Our society is set up in the strangest way. Most of the time, if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle, it requires money to do so. Healthier foods cost more than the foods that are basically killing us. How does that make any sense? When I started college, I thought I would be stuck eating ramen noodles and scraping pennies to get my hands on anything I could eat. That was true to some extent. I still find myself scraping pennies together for food, but I’ve found ways to eat foods with actual sustenance. Today, I had a budget of $20 to go grocery shopping, and I thought there would be no way I could make this work, but I did, and here’s how.
Working with what I already had
Before I went shopping today, I looked at what I already had in my kitchen. I saw I had some peanut butter, strawberry jelly, chicken (which was almost gone), tons of oatmeal… and that was about it. These foods were pretty useless separately, but I saw potential meals with each of them. I decided that I would make a list of things I could buy from the store to go with the foods I already had at home. My list simply consisted of bread, more chicken, and rice. With bread, I could make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chicken and rice is always a simple, healthy, and filling meal to make for both lunch and dinner. I decided to skip buying breakfast foods, because I already had a ton of oatmeal and determined I didn’t need anything else. By taking an inventory of what I already had at home, I managed to save myself a little cash in a quick easy way.
Choosing the right place to shop
My favorite grocery store of all time is Trader Joe’s. They have great healthy options at affordable prices. Sometimes their fruit can be a little on the pricey side so I usually buy my fruits and veggies elsewhere, but for all my other needs, you can catch me at Trader Joe’s. My shopping trip came to a total of 17.84 (I strayed a bit from my list and was charged a .10 cent bag fee) which was under my budget. I know Trader Joe’s is considered expensive for some, but I find items there that work well for me and are within my budget. Finding the right store with the best pricing that suits you is an important factor when grocery shopping on a budget.
Like I mentioned earlier, I had already known what I needed to buy which helped me plan what to shop for and also plan my meals out. I also bought extra items that I knew would be great long lasting meals, but also within my price range. Foods like spaghetti (which I ended up buying) are easy to make, affordable, and can last a while in the kitchen (especially if you’re cooking for one). Here is what I ended up buying today and the cost of each item:
Organic brown rice (which conveniently microwaves in 3 min)- 2.99
Turkey chili- 1.99
Organic whole wheat bread- 2.99
Tomato sauce- 1.79
Chicken (boneless and skinless) – 6.99