Ways to Save on Grocery Bills
My boyfriend and I are currently seniors in college and together, we spend a total of $200 on groceries/month, which includes the money we use to go and eat out (that’s not very often!). That is a little over a dollar/meal.
Here are some of my tips, in case you are also living in college or on your own and want a good but healthy way to cut costs (that doesn’t involve you eating Ramen every night).
Also: no excuses! A lot of people say that they don’t have time to cook or go shopping for groceries. I say bullshit. If you really want to save money/get healthy, you’ll make time. I go to a top tier college and am going to medical school next year. I also work three jobs so I can pay the rent and my tuition. If I have time, so do you.
1) Don’t do organic. Ok, controversial, I know, but hear me out. Sure, you might cut out a few pesticides on your apples, but studies have shown that a lot of vegetables and fruits are actually the same whether you buy organic or not. If you really insist on this, follow the peel rule: if you eat the peel, buy organic. If not, don’t bother. The biggest mistake you can make is buying everything at an organic supermarket—super expensive, and not always worth it. Find a cheap but good grocery store in your area.
2) Don’t buy bottled water/soda. My boyfriend and I have completely cut soda out of our diets. Not only is it good for us, it’s cheaper too. Also, if you live in a first world country, the water that comes out of your tap is perfectly safe to drink. Invest in a reusable water bottle and drink tap.
3) Don’t shop when hungry. Seriously, worst thing possible. You’re going to want to buy
junk food everything you see. Which leads to my next point.
4) Don’t buy unhealthy snacks. You might really like chips, cookies, etc, but you’ll be much less likely to eat them if you don’t have them right in front of you. If you really do want to eat them, buy potatoes and bake your own chips or buy flour, sugar, and eggs, and make your own cookies.
5) Plan out your strategy ahead and only go shopping once a week unless absolutely necessary. My boyfriend and I usually plan on cooking about two or three times a week. We plan out the dishes, what’s going to go in them, and how much we need to sustain us for a week. One of these is usually a soup, which fills you up and can be made in huge quantities for very little money.
6) The main meal is dinner — and cook a lot of it. I usually only cook for dinner, and we have leftovers for lunch for the next few days and even a few more dinners, with a little more variety thrown in (a new salad or a new side dish for example). For breakfast, we have foods that can be made quickly and cheaply such as oatmeal, cereal, or toast.
7) Don’t tempt yourself with fast food. I know with our lives being so fast paced, it’s easy to have no food with you when you run out the door, and you end up buying yourself something quick for lunch. The problem is, not only is this expensive ($5+/lunch), it’s also unhealthy. Remember what I said about cooking a lot at once? Take some leftovers in a Tupperware when you go. This way, you control how much you eat, and it’s much, much cheaper.
8) Don’t cut out the healthy stuff.I buy fruits and vegetables. A lot of it, in fact. That way, we are forced to have more vegetables on our plates when we make meals and also, if we want a quick snack, there are always apples, bananas, or grapes in the fridge.
9) Sale? Buy and freeze! I love chicken wings. I know, not the healthiest thing out there, but I can’t help it. They’re just so yummy!!! And expensive… Which was why when there was a sale at my local grocery store for $0.20/lb chicken wings, I ended up buying six pounds and freezing them in six separate Ziploc bags. That way, when I wanted to cook chicken wings, I just had to reach in the day before and take one out to thaw.
10) It’s ok to splurge once in a while. At least for me, eating in every night can be kind of boring. I do party, and I do go out to eat with my friends once in a while, which I think helps me to eat and shop better the rest of the time. I count this money in our grocery bill, and the way to eat out cheaply is to go online, find a menu, and figure out what you want to eat ahead of time.
I hope thes tips have been helpful. Good luck, everyone!