, and sometimes even disposable bags. So don't forget to bring your reusable bags to save some money.
- Don't Shop Hungry: Shopping while hungry can lead to impulse purchases of unhealthy snacks and food while your blood sugar is low. Your body will be on the hunt to get that quick fix, and your choices may turn out to not be ideal. Eat a meal or a snack before heading out to the grocery store to avoid this.
Post Shopping Trip
You've just returned from the grocery store, and your bags are overflowing with food. You can already hear your fridge and pantry groaning in anticipation of the new arrivals.
But wait, before you put everything away and call it a day, there are a few more steps you should take.
With some post-shopping strategies, you can ensure that your groceries last longer, reduce food waste, and save even more money in the long run.
So, take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, and let's get to work!
- Unpack and Organize: Once you get home from the store, the first thing you should do is unpack and organize your groceries. This will help you see what you have and make it easier to plan meals for the week. Try to group similar items together and make sure perishables are placed in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible.
- Check for Expiration Dates: As you're organizing your groceries, take a minute to check expiration dates. This will help you use items that are expiring soon first and reduce the risk of wasting food.
- Prep Produce: Wash and chop your fresh produce as soon as you get home from the store. This will make it easier to use in recipes and reduce the chances of it going bad before you can use it.
- Plan Meals: With your groceries organized and prepped, take some time to plan meals for the week. Use ingredients that are expiring soon and try to use up items that you already have in your pantry or fridge.
- Store Food Properly: Make sure you're storing your food properly to help it last longer. Use airtight containers for dry goods, keep produce in the fridge or on the counter as appropriate, and make sure meats are stored at the correct temperature. For solid tips on how to store the most commonly perishable items check out our blog Top Tips to Make Your Food Last Longer
- Freeze What You Can: If you have items that you know you won't use before they expire, consider freezing them. This will help extend their lifespan and make it easier to use them in the future.
- Make a Grocery Inventory: Keeping a running inventory of what you have in your pantry and fridge can help you avoid buying duplicate items or letting food go to waste.
- Use Leftovers: Don't let leftovers go to waste! Use them to make new meals or pack them for lunch the next day.
Can a Nutrition Coach Become Part of my Grocery Shopping Savings Strategy?
If you're looking to optimize your grocery shopping for both health and savings, consider enlisting the help of a nutrition coach. A nutrition coach can help you identify the healthiest foods to include in your grocery list while still staying within your budget.
By working with a nutrition coach, you can learn how to plan effectively, prioritize healthy foods over less nutritious options, and navigate the often-confusing world of food labels. With a nutrition coach's guidance, you can make informed choices about what to buy and how to prepare it, leading to a healthier diet and a more budget-friendly grocery bill.
At OnPoint Nutrition, our team of experts work with people everyday who are ready to eat healthier, but fear the register when it's time to make healthy changes.
A nutrition coach can help you identify any areas where you might be overspending on unnecessary items, such as snacks or processed foods. They can help you find more affordable, nutrient-dense alternatives that will nourish your body without breaking the bank.
Investing in a nutrition coach might seem like an added expense at first, but in the long run, it could save you both time and money.
By optimizing your grocery shopping strategy, you'll be able to eat healthily, stay within your budget, and feel great both physically and financially.
Abby Aikens is a Content Manager who works with OnPoint Nutrition to spread the word about better health. With an arsenal of Dietitians and Nutritionists at her finger tips, Abby aids the mission of improving access to valuable information about how nutrition can change lives. Abby knows well the power of good nutrition and believes in the mission of OnPoint to educate and bring better health to their clients.