Everyone’s busy, and almost everyone is on a budget. Meals need to be cheap and fast, but when we eat cheap and fast foods – it’s often not the best option.
When I first started eating healthier, I would spend SO much money at the grocery store. Partially because I didn’t know how to shop and also because I didn’t have a plan. Can you relate? Do you find yourself running into your local health food store for just a few items, and $300 later, you’re scratching your head and wondering why you’re only walking out of the store with only 2 grocery bags?? That was me! I was so angry with myself, I’d drown my sorrows in a pint of ice cream (not purchased from the health food store).
Eating healthy is expensive if: You do all of your shopping at Whole Foods (no hate against Whole Foods – I LOVE it, it’s just expensive!). You buy a lot of “healthy” prepackaged foods. You buy a ton of “health” foods then drive through McDonald’s everyday. You don’t have a plan. You let the food go to waste.
Eating healthy is economical if: You have a plan. You cook your meals most of the time. You only buy what you need. You shop from your local grocer or farmer’s market.
I’d like to share with you how I’m able to feed my family on $100 per week. I know what you’re thinking… Yes, I only have a family of 3; however, out of the 21 meals eaten per week, my daughter and I eat 19 of those at home (plus snacks) and my husband eats 15 meals at home.
$100 for 1 week of healthy groceries.
Before going to the store:
Have a plan. Take a few minutes to scan cabinets and the refrigerator. Look for items that are running low or items you have run out of (milk, butter, etc.) . Throw out anything that is old, rotten or expired.
Make a list. Attached is a list I use to get help with grocery shopping brainstorming. Grocery Shopping Condensed List
Plan a menu rough draft. Saving money requires some planning, but once you do it a few times, I promise it gets faster. I can usually prepare a menu and grocery list in about 20 minutes. When brainstorming a menu, think about a few things: How many things can you pre-cook for use later in the week? What will be good served as leftovers? What freezes well? How many servings will I need?
To see how I used my groceries, check out my one week menu plan.
1 week menu plan
* Only buy what you need for one week of meals, unless there is a great sale – then stock up if you know you will use it at a later date.
At the store:
Shop the perimeter as much as possible. The aisles are a distraction, and most of the unhealthy, processed foods are located down the aisle.
Stick to your list. When I don’t stick to my list I spend more. For instance, my bill was $113 because I bought a snack for my daughter and my husband (which were not included on the menu this week).
Be quick. When I take a leisurely stroll through the store, I buy everything I see. Get in and get out!
Keep a rough running tally. You don’t have to go through the store with a calculator, but keep a running tally in your mind. For instance, I know (roughly) 60% of my grocery budget will be spent on protein/fat (meat, eggs, nuts, butter/oils), 30% will be spent on veggies and fruit, and the rest will be spent on odds and ends (like new spices, dry beans, milk or an occasional canned item).
Don’t buy junk food. Although it may look cheaper, junk food has little to no nutritive value. This means, you’ll be wanting more soon after you eat it, which will make you buy more, and in the long run, I promise you are spending more money.
Go for whole foods. Do you know your food’s origin? I can look at a green bean and know it came from a bean stalk. If you look at an Oreo or a hot dog, can you clearly tell it’s origin?
Avoid frozen dinners. These are not healthy and full of sodium.
Buy organic (when you can): If you’re going to eat the leaves or the skin, buy organic. If you’re going to throw away the peeling, save your money. Stay away from preservatives, sugars and additives in all other items purchased.
When you get home:
Wash and pick up fruits and veggies. I store these in clear containers that are easy to see. If the veggies and fruits are in plain sight, I’m more likely to eat them.
Store meat that won’t be used within 3 days in the freezer. We have a 3 day rule in our house, some people choose to keep meat in the refrigerator longer with meat, and that’s okay 🙂 Do what works for you!
My grocery store loot!
Notes and disclaimer:
I do not coupon! I wish I did, but I don’t. I have a difficult time finding coupons for whole food items. I occasionally use coupons for home goods.
I don’t always go to the same grocery store. I generally will go to the most conveniently located store with the best prices.
I prefer to get my produce from the local Farmer’s Market. Produce purchased directly from the grower is usually cheaper and lasts longer than produce purchased in grocery stores.
*One of my meals used shrimp. I purchase shrimp wholesale for $4 per pound.
** The “impulse purchases” added $10.41 cents to my bill, and I also purchased sponges for $1.95. Had I stuck to my list, my final total $100.64 – close enough~
*** The bananas and blueberries are my little girl’s “go to” snack foods.
**** All of the items in the picture correspond with my attached 1 week menu plan! 1 week menu plan
How much do you spend on groceries per week? I’d love to hear about it!!
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Questions or comments – email JadaDanos@gmail.com