Alison is a registered dietitian, board-certified in oncology nutrition, and a cancer thriver. Her expertise in oncology nutrition and personal experience with her own cancer diagnosis and its treatment provide her with the unique perspective of being able to relate to her clients on an entirely different level. Her content is consistently focused on evidence-based guidelines and seeks to increase the awareness of the power of nutrition to complement traditional cancer therapies.
Today I want to share my 5 tips for saving money on groceries. Spoiler alert, none of the tips is “stick to a budget”. Anyone trying to save money knows budget is key, right?
How do I know these tips work? I am no Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman. But I take very close attention to my money. I keep track of every. single. penny.
Let me be clear. My financial advisor has already told me that I am slightly obsessive. I have a P&L (profit and loss) statement for our household and I can tell you exactly how much money we spent on Jeff’s haircuts vs. Lauren’s haircuts. #nerdalert
And since I love numbers, I can tell you exactly how much I saved on food between 2017 and 2018.
We spent 7% less on groceries and 9.5% less on dining out in 2018 vs. 2017*.
*I am not sharing the real dollar amounts here, because there is no need to get tripped up on how much I spend vs. you.
7% doesn’t sound like a lot?
Let’s put the math to work. The average household spends $4,049 for food at home and $3,145 for food away from home. (Reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) If those were my numbers, I would have saved $283 for groceries and $296 for eating out (a total of $576).
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that $576 and put in my standup paddleboard savings fund!**
**(If you have one, please comment on what kind you have and if you love it. Clearly, I am in the market.)
Did I convince you to at least read my tips? Okay, good.
When eating a plant-based diet, it can be super easy to buy fancy granola, protein bars, pre-washed and packaged fruits veggies, etc.
Take for instance the pre-packaged Sweet Butter lettuce my husband used to buy. At my local grocery store, it is $3.49 for 6 ounces. But I can usually buy Boston lettuce for $1.99 a pound (16 ounces). Granted, you have to take it home wash it and cut it. Seriously, buy a salad spinner and take 2 minutes to prep it. It will save you so much money in the long run!
Do you have kids? Make it fun! My niece LOVES playing with the salad spinner. Plus, the more you expose children to vegetables, the better chance they will try them one day.
Overall, focus on whole foods you get to pick yourself.
A lot of people assume I eat 100% organic. It’s definitely not true. Remember how I pay attention to every single penny? Buying everything organic would break the bank!
If the price isn’t ridiculous (i.e. $5.00 carton of organic strawberries), I’ll buy organic produce that isn’t on the dirty dozen list.
What is the dirty dozen? It’s a list of the top 12 produce items found to have the most pesticide residue. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with an update every year.
They also have the clean 15. The 15 produce items found to have the least amount of pesticide residue. These are the items I won’t buy organic (unless it’s the same exact prices as the conventional).
Want our Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 cheat sheet?
When I say coupons, most people think I am some kind of extreme couponer. I am definitely not. Because for me, time is money. I’ll spend maybe ten minutes on coupons, not hours.
There are a variety of coupons on use:
Digital Store Coupons
Good ol’ Paper Coupons
Visit your favorite brands’ website and see if they offer any coupons you can print out.
When trying to decide which brand to buy, always let the cost per ounce make your decision. Take for instance whole wheat pasta:
The clear winner in this example the Simple Truth Organic box of pasta. Look how much you save!
I use Thrive Market for items that are hard to find or more expensive at the standard grocery store. I put all of the details in earlier post. Read this if you are interested in learning more about Thrive Market.
Remember your reusable bags!
Some grocery stores will actually give you a discount if you are using reusable bags. In the past, my grocery store gave me a ten cent discount for every reusable bag I used. Now, they give fuel points. Some months, we have saved $0.70/gallon! You better believe we wait until Jeff’s truck is almost empty to take advantage!
A friend in California told me that stores CHARGE you for the bags. Now, that is a good way to remember to always keep them in your car!
I hope these tips helped! Do you have another awesome money saving tips? Tell us below in the comments!
❤️l a u r e n