Saturday, February 09, 2013
It's not expensive at all actually!! You just have to know how to shop!!
This used to be one of the biggest excuses why I would quit in the past - it cost too much. It doesn't if you replace all the crappy foods you used to buy with healthy choices - not to be confused with healthier versions of what you were already eating.
So how can it be???
This is how pre-planning can really save you!!
Just because there is a meal planner here on SP doesn't mean you have to live by it. I NEVER use the suggested meals...I shut it off and I make my own plan.
The flyers for the stores come out Thursdays and I plan from them!! I make healthy choices by seeing what's in my cupboards already and by what's on sale this week.
Recently I've gone back to couponing. In Canada it's a lot harder to coupon then in the US but it's still doable. If there's a coupon that I don't know if I'll use or not but would like to maybe try one day - I get it and then wait til it's on sale in the flyers before I buy it even though I have the coupon. We can't stack coupons here so this is the only way to stack the savings. I have all my fav sites bookmarked in a special folder so that they're easy to find. When I go through the flyers I have my coupons beside me so that I can decide while making my meal choices for the week I remember that I have that coupon and they immediately go into an envelope with my budgeted $ for shopping.
At the moment I'm not working - all my daycare kids are gone and that means no more daycare til after baby comes. I'm aiming for mid-June to be back up and running. In the meantime I qualify for the food bank again. This will take care of all my rice and pasta and canned foods which I seldom buy anyways but saves me from having to buy any in the future.
There's also a program here in my area called "The Good Food Box" which is available to anyone and everyone for $15 and is done once a month. You pay the $ the week before and the people that run the program buy all the produce they can get their hands on in bulk and split it up between all those that paid. This covers pretty much all my fruits and veggies for the month. Not bad for $15!! For those families that are low income (which I could apply for but it's for such a short time for us and $15 is still reasonable in my opinion so I don't mind) they can get the box subsidized and only pay half that each month. Only months they don't have this program are July and August since local produce is already extremely cheap.
Other ways to save??
Buy your meat in bulk. Meat lasts a long time in the freezer - divide it up before freezing and save lots. May not seem cost effect at first but it doesn't take long to see the savings once you're stocked up.
Things that are non-perishable as they call it - stock up on them when they're on sale. Have a well stocked pantry and only buy these items when they come back on sale. I also do this for some perishable items that don't expire for a while. I know how fast most items will go in my family so I look at the dates and figure out how many I can safely keep and use before that time limit is reached. Blocks of cheese are a great example of this technique. Just make sure you really watch those dates!!
Condiments are easy to predict when you're going to need them when they get low so buy these things when they're on sale as well to save.
Try the cheap brand!! 90% of the time it's just as good!! It might not be exactly the same but you'd be surprised how close most of them come!! In fact there are in some cases where I prefer the cheap brand now!! Although there are still a few things that just aren't the same and so I pay a bit more but not often.
You'll notice now more than ever that there are more and more healthier options and now that consumers have become more health conscious they're easier to find. You can get soups and broth with less salt for either the same price as regular or for only a bit more and same with lower fat cream soups.
Please be careful with products that are processed that say they're low in fat or fat free - thee products will be much lower in fat then their regular variety but are loaded in sugars. ALWAYS read your labels!!! Also watch for those that are loaded with sweeteners - they actually increase your appetite while you think it's healthier, plus on top of that they lower your metabolism!!! Sometimes it's just best to skip on those items or just have the regular variety and just be very cautious on portion size. Besides the real thing hits the spot way better than a low fat version so you're less likely to go back for more believe it or not!!
And by now everyone should know to never go shopping when you're hungry!! BIG NO-NO!!
Something else I like to tell people - please try not to use canned veggies!! They're high in salt and are full of other preservatives (salt in used as a preservative). Fresh is best and frozen for when fresh isn't an option (let's admit it - already prepped veggies can really help out in a pinch and fresh veggies don't last long enough LOL).
If you find your fresh food is spoiling too fast in your fridge...
- when's the last time you cleaned it out?
- check the temp in your fridge - could be too warm or too cold
- if your fridge is too full it can't have the cold air circulate properly cause the lower shelves to spoil much faster
- watch what fresh food you're mixing together in your drawers - some can actually help others to spoil faster
- change your box of baking soda (or put one in) - this absorbs smells and helps with freshness and needs to be changed at least once every 3 months (there should be one in your fridge, your fridge freezer and you're deep freezer. I buy the baking soda in a larger box and split it into 3 spice bottles and put them in without lids on and this works just as well as buying 3 separate small boxes.
- Does your fridge door shut properly? Sometimes the seals start to let go or the fridge isn't levelled right or something as simple as something sticking out a bit too far. It may seem like it's shutting all the way but really it could be open a tiny bit.
- overprepping?? If you like to prepare your food ahead - please be mindful that you can actually cut the life span drastically just by cutting into it or opening the package. So when you prep, don't go overboard or you'll be throwing a lot of it away. Obviously whatever you cut up on Sun won't be any good by Friday, but if kept whole, it can make it to the next week =]
- lastly - what are you storing in your fridge door?? The door should only be for condiments for the most part. Anything stored in the door experiences the most temperature change just from opening and closing the door. Things that last much longer can be stored here but never things that spoil quickly.
I'm sure if I brainstormed some more that I could come up with a million more tips and tricks on how to stretch your grocery budget further but let's see how many of these you try!! The longer you've been on the weight loss journey the more likely you've heard all these tricks.
Feel free to add in the comments your own tips and tricks =]