Grocery Store Hacks: How to Eat Well Without Breaking the Bank
Managing a budget is challenging! It's even more challenging when the cost of goods continue to go up while the average household income remains more or less the same. So how do you balance your chequebook while still making sure to feed yourself (and your family) quality foods? We're about to give you a few grocery hacks that will save you money and make the food you do purchase stretch even further.
Buy In bulk
We don't just mean buying bulk quantities, we also mean buying from the bulk section. Pretty packaging and colourful logos add unwanted dollars that affect your bottom line.
The bulk section is a hidden gem that a lot of shoppers seem to bypass or forget all together. You can find quality items (sometimes even organic or locally sourced) for much less than their prepackaged counterparts simply because they lack some shiny plastic and expensive colourful logos. Fear not though, the bulk section is your friend. If you're feeling adventurous enough to make a special trip to a bulk store (Bulk Barn, for example) you can even find some more exclusive bulk treasures such as wheat flour alternatives and superfood elixirs for much less than you'd find at your general supermarket. Some of the best bulk buys include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Nuts and Seeds
- Brown rice, Quinoa, Lentils
- Rolled Oats
eat more plants
Aside from helping to reduce inflammation, balance your gut, raise energy levels, improve digestion, and fight off infection, eating a more plant based diet will save you hundreds of dollars in yearly grocery bills.
Without a doubt, the most effective way to improve your diet and stretch your dollar is to eat more plants. We'll say it again: EAT. MORE. PLANTS. By choosing to fill your plate with more fruits and vegetables you're not only fuelling yourself with a more sustainable food source, you're also going to save LOADS of money both short and long term. If you're concerned about protein sources here are a few plant based options we know and love (that also aren't totally foreign to most):
- Beans & Legumes
- Nuts & Seeds
- Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, etc)
It's worth mentioning that classic meat alternatives such as veggie burgers, for example, can sometimes cost just as much as normal burger patties. Unfortunately, manufacturers have caught onto the willingness of shoppers to spend a few extra dollars on something that is or appears to be labeled as a 'health food'. With such a trend it's become common place to see phrases such as 'gluten free' or 'fat free' slapped across a product just to garner some extra attention and entice shoppers to spend a little more than they typically would. If you want to avoid falling victim to such marketing strategies it's best to do a bit of research prior to heading out to the supermarket and determine what's important to you when it comes to making buying decisions. This leads us to our next point.
splurge on quality
Figuring out what's important to you and where to spend extra dollars will help make your buying decisions a heck of a lot easier.
Before heading out to the market, determine what's important to you and what is going benefit your health the most. Do you want to follow a heavily plant based diet? Then purchase only organic fruits and vegetables and spend more on nuts and seeds than animal proteins. Or if you are a meat lover, allocate a few extra dollars to purchasing quality cuts from reliable local butchers. Be clear about what your goals and budgets are prior to leaving the house. This will save you from feeling the decision-making-burnout while you wander the aisles.
Buying seasonal fruits and vegetables is not only cost effective, it also supports local farmers.
Educating yourself on what grows seasonally in your area will make eating locally and saving money a lot easier. Most supermarkets post signage that makes it easy to determine what is sourced locally and what is not. Be mindful of these signs and pay attention when purchasing fruits and vegetables out of season. Those berries might only cost a couple dollars during the summer but may triple in price come winter time. Here's a full list provided by the Calgary Food Bank that outlines what is grown in Alberta and is broken down by month.
While choosing to purchase healthier foods may initially feel like a chore, it all comes down to prioritizing yourself over convenience. Are you willing to put in a little extra short-term effort for an overwhelmingly beneficial long-term pay off?
By taking the time to determine what your goals are, putting together a weekly budget, and planning where to spend a little extra, you will become a savvy supermarket guru.
Who's ready to start their own food revolution?