Realistically, it's just not feasible for most people to spend upwards of $10 on a bottle of cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil to take advantage of its purported heart-healthy benefits, or to shell out $15 for a pound of fresh halibut. Organic arugula? Just not a priority.
Before we stock up on ramen noodles and boxed mac and cheese, or eat off the dollar menu at our local burger joint, we can shave dollars off our weekly grocery bill in other ways--yet still eat healthy, nutritious, low-fat food. It mostly boils down to:
- Meal planning
- Sticking to a shopping list
- Keeping an eye out for special offers
- Shopping by yourself if possible
- Not setting out with an empty stomach.
How to Begin:
- Decide ahead of time what you plan to eat for the week. Make a list of the ingredients. Check which ones you have on hand, and which ones you'll need to buy. I'll often throw a package of something in my cart only to find I had three or four them hidden at the back of my pantry. If I'd checked my supplies, I could have avoided unnecessary expense.
- While evaluating your needs, use the opportunity to search for items in the pantry and refrigerator that are past their use-by date. Don't take risks with meat, but unopened dairy products are usually good for up to a week after their sell-by date. However, if something smells bad or tastes bad, toss it. Organize your pantry and refrigerator so that perishable foods with the shortest sell-by dates are closest to the front. This will help reduce the amount of food you throw out each week.
- Check to see whether any of the items you need are on sale or have special offers, through coupons, or discounts offered to store-card holders. Check inserts, flyers, online grocery coupons, even junk mail envelopes for potential savings. Don't cut coupons for items you wouldn't normally buy. Put the coupons you want to use in your purse.
- Omit less-healthy treats and snacks from your list, such as packaged cookies, cakes and chips. Many packaged baked goods still contain hydrogenated oils, or are being replaced with saturated fats such as palm oil or coconut oil. If you really want cookies and cakes, it's actually cheaper to make your own; plus, you'll have control over the amount of fat and sugar you use.
- When planning your meals for the week, consider going meatless for at least two evenings, substituting either fish or beans for meat. You'll save both fat calories and dollars.
What Should You Buy? (see next page) >>>>>