Home > 2015 > Personal Finance

10 Healthy Grocery Store Hacks

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

If you’re like most Americans, one of the biggest line items on your monthly budget is food. We all need to eat, right? One of the biggest and most common misconceptions is that eating healthy means spending a fortune at the grocery store. With the right strategy, you can save money and improve your diet. These healthy grocery store hacks will help.

1. Stick to the Perimeter of the Store

Have you ever realized that healthy items are kept on the outer perimeter of the store and that junk food is in the aisles? A really easy hack for spending less on food is to stick to the perimeter and avoid getting sucked into the aisle abyss where prepared foods live. By doing this, you’ll only buy whole foods that are fresh and healthy. There is one exception: the frozen section. It can be good to have some frozen vegetables or seafood on hand.

2. Shop at Ethnic and Discount Stores

Many times, shopping at ethnic stores is much less expensive than big name grocers or specialty stores. As a bonus, they have a wide variety of items that are likely healthier than what you’d encounter at a typical American supermarket. If you don’t have one nearby, search for a discount supermarket like Aldi. You won’t find name brand items there, but think of it as an experiment in saving money.

3. Prepare a Meal Plan

Meal planning can be used for healthy shopping, too! It can be even more beneficial, as you want to make sure you’re filling up on the right kinds of food. You’ll want a decent amount of protein, vegetable, meat or both, depending on your dietary preferences, in your cart so you don’t get hungry in between meals. Some people have more success eating six small meals per day — shop accordingly.

4. Use Coupons

Typically, there aren’t many coupons for healthy food in the paper, but there are other places you can look. Whole Foods has an entire online sales flyer, complete with coupons. They may be stuck on a board at the front of the store as well. Other stores have point-of-purchase coupons you should watch for, and it doesn’t hurt to look for coupons or discounts on packages, either. If food is close to expiring, the store may have a discount coupon sticker on it. If you can gobble it up quickly or create a meal later that day with it, take advantage of your good fortune.

5. Compare Prices

It always pays to compare items and prices between stores. I used to shop at Whole Foods, but there was a Trader Joe’s in the shopping center right across the street. It afforded me the perfect opportunity to compare prices between the two if they carried the same type of item. The “healthy” aisle in your local grocery store may be a great option, too.

6. Buy Store Brand

Many stores have been quick to create their own “healthy” brand when it comes to organic foods, and like any store brand item, they’re usually cheaper than the competition. You can give these a try before you buy the high-end brands. You might be surprised at the quality.

7. Buy Whole, Not Pre-Packaged

It’s easy to fall for the “convenience” trap, but it’s always going to be the most expensive option. You’re better off buying kale, romaine or iceberg lettuce than the salad bag kit. You should try to stay away from the ready-to-go salad that costs almost as much as a salad in a restaurant.

Another good example is buying pre-cut fruit and vegetables. It might save you a little time, but how hard is it to chop everything up? Do it all at once and then put it in a container so it’s ready to go for your next meal or snack.

8. Buy in Bulk

Warehouse clubs can save you a lot of money if you know your prices. Buying items like beans, oats, nuts or meat in bulk can be worth it if you have the storage.

9. Buy in Season

You might love strawberries, but the price isn’t as loveable when they’re not in season. It goes without saying, but it’s often not worth buying produce when it isn’t in season. Besides the cost, it won’t be as fresh, as it likely traveled very far to get to your store. You can try a local farmer’s markets for alternatives.

10. Don’t Always Buy Organic

It’s tempting to think you should always buy organic because our minds automatically equate that word to “healthy,” but there are times when it can be unnecessary. For fruits and vegetables with thick skin, such as mangoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes and avocados, you can often get away with non-organic. Fruits and vegetables contaminated with pesticides include apples, spinach, celery, cucumbers and grapes. For a full list, you can check with the Environmental Working Group.

It’s not hard to shop for healthy food and spend less as long as you’re strategic about it. Hopefully these 10 hacks will help you save more and eat better.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: boggy22

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team