7 tips to help you save a fridge full of cold, hard cash!
One of the biggest excuses we hear when people say they don’t eat healthy is because it’s expensive. Money is always touchy, but it’s hard not to argue that if there’s something you should be willing to spend money on it’s your health (stop and read that again)… Regardless, here you go: There is some truth behind the eating healthy is expensive ‘excuse.’ It CAN be super pricey. Especially if you’re buying organic everything and grass-fed, skinless, boneless chicken breast from Whole Foods. But, it doesn’t HAVE to be as expensive as you think, if you’re clever about it.
Here’s a challenge to you, if you’re into both saving money and eating healthy: Figure out what you spent on groceries in the last month and see how much you can PR your grocery bill in the first three months of 2019. Maybe even put the money aside each month. My guess is if you have been careless and lazy with your grocery shopping (and if you eat out a lot), you might have saved up enough for a little vacation somewhere:
Here are 7 tips to set you in the right direction:
7. Don’t be a boring, skinless, boneless chicken breast snob:
Though skinless, boneless chicken breast is easy and convenient, whole birds, or chicken thighs or breasts with the bone-in and the skin on are wayyy less expensive (and usually have more flavor too). It might take a bit more work, but you can think about your sweet upcoming vacation as you’re cleaning up that bird.
The same concept applies to all types of protein. Many times we opt for the ultimate cuts of the cow, for example, when the less expensive cuts can be tasty, too, if cooked properly. Soul Food was all about cooking the “undesirable” parts of the animal, since that’s all the slaves had access to. Now Soul Food recipes and restaurants are some of the most sought after in the world.
Tenderloins make better steaks than eye of the round or flank steak, but there’s a time and place for all of the cuts. Just takes getting a little more creative in the kitchen. And adding seasoning. If you don’t season your food I know some chefs that will cut you!
6. No reason turkey:
You maybe have missed out on it this season already, but after a big occasion like Christmas or Thanksgiving turkeys go on massive sale, sometimes reduced to just 20 percent of their regular cost.
Though you might have turkey fatigue still at the time, buy one or two anyway and throw them in your freezer for later. If you buy a fresh, not frozen turkey, it’s obviously best to cook it up now, but you can still freeze the cooked meat for later, and boil the carcass and make a giant pot of turkey and wild rice soup and freeze it for when your turkey hangover has subsided.
And here are three other great things to make with turkey that make it taste less like boring old dry turkey:
– Turkey chill
– Turkey and sweet potato hash
– Turkey curry
Check out the above recipes, as well as more healthy turkey recipes, here:
5. Open-minded shopping:
One of the biggest mistakes people make when shopping is being so tied to their list and what they planned to make for dinner that night that they miss out on great deals in the moment. The better, more creative cook you are, the easier this will become, but if you’re someone who likes to buy fresh protein and vegetables frequently, sometimes it’s worth going shopping with an open mind about what dinner will be that night. Wait to decide what your protein will be until you see there’s a massive sale on chicken thighs. Even if you don’t intend to use something that day or even that week, when you see a sale that’s too good to pass up, buy the food and freeze for later.
Also realize that a recipe isn’t set in stone. You can easily swap out those squash for a pumpkin on sale after halloween. A recipe is just a guideline to follow loosely, unless you’re baking, if you’re baking you better stick to the script, if you don’t, I know some pastry chefs who will beat your ass with a rolling pin!
4. Selectively organic:
If you are into buying organic everything, beware that buying organic everything isn’t always necessary. Check out this article that talks about the foods that don’t need to be organic, including produce such as avocados, sweet potatoes, mangoes and pineapple. Generally if it grows underground or has a thick skin that isn’t supposed to be eaten, you’re a little safer not buying organic.
3. Use your own kitchen:
This one’s a no-brainer, but eating out instead of batch cooking at home is the easiest way to crush your wallet. That $18 rice and chicken bowl you buy at lunch would probably cost you $5 if you made it at home and took it to work to warm-up at work. (Not to mention, it’ll probably be healthier because you know exactly what you’re putting in, and you’ll be able to add more protein and reduce the carbs a little more). I like to recommend one food prep day per week for some serious batch cooking. Prepare lunches for the week and boom! We’ll share some batch cooking recipes with you soon, so stay tuned!
2. Multiple stores:
I know it’s a pain in the ass to stop at multiple stores, but maybe spread it out over two or three days. Some places are best for produce, other places for protein. Take advantage of each and you’ll be surprised how much you can save. To keep you motivated for that extra stop: Put a little post-it note in an easily visible spot that says VACATION to remind you of the savings you’re accumulating by making that extra stop…
1. Avoid Waste:
It’s super easy to put leftovers in the back of your fridge and forget about them. Or maybe you just grow bored of them and purposely throw them out. Just like the turkey theory, it’s worth looking up recipes you can make to repurpose foods in creative ways. You just might invent a bomb ass recipe that becomes a family FLAVORITE (yes, I just made that word out). Vegetables, which have a shelf life, are often thrown out. The best way to give these guys another chance is to get them into soups and stews, which also happen to be quite economical.
Invest in a cow or a pig: this is more of a long-term cost savings, but it can be a big saving in the course of a year. If you don’t have the freezer space for a full or even half a cow, then go in with a friend and buy a quarter cow each. And make sure to use all the various cuts of the animal. This will force you to get creative with your recipes, support local farmers, and save a ton of cash!
Keep us posted on your monthly grocery bill savings!