As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying a ton of new recipes this week in an attempt to get more fruits, veggies and whole grains into our diet.
I had two ingredients that I won’t need to buy often, but I needed this week: wheat germ ($5.69) and sesame tahini ($8.??). Those two items added up to over $13 and were a significant portion of my grocery bill.
What do you do when you need some pricey staples but you don’t want to go over your grocery budget?
I try to compensate in other areas.
I didn’t buy any meat this week, for example. I have a bag of frozen chicken breasts from a few weeks ago that I can use this week. We’ll eat chicken twice this week, and go meatless on the other days (we’ll still get plenty of protein, however).
If there’s a good sale on cereal, I typically try to buy a few boxes at a time. There was a pretty good sale (with my coupons) for whole grain Total, but I just bought one box instead of three to keep my bill a little lower.
We kept miscellaneous snacks and impulse purchases to a minimum. Er, actually, no we didn’t. We should have, but after taking a closer look at my receipt, I noticed we bought more crackers and chips (even though they were ‘healthy’) than we probably needed.
- Try to buy only one or two expensive ingredients per week, and budget for this. Perhaps you can plan on putting $10 or $15 per week toward such items. These might include wheat germ, olive oil, pricey cheeses, spices, etc.
- If you don’t need to make an “expensive ingredient” purchase in a particular week, maybe you can roll that saved money into a future week. For example, the following week, you might have a $20 or $30 budget for pricier goods, if you choose.
- If you’re planning on having one or two expensive dinners in a given week, make sure the other meals are extra cheap to balance it out. Consider a soup & sandwich night, serve breakfast for dinner, or raid your pantry/freezer for lower costing options.
Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself spending $78 at the grocery (as I did yesterday) when you typically spend $40-50. As long as you stuck to your list and chose healthy items, I think that’s a-ok. Remember, eating healthier foods will mean your body will be healthier. You won’t get sick as often and you can avoid diet-related health problems.
It’s much cheaper to spend more at the grocery, rather than spending a ton of money on prescriptions or doctor’s visits.