I am a single woman and I attempt to eat as healthy and frugally as I can. With weekly trips to the grocery store costing more than ever – not to mention gas prices are skyrocketing – I am always attempting to plan ahead and save money where I can.
Gone are the days when my shopping cart would be full of peanut butter, oatmeal, Cheetos and Dr. Pepper. The days of carrots, ground turkey, milk and yogurt are here. And truth be told, those healthier items are way more expensive than my previous purchases. But if planned out well, it won’t put a huge dent in my wallet.
Make a List and Stick to it
Personally, each weekend I like to meal plan for the work week ahead. Planning ahead not only helps my waistline stay in check, but also my pocketbook. With very specific meal planning, I also tend to make detailed grocery lists.
Precise grocery lists mean less opportunity to splurge on unnecessary (and oftentimes unhealthy) items. This also ensures that don’t purchase excess items that could go ad before I have the opportunity to use them and that I don’t buy things that I don’t need.
I have made my lists specific enough to know that I am going to eat eggs six times in one week, so I need one carton of eggs. I know that I will have four spinach salads throughout the week, so I buy two bags of spinach versus one.
When planning ahead for meals, it’s important to look at the servings of the food in a package. Figure out the price per serving. It doesn’t always make sense to buy the bigger box of cereal if it’s going to cost you more in the long run.
Watch for Coupons and Sales
You don’t need to be an extreme-couponer to save money, but check out the Internet, newspaper ads, and in-store ads to save money on some of your favorite products. If it’s something you’re going to buy anyway, why not save $1 when you buy 10 yogurts? Especially if saving the money is by doing something as simple as cutting out a coupon.
The healthier you the shop, the more you will notice that there are rarely coupons on fresh veggies. This can make it tough. So try and save on the other items so you can afford to buy the fresh foods.
Also, it is tough to buy fresh, good tasting fruit and veggies in the winter. So my advice is to buy frozen. They can be just as healthy and you can get more variety.
Don’t Stock Up If You Don’t Need It
In the past, I have often fallen for 2 for $5. What if I don’t need two bags of grapes? I find as a single woman, I can’t really eat that many grapes before they go bad, so instead I just spent $2.50 on an item that I can’t or didn’t use. Usually you’re still able to buy the one bag of grapes for the discounted price.
Dont’ go to the Grocery Store Hungry. No, Seriously!
We’ve all done it, more than once most likely, but it’s so much harder to venture into the grocery store when you’re starving. Your mind is on all the food you’re walking by, not what is going to be a healthy option and a financially good decision. Even if you’re using a list, it’s still easier to stray when you’re hungry.
Grocery shopping can be tricky and expensive, but with the right planning, it can be favorable for your checking account…and your waistline.
Want more tips? Read “Budget Help Tip of the Week: Saving at the Grocery Store” by Malcolm Johannessen. Or call LSS Financial Counseling at 888.577.2227 to schedule a budgeting appointment and get even MORE ideas to save money, build up savings, and conquer your debt. Take action today to improve your finances!
Author Sarah Packingham is a DMP Specialist with LSS Financial Counseling.