Healthy Hacks: Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Does any one else have a habit of spending wayyyy too much money on fancy groceries? I often walk into Whole Foods intending to grab some veggies and almond milk and come out with veggies, almond milk, a handful of granola bars, a bottle of kombucha, and something totally random I saw on Instagram and just had to have.

I’m still in high school and living with my family, so I’m very lucky that I don’t have to buy all my own groceries yet. (If I did, I’d be broke in a month.) However, I am the only one that follows a primarily plant (haha) based lifestyle, so there are lots of foods, such as almond milk and tofu, that I have to buy for myself, and therefore I find budgeting very important.

Assuming I’m not the only one who struggles with overspending (if I am don’t tell me), today I’m sharing some of my tips for keeping the nutrition high and the prices low when grocery shopping.

Top 5 tips for grocery shopping on a budget:

  • Focus on ingredients over brand name. I’m constantly tempted to buy the expensive products I see my favorite bloggers posting about on Instagram, from granola to face wash, but I try to keep in mind that there are alternatives of equal quality for a fraction of the price. Sometimes I will splurge and treat myself to something from a fancy brand, but most of the time I try to find something less expensive with a comparable ingredient list (i.e. few ingredients, real foods, words I’m familiar with).
  • Compare price per ounce. This is a shopping trick my mom taught me when I was still sitting in the baby seat of the shopping cart. Sure, a  $2 carton of almond milk might look like good deal, but if the $3 carton is significantly larger, the $3 milk may actually be the better purchase.
  • Go in with a specific list. This one is pretty simple. If you know what you need and have a clear plan for what you’re going to buy, you will be less likely to find yourself wandering through the store making unnecessary purchases.
  • Never grocery shop in a rush. While making a specific grocery list should speed up the shopping process, it’s also important to give yourself plenty of time to peruse, explore, and find the best deals.
  • Keep a tally of prices as you shop. I find this strategy especially useful when paying for my groceries in cash, as I’m terrified of getting up to the cash register and not having enough money on me to pay for my mountain of food. Even if you’re paying with credit, keeping a list of prices as you shop and adding it all up before you check out saves you from having to nod and smile and pretend you’re not dying inside when the cashier tells you how much money you owe.
  • Sales and coupons are your friends. I bought a pack of Justin’s peanut butter cups the other day that had a coupon inside, so I saved it and redeemed it for a squeeze pack of nut butter.

Using these strategies, I managed to snag all the goods pictured above for just over $30! I’m pretty proud of myself to tell the truth.  I had so much fun practicing mindful shopping, and I discovered some really great brands I’d never tried before. All these great brands, along with what I make with them, will be showing up on my Instagram throughout the week.

If you have any shopping hacks, I’d love to hear about them!

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