A few of you have been curious to know how I’ve been able to manage spending about $200 for groceries every month with “big city” prices – although in reality, I may spend a little extra because I’m inspired to experiment with new recipes – it would still be feasible to spend about $200-$250 for groceries with a few tips:
1. Shop at Trader Joe’s! As you can already tell, I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan – great and unique food at a great price is always a go-to for me. Although I don’t buy everything here, I will admit that I buy at least 50% of my grocery list is from this place. From frozen veggies and fruits to refried beans to olive oil, I’m down with TJ’s.
2. Always stock up with pastas and whole grains (brown rice and quinoa): Having a healthy and cheap starch (such as brown rice, whole grain pastas and quinoa) in the house can really help with saving a lot of money – two boxes of dried pasta can be used for 14-16 servings for two different dishes (a week’s worth of lunches and dinners!)
3. Buy frozen fruits and veggies: Frozen fruits and vegetables tend to get a bad rap because they’re frozen – however, they’re actually more nutritious than their fresh counterparts since they’re frozen right when they’re picked (and therefore, more nutritious). I would only stick to fresh fruits and veggies if I’m planning on a salad (which I almost never do). Also, since I have a tendency of forgetting about vegetables and fruit in my fridge that they end up as rotten soup on the bottom of my fridge caddies, I rather go frozen than fresh any day.
4. Buy in bulk: Since I’ve gotten pretty crazy with baking lately, I’ve been a GNC hound and bought all 8 Quest whey/casein mixed protein powder 2-pound canisters – yes, they’re expensive (about $33/each when they’re on sale), but they’ll last me at least 6 months, since I use the protein powders as a meal replacement and for cooking. When you break it down unit-wise, it’s only $1.10/scoop, which is cheaper than buying fully-prepared protein shakes in a bottle.
5. Simplify your grocery list: Try to find 3-4 recipes that have similar ingredients so that you only have to buy a smaller amount of ingredients. I‘ll publish another post soon to show you an example of what a typical month would look like for me and how little it actually costs me per month.
6. Buy large quantities of your staple ingredients when they’re on sale: If your staple foods are boxed or canned and don’t have to be refrigerated, I would definitely buy at least 5-10 units of those items to use for another month if it’s on sale. Not everyone has this luxury, and this this may be difficult if you don’t live on your own. However, it’s always better to try to spend a little more now to save in the long run.
So there you have it – hopefully these tips will help you as you begin your meal prep journey…stay tuned for the next post!