On the Chopping Block

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When it comes to eating healthy, there’s nothing in the rulebook that says you have to purchase pricey foods. Also, if you’re anything like me – and I’m not proud of it – I tend to dine out rather than make all the food I just bought. Eventually, if I avoid the refrigerator enough times, things go bad and the guilt sets in. Rather than put a dent in your budget, research budget-friendly recipes and grocery shopping tips to help you find tasty meals without breaking the bank.

While Financial Literacy Month is already half-way over, budget-friendly tips are good for a lifetime! So, let’s chat and chew about a few ways to cut costs—and waste—in the kitchen.

When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, below are a few tips to get you started:

  • Shop with a plan. Growing up, my dad would always sit the family down on Sunday and go over the weekly calendar—safe to say I didn’t appreciate his organizational skills until many years later. Once we knew everyone’s practice schedules, baby sitting commitments, haircuts, and so on, my dad could plan meals accordingly. Rather than buy meals expecting the family to be home, adjust to your week’s schedule to avoid over-cooking on a night when no one is around to appreciate your hard work!
  • Stock the pantry. While children may try to persuade you down the chip aisle, stocking up doesn’t mean ‘chips and dip’. If you’re not much of a planner, pick-up a few extra basic ingredients you know you can easily whip-up if plans change. Keep things like canned beans, pasta, and canned tuna on the shelves. Having healthy options lying around will save you a trip to the grocery store, or a $30 pizza order.
  • Clip the coupons. While it may seem old-fashion, scoring a great deal at any store is a win! Whether you get coupons via email, mail, or you check your local grocery store’s website, saving money will never go out of style.
  • Bulk-up. While it would not be feasible for my average-sized city apartment, for anyone with enough storage space, shopping at club stores like Costco and BJ’s can save you money. While you have to be careful—it’s easy to overspend on things you will never use—if you do your homework and find that a deal makes sense, go for the triple-sized bottle of shampoo!

Did you know? Americans throw out more than 25 percent of the food we prepare, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. To help cut back on waste, check out a few tips below:

  • Organize your fridge. Don’t forget about the foods stuffed in the back on fridge—instead, develop a system for storing food in your refrigerator and/or pantry that works for your family. There are even mobile apps to help you – check out five apps from Apartment Therapy.
  • Freeze your food. Don’t throw away good produce and other ingredients you can easily freeze and save for another time. This extensive list from the National Center for Food Preservation gives you instructions oh how to preserve a laundry list of foods.

Meal planning is easier said than done, but the reality is, tight schedules and budgets are the norm. In order to eat well and still maintain our sanity, it requires a little more strategizing. Try it out—not only will you have your health, but you’ll have more money too! Have some of your own savvy grocery shopping tips? Share in the comments section below.

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