How to Save Money on Groceries

Today I want to share my 5 tips for saving money on groceries. Spoiler alert, none of the tips is “stick to a budget”. Anyone trying to save money knows budget is key, right?

How do I know these tips work? I am no Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman. But I take very close attention to my money. I keep track of every. single. penny.

Let me be clear. My financial advisor has already told me that I am slightly obsessive. I have a P&L (profit and loss) statement for our household and I can tell you exactly how much money we spent on Jeff’s haircuts vs. Lauren’s haircuts. #nerdalert

And since I love numbers, I can tell you exactly how much I saved on food between 2017 and 2018.

I’m a complete nerd. I love finances and can tell you how we spend our money down to the last penny.

I’m a complete nerd. I love finances and can tell you how we spend our money down to the last penny.

We spent 7% less on groceries and 9.5% less on dining out in 2018 vs. 2017*.

*I am not sharing the real dollar amounts here, because there is no need to get tripped up on how much I spend vs. you.

7% doesn’t sound like a lot?

Let’s put the math to work. The average household spends $4,049 for food at home and $3,145 for food away from home. (Reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) If those were my numbers, I would have saved $283 for groceries and $296 for eating out (a total of $576).

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that $576 and put in my standup paddleboard savings fund!**

**(If you have one, please comment on what kind you have and if you love it. Clearly, I am in the market.)

Did I convince you to at least read my tips? Okay, good.


#1 Buy WHOLE food whenever you can

Eleni loves trying lettuce right out of the garden! Growing a garden is another great way to save money, but you have to enjoy gardening.

Eleni loves trying lettuce right out of the garden! Growing a garden is another great way to save money, but you have to enjoy gardening.

When eating a plant-based diet, it can be super easy to buy fancy granola, protein bars, pre-washed and packaged fruits veggies, etc.

Take for instance the pre-packaged Sweet Butter lettuce my husband used to buy. At my local grocery store, it is $3.49 for 6 ounces. But I can usually buy Boston lettuce for $1.99 a pound (16 ounces). Granted, you have to take it home wash it and cut it. Seriously, buy a salad spinner and take 2 minutes to prep it. It will save you so much money in the long run!

Do you have kids? Make it fun! My niece LOVES playing with the salad spinner. Plus, the more you expose children to vegetables, the better chance they will try them one day.

Overall, focus on whole foods you get to pick yourself.


#2 Know when to NOT buy organic

A lot of people assume I eat 100% organic. It’s definitely not true. Remember how I pay attention to every single penny? Buying everything organic would break the bank!

If the price isn’t ridiculous (i.e. $5.00 carton of organic strawberries), I’ll buy organic produce that isn’t on the dirty dozen list.

I stopped buying organic cauliflower (unless it’s the same prices as the conventional)

I stopped buying organic cauliflower (unless it’s the same prices as the conventional)

What is the dirty dozen? It’s a list of the top 12 produce items found to have the most pesticide residue. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with an update every year.

They also have the clean 15. The 15 produce items found to have the least amount of pesticide residue. These are the items I won’t buy organic (unless it's the same exact prices as the conventional).

Those include:

  • Avocados

  • Onions

  • Cauliflower

  • Broccoli

Want our Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 cheat sheet?


#3 Always use coupons

When I say coupons, most people think I am some kind of extreme couponer. I am definitely not. Because for me, time is money. I’ll spend maybe ten minutes on coupons, not hours.

There are a variety of coupons on use:

  • Digital Store Coupons

    • Before I even walk into the grocery store I am scrolling my grocer’s app to see what is on sale.

    • When it’s time to check out I just plug in my phone number and all the coupons automatically ring up!

my digital coupons help me Save money on my favorite products!

my digital coupons help me Save money on my favorite products!

  • Coupon Apps

    • Ibotta

      • This app has discounts for not only grocery stores but also Wal-Mart, Amazon, etc.

      • Simply ‘Redeem’ the offer on the app and then upload your receipt when purchased. The cash will be added to your account!

    • Checkout51

      • You can filter by store or by category.

      • Simply ‘Redeem’ the offer and then upload your receipt when purchased. The cash will be added to your account.

      • Want to receive money just for signing up? Use our refer a friend link!

