The ULTIMATE budget-friendly + healthy grocery store Guide

Hey and Happy Monday! I’m so excited to get started with this week for so many reasons! One of the main reasons is definitely today’s post though! I’ve put together THE Ultimate budget-friendly healthy grocery guide for you and I KNOW you’re going to love it! I’ve compiled a list of what to buy, when to buy it and where you can find the best deals to save you the most when it comes to check out time!

*Make sure to read to the bottom of this post to see how you can get your hands on my BONUS Ultimate Healthy Grocery List*

The biggest bill that I used to have was my grocery/food bill. It always has been that way, and sometimes depending on the season and what I’m out of, can climb back up to that top spot too! The reason for that is because I take my food and grocery buying very seriously. HELLO ONE-AND-ONLY-BODY-THAT-I’M-TRYING-TO-FUEL-WELL! All jokes aside, when I put together my grocery list, I put some real thought into what I’m doing for the week and what I feel like I’m going to need to feel my best. Some weeks I’m better at planning ahead, and others not so much. I can always tell such a difference when I plan ahead and know exactly what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can get to the rest of my day without that decision holding me back. My stress levels go way down and I just generally feel so much better overall. But, life is life and sometimes planning and meal prep just doesn’t always get to happen. So, nonetheless I am a definite grocery store frequent flyer.

Taking that title to heart, I know my aisles like the back of my hand, and can spot in-season fruits and veggies like they’re burned on my brain. That’s exactly why I wanted to share today’s post with you, so that you can maybe add a few tricks to your grocery trade and make the most out of your weekly shopping trips! I know that when I have make-at-home meals ready to go and the fridge is stocked that I’m SO much more less likely to get lazy and grab the convenience option and make healthy choices throughout each day. Plus, I can’t put into words the comfort in knowing exactly what is put into my food to prep it/cook it versus trusting the stranger guy behind the window or in the kitchen.

Should we get right to it? I’d say so!

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your grocery shopping trip:

1.) Stick to the outside aisles, (aka the produce section). Think “eat the rainbow” when it comes to shopping for produce. The more colorful foods you can toss in your basket, the better you’re going to feel. Doing this will give you the most nutritional value by selecting a wide array of disease fighting healthy foods. When you find yourself getting lost in the middle section of the grocery store, you’re more likely to be purchasing boxed foods which can sometimes be processed to the brim! Stick to those one ingredient foods as much as you can!

Dark green veggies like spinach and kale are packed with Vitamin A, C and fiber which are ALL healthy living necessities. Red fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, watermelons and grapefruits are loaded with a nutrient called lycopene which is what helps us fight heart disease and some cancers. Carrots and peppers come loaded with beta-carotene which is also huge in the cancer-fighting game. So, make sure to grab as many colors as you can in your basket to keep your body feeling optimal year-long.

2) Buy your fruits & veggies in season. I’ve talked about this before and just how huge it is when it comes to saving money. I know when I’ve bought fresh berries in the off-season they can be upwards of $7.00 per box! When you can down a box in one sitting like me, paying $7.00 just doesn’t seem functional. But, when you buy in-season produce there are even more benefits than getting better deal. You’re getting that produce when it’s at it’s ripest and the flavor is optimal. That makes saving money taste even sweeter in my opinion!

3) Avoid buying fruits & veggies that have bruises or soft spots on them because that means they’re already or going bad really quick! This only means that you’ll end up going home with a basket full of bad produce and less money in your bank account which are both never good news.

Check out this list I found to see the best practices for figuring out what fruits is ripe and what isn’t.

4) Buy frozen fruits & veggies! This can save a TON when it comes to buying produce. The reason being is because it keeps for so much longer than fresh fruits & veggies do. That way, you don’t feel like you have to hurry up and eat all of your food before it goes bad. Plus, you have the benefit of knowing that those berries or veggies were picked for you right at their prime harvest season so they’ll be packed with their best flavor! When you have frozen fruits or veggies stocked up, you’re more likely to always have sides for dinners that are easy to whip up or healthy options to toss in your breakfast smoothies.

5) Ask your deli for their low-sodium deli meat choices. I always like to buy Boar’s Head deli meat at the store because it’s naturally gluten free too! If you’ve ever purchased deli meat from the back aisle of the store where they have the cheese and other packaged meats/foods of that sort you’ve probably seen they come with a LONG list of ingredients. They have to add extra ingredients when they process the meats to keep them fresh or preserve them longer. This also means higher sodium content too! So, when you buy directly from the deli, you’re more than likely getting way less ingredients, fresh meat without all those crazy scientific-looking preservatives with delicious flavor!

