5 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars
Trying to stay on a diet while also on a budget may seem like somewhat of a lost cause, because eating healthy is expensive, right? Wrong. Lose weight and save money doing it with these five tips to stretch your grocery budget.
Sodas, chips, and frozen pizzas start to fill up the grocery cart after believing the misconception that "unhealthy" foods are less expensive than "healthy" foods. Following any sort of diet on a budget might seem impossible and a lost cause. Keep your body nourished with these five tips to stretch the grocery budget.
1. Plan Ahead
Going to the grocery store without any type of structure can ultimately lead to impulse buying. Aimlessly grabbing for foods will rack up the bill quickly. Before taking the trip, think about what meals are needed for the week. Formulate a list and stick to it. Also try to not go shopping while hungry, as it could make a variety of foods tempting and landing in the cart.
2. Look for Ads and Discounts
Stores advertise their sales. Try tailoring weekly meals to foods featured in an ad. Meats can be significantly cheaper when discounted. Even though meats are typically discounted on their expiration date, it is still safe for consumption. Prioritize the meat at the beginning of the week or freeze until its use to avoid any potential spoiling. Also look for fresh fruits and veggies in season, as ads feature produce as well.
3. Purchase Canned Products
Canned foods are cheap. A long shelf life allows for storing without spoiling, especially if not needed for immediate use. Fresh meat has the opportunity to become contaminated and thrown out, ultimately wasting food and money. Minimizing fresh meats does not have to decrease protein intake. Canned tuna, chicken, and all sorts of beans are also high in protein. However, canned foods can be high sodium. To decrease sodium intake, check the ingredient label (low sodium is considered less than 140 milligrams per serving) and rinse before using.
4. Select Generic Brands
When a generic brand is available, choose it and do not be nervous to do so. In reality, the name brand and generic product are basically the same; besides the fact generic brands can be remarkably cheaper. Even if only saving $.10, staying consistent with generic can really add up the savings.
5. Grow Some of Your Own Food
Gardening can be a big commitment but it can also be simple. A large or any open space or any space to start a garden is unnecessary. The necessities of seeds, soil, and pots can be cheap. With a little additional research on determining what grow best according to seasons, fresh and long-term produce can appear on meal plates. Not only will growing foods maximize a grocery budget, but will ultimately save money.
Budget patterns will start to develop with continuous smart grocery shopping. Once this budget emerges, try to not stray away from it. Of course there will be times throughout the year that require spending a little extra. The amount saved throughout the year allows for fluctuation during holidays and birthdays that deserve additional delicacies. However with these embedded and practiced tips to stretch your grocery dollars, purchasing that birthday cake will not leave the wallet empty.