Budget Buying

2014 is the year of budgeting! For me anyways – anyone want to join? My grocery budget might be the hardest to stick to.  I love food, and the grocery stores have so much to offer!  If you struggle with spending too much at the grocery store, here are the three P’s of shopping that will help keep you healthy and on budget:

Plan

list

-Do inventory of what you already have in your refrigerator and cabinets. This will save you the time of trying to answer the question “Do I have that?”, as well as money from buying unnecessary extras.

-Make a list and stick to it! This will help you avoid needless, and possibly expensive, purchases. Build your list around meals and snacks that you want to have throughout the week.

– Don’t base every meal around meat. Meat can be expensive, but there are many inexpensive alternatives to meat for getting our protein. Try beans, peanut butter, tofu, or almonds.

-Check for coupons or special deals that stores are offering.  But remember, watch out for high-priced name brand coupons.  Even with a coupon the item may be significantly higher-priced then the
off-brand version.

Purchase

shopping

-Buying in bulk almost always saves money. This tactic works great for foods with long shelf lives – such as whole wheat spaghetti, or canned beans.  Buying bulk dry rice (instead of minute rice, or other special packages) or dry beans (instead of cans) usually goes farther and costs less per serving as well. If they are on sale, grab a few extra and save some pennies in the long run.

-Avoid buying individually packaged goods. A single-serving packet of pretzels may only cost $1.00, but you can make you own packets out of a larger bag – bringing the cost down to about $0.30 per packet.

-Watch for mispriced items at checkout.

-Buy fruits and vegetables in season when they are less expensive. If you want to buy in bulk when they are in season, choose produce that freezes easily (berries, bananas) to be used later in smoothies or stir-fry’s.

-Remember – stick to that list!

Prepare

food prep

-Stick to appropriate portion sizes.  Over-eating means over spending on groceries.

-Some meals can be made in bulk and frozen for later – a time and money saver!  Large batches of soup, chili, and pasta dishes can be stored for a long time in the freezer and warmed up whenever you’d like a serving.

-Store leftovers to eat the next day. Wasted food = wasted money.

 

To end, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite budget-friendly recipes: a grown-up grilled cheese sandwich!  It’s easy, delicious, and at only about $1.50 per sandwich, super budget-friendly.

Katy’s Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

Butter one side each of 2 whole wheat slices of bread. Add cheddar cheese, spinach leaves, and tomato. Grill to perfection and enjoy!

grown up grilled cheese

– Katy

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