POV: It’s 2023, and the 7 items you just ran through the belt at the cashier just totaled close to $100. You grab your bill as you wonder what the hell you just bought.
A 2022 (Canadian) report forecasts it will be $1,000+ more expensive to feed the average family of four in 2023.
Gone are the days it seems when you could fill your cart with the necessary food items, and walk out with your groceries, having spent not one penny more than $150.
A conversation that often comes up when I talk with other moms is, how the price of food has quickly skyrocketed. I mean one day a bunch of celery is $3.99, then a week later you find the same bunch for $6.99. Our groceries bills have doubled and in some cases, tripled overnight.
Despite all of this, my goal to cook and feed my family nutritious meals is something that I prioritize. I am unmoved in this regard. So with the changing economy, I‘ve figured out how to buy groceries on a budget and still prepare healthy meals for my family year-round.
Buying groceries on a budget while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle is possible with careful planning and smart shopping strategies. Here are some tips that have helped me buy groceries on a budget while still cooking and eating nutritious meals:
Plan Your Meals and Make a Grocery List
Before I leave the house to grab groceries, even if it’s for a short trip, I always write a list. It’s so easy to let our impulses and habits take over as we wander through the aisles. Start by planning your meals for the week and make a list of the ingredients you need. Stick to your list and avoid impulse purchases.
Buy In-Season Produce
Buying in-season produce is a great way to support local farmers, eat fresh and nutritious food, and save money. I swear by this tip. Not only because it’s money-saving, but also because physiologically, it’s better for our bodies. Foods grown in season are more nutrient-dense than foods grown out of season. This allows our body to receive the maximum nutritional benefits.
Fruits and vegetables that are in season are often less expensive because they grow in abundance during their growing months. Additionally, they taste better and are less likely to have been treated chemically. Check what’s in season before you head to the store and plan your meals around what’s fresh and in season.
Shop at Discount Stores
I take full advantage of big discount stores, especially around the holidays when the kids are home. Especially during the summer months when I get asked for a snack If you have a big family especially, consider shopping at discount stores or local farmers’ markets for fresh produce at lower prices.
Look For Sales and Coupons
I routinely check my online flyers weekly. Not only to check what foods are on sale but to meal plan around items that are more budget-friendly for that week. Take advantage of half-off stickers when you can. I often see 50% off stickers on organic meat and other food items. I save a lot here especially, as organic meat can be pricey.
There are tonnes of apps that give you a list of flyers for the grocery stores near you. Check out your local grocery store’s weekly flyers to compare prices, and save money.
Buy in Bulk
Buying items in bulk can save you money, especially for pantry staples like rice, beans, and pasta. I also love to buy some spices and seasonings in bulk where I can get ALOT more bang for my buck. Healthy foods like nuts, seeds, and dry fruit can be bought in bulk and when stored correctly can last for an extended period. Take advantage of buying in bulk when there are sales.
Choose Lower Priced Proteins
Instead of buying expensive cuts of meat, consider buying leaner cuts. I’m not super picky or strict about my protein choice as I am about the quality of protein. I love salmon and eat it often but it is one of the more expensive fish. When I want to cook a fish recipe (releasing myself of the salmon chokehold), I opt for other wild varieties like snapper, cod, or porgy. These fish are a fraction of the cost of salmon but are still a healthy choice for family meals.
Other cheap protein options for those who do not eat meat are beans and legumes. These are great sources of nutrient-dense plant-based protein.
Cook at Home
This may be more of a budget tip than it is a savings on groceries tip, but the two go hand in hand. Cooking at home allows you to control the quality and quantity of ingredients.
This allows me to cook more for less, which is great when you have a house full go growing kids and teenagers like myself. Eating out or buying pre-made meals can be expensive. Cook at home using fresh ingredients to save money and control the quality of your food.
Limit Processed Foods
The myth that “eating healthy is expensive” has gone out the window. Looking at the grand scheme of things, processed foods are often more expensive and less healthy than fresh ingredients. I’ve recently fallen in love with mini egg bites, but the store-bought kinds come with a pretty hefty price tag. Not to mention they still aren’t organic and free range. With one carton of eggs and some vegetables, I can make triple the batch of one store-bought bag.
Stick to whole foods and cook from scratch as much as possible.
Buying groceries on a budget and eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult.
By following these tips, you can save money on your groceries while still eating a healthy, balanced diet. Take what you can from this list and put them into practice and start saving today without compromising healthy family meals.