6) Shop at your local farmer’s market when you can. I’ve mentioned this before too with just how important it is to buy locally sourced produce! It not only tastes insanely good, but it supports your local community and farmers when you buy at the farmers market. I love shopping at our year-long market because I’m guaranteed to find in-season foods, but also I usually expand my taste buds and try a new fruit or veggie too! Sometimes, it can be a little more pricy than the grocery store to do this, but the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives when you think of how much good you’re doing for those hard-working farmers and their families!

7) Use apps like, “Ibotta” and “Shopkick” to save money! I’ve just come around to doing this and can’t believe it’s taken me this long to start! If you’ve never heard of these just grab them for free at your app store! Then all you have to do is head to your popular grocery stores and start saving! So far, I’ve shopped at Target and Kroger and scanned in my receipt or selected the items I bought and instantly scored points to get money back on my grocery items! I’ve never been good at keeping up with coupons, so this is HUGE for me! I’m currently working my way up to a free Starbucks gift card with my Shopkick app! There are tons of different ways to score money or points with these apps, even as simple as walking into the store and you get points earned to your account! How much easier can that get, right?

*Feel free to use my code KICK367485 to get your first 250 kick points with the Shopkick app when you scan or walk-in within 7 days of joining!*

*Also, use my code “lajrspr” with the Ibotta app to earn a bonus $10! Woo hoo!

8.) Another trick at saving money when you’re grocery shopping is to use a concierge service or Click-List! My sister does this and always says she saves a ton of money that way! It’s so easy when you’re shopping around through the aisles to grab things you don’t need, right? But, when you’re going through an online shopping cart that’s specific to your list, you’re more likely to keep up with your total and avoid impulse buys. Plus, it saves tons of time and effort by just being able to order everything you need online and then head to the store for them to load it up for you! Some may even deliver right to your door! Oh and if your grocery store has one, sign up for their rewards program too! Not the credit card option, but the points reward systems that most of them have! I earn points off gas ALL the time at our Kroger stores here and have scored some serious discounts and coupons with that too!

9.) Check out Pinterest when you’re doing your weekly meal planning. There are endless recipes with gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, crock-pot, vegetarian options that you can’t go wrong with! I can get lost there and pin my life away in just a few short hours! But, you better believe I’ve found some of my favorite recipes there too! Just don’t do it when you’re hungry because you’ll end up pinning all the brownie and cookie recipes…oh wait…just me? No but really, it’s like a one-stop shop for finding your snack ideas, breakfast/lunch/dinner recipes and you’ll be good to go with making out your meal plan for the week! You can find my favorite recipes and pins for all the eats & treats here. You’ll never have to have the dreaded conversation again about, “What’s for dinner”. YAY!!

10.) Last, but not least and never forgotten are to buy off a list, NEVER go hungry and bring your own re-usuable grocery bags! You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve ended up leaving the grocery store with the entire aisle 5 because I went completely starving and list-less. It’s never a good idea for the old bank account or my stomach when I do this, so go ahead and whip up a last minute protein shake or grab a granola bar before you go! Heck, even stash a few of those bars in your glove compartment because you never know when that hangry mood might kick in. (Who am I kidding, I’m just always hungry and need a snack so this is really just me recommending this to myself. ;)) Bringing your own grocery bags can sometimes give you a teeny discount too which is always a nice little bonus! Plus, you’re helping save the planet with less waste at the same time! ALRIGHT!!

I really hope this list was helpful to you when it comes to saving money and making the most out of your groceries each week! With all the convenience options out there these days, it’s almost necessary to try and make your own meals at home to save as much money as you can all while getting healthier too! I promise your bank account and your whole well-being will thank you in the end when you just plan a little in advance!

***NOW for the BONUS Grocery list*** You didn’t think I’d forget about it did you? If you’re looking for the ULTIMATE budget-friendly grocery list, I’ve got ya’ all taken care of! Just head to the subscribe box (at the bottom of the mobile version or at the top of the screen too on the desktop version!) to sign up and your grocery list will be sent right over to your inbox! This list is no-fail and will give you plenty of healthy meal ideas and options, even on a budget! It’s also guaranteed to be almost entirely 1 ingredient items which is the best healthy option out there for you! I hope you enjoy it and find everything you need!

Have an amazing rest of your day and here’s to healthy living!!!

Questions for YOU today: (Comment below with your thoughts!)

What’s your favorite grocery store?

Do you use the Ibotta or Shopkick app? Is there another one I need to add to my list? I’m all about getting money back on grocery shopping!

What’s that one impulse item you always buy at the store when you go in hungry?

I’m so guilty of buying those Ghiradelli chocolate squares that Fresh Market sells individually right at the checkout line. I mean, come on, they’re .50 each!!! I can’t deny them!! You win Fresh Market, you win.