I’m sure you’ve noticed the increase in prices at the grocery stores. Now is a great time to take action and address the inflation that has already started and is only going to increase.
Here are some tools to help you shop wisely, save money, and eat healthy.
1 . Determine what items to purchase at warehouse stores (Costco and Sam’s Club) or big box stores (Walmart and Target). Costco has a lot of organic items that are reasonably priced, cheaper paper products, and good quality meat.
Here is a list of items you should NOT buy at a grocery store. All these items are sold at a premium for the convenience of one stop shopping.
- Paper products like toilet paper, paper towels and napkins are cheaper at big box stores (Walmart, Target) and Costco. Don’t buy toilet paper at the Dollar Store. I found the per unit price of toilet paper was almost twice as much at the Dollar Store compared to Costco.
- Walmart or Target are best for things like parchment paper, plastic wrap, and zip-lock bags.
- Batteries and light bulbs have a high markup at grocery stores. Buy them at Costco or check Amazon for prices on batteries.
- For basic kitchen tools check the Dollar Store.
- Cleaning supplies are more expensive at a grocery store. When buying cleaning products, be sure to use only natural non-toxic brands like Seventh Generation, biokleen and Bon Ami. Trader Joe’s cleaners are made without harsh chemicals, plus many of the Trader Joe’s cleaners are made by Seventh Generation. To save even more money, consider making your own household cleaners. My favorite new and easy cleaning solution is this: dilute hydrogen peroxide with distilled water (about ¼ hydrogen peroxide to ¾ water), add it to a spray bottle and you are ready to clean! I buy hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and isopropyl alcohol at Costco to also make cleaners like DIY Lemon Vinegar and Household Cleaner and DIY Lavender Herbal Disinfectant.
2. Buy seasonal produce, as costs are significantly lower when produce is in season. Here is a list of produce to focus on in each season:.
- Winter – citrus
- Spring – strawberries, artichokes, greens, asparagus
- Summer – melons, stone fruit (peaches, apricots, etc.), berries & summer squash
- Fall – apples, grapes, pears, peppers, potatoes & winter squash.
3. Buy in bulk and then repackage. Buying spices in bulk is significantly cheaper. I buy many of my bulk spices from Azure Standard.* All nuts and dried fruit should be stored in the freezer for long term storage. Cashews and Brazil nuts have a short shelf life; therefore, I always store these nuts in the freezer. Almonds and raisins have a moderate shelf life. We don’t eat a lot of beans and grains, but if you do, I would suggest buying in bulk repackaging into glass containers, mylar zipper bags or plastic buckets with gamma seal lids. These storage containers can also be purchased through Azure Standard.
Azure Standard is a family owned independent business located in Oregon, and delivering throughout the United States. All Azure products are high-quality, organic, natural and non-GMO. They sell groceries, produce, health, household and garden products. You can find a delivery drop off location near you on their website. Be sure to check out their sales items for the best prices.
This year I also purchased all my garden seeds through Azure Standard. Another way to save money on groceries is to grow your own food.
4. Additional shopping tips:
- Spend less time in the store by shopping quickly. The longer you are in the store the more you will buy.
- Have a shopping list and stick to it. Impulse buying can increase your food spending by 50%.
Have a Plan:
Americans, Australians, and the British waste 20-30% of the food they purchase every year. You can reduce your food budget by having a plan and reducing food waste.
A weekly meal plan will not only help you stay organized, it will save you money and time. Remember a meal plan is there to help, not burden you, so feel free to make adjustments to your plan as the week enfolds.
Keep your meals simple, consistent and repeat menu items during the week. Batch cooking on the weekend can save you both time and money. Here is an example from our home:
Saturday – Crockpot meal: Easy Crockpot Ratatouille
Sunday – Soup: Portobello Stew
Monday – Leftover crockpot meal from Saturday
Tuesday – Giant Salad using one of these dressings 2 Creamy Salad Dressings Made With Zucchini Instead of Oil
Wednesday – Soup & Salad (leftovers from Sunday and Tuesday)
Thursday – Global meal: Broccoli & Mushroom Stir-Fry
Friday – Pasta night: Spaghetti or Roasted Veggie Pasta
Inventory your refrigerator, freezer and pantry:
Don’t forget about leftovers and the food you already have in your refrigerator. Keeping all your leftovers on the top shelf, and switching to glass storage containers, helps keep them from getting lost or forgotten.
Plan meals around the food you already have in both your freezer and pantry. Eating what you have is a great way to reduce your current food expenses, and make sure nothing is expiring. At the same time, it is also wise to have emergency food on hand in case of a temporary food shortage, health crisis or weather disruption. In 3 Steps to More Peace and Health in 2022, I shared a few emergency food storage tips and give examples of non-perishable high quality foods to have on hand.
You can also use veggie scraps (celery leaves, onion skins, mushroom stems, asparagus ends…) to make Healing Broth. I keep a bag of frozen veggie scraps in my freezer and make this vegetable broth when the bag is full. Having broth on hand to make homemade soup is an inexpensive way to make a nourishing meal.
Make a budget.
Track your grocery spending for a month. Where can you make adjustments? Create a household bare-bones budget with just the necessities using tips from The Penny Hoarder. This can help you make wise financial adjustments that better serve your health goals.
To save money while eating healthy, shop wisely, focus on seasonal produce, take advantage of buying in bulk, have a plan, and make sure to use the food you’ve already purchased. It might take a bit of work, but your budget will love the results even with rising food costs!
To save money by reducing food waste, you might also enjoy How To Keep Your Groceries From Spoiling Before You Can Eat Them.