Everyone needs to eat but, unfortunately, it is getting harder to go to the grocery store and buy all the food you’ll need to feed your family if you’re on a tight budget. During these harsh economic times, consumers are dealing with everything from job losses to rising costs of gas for their cars and, probably worst of all, the rising costs of groceries.
You have probably already noticed how much more money you spend every time you shop for food today compared to how much you spent even just a year or two ago. And these rising costs hit families hard, especially those who want to make sure they buy all-natural, healthy, organic whole foods rather than cheap, processed foods that ultimately lead to more health issues and higher medical bills.
Luckily, there are many easy ways to save money when you go grocery shopping. So if you find that you’re struggling to make ends meet but you still want to eat well, start implementing the following money-savings tips right away.
1. Buy Only What You Need for the Week
Rather than having to go to the grocery store multiple times a week and risking overspending every time you’re there, make a list of meals you plan to make and then shop one day out of the week for all of the ingredients you’ll need as well as any other staples, such as juices, bread, milk and snacks. This will keep you from buying more than you need, and it’ll keep your weekly budget in check. In addition, store any extras or leftovers in small ziplock bags to keep from wasting.
2. Use Cash Instead of Credit
Arm yourself with a certain amount of cash whenever you go to the grocery store and avoid using credit. Using a credit card gives you the illusion that you can purchase more than you can actually afford, but seeing cash go out of your wallet and realizing what remains in there at the end of your shopping trip will keep your spending in line. Go in with, for example, $100 in cash, and then only spend that much. This will keep you from buying unnecessary junk food, snacks, and sodas that you otherwise would have avoided.
3. Look for Fresh, Whole Foods Rather than Packaged Foods
Fresh foods are healthier for you, containing more nutrients, higher levels of fiber, and complex carbohydrates that keep you fuller longer, so you don’t need to purchase as many high-calorie, sugar-loaded, simple-carbohydrate foods and snacks that add up at the checkout lane. Even when it comes to things like salad ingredients, opt for full heads of lettuce that will last longer and stay fresher longer than the pre-packaged mixed salads in plastic containers and bags.
4. Start a Garden
Whether you start a small indoor herb garden or a full garden in your backyard, take advantage of the savings and health benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables, which aren’t covered in pesticides, will yield crops for an entire season, and are less expensive than store-bought organic produce.
About the author: Melanie is a freelance writer who enjoys providing tips to help those in need. When it comes to saving extra money on food, she suggests storing produce and leftovers in zipper bags in order to retain freshness for longer. This will help you reduce the amount of food that you end up having to throw away.