Monday, February 9, 2009

7 Tips for Grocery Shopping on a Budget

Tip 1: Always start in the produce section and look for items on sale and in season (in-season produce is plentiful and thus priced competitively). My list will often change according to what's on sale.

Tip 2: Begin to build volume by purchasing the items you'll consume daily, which is produce. Avoid buying out of season and exotic produce with a big price tag.

Tip 3: Buy bulk rather than boxed and branded grains, legumes, nuts etc; you'll pay more for the packaging. And when you buy bulk you can control the amount you're purchasing -- in other words, pick and pay for only what you need.

Tip 4: Try buying soft white cheese, like feta pieces and mozzarella from the deli bar where once again you pick and pay for only what you need. The white cheeses are often mixed with olives and or herbs in oil. I find for one person I can purchase about $3 worth and it'll last me for a week, plus I'm getting both cheese and olives.

Tip 5: Stick to your list! No impulse purchases, though a small treat each week is perfectly reasonable. And don't buy greater volume, particularly of perishables, than you need for the week -- unless you're freezing protein items and storing dried goods like rice and legumes etc.

Tip 6: If you do buy more perishables than you need for the week, cook the item and freeze it. For instance, you can cook up a bunch of spinach, drain it of water, and then freeze it for use later.

Tip 7: Try Whole Foods 365 brand or generic brands as your favorite grocery store. They're comparable in flavor and quality to the same product with a different brand and higher price tag.

Next I'll go over 5 delicious, colorful and nutritious main meals made with the purchases from my sample list.

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