1. Shop the sales!
Make a list of what’s on sale for the week and make a menu plan revolving around that.
2. Clip coupons.
No, it’s not embarrassing to hand coupons over to the cashier – contrary to what some of my friends may think. They will save you tons of money. Some stores offer their own coupons (Earthfare, Whole Foods, and Target, for example, and sometimes you can combine these with manufacturer’s coupons).
3. Email some of your favorite companies asking for coupons.
About 99% of the time they’ll love to send you some – and usually they’re pretty good. Combine coupons with sale items for the best deals.
4. Shop for closeout items or items reaching their “sell-by” date soon.
This especially works great in smaller health stores with less turnover, but I’ve found some great stuff at Kroger too on closeout.
5. Buy in bulk.
Dried beans, rice, legumes, nuts, seeds, granola, nut butters, olive oil, honey, tamari, maple syrup, snacks – almost always cheaper to go this route than packaged.
Also on this note, it’s cheaper to buy a whole rotisserie chicken (or buy a whole chicken and roast it yourself) than to buy the pieces separately. You not only get all the meat, but can use the bones and leftover pieces to make a homemade chicken stock.
I also love to buy my deli meats from the deli instead of the pre-packaged containers. When it goes on sale, just portion it out and freeze it – it thaws well, I promise!
6. If you can buy items in cases, go for it.
Often places will offer you a discount for buying a case of something.
7. Shop around.
I sometimes go to a couple different stores throughout the week to get the best deals on food.
8. Eat seasonally!
This is a big one. Not only will you be getting the best tasting produce, but it’ll be less – hello, supply and demand! Wait until things are in season to get them – they’ll taste better and cost less. Think about those winter strawberries that taste like cardboard that were shipped in from far away.
9. Eat locally.
It doesn’t have as much transportation costs (or environmental pollution from trucking) when you eat locally – it usually costs less and you’re supporting your local economy.
10. Do what you can!
If you can’t afford the organic chicken, go for the all-natural, hormone-free stuff. If you’re not that experienced with cooking, try increasing the amount of fresh produce you eat and decreasing the processed foods.
What are some of the things you do to stay healthy while on a budget?