I think there’s a little part of all of us that wants to walk into the grocery store, walk out, and feel like “wow, I really saved money at the grocery store today.”
Who doesn’t like to save money?
Something that has been integral in my process of losing weight has been planning.
Meal planning has been one of the most important parts of my process because it ensures that I’m taking in the right amount of calories to have the fuel to really work out, but that I’m also buying what I need, and nothing in excess.
I watch my spending much closer being an entrepreneur.
I also want to develop affordable recipes for you guys
I used to spend $200 at the grocery store for each visit, but times have changed, and I’ve had to become more frugal with my budget.
I really hate wasting food, or throwing food away, and I totally hate going over budget, so I wanted to share some of how I plan out my grocery shopping, and my thought process to simplify your life, and show you how to save money, AND eat well.
In this post
- Planning before visiting the store
- Shopping during your trip
- After your trip
- Some other money-saving tips
Planning before visiting the store
I do a few things before the store trip to make sure I’m being as thorough as possible.
About every week I go to the store with $75-$100 to buy whatever I need for the two of us.
I know that’s my absolute ceiling, and I can’t spend any more, no matter how much I would like to.
Make sure you have a realistic budget set in place for your food and any incidentals. I consider things like paper towels and toothpaste.
Plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for your week
This sounds insane to most people, but after you do it, you realize how much sense it makes.
When you plan out each meal, it will do two things.
It will put your week into perspective and help plan.
Next, it will tell you the ingredients you’ll need to shop for that week.
By planning early, you’ve halfway tackled your grocery list.
I always plan 5 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I always rotate meals so I don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
It makes my life super easy, and I get something a little different every time.
If you buy foods seasonally, they’re much cheaper and they tend to stay fresh a lot longer.
I usually put in a little time for the research. Luckily, many foods are available all year round, so you’re getting the best deal.
Walk into your kitchen, open up your cabinets, and take inventory every single time.
It also sounds tedious, but I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve gone to the grocery store and bought duplicates of food, or spices I didn’t need because I didn’t check my pantry before I left.
You’ll really save yourself some trouble if you check out what you have before you go.
You won’t have unnecessary items on your grocery list, and you also can replenish the things that are about to run out before you have to go without them.
Make a list of must-haves, wants and total dreams
Finally, the best part. Make your grocery list.
I divide mine into must-haves, wants and dreams.
Must-haves are stuff that I have to leave the store with for making my recipes in my eating plan for that week.
Wants are stuff that I could realistically buy if I stay under budget – extras like make-up, or nail polish, or a new lip gloss. Just random stuff that might not even have to do with groceries.
Dreams are things that I couldn’t buy now, but maybe if I were under budget for a few weeks (or months), or I just have some really random extra money, I might be able to buy it.
Shopping during your trip
Stick to the list
If it’s not on your list, you have to be strong enough not to put it in your cart. I used to have trouble with this.
I would put a whole bunch of stuff on my list, and then I would be like “but strawberries look so goooooood!”
If you didn’t think highly enough of them to put on your list, then they don’t go in the cart. The end.
Walk around with a calculator
I surprisingly never see anyone do this, but it helps me stay on track.
I calculate the price of everything I put in my shopping cart to be sure that I stay on budget.
If my needs exceed my price limit, I’ll actually put stuff back, and re-think parts of my list.
That actually doesn’t happen to me anymore, but it really did at first when I wasn’t so sure about what I was buying.
You get the hang of it after a while, but it’s good to have something reminding you of your budget.
Coupons and can always help you save. Look for store deals on the shelf, and in store apps.
After your trip
Prep, and cut all of your food, and portion them out
Slice and bag up produce (but don’t wash them until right before you use them!).
Ziplock cereals, and granola (make sure you label, and write expiration dates on the bags with a sharpie, or steal the expiration date from the packaging).
Portion out meats and chicken, and fish into individual bags (I weigh mine, and bag them up to freeze).
All of these things are extra, but it really takes the hassle out of your prepping for the next week.
You can literally just take stuff out and eat it. It might take you 20-30 minutes to do all of this stuff, but its so worth it.
I’m always sure to keep the nutrition facts label, even though I put everything else into new air-tight bags. I cut it off of the box usually, so I can log the calories and I don’t have to guess the serving sizes. I actually think that’s a little insane, but I totally believe in it.
Stick to the plan for that week!
Everything is done for you for a week. It usually takes me an hour to plan my meals for the week, an hour to grocery shop from start to finish, and 20-30 minutes to cut, and portion out all of my food for the week.
It seems like a ton of work, but saves me so much extra time during the week when I’m actually busy, and I save money just thinking about what I actually need.
I very rarely have food go to waste. It really helps!
This can totally be modified.
I only go once a week because I’ve finally mastered the art of keeping food fresh, and it syncs up with the way I get paid, but if you do this less often, it really works out.
Some other money-saving tips
- Buy online if you can, sometimes it’s cheaper!
- Buying in bulk is definitely cheaper, but only do it for things you know you can store properly.
- Try out different things. Don’t get stuck in the same routine, and allow yourself to keep variety in your diet, or this gets so boring, so fast.
- Be free with this! Have fun with the planning process!
If you have any great shopping tips too, let me know! I love efficiency!
Share these tips with your healthy friends! Let me know if these tips help you save some money!