Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Tips For Grocery Shopping On A Budget

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One area that people often struggle with when switching to a unprocessed lifestyle is that food costs too much. While it is true that you need to spend a little more, I always say that cheap food will eventually catch up with you health wise, meaning that you end of spending more on the doctor and medication in the long run. And of course, you cannot put a price on health.

Here are some of my tips to help keep your budget down while still feeding your family with the healthiest diet you can afford.

Buy produce on sale or special offer: This will save you money in the long run, particularly if it can be frozen or is a jarred item. If it is a perishable item which goes off quickly and which you know you will not use in time, do not waste your money! You will most likely throw it out!

If you have extra money buy in bulk. Things like meat or fish usually work out less expensive the more you buy. We buy our meat monthly in bulk and freeze it. We usually save around 10-15% this way.

Choose fresh produce which is in season. Fruits and vegetables which are in season are often priced more competitively than produce which is more difficult to source.

Buy local! Buying direct from the farmer or from a farmer’s market means you cut out the middle man. This means the produce is often more affordable.

Make your own sauces, spice mixes and rubs – they work out a lot cheaper and you have control over what is going into them.

Avoid impulse buys – keep a shopping list of what you want for the week ahead. Having a rough plan of what you plan to cook for main meals will cut down on unnecessary spending.

Avoid shopping when hungry! If you are hungry you are more likely to opt for processed foods or be enticed by baked goods which may smell delicious but are not healthy. Eat before you shop and reduce the cost of your bill!

Avoid buying ready meals or prepared foods such as quiches etc. These foods are much more expensive than if you make them yourself. You are paying for convenience.

Avoid processed foods as much as possible. These types of foods are MUCH more expensive than fresh produce to buy. People often exclaim that fresh foods are expensive but processed food is FAR more expensive. Consider that a 7.5kg of potatoes costs around €5 (67c/kg) and a packet of crisps costs 0.78c (€21.10 per kg) that is a huge 3000+% difference!

Steer away from pre-prepared vegetables/fruit or salads. These are always overpriced. Buy and prepare your own.

Shop the outside aisles as much as possible. This is where the fresh and healthy foods are such as fruit and vegetables and eggs. Avoid the inner aisles which is where all the processed foods are kept. You don’t need them!

Buy cheaper cuts of meats such as stewing beef or shoulder lamb chops or chicken thighs and drumsticks. These are usually much cheaper but if cooked right are much tastier than other cuts. The cheaper cuts usually require longer cooking times (stews, soups) but taste delicious – the bone adds flavour you just won’t get in other cuts.

Make your own fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir and make bone broth. These incredibly nourishing foods are cheap as the proverbial chips (cooked in coconut oil obviously ;) ) but pack real bang for their buck!

Experiment with offal such as liver and kidney which are very inexpensive but very nutritious

Family favorites are very easy to make inexpensively such as spaghetti bolognaise, soups and stews

Look in the special offer section of the supermarket meat aisle. There are often perfectly good cuts of meat reduced which you can buy for a steal!

Make friends with your butcher! They will often have deals to avail of and if you are friendly they might even throw in some free chicken bones which you can make stock from! Buying direct from a butcher also ensures you cut out the middle man so prices are more competitive.

Keep an eye on prices. Each store can have huge variation on prices. Check prices and be a smarter shopper!

Read the store offers before you start your shop. There may be something you can avail of in their weekly offers.

Simple changes can make a big difference and go a long way to ensuring you and your family continue to eat healthy nourishing food but without the massive food bill!