One of the responsibilities that come with adulthood is eating well and taking care of ourselves to the best of our ability. Food can be quite costly when we do not shop intentionally.
Stick with me, I can assure you that having just a few staples in your pantry can drastically help mitigate the cost associated with grocery shopping. It is totally possible to cook deliciously yummy food at a fraction of the cost.
Working towards cost-efficient food shopping is a great goal and to make it less daunting or stressful, it would be wise to give yourself a bit of time to get accustomed to the new changes and tweak things a bit along the way.
Here is a list of foods that I consider grocery shopping budget friendly and come back to repeatedly.
Eggs are great with almost everything, they can serve as breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. They can be added into stir fries, fried rice, in frittatas/quiche, on toast or in a salad. You get me, super yummy recipes!
Their versatility makes it a must have on a budget list. You will not go hungry for sure, if it starts to taste bland or repetitive, add in some spices like chili pepper, curry powder and thyme. Also consider marinating/pickling them to change up the taste.
Beans are so cheap, they are full of fiber and protein to help keep you full for a longer period. They are also great as a substitute for meat, consider swapping out meat for beans in several recipes like soups or pasta.
Grains(brown rice, pasta, whole grain bread)
Grains are great because a large selection of them are non-perishable, you can store grain like brown rice, quinoa, wild rice for months and get plenty of recipes out of it.
All grains are not created equal, choose whole grains over refined grains because they will provide more vitamins, fiber, minerals and protein. For example, 100g of cooked quinoa contains 2.8g of fiber, 4.4g of protein and 21.5g of carbs.
I personally love to buy my grains in bulk, yes, the cost will be high at time of purchase but t I can have them in my pantry for a long while without worrying I will run out.
They also happen to be a great and healthy source of carbohydrates(energy) when eaten in moderation, of course. Safe to say, this is a definite requirement.
You can watch for when they go on sale at your grocery shop and stock up! My preference for brown rice is Tsuru Mai, I think their quality is great overall.
Vegetables can go bad really quickly, as such stocking your pantry with frozen vegetables can help reduce the waste. It is also great to have on hand on busy nights when we feel too burnt out from work or errands.
Try a quick toss in stir-fry recipes or just steamed on the side. Frozen vegetables like spinach can also come in handy in smoothies or even in a pasta dish.
If you opt for fresh vegetables though, be sure to pick vegetables with a longer life span like carrots, these type of vegetable will not go bad as quick as a vegetable like green beans.
Hello magically oatmeal. I know oatmeal is not loved by everyone, but have you tried it with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter? Did someone say delicious?!
Okay, jokes aside. A quick search of this here, shows you can get 2.2kg of this food for just over $6.00. Come here, money saver!
Ways to enjoy this? Cook up 1/4 to 1/2 cup in milk or water, add in natural peanut butter with a dash of honey and some fruit of your choosing. Wanna make healthy filling cookies, add 1/2 cup or so into the batter, viola! You can even bake them with fruits to make homemade granola or something along the lines of a baked oatmeal “frittata”.
Have you noticed how the price of some fruits are higher than others in the produce section?
You did not it dream it up, fruits that are in season tend to be cheaper than off-season fruits. It is paramount to your budget to stick with seasonal fruits, I personally think off-season fruits can be less tasty compared to buying them when they are in season.
However, if you are craving, say, a certain type of apple variety that is off-season, you can get one but do not fall into the trap of purchasing a dozen. It will cost you when the cashier rings you up.
A good trick is to look in the frozen fruits section, you might find what you are looking for there at a reduced price. Frozen fruits are great for smoothies or protein bowls.
Meat is no doubt the most costly item in the grocery store, be it beef, chicken, pork or seafood.
Yes, fresh meat is great, however the cost of buying fresh always is very high. Perhaps it is the fact that a lot of people assume that frozen meats are not as nutritious or maybe it is the convenience of not having to defrost it, whichever it is, it costs about a third to half more to buy fresh over frozen.
A recent documentary I watched showed a detailed analysis of frozen meats and fresh meats. What do you know, there is no upside to eating fresh, we still get the same amount of nutrition from both. Save your purse and buy frozen meats.
Herbs and Spices
Let’s face it, nobody loves eating food that has no taste. Spend some money buying spices that you can use to make your meals taste yummy. A little can go a long way.
Spices can be fresh or dried, they will still serve their purpose. If you love gardening, consider getting fresh potted herbs that you can grow in your backyard or patio. As long as you care for them, they can keep regrowing and serving their purpose.
If like me, gardening is not your strongest suit or you just are forgetful and will not remember to care for them, than get some dried spices. My go to brand for dried spices is Suraj, they are very affordable and of great quality and quantity.
P. S: Once you nail down grocery shopping intentionally and saving money in this department becomes second nature, you might find that you sometimes under spend rather overspend.
This extra you suddenly have to work with can be put towards buying that exotic nut butter or fruit you have been craving. You can put it towards eating out once a week or whatever you feel like doing with it.
Grocery shopping budgeting does not have to be boring or limiting. Get creative, your purse will thank you!