Save on Your Grocery Bill

Getting more for less is always a great feeling, especially at the grocery store.

The Paleo diet is often perceived as extremely expensive as it focuses on nitrate, grass-fed, free-range meats and organic fruits and vegetables. Obi Okorougo from PaleoHacks writes about 9 ways to eat Paleo on a budget without breaking any ‘rules’ or forgoing quality.

These tips, however, are great advice for anyone who regularly grocery shops, and let’s face it, that’s practically everyone.Below are revised tips that apply to a broader audience.

Photo by: anaken

Photo by: anaken

Buy in bulk. Staple items like flour, dried beans, nuts, and dried fruit are often found in your grocer’s bulk section. Yes, you have to learn about how to store these items properly to maintain freshness, and you will probably need to purchase containers too, but when you purchase staples in large quantities the savings can really add up. The same goes for olive oil, balsamic and other vinegars, condiments, and baking essentials.

Hit the frozen aisle. While fresh may taste best, frozen fruits and vegetables are a good way to save on produce, especially in the off season. Peaches found in the produce section during the dead of winter are 1) questionable and 2) expensive.

Organic vs. Conventional. According to the Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce some conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have low enough pesticide loads that they are just as safe as their organic counter parts. The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen can be found on the the Environmental Working Group’s website.

The source. Where does your food come from? No, I do not mean which grocery store do you shop at most. Farmers’ markets are a great place to meet the people who grow and produce the food you eat. Find out when and where your local farmers’ markets are held, and visit all of them. Check out the booths that sell the items you tend to purchase most and chat it up with whoever is running that stand. Once you find a market that works best for you, visit regularly and be sure to say hello. Chances are that over time you might get offered a discount on your purchase.

Take note of which farms your food is coming from and find out if those farms offer tours. It can be informative and a lot of fun to see where your food is grown and meet the people tilling the land.

Foods that fill. Choosing foods that make you feel full rather than ones that make you feel hungrier is another great way to save on your grocery bill. Skip the junk food and eat nutrient dense foods- your body will have energy for longer and you’ll need to eat less often. Less eating means less money spent at the grocer.

Fasting. Hard core followers of the Paleo diet advocate for intermittent fasting. Depending on your diet, fasting one day a week may be beneficial for your body and your bank account. However, there is a lot of mixed advice in this area and it’s important to note that not all followers of the Paleo diet suggest fasting. See the Bulletproof Exec’s blogpost on women, intermittent fasting, and Paleo. You may want to do some reading or consult a doctor before initiating fasting in to your routine.

Fancy Schmancy. Is the $5, 2.5 ounce coconut water really all that better than the $2.50, 4 ounce coconut water? Maybe, but your grocery bill cannot taste the difference. Do you need the more expensive brand, cut of meat, type of mushroom, etc? If you are trying to save money, the answer is probably no.

Coupontastic! Love them or hate them, coupons will save you money. A couple cents here, a dollar there really add up over time. Peruse your local paper to see what’s on sale at different grocery stores. Often your grocery receipt will include a coupon or two. Don’t throw them away! If you have a smart phone, there are apps, like SnipSnap, that can help you aggregate your coupons all in one place. Check out MSN’s top 10 coupon and deal apps.

Organ you going to eat that? Organs are a cheap and very nutritious. Liver, heart, tongue, kidney, bone marrow. The taste may need some getting use to, but over time you just might find they add unique flavors to your every day meals. Have you ever heard of liver pate or beef heart braised in wine? What about steak and kidney pie or beef tongue tacos? One word: delicious!

By Jocelyn Robancho

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