As a college student I am always looking for new ways to save money. Where money seems to be most tight is when I go the grocery store. I want to eat well but I need to save money. Over the last few years at school I have learned some methods that can help to save money at the store.
The first part includes planning and preparing for your week. Before you make a list or plan for meals you should consider what deals and sales are going on. You want to start by looking through ads and coupons, this can be done by looking online or through the physical ads. Comparing the store prices will ensure you get the best deals. You may discover that you need to go to multiple stores to get food priced appropriately. However, some stores may match prices, bring ads in and ask. Use the foods you find in ads and coupons for meal planning. From the list of meals you plan on preparing and the store ads you can create a grocery list. While planning your meals seems time consuming, it will actually save time in the long run. By knowing what you need when you go to the store you will spend less time and less money. How much time do we spend in the kitchen thinking about what to eat and what to make? By writing out your meals for the week the decision is already made.
Once you have your list it is time to go to the store. You may have heard this before, but don’t forget to eat before you shop. Going to the store hungry effects your purchases and may cause you to rush through the store. Stick to the list! Preventing impulse buys keeps you from buying the $4.00 bag of chips you really don’t need. When shopping I always buy the store brand when possible. You don’t need the name brand when there are other, cheaper options that taste the same. While Welch’s Juicy JuiceTM is the brand you know, grape juice tastes the same even when you buy generic.
People often say that fruits and vegetables are too expensive. There are ways to get around the cost and still eat healthy. Fruits and vegetables can be bought canned and frozen, they have the same health benefits as fresh produce. You can rinse canned foods at home to prevent adding extra sugar and sodium to your diet. It’s always cheaper to buy produce in season, but just because a produce item is out of season does not mean you cannot eat it. This is when you can turn to canned and frozen products for a better price. In addition, know the foods that are healthy for you and are generally priced lower, such as beans, cabbage, apples, bananas, peas, lentils, potatoes, eggs, peanut butter, and canned tuna. When money gets tight, you can depend on these items to be priced reasonably.
For those times that you have no choice but to eat out, remember you can follow a budget out of the house. Look for deals and specials on the menu, many restaurants are always running some sort of promotion. Try going out for lunch instead of dinner, not only is it cheaper but it tends to be closer to the recommended portion sizes of food. Finally, choose water instead of another beverage that costs. Not only may these beverages be unreasonably priced, but you are not always told when you are getting charged for refills. Getting an extra $10 dollars tagged onto your bill from beverages is avoidable.
If you are doing your best to shop on a budget and are still having issues affording food for yourself or your family look into government aid. There are always food programs available such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women Infants and Children Program (WIC), and School meals and snacks programs
Source: United States Department of Agriculture. MyPlate Tip Sheets. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate-tip-sheets
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Eatright. http://eatrightfoundation.org/toolkits-webinars/
My name is Jessica Wright and I graduated from Bowling Green State University with my Bachelor’s degree in Spring 2016. I liked Bowling Green so much that I decided to stay for two more years. I’m currently a dietetic intern and I am also working on my Master’s degree in Food and Nutrition.
I’m from a small town east of Columbus called Hebron and no matter where I move it will always be home. My goal has always been to help people and I spent most of high school figuring out a way I could do this.
I discovered my passion for nutrition after my grandmother became sick. The changes in her health were connected to recent changes in her diet. When I realized just how large the connection between food and health was, I decided that I wanted to be a dietitian.
My ultimate goal is to help as many people as possible by educating them on food and their diet.