Do you find yourself constantly buying items you don’t need? Throwing away expired food you forgot to eat? Cringing as you pay for your groceries? Let’s fix that!
Food is a human necessity, but how we spend at the grocery store each week is a choice. As a fitness / nutrition junkie with a MAJOR sweet tooth, I’ve found a way to limit my grocery budget to $80-100 per week. Oh and that’s for 2 people, who have demanding schedules and rigorous gym routines.
For our $80-100 we’re getting (depending on the week) 5 lunches, 5 breakfasts, 5-6 dinners & healthy snacks – each! ~30 meals in our budget breaks down to $2.66 – $3.33 per meal – less than a morning coffee. Check out my 10 tips for grocery store budget bliss:
Before you leave the house:
- Pack your own bags: Some grocery stores give 5-10 cents off your bill per reusable bag while others charge 5-10 cents per plastic bag they give you.
- Make your list ahead of time: How many times do you add things to your cart you don’t really need only to have them either (1) expire or (2) take up shelf space? Make the grocery list before you leave your house & stick to what you need.
- Check for deals: Look at your store’s weekly circular & plan meals around on-sale items. Use store or manufacturers coupons for extra savings.
- Never go to the grocery store hungry: Even if you have to make a pit-stop to get a quick bite to eat before you head to the store, avoid shopping on an empty stomach!
At the store:
- Shop the perimeter (& avoid middle aisles): The outer edges typically have dairy, meats, fish & vegetables while the middle aisles contain processed foods (chips, crackers, bread, cookies) & household supplies. Avoid processed foods to do your body & wallet a favor.
- Buy in bulk: Grocery stores sell items in small or large quantities & per unit discounts are given to buy in bulk. If you have room in your pantry/freezer, save $ & buy in bulk.
- Compare unit prices: On the price tag there’s usually a total price (often to the right) and a per unit price (left). The total price gives the cost at checkout whereas the per unit price gives the price to buy a full unit (oz, pound, dozen etc.). Use the per unit cost to compare different sizes of the same item.
For example: an 8 oz bottle of ketchup has a total price of $1.42 & a per unit price of $0.18/oz. The 20 oz bottle has a total price of $2.19 but a per unit price of $0.11/oz. If you routinely purchase ketchup, the 20 oz bottle is the better deal.
- Choose store-branded products: Store-branded/generic products are cheaper than branded products and often contain the same ingredients. I buy store-branded paper goods, meats and vitamins/medications, among other things.
- Purchase in-season fruits & vegetables: Out of season fruits & veggies are much more expensive than in-season ones. Purchase in-season produce for the best price. If you’re unsure what’s in season click here.
- Skip pre-cut fruit & veggies / prepared foods: These products have a high markup. I avoid these items but if I’m short on time I’ll occasionally add them to my cart.
Hopefully these tricks save you $s during your next shopping trip. If you have any tricks or tips you use please comment below!