Hi Loving on the Run readers! My name is Lauren and I’m the blogger behind The Bikini Experiment.
My blog features healthy recipes, workouts and glimpses into my daily life. I have been a longtime reader of healthy living blogs and decided it was time to start my own a few months ago.
I have totally connected with some of Sara’s recent posts about how to budget for healthy grocery shopping when money gets tight. Even when we are not pinching pennies food can be very expensive and it’s important to maximize our spending in every way possible. Buying quality food is very important to me, but I believe you can use strategies to make it more affordable.
This post is dedicated towards grocery shopping budgeting, but I cannot stress how easy it is to save money by making food at home versus eating out. Packing lunch every day can result in huge savings. Make sure to have snacks available versus relying on a vending machine or a local Starbucks for a quick fix. Cooking a special dinner at home with a nice bottle of wine can be a great treat for date night. These behavior changes can be hugely beneficial to your bottom line.
I handle grocery shopping much differently now that I used to as my eating style has changed and I focus more on food quality. A classic grocery shopping tip is to make a list before you go so that you only buy the things you really need and impulse purchases are limited. I used to make up one list and typically shop on Sundays and try to prep as much food as possible for the week so dinner would only require reheating. The problem was that by the time Wednesday and Thursday rolled around I did not want to eat old food that had been sitting for days so I would end up throwing it out and cooking something else. Huge waste!
Now my mentality is a little more European. I probably shop a few times a week, but they are much smaller trips. I will always check the sales circular when I walk into a store to see if there are any good deals in the works.
I still make a list, but I buy what I need for the immediate future and figure I can always stop back in again in a few days. This limits what goes bad in my refrigerator so there is less food that is simply thrown away.
In the current food economy, it’s not feasible to go all organic all the time. Hopefully someday it will be, but right now it’s just not accessible for most of us. I believe the health benefits of organic food make it worth it to purchase these items when you can. I keep costs down by following the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists so that if I can save a little here and there so it’s not a big deal.
I often find a lot of items like avocados, sweet potatoes and asparagus on sale.
Also I often buy frozen fruits and veggies because they will not spoil so quickly, and they are much cheaper than fresh. Healthy eating sometimes gets a reputation for being so expensive because of all the so-called “healthy” processed food in the way of chips, crackers, cookies, granola bars, etc. At $4-5 a box, these things can be very costly.
When I want to trim costs I stick to the basics and try to minimize processed foods as well as drinks. I love Larabars or Kind Bars, but they can be costly so I will choose another snack like veggies and hummus. Specialty drinks can add up so I will pass on things I enjoy like Kombucha or sparkling water in favor of regular water or making my own iced tea. Of course healthy eating can be more expensive overall, but there are always ways to save if you are creative.
I visit the bulk bins often for spices, nuts and dry goods (like rice) because it allows you to buy the amount you want rather than wasting your money. How much cinnamon or turmeric do I truly need at any given time?
It will probably spoil before I can even use it up. Another suggestion is to buy generic brands when possible. Always look at the ingredients and make sure there’s nothing you do not want. Online shopping sources are also a great benefit. For example, I recently ordered grass-fed beef online because the savings was so significant.
Ground beef is less expensive than steak. Most local grass-fed farms will give you a dollar or two off per pound for ordering 50 lb. or more of ground grass-fed beef at once.
These are just some suggestions for healthy food shopping on a budget that have worked for me. Of course it helps to keep track of your expenses and then personalize as you need. Thank you for the opportunity to stop by, Sara!