It’s crazy how different the weekdays and the weekends are. The weekdays are busy with work, school and other time commitments that make the little things, like cooking, such a hassle. If you don’t particularly like preparing your food, or simply don’t know how to, then you probably tend to spend more money eating out or buying processed ready-made meals to pop into the microwave.
Listen, we spend enough money on things like rent and other bills, to worry about wasting hundreds of dollars every time we go grocery shopping. I understand the frustration of spending all of my money on food. Through a lot of price checking, grocery store hunting, and cooking experiments, I have found some tricks to help us all live off of a healthy diet for under $50 per week.
Take advantage of Sunday. I say Sunday because that is normally the day when we reset our bodies for the upcoming week. This is the day that I plan out every meal that I will be making Monday through Friday. If I know what I’m making, I know what ingredients I need to buy. This helps avoid wasteful spending (some grocery stores also have great deals on Sundays).
Price check. You may want to go to more than one grocery store. For example, if I can find it at the cheapest store in town (Publix, Windixie, or any big chain that carries their own brand), then I’ll go there for that particular item. However, I prefer to get my produce from farmer’s markets and local stores that are environmentally friendly. It may be inconvenient to drive or walk to more than one store, but it will save you some cash!
Make your list. Here is my suggested grocery list. Keep in mind that I am a vegan, so animal products will not appear on this list. I also bought these groceries from Lucky’s Market, which may be more expensive than a normal grocery store, but they constantly have amazing sales. I also bought mostly organic produce, which is of course not as cheap. All that being said… I still am under $50!!!
Potatoes (about 2 pounds) =$1.49 (organic), Non-organic is $.99
SALE PRICE= $.98
Rice (1 pound) =$2.00
Black beans (Bag was cheaper than canned) =$3.00
Garbanzo beans =$0.75 per can
Pasta = About $2.00 per box
Oats: $1.49 per lb
Tortilla: $0.29 for one package (10 tortillas)
Almond milk: $4.29
Strawberries= $.98 per carton
Oranges= $1.49 originally. SALE PRICE= $1.98 per lb
Apples= $1.69 per lb
Frozen fruits= $4.99 per bag (1.5 cups)
Bell Peppers =$.80 (about 2) non organic. Organic is $1.25 per lb.
One Onion= $1.29 non organic. Organic is $1.99.
Broccoli =$.98 per head.
One carton of mushrooms =$1.79
Limes: SALE PRICE=5 limes for $1
Yellow Squash: $2.69 per lb
Zucchini: $2.69 per lb
Frozen veggies: $2.99 per bag (2 cups)
Nuts: About $8.00 per container
Seeds: About $3 per lb
Sugars and spices: $3.50
Vegan cheeses: All around $4.69
Note: It is always cheaper if you can portion the food out. For example, some stores allow you to add oats, seeds, nuts, uncooked rice and beans into bags and then pay by the pound. This is cheaper than packaged food. All processed food will ALWAYS be more expensive than natural, whole foods.
Meal Prep. If you make most of your meals in bulk and portion them out on Sunday or early in the week, you will be more likely to eat it and thus not waste what you bought!
Notice how I put the price of these basic groceries by the pound. I do not buy a pound of everything that is on that list, so that just shows you how cheap some things can be. Keeping all of this in mind, don’t forget to treat yourself. Fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods are the base of my diet, but I still buy chips, chocolate, and almond butter to keep me sane. These are more expensive, but if you shop intuitively throughout the week, you might have some extra money for treats.