June’s Challenge: Eating Healthy on a Budget

This month, I am challenging myself to cut my grocery spending. Each week I’m going to document what I purchased, used, and wasted. Blogging is a great way to hold oneself accountable. Shopping at Aldi is my primary method for keeping grocery costs down. I primarily purchase produce there. They also have the best price for canned pumpkin; I feed it to the dogs for some extra fiber. Sprouts is my second “go-to” store. At Sprouts, I usually buy my dairy, produce that’s not available at Aldi, and any “health” foods. I’m sure I can save some money by shopping the sales at Sprouts. A few weeks ago I bought a month’s worth of yogurt because it was on sale and I knew I would be able to consume it before it expired.

As you can see, my money went a lot further at Aldi. But, at Sprouts I did purchase the butter on sale. I also did extensive research on alternative sources for Chia seed and Sprout’s was the best buy. It costs $8.49, but a bag will last me at least a month. As an aside, if you haven’t tried Chia you really should. It helps thicken a smoothie and is a great source of calcium and other nutrients. There are at least three areas I know I can make improvements this month.

Eliminate Waste. For me, this is probably the area that holds the greatest potential for savings. I’m bad about buying food, putting it in the fridge and forgetting about it. I need to be more intentional with my spending, only purchasing food I will use and using what I have before buying more. I have also noticed that there are little things I can do to eliminate waste. For example, I put chia seed in my smoothie every morning. I was putting it in the blender before I ever began to blend. I noticed that a lot of the seed was sticking to the sides of the blender. But if I blend it first, then add the chia and blend again, most of the chia actually ends up in the smoothie. I have also noticed that when I eyeball “measuring” things out, I always over-estimate my needs. If I actually measure, nothing goes to waste. So I’m going to make a concerted effort to watch for these areas of waste and fill the holes.

Make a plan. I am horrible about planning out my meals. I suspect this isn’t going to get a lot better. I don’t think I’m ever going to be someone that plans in advance what I’m going to eat each day for an entire week. I can definitely be better about planning meals around the food I have and researching new recipes that will help me use food in new ways. I can also improve on making things ahead and freezing them for those times that I don’t feel like cooking.

Stockpile sale items. Since I don’t eat a lot of processed food, coupons aren’t generally available for the types of food I try to eat, so I need to be better about shopping sales. Since most of my food purchases don’t contain many preservatives, this will be a balancing act – buying just the right amount to stockpile but not waste. I will be studying the sales circulars and utilizing coupons as much as possible. I have read that grocery stores have sales cycles that are pretty regular and repetitive. I have yet to master this schedule; this month I will make a price list/log of items I buy regularly and work to master the cycle.

Do you have any great tips for eating healthy on a budget?

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