I’ll come out and say it: I’m not the person to follow if you’re attempting a lean grocery bill. But, I’m trying to be better. Many of the supplements I recommend and use are on the pricier side, which I have been called out for (hello, not everyone is trying to buy $40 collagen powder)! Look, I get it. Financial health is a big priority for me this year, and it’s made me take a closer look at where our money is going.
In an effort to maximize our health and spend less, I’m shifting my mindset away from powders and supplements and starting to focus more on the basics of health. Whole foods will always be the base of health, movement is free, and the products / supplements / expensive classes are all just cherries on top in the game of health. Money (or lack thereof) is not a reason to be unhealthy. I’m starting to think that all of the powders and potions being pushed make getting healthy a daunting task.
Here’s how I spend less, but still eat incredibly well:
Lean out the supplements you consume. The two that I personally won’t give up are collagen powder and matcha. Besides these two supplements our groceries are mainly whole foods.
Don’t buy premade foods. I’ve learned that the more work I have to do to eat it (like cutting up a whole squash versus buying it peeled and chopped), the less money I’m spending. However, if you have the budget, and the convenience factor of prepared foods helps you stay on track, go for it! Even more so that precut veggies, anything that comes packaged (like those organic crackers you love) is going to hurt your bill. I find that when the bulk of my groceries come from the perimeter of the store I save money and I’m healthier.
Limit coffee out to once or twice a week. I make myself matcha every morning (it costs me $2 to make at home, or $5.50 to buy out – coffee’s even cheaper to make at home, because matcha is expensive AF. Right there, I’m saving ~$84 a month).
Buy all non-perishables in bulk. Oils, condiments, supplements (like collagen or inulin powder), nut butters, spices…basically anything packaged, I buy from Costco or Thrive Market. Both are way cheaper than the grocery store.
Buy seasonally. This is tougher for those outside of California because we have access to cheap produce at farmers markets year round. But regardless of where you are, start to understand what is in season when it comes to produce. Buying berries in the dead of winter is going to cost you, plus those berries are likely being flown across the world to get to you, and they just don’t taste as good. When you need an out-of-season item, go frozen. Frozen fruits and veg are significantly cheaper, and they are typically picked and frozen in season, meaning nutrients are at their highest.
Don’t be so obsessed with organic. I’m not telling you to go drink pestesides by the gallon, but the chemicals used to grow our foods are extensively tested for safety. There, I said it! Not everyone can afford organic fruits and vegetables (which by the way are also grown with their own set of pesticides). If you are very concerned with this, get to know the dirty dozen and stick to buying organic for the worst offenders.
Make your own! I make bone broths and jams at home for example. Quality bone broth can cost $10 for a small bag. I can make it at home and freeze it myself for a quarter of the price.
Meat, easily the biggest spend of our grocery bill. I recently started buying our meat from Belcampo and it is definitely more expensive. We buy quality meat, but eat less of it. By filling up on inexpensive produce, you can treat high quality proteins and fats as condiments rather than the star of your meal. Our bodies are after more than just bulk + calories; they want nutrients. I also buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Get to know different cuts of meat; I know thighs are cheaper than breasts (plus they taste better) so I go for that cut. Walk up to the meat counter and get to know them! Ask what the cheapest cut of grass-fed and finished beef is that week. Buy ground meat. Checkout Belcampo if you’re in California or Buy Ranch Direct for quality and convenience. Lastly, on the topic of meat, replacing some of your animal protein with vegetarian sources (think lentils, beans, nuts) is another way to save money.
Think about changing your grocery store. I changed from Whole Foods to Sprouts and without any effort dropped about $30 off our weekly grocery bill. Some specialty stores known for being “healthy” automatically charge more. It’s elitist and I’m over it! #bye
Spend time each week looking at your grocery bill and what’s left in your fridge. It may take a few weeks of diligence, but you’ll likely realize you always let certain meats or vegetables go bad. You can then stop buying them, set a reminder to freeze them, or do more food prep so you’ll actually cook instead of ordering in. When I started really looking at our bill each week I realized we were spending $15 a week on La Croix. This seems insignificant, but it was nearly ten percent of our grocery bill going to sparkly water!
Buy only what you need for the next 2-3 days. I’m going to be honest, this only works for me because I have instacart. There’s no way I’d be heading to the grocery store multiple times a week. But, if you can pull this off I find I waste wayyyyy less food and buy less overall when I’m preparing just for a few days rather than the entire week.
Hit the $.05 sale at Bevmo. Wine deserves its own category. I love a glass at night, but it can be insanely expensive if you’re not careful. I watch the Bevmo sales, where you buy one bottle and get the second for $.05. You can sometimes get really nice wines this way or get cheaper wines for even less.
Hope some of these help! What do you do to save money on food?