Everyone knows what it’s like for money to be a little tight and having to cut back in certain areas. Unfortunately, it’s quite tricky to cut the grocery bill without compromising on nutrition.
While opting for cheap, empty calories might seem like a good idea when facing a financial bind, it can lead to health issues that cost more in the long term. Moreover, eating poorly can sap your energy and affect mental performance. But all of this can be avoided by putting a little thought and planning into your food budget.
Impulse spending alone consumes more than 20% of your food budget. So the first thing you should do is make a grocery list and stick to it.
Plan your meals at least a week in advance and list all the ingredients you will need. Although your list doesn’t have to be strict, try to stick to it. This means that it’s okay to add a few “luxuries” to the list to reduce your chances of going overboard with impulse spending.
Whatever you do, don’t go to the grocery store hungry. Eat a meal or light snack before shopping to control cravings.
Eat what’s on Sale
Planning your meals around sales can cut your grocery bill by 10 to 20%. So go ahead and stockpile all kinds of non-perishable and frozen foods when you find them on sale. But don’t forget to check the sell-by date, and only buy what you can consume before that date.
Also, don’t be tempted to buy more than you need just because something is on sale. In fact, to ensure that you actually consume what you have stockpiled, skip grocery shopping once every month and live off what you have in your fridge and pantry. This helps to reduce food waste, which can cost you thousands of dollars annually.
Check the Cost per Unit
When comparing two products, calculate cost per ounce or cost per pound to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money. Just because one product is cheaper doesn’t mean you should buy it. Maybe it costs less because it weighs less.
Plant-Based is Cheaper
Eating more plant based meals is one of the easiest ways to cut your grocery bill without compromising on nutrition. Even the cheapest meat and dairy products are still more expensive than a whole-food diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. A plant-based diet is also much better for your waistline and overall health.
You can reduce your food budget significantly without resorting to eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just plan your meals in advance, buy what’s on sale, keep your eye on the cost per unit and eat more plant-based meals!