#1 SHOP AT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS!
Farmers Markets are my favorite way to save money and know I'm getting quality, local fruits and vegetables by talking with the vendors/farmers! I went this past week and spend 15$ and bought a carton of brussles, 1.5# green beans, four cucumbers, bag of garlic, four sweet potatoes, 1# mushrooms, 1 zucchini, romain lettuce and kale -talk about a steal!
Farmer's markets are all over the place these days! Simply go onto google and type in farmers markets near you and a list should pop up! You can even type farmers market into your Maps on your phone and a list should pop up!
#2 Make a List; don't waste!
I made this the number one rule, because 50% of produce is thrown away and American's waste up to 6% of their household income on food being thrown out. Now, I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but let's do the math, 50,000$ household will likely waste up to or more than 3,000$ a year on food. I'm literally picturing 3,000$ going into the trashcan and want to cry :(
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#3 Stick to your list; Make sure your not hungry
This is what gets everyone in trouble, you go down the isles that you just shouldn't be in. Why are you walking down the chip isle? The soda isle? The candy isle? If you are sticking to your list of ingredients to cook your meals for the week, there likely isn't anything on your list in those isles, and don't you tell me that you were "browsing." Seeing food just leads to temptation, especially if you are shopping on an empty stomach, which brings me to my next point, NEVER SHOP ON AN EMPTY STOMACH!! I promise you will buy way more than you need out of impulse and you will likely buy the processed, ready-to-eat foods so you can get home and pop it in the microwave or oven! So do me a favor and stick to your list and shop full and I promise you will be more likely to save money!
#4 Exception: Buy Sales
In regards to the number two rule, "stick to your list" this rule can be broken if you find deals that are rare. For example, I typically will do this for meat because you can freeze it and it will always get eaten. I also use this exception for frozen veggies, boxed spinach, toiletries and paper products!
#5 Eat homemade, not PreMade
#6 Eat what is in your fridge first
"Ugh it's Saturday and I have nothing in my refrigerator, looks like I'll have to go out to eat instead." Wrong!! Check your fridge, pantry and freezer, make a list of everything that is in there and try and come up with a meal idea. This list will also help you to not re-buy food items for the upcoming week and to reduce waste.
Garbage Pot Meal: Put all of your canned veggies, beans and lentils into a crockpot and make a chili or soup depending on the ingredients you have! This way you will never waste or let those fresh vegetables go to waste!
TIPS: if you ever see fresh fruits/vegetables going off, freeze them and you can always use them in smoothies! I also keep and freeze the butt ends of all my fresh vegetables when cooking throughout the week to save up to make a flavorful bone or vegetable broth!
#7 Limit EAting Out
Make your own pizza
Make your own Hibachi stir fry
Make your own soup and salad
Make your own ice cream
Make your own French fries -Air Fryer
I get sometimes it's a special occasion, or you just want someone else to cook, so just limit this to an occasional event because eating out can cost anywhere from 20-50$ for the average couple's tab, and that's likely WITHOUT alcoholic beverages!
And people say it's expensive to shop healthy... HA