You want to eat healthy, but you don’t want to have to dip into savings to fill your belly with good food. There is a better option, and shopping smart is easy once you know how. Lisa Lillien, author of the new book The Hungry Girl Diet and founder of Hungry-Girl.com, spills her top tips for saving money while scoring healthy groceries:
Bring a list! Stay on task and avoid those impulse buys for the sake of your wallet AND your healthy-eating habits. (Here’s HG’s most updated supermarket list, if you need some inspiration!)
Two words: Virtual couponing. Sure, you can clip from the circulars, but you can also surf the Internet for online coupons—they’re everywhere and they could save you lots of cash! Also, ALWAYS apply for those supermarket discount cards.
Hit up your local supercenters to save some serious dough. Sign up for a yearly membership at Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s—get the stuff you use daily in bulk, especially shelf-stable finds.
It’s all about DIY portion control. As much as I love single-serving snacks, they’re not always budget friendly. Buy large packages instead, and immediately break the contents down into portion-controlled baggies or sealable containers.
Frozen food is your chilly friend! Freezer-aisle fruits and veggies are usually cheaper than fresh, and they keep a LOT longer (so you can stock up!). Love seafood? Fish and shrimp are a little pricey at the seafood counter but they’re generally less expensive when frozen.
Show the world you don’t care about fancy labels… Go generic! Most grocery stores stock generic versions of popular food items at a fraction of the brand-name price. Pick those instead—they’re often nearly identical.
See a deal? Stock up! This tip is mostly applicable to nonperishable goods, like canned foods and pantry staples. In the produce section, whatever’s in season is usually cheaper, since the stores need to sell a lot FAST. So shop seasonal!
Buy multitaskers. For example, sour cream is good, but you’re not gonna eat it with a spoon. Choosing fat-free plain yogurt (Greek or regular) will give you more options. High-fiber tortillas are also great—use them to make wraps, thin-crust pizza… even baked chips!