Healthy Shopping On A Budget

By Victoria Robertson on July 30, 2019

It’s a universal truth: eating healthy is not cheap. Or at least, it’s not if you aren’t familiar with healthy shopping.

As a college student, you likely tend towards the inexpensive, bulk items that last between trips to the store, won’t spoil in a short amount of time and overall cost a bit less for a lot more. Unfortunately, shopping this way typically leads to unhealthy eating habits.

So how do you combat unhealthy shopping habits on a college student’s budget? Here are six healthy shopping tips for individuals that are on a budget.

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1. Plan Your Meals in Advance

The first and most important element of healthy shopping on a budget is to plan all of your meals in advance, from breakfast to dinner. Basically, when you’re doing some healthy shopping, it’s easy to get side-tracked in the store and grab items that look good.

To help you stay on track and develop a plan of attack before you even go into the store, make sure you plan out every meal in advance so you know exactly what you need and can limit the tempting foods that you keep around the apartment.

2. Create a Shopping List (And Stick To It)

Once you’ve created a meal plan for the week, create a shopping list that adheres to that meal plan. This should be a pretty general list, but give you a good idea of what foods you are going to need when you go to the store.

Again, once you have your list fully planned, it’s still easy to grab items as you see them in the store. Avoid doing this! These impulse buys are rarely healthy, and they’ll cost you more money than you need to be spending. Stick to the list you created and you’ll be just fine!

3. Look for Sales

Once you have your list and you’re in the store, check the shelves for the items that are on sale. If you put “oatmeal” on your list, for example, avoid grabbing the name brand product just because it’s what you’re used to getting.

Instead, browse the selection available and look for similar products that are on sale, as this is a great way to save money in the long run. While there may only be a few cents of a difference, these cents do add up in the end, so pick up the sale items when you can!

4. Use Coupons

Target perhaps makes this the easiest with their Cartwheel app. All you need to do is input or scan the item to see if there are any coupons available for that item. You can do this throughout your shopping trip as you are adding items to your cart to save coupons that you can use at checkout.

Again, these are going to add up to some cost savings that are really free money, so while they may take a little time and effort to grab, they are well worth the time and effort in the long run.

5. Read the Ingredients

One of the biggest mistakes that individuals make when shopping for healthy items is not reading the list of ingredients for the item that they’re choosing.

Let’s go back to the oatmeal example; if you choose an alternative you’re unfamiliar with, but it’s on sale, you still may want to read the ingredients list to see if the brand has more or less sugar or undesirable ingredients that will defeat the purpose of your healthy eating initiative.

It happens more often than you would guess, so read the labels before tossing another item into your cart!

6. Set a Budget

Last, but definitely not least, you need to set a budget for yourself before you even go to the store. Walmart has an app in which you can add grocery items to your cart to determine what your total cost would be.

This is a great method for planning your shopping trip, as it gives you an idea of how much your food will cost before you even go into the store, allowing you to alter the list as needed to achieve your desired budget. While you’ll want to give yourself a little wiggle room here, since prices do vary, this is a great starting point and will help you better stick to your budget.

Shopping healthy doesn’t have to be expensive, at least not as expensive as it’s made out to be. When it comes down to it, healthy shopping on a budget is possible, you just need to know where to look, how to plan and what to get.

So ditch the ramen and easy mac and start choosing healthy eating options that you’ll actually enjoy more than anything else!

With the above six tips in mind, you’ll be a healthy shopping professional in no time!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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