One month down, eleven to go!
I hope your New Year’s resolutions are on track, and that you’re making positive steps towards a healthier life. One of my resolutions was to provide more tips and informative articles to help you build your nutritional knowledge; after all, knowledge is power. So making a return in 2016 is the monthly how-to article, designed to provide practical, realistic tips to improve your health. This month we focus on how to save money on groceries.
Buy in season
Fresh is always best, and food that’s in season is not only fresher but also likely to be cheaper. Familiarise yourself with what sorts of fruit and veg are available during different parts of the year, or have a look at what’s around the farmers markets in abundance, and let that guide your grocery list.
I am a huge advocate for meal planning. Not only is it fun to flip through cookbooks/Pinterest and look at delicious meals but it helps you make a clear shopping list so that you’re not aimlessly wandering around the supermarket being tempted by things you don’t really need. Write a meal plan – even for just a few meals during the week – so you know what to buy, then make a shopping list and stick to it. It’s ok to stray from your list if you come across an incredible bargain though. Which leads to my next point…
Browse the “reduced for quick sale” items
Nearly every supermarket has an area, usually one within each supermarket section, where they display items that have had their price heavily reduced to sell quickly. Usually this is a few days before the best before or use-by date, which are recommendations for optimum product quality and not necessarily product safety, so many of these items are just fine to be consumed within a few days and sometimes even longer. Even better – pop them in the freezer and create a nice stockpile of ingredients to use over the next few months. Even fresh fruit and veg can be cooked and frozen to enjoy all year round.
Shop the perimeter
Most of the fresh food is positioned around the perimeter of the store where the fridges/freezers are, and more you move towards the middle of the store the more processed the food becomes. Processed food is almost always more expensive by weight than fresh produce, so stick to the edges of the supermarket for the majority of your shop to keep the costs down and nutrients up.
Buy no-name brands
A high price doesn’t always indicate quality, especially when it comes to single (or low) ingredient items like milk, flour, oats, peanut butter, cheese etc. There is almost no difference between the $4 oats and the $1 oats except pretty packaging; in fact often these products are made by the same company to appeal to multiple target markets! Shopping supermarket/no-name brand groceries for basic supplies will go unnoticed by your tastebuds but make a big difference to your wallet.
Grow your own!
If your yard has a decent amount of space, and these days there’s even vertical gardens for people who don’t, why not try growing a few fruit, veg or herbs yourself? There’s an old saying that “growing your own food is like printing your own money”, and as someone who has a small, sporadically successful vegetable patch I completely agree. Plus there’s nothing better than wandering out to your garden and picking a few fresh bits and pieces to go in your lunch or dinner. They taste 100 times better (thanks to smug self-satisfaction), and are probably significantly fresher and more nutritious than what you can find in the shops.
What are some of your favourite money saving tips when it comes to grocery shopping?
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