i've gotten a few questions about my grocery budget. after my next shopping trip, i plan on taking photos and posting my receipt so you can see exactly what i do, along with my meal plan for the month. in the mean time, here's my top tips for saving on groceries.
(1) you want to really save money on groceries? eat vegan. it's as easy as that. if you look at your bill and how much each thing on your list costs per ounce/pound/whatever, you'll see in a second that you're paying outrageous amounts for meat and dairy. per pound, compared to produce, grains, and beans, it's the meat and cheese that are killing your budget. the less you eat of those things, the more you'll save. i'm not the person to give you tips on cutting back consumption or stretching your meat further, but there's plenty of blogs out there that tell you just how to do those things. for me, it's just easier to eat strictly vegan. (i eat cheese when john and i eat out though, that's for sure! mmm nachos.)
(2) you've got to get over eating hang-ups. really. carbs are not the devil. lack of portion control is. you can eat carbs and starches but they're just like anything else - you have to watch your portions. i guarantee you, if you've never looked up correct portion sizes before, you'll be shocked at how much you're overeating. you've also got to be willing to eat seasonally. you'll spend less on in-season produce, so be willing to try what's on sale. like, you're not getting fresh strawberries in december. just deal with it. usually whatever produce is on the front page of the store's flyer is what you'll be buying that week.
(3) meal plan. you cannot go into a grocery store and wing it if you want to save money. you have to go in with a plan. there's so many great resources out there, just search meal plan on pinterest and give it a try. you can start with just one week at a time. personally, i shop right around the 1st for the entire month due to (a) laziness, (b) lack of car, and (c) the fact that i eat anything i can't freeze first and then save the stuff that lasts a long time (potatoes, apples, rice, frozen veggies, pasta) for later in the month. it's absolutely possible to meal plan for an entire month and only make 1 shopping trip, i do it every month. and less trips = less opportunities to buy last minute unnecessary indulgences.
(4) meal prep on sundays (or whatever day works best for you.) that way, lunches and dinners are all lined up in the fridge and you can resist the urge for takeout. there's also a new thing about how reheated pasta is better for you. who knows how true it is, but i'm going with it. invest in matching glass single serving size storage containers. they're worth it.
(5) cut the processed crap. yes, those lean cuisine dinners only cost $1 each but... i can make a full week of better, more filling lunches for $4. total. for 6 days. and you're likely to eat not just 1 of those little dinners, you'll need sides.
part 2 to follow tomorrow!
i pin some of my favorite recipes here (not all vegan, i mark non vegan recipes with a j, for john!) and my favorite meal planning resources are under organize.