Hey all! Its been a while, and I have a few topics I’ve been dying to chat with you about! I get tons of questions about meal planning in general, but also about what to do when you are trying you darnedest to stick to a grocery budget! I did a video about this as well, so you can watch that right here if you wish!
1. Plan It Out
If you plan out your meals, you can make a specific grocery list and only buy the items you need! It is DEFINITELY easier to go through the aisles KNOWING what you need, rather than picking up random items and assuming you’ll use them eventually. By planning out your meals you can also try to use some of the same items a few times over. For example: Monday Evening; Quinoa Burrito Bowls, Wednesday Evening, Hawaiian Chicken With Quinoa, Friday Evening: Spicy Chicken Bowls with Cauliflower Rice. You now get to use chicken and quinoa both several times, as well as the jalapeño that goes in two of the meals as well. So you can get multiple meals from several ingredients! Always an awesome money saver, speaking of which leads me to..
2. Buy In Bulk
I have only recently started doing this, because I saw how much more money I was spending for 1.15lbs of chicken, when I could spend TWO more dollars and get over triple the amount! I have started buying the family packs or bulk packs of the most common meats that I use [ground turkey and chicken breast for me, but it can obviously be different for you!] It is a HUGE money saver! Another tip is to go home and separate the 3-5lb packages into smaller one pound packages, and label and date everything! You can do this with certain vegetables as well and save money, but be mindful of expiration dates on fresh produce, and only buy bulk frozen veggies and fruit if they have a resealable bag, or you can put them into one, or it will get freezer burn!
3. Keep it Local
We are ALL guilty of picking items up because it is CONVENIENT. Sometimes, in doing so, we pay more than we should for certain items, but “well, we’re here I may as well!” or.. “just this once”. Well, if you’re grocery shopping on a budget a HUGE way to save is to go to a local farmers market for your produce! In keeping my eye on prices, I have found time and time again, my farmers market saves me money, and gives me great quality! So next time you want that broccoli or peppers, or berries from Target, skip it. You’re paying more for literally nothing. Make the trip to the farmers market! If you don’t have a local farmers market, you can look one up here, maybe one is closer than you think, OR go to the grocery store that you KNOW has great prices! Stock up there! Also, of course, shopping in season helps keep costs down; here is a list of what’s great to buy in the summer!
4. Season It Up
While it is always nice to have some fresh herbs, sometimes it is equally as beneficial to have a stocked spice rack. Stores like Trader Joes, and brands like McCormick have some awesome new blends that can really kick your cooking up a notch! This helps when you are having trouble finding something easy to make, you can simply season your veggies, meat, or fish with a new fun seasoning and surprise your tastebuds, and all while not adding a lot of dollars to your grocery list! Here’s some examples!
McCormick: Asian Blend, Caribbean Jerk, Lemon Herb, Fiesta Citrus, Sweet & Spicy
Trader Joes: 21 Seasoning Salute, Everything But the Bagel, Lemon Pepper, Coffee BBQ Rub
5. Write it Down
Obviously I kinda said this with planning out your meals, but also write out your grocery list! Bring a pen, and CROSS OFF as you purchase! This leaves less room for throwing unnecessary items in that cart! You have a goal to go in, get what you need, and get out! On your list be sure to have a few snack items for the week, so you don’t feel like you left with nothing to munch on when a snack attack strikes! Of course, we have the market list but you can just as easily use a regular notepad as well!