10 tips for healthy grocery shopping

My wife and I have been a mother for more than 10 years. This has taught me a lot about how to save money on our weekly food budget. The grocery budget is often the most difficult to reduce when there are bills due and someone needs to be replaced. Here are my top 10 favorite ways to save money while eating well.

1. Never shop hungry
An empty stomach can lead to a budget- and diet disaster. You’ll be more inclined to grab quick, unhealthy snack foods. Grab a healthy, quick snack before you head to the grocery store. This will help you save both time and calories.

2. ALWAYS plan your weekly meals!
A plan will help you reduce the likelihood of your family ordering take-out or going to the nearest drive-thru for dinner. You can save money and make healthier meals by planning ahead for each day.

3. Make a list! !
This is a must-have! Once you’ve planned your meals, you can go through your refrigerator, freezer, cabinets, and pantry to find the ingredients that are available and those that need to be bought. Make sure to include staples such as milk, bread, eggs and any other items your family uses regularly. Although it may seem redundant to include items you purchase every week to your list, you never know what you might forget to add to your cart if distracted or in a rush. A list will help you ensure you have everything you need for the week. You will save time and money by not having to rush to the grocery store last-minute for items you forgot.

4. Keep to your list
Once you have made your list, stick to it! You can avoid impulse purchases by making a detailed list and only buying what you need.

5. You can shop alone
While we love our children and our spouses, it is not easy to grocery shop without them. They can make us buy unhealthy or expensive food, increasing our grocery bill and our waistline. They can also be distracting and cause us to forget things, which makes it difficult to compare prices. If you can, leave your family behind and shop stress-free.

6. You can shop the perimeter of the store.
Grocery stores all look the same. The outside walls of grocery stores are where you will find all the healthy, natural, unprocessed and lower-cost food. You can find produce, meat, fish and bakery as well as dairy and dairy departments. The interior aisles contain all the unhealthy and high-priced processed foods. While this isn’t always true, it can save you money and make your life easier for your loved ones.

7. Before you grab your item, look up and down!
Many stores place the highest-priced version of a product right at your eye level. In the hope that we will all be able to see it, we tend to have blinders on. If you do not find the item you are looking for, take a look at what’s above and below it. You might be able to find a cheaper version that tastes just as good.

8. Buy Generic
This is probably not going to be a very popular recipe, I know. However, sometimes generic or store-brand versions of your favorite foods can have the exact same ingredients as the higher-priced counterparts and still taste very similar. Give them a shot! It’s possible that you won’t like the generic, but you still love your favorite brand next week. You might discover that you love the generic just as much as the national brands, so you could start saving every week on these items!

9. Coupons!
Many of us don’t enjoy clipping a million coupons per week or searching the internet for printables, like those Extreme Couponers. It’s safe to say we won’t be dumpster diving to find coupons from our neighbors to save a penny. You might be able to find coupons for items on your shopping list if you stop by your local newspaper and take a look at the inserts before you head out. You can save a few bucks and add up over the years.

10. Cash!
It’s a lot easier than transferring cash to the bank by using a debit or credit card. With a small buffer for mistakes, figure out how much money is needed to purchase the items on your list. To avoid the embarrassing moment when we realize that we don’t really have enough money for something, we pay with cash. This keeps us from adding items to our cart that don’t belong on our list. We simply don’t need the money to buy them. Paper payments make us more aware of our spending and are less likely to spend too much.

Another tip is to shop at your local Aldi discount grocery store. This tip did not make it to my top ten, as not everyone has Aldi in their area. Although you won’t be able to use your coupons as most of their products are brand-name, you can still save money by shopping at their prices. Although you may not be able to find every item on your shopping list, they stock the essentials and are cheap. You might be able to save valuable dollars every week by checking them out.

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