Grocery Shopping on a Budget

PLAN: According to a dietitian and health education consultant, ‘If a family or head of household can take an hour to plan a week’s worth of meals, make a grocery shopping list and another hour to grocery shop, then the family can be good for a week’. This is a win-win situation as food prepared at home is generally healthy and less expensive.

BUY IN BULK: Whether it is buying large quantity of chicken and freezing what you don’t use right away or one large container of yogurt instead of individual servings, buying big can equal big savings.

COUPONS: Another dietician maintains, ‘Clipping coupons and shopping sales will never go out of style, especially when there are many mouths to feed’. Coupons are everywhere these days, from local flyers to the internet. Check individual food companies’ Web sites for discounts, rebates and coupons you can print yourself.

OUTER AREAS: Most stores are organized with packaged food in the middle. As much as possible, stick to the outer areas where you can find the healthier fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy.


Also, while these foods may seem expensive, be sure to consider actual serving sizes and how many meals you can get from one purchase. Produce may appear expensive at the outset, but it can be part of a meal or a snack. Think about how that could potentially be spread across several meals or people.

SUBSTITUTIONS: Instead of expensive and less healthy beef, buy more chicken. Beans are another good source of protein and are usually much cheaper then meat.

ASSEMBLE: Not only is it less expensive to purchase items individually, but you will also be avoiding the preservatives used to increase a packaged food’s shelf life. Instead on the ready to eat dish, buy the ingredients: for instance, rather than buying the salad already made, buy the pieces and assemble it yourself.

SKIP SNACKS: Skip the snack foods. Products like chips, cookies and soda are unhealthy and represent an unnecessary expense for shoppers looking to save money. Popcorn, dried fruits and nuts are good, nutritious substitutions for chips.


BUY IN-SEASON: Go local and buy in-season. Look for fresh local and in-season produce as this is usually more affordable than choosing out of season or imported produce.

BE CREATIVE: Whether it’s trying a new recipe with ingredients bought using coupons or putting a new twist on an old favorite, shopping and preparing different foods can be fun.

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