10 Ways to Eat Well and Pay Less
- Plan ahead. Figure out what you want to eat for the week, or however long before you will next shop. Make sure you check your cabinets so that you don't buy any duplicates.
- Make a list. Then stick to it. Seriously. Except maybe for wiggling around your produce picks based on price. If you do that though, swap items (i.e. red peppers for carrots) rather than buying both or you will have too much!
- Coupons. Print Whole Foods coupons! There are some good savings there and you can plan meals around the good deals rather then just using a coupon on an impulse buy. You can also sign up for various WF newsletters, which also include money savers. And , of course, check out your local weekly flyers (you can do this online or in store).
- Buy bulk. WF has a great bulk section, and if you look at the per pound price on their bulk stuff you can save as much as 4 dollars per pound! Since nuts go bad quickly, this is a great way to by them. Especially if you're like me and like to have a good mix on hand. It is also great to buy beans and grains this way. The prices are better and you can buy just what you need, when you need it. Bulk buying also reduces cabinet clutter and allows you to experiment with lots of grains rather than committing a three month supply of a single grain.
- Compare prices. Trader Joe's has a lot of organic offerings for a fraction of the Whole Foods price. I keep a pretty good mental inventory of what certain things should cost, but writing it down is the best way to compare. I like to shop at Trader Joe's first and then go to Whole Foods after to buy anything that wasn't on the list.
- Buy only what you can realistically eat. I tend to over estimate how many fruit and veggies I can eat before they go bad. This gets expensive, even if you are only throwing away $1 or $2 worth of food here and there. When making recipes, remember to look at the servings and half it if necessary!
- If you make too much... freeze it! Works especially well with chili, soups, and sauces.
- Buy large packs when it pays... and freeze into usable portions. You can save a lot of money on meats and poultry if you do this. Also, nuts save much better if frozen or refrigerated.
- Set a budget. This should really be number one. I'm guilty of not even having a budget! In college I did about $50 a week and ate quite healthy, just not organic. I'm trying to stick to $60 a week or less right now and then shrink it over time.
- Don't impulse buy. This is easier if you don't shop hungry. What I started doing is allowing one impulse buy a week and anything else I am tempted by, I write down so that I can work it into a recipe in the future.
I hope this more comprehensive list, compiled after additional research (aka shopping, buying to much, and spending mucho dinero), helps as you head to the store.
happy grocery shopping!