By now, it is probably no mystery that I LOVE to grocery shop. I also LOVE food. When you put the two together, it’s a magical combination, but can also be very expensive. “Oh look! It’s that organic, small batch, artisan cream cheese I saw on (insert healthy foodie)’s Instagram feed for only $9 a container!” “$13 energy bites! I NEED THOSE!” “How much are those cherries? $10 per pound? It’s only summer once a year. In the cart they go!”
Needless to say, after a few months of this, our grocery bill was getting a tad out of hand. Spending $800 a month (or more!) on groceries for two people seemed a bit excessive. (I know this is pretty average for a lot of couples, but I was determined to spend less.) I used to think there was no way to eat clean and not literally go broke buying groceries, but guess what, ladies and germs – it can be done. The following 7 tips show how I went from spending about $800 to $500 a month!
- Use all your leftovers. Be creative. And by leftovers, I also mean those bags of produce that are on the verge of going bad, the frozen meat way in the back of the freezer, and the canned goods you haven’t thought about in months. I don’t know how many people have told me that they are “bad” at grocery shopping, and always always end up throwing away tons of food that’s rotted/wilted/shriveled. You’d be surprised at the extra meals you can whip up with the food you’ve been overlooking for days. For example:
- Slice up leftover grilled or roasted chicken, boil some eggs, shred some lettuce, add in veggies and make a big salad.
- Used leftover roasted veggies to make an egg frittata for breakfast (or, lets be honest, any meal of the day).
- Bulk up leftover soup with some extra rice, shredded chicken, kale, etc.
- Take advantage of loyalty/rewards/frequent shopper card and coupons. Most grocery stores have a swipe card you can “apply” for, and can usually save you at least a
couple bucks each grocery trip. Keep an eye out for the items that you can buy on sale with your card. If you’re lucky enough to shop at a Kroger, they will even send you personalized coupons in the mail every once in a while, saving you on items you frequently buy, and even some FREE stuff, too! I triumphantly texted Fabio the proof one day:
- Buy in bulk. This is a biggie! Although you may not notice a big difference at first, the money you can save by buying a few staple items from the bulk section of your grocery store can add up. If you don’t have access to a bulk section, try a local health food store. Some foods I try to always buy in bulk: nuts, oats, sugar, spices, dried fruit,
- Buy generic brands when possible. I’ll be the first to admit that I am a huge sucker for well-branded, super popular, highly Instagrammed, health food brands. (Before I say more – I LOVE supporting small businesses and do when I can!) But those suckers can be quite expensive, especially when you buy a lot in one shopping trip. Choose some items that you don’t mind buy non-organic/expensive name-brand, and choose just a few of your favorite novelty/organic/pasture-raised foods that you can’t live without (I can’t compromise on eggs).
- SHOP AT ALDI! This is, hands down, the best way I’ve kept my grocery costs down lately. If you’ve never shopped at Aldi before, or if you haven’t been there in years – hear me out. ALDI RULES. They not only carry a ton of staple items, they also have some interesting foods that other places don’t carry. Also, if your grocery store doesn’t have a bulk section, or doesn’t sell nuts in bulk, you can buy a bag at Aldi for MUCH LESS than most other grocery stores. They also have a pretty good selection of organic items, and they just announced a few weeks ago that their stores are undergoing huge makeovers to increase their organic selection even more! GO ALDI. I save most buying produce at Aldi – most of it is shockingly less expensive (even the organic) and the quality is great. I also buy other staples here like yogurt, laundry detergent, cheese, coconut water (!), and cooking oils.
- Split your shopping between multiple grocery stores. Now, if you’re strapped for time, or generally hate grocery shopping, you may want to skip this one. But I have no probs setting aside an hour or two to get the most bang for my buck on grocery day. It may take some time and a bit of studying to figure out where you can get the best value for what. For instance: I start out at Aldi, and try to buy as much produce there as possible, because I know it’s good quality (they have so much organic!) and will be much less expensive. I also pick up things like applesauce, coconut water, baking stuff, yogurt, salsa, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. Then I’ll go to a big box store like Kroger and get deli meats, chicken breast, ground turkey, and any toiletries we need. Finally, I’ll go to a natural foods store (like Sprouts, here in Dallas), and get my bulk items like nuts, dried fruit, almond flour, sugar, and oats.
- Make your own. Again, if you don’t like to cook and don’t have extra time to spend cooking, you may not like this tip, either. I noticed a decline in my weekly grocery bills when I decided to figure out how to make some of the most expensive things I was buying. Try a few of my best go-tos:
- Granola (specifically grain-free granola). Try this Pumpkin Spice Granola or this Paleo Granola with Cinnamon, Flax, and Apples.
- Rather than buying energy bars (or bites, or balls, or clusters) which usually run at least $10 a bag at the store, try making your own – like these Raw Carrot Cake Balls. I also LOVE these Salted Date Brownie Energy Bites.
- KOMBUCHA! Fabio and I recently became quite addicted to the tangy, fermented goodness. Although we aren’t willing to give up our newfound habit, we had to stop spending $5 a pop. Not only is it SUPER CHEAP to make it yourself, it’s also fun! Like a wacky, pseudo-brewery science experiment. Erin from Erin’s Inside job has a great post about how to make your own here.