When the stay home orders started happening we started cooking more at home. We scoured Pinterest for new easy to make recipes with everyday ingredients. About 3 years ago I ventured into the plan based diet and was pleasantly surprised how much I learned and loved the food. Note to self here – I need to get back onboard! A whole-food, plant-based diet isn’t only healthy it saves money. While I spent more in the beginning, over time it was less costly. Going plant-based can cut grocery bills by as much as $750 a year per person, according to published research papers. Here are some beginner simple ways you can eat plant-based on a budget, score extra savings on good-for-you groceries and accomplish two things at once. Physical and financial good news.
This is an area I really need to watch out more closely. When we’re in a hurry or the children are with us we aren’t always paying close attention to classic spending traps. As an example, stores will advertise “sale” items by placing goods at the endcaps of aisles. However, when you go to the section where those products belong, you’ll often find that there are cheaper options. Another tip, check above and below eye level to find good deals. The most expensive shelf space is at our eye level.
Do you like to go to farmers markets around your area? Often you can find great deals and more importantly the seasonal items. Find a farmers market near you through your favorite social media platforms. Along with fruits and vegetables many times I love to buy nuts, spices and local honey. Another option is your local dollar store. Sandwich / freezer bags, foil, plastic wrap, lunch bags and my personal favorite baking soda. Change out items to store brands you don’t mind changing. Blue Bell will always be my ice cream of choice but the baking soda and plastic bags at the dollar store does the job perfectly.
While buying in-season remains the best way to save on fresh produce, you can find year-round savings in the freezer aisle on favorites such as berries.
“There’s a misconception that frozen isn’t as healthy, but you can still get full nutritional value from frozen fruits and veggies, because they’re frozen when they’re stem-picked and ripe—when they have the most nutrients. Frozen can sometimes be a lot cheaper for much larger quantities than you’d find in the fresh aisle.
Canned foods offer another always-in-season option. But……canned beans tend to be more expensive than dry as an example. Sometimes as much as 20 cents more per serving! Spending some extra time soaking can add up to dollars saved and far less sodium. A family of four stands to save nearly $80 a year buying dry beans versus canned, according to the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
Many grocery stores have a section of bulk bins, where you can have your pick of whole grains, cereals, nuts, and spices. This is a great place to save money. You’re able to purchase as much or as little as you like without paying for fancy and unnecessary packaging that advertises a particular brand. If your family uses a lot of peanut butter, check out the bulk area for your favorite peanut, almond or cashew butter. Yum!!!
Yes, I know the prechopped bags of fruit, veggies and salads are time savers! Buying and chopping them yourself can translate to serious savings—up to 300+ percent when it comes to something as simple as onions, according to estimates from Consumer Reports. Prechopped also means increased air exposure and reduced shelf life. I’ve noticed the salads really never last more than a few days before they start getting soggy and less fresh looking.
If you have any “tips” that save you money and time let me know! We’re all trying to save money and prepare healthier meals for our families.