  • Good ol’ Paper Coupons

    • Like a lot of people my age, I don’t get the newspaper. But I still find coupons!

    • Visit your favorite brands’ website and see if they offer any coupons you can print out.

      • I get coupons emailed to me from Silk from time to time.


#4 Always compare prices per ounce

When trying to decide which brand to buy, always let the cost per ounce make your decision. Take for instance whole wheat pasta:  

The clear winner in this example the Simple Truth Organic box of pasta. Look how much you save!


#5 Thrive Market

I use Thrive Market for items that are hard to find or more expensive at the standard grocery store. I put all of the details in earlier post. Read this if you are interested in learning more about Thrive Market.


Bonus Tip

Remember your reusable bags!

Some grocery stores will actually give you a discount if you are using reusable bags. In the past, my grocery store gave me a ten cent discount for every reusable bag I used. Now, they give fuel points. Some months, we have saved $0.70/gallon! You better believe we wait until Jeff’s truck is almost empty to take advantage!

A friend in California told me that stores CHARGE you for the bags. Now, that is a good way to remember to always keep them in your car!


I hope these tips helped! Do you have another awesome money saving tips? Tell us below in the comments!

❤️l a u r e n

Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

“I read that sugar feeds cancer.”

This is one of the most common statements I hear from my patients.

In fairness, this statement brings the fear of saying goodbye to carbohydrates and some of their favorite treats.

If you look back at one of my previous posts, 5 Cancer Fighting Foods to Avoid, you may be shocked to see sugar is not one of the top five foods. So, if I haven’t listed in the top 5 does that mean sugar feeds cancer?

The answer is yes. BUT --  it also feeds all of our healthy cells! Hence, why didn’t make it on the top five foods to avoid. Let me explain.

Any time we eat carbohydrates our body turns it into sugar, or glucose. There are many types of sugar (e.g. maltose, sucrose, etc.) but for simplicity purposes, let’s use the words sugar and glucose interchangeably.

Glucose = Sugar

Glucose is the primary fuel source for EVERY cell in our body. Our muscles prefer it. Our heart prefers it. Even our brain prefers it. It is so important to our body’s functions, our body can make glucose from fat and muscle if it doesn’t have enough. (This is a process called gluconeogenesis for my science nerds out there.)

So, would cancer die without sugar? Yes.

But, what would happen to our healthy cells? They too would die or be unable to THRIVE and fight against cancer.

Does Sugar Feed Cancer? | Wholesome LLC

Another way to look at it is, would cancer die without oxygen? Absolutely.

But, so would we.

Research shows it is actually sugar’s relationship to insulin or more precisely insulin resistance, and the result of high insulin levels which influences cancer growth the most--along with the risk for other types of chronic disease. (1)

What causes high levels of insulin and insulin resistance? Surprisingly enough, sugar nor a carbohydrate-rich diet causes insulin resistance. Rather, a diet high in fat and animal products (which are naturally high in or higher in fat) (2).

Simply put, fat and the toxic breakdown of it within our cells causes insulin to not work correctly. When insulin does not work correctly, glucose cannot enter the cell causing it to stay within the bloodstream resulting in high blood sugars. This is insulin resistance.

Many think of donuts as full of carbs and sugar, when in fact, they have more  fat  than sugar.

Many think of donuts as full of carbs and sugar, when in fact, they have more fat than sugar.

Instead of focusing on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet -- which is so popular these days -- evidence strongly supports a diet focused on carbohydrate-rich, whole plant foods as a cornerstone for preventing and fighting cancer.

Although research supports a high carbohydrate diet, it DOES NOT support carbohydrates sourced from added sugar or refined carbohydrates. These foods are deficient in essential nutrients and phytochemicals that are important to human function and preventing disease.  

Carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are associated with longer life and reduced risk of cancer and chronic disease (3), whereas the processed and refined foods (common carbohydrates in the standard American diet) do not.

Let me sum this up.

It is not sugar itself (or, glucose) that increases the risk and progression of cancer, but rather its relationship with high insulin levels and insulin resistance -- commonly caused by a high fat diet.

Understanding the relationship between blood sugar, insulin, insulin resistance, and fat can be difficult to understand. So if you are still a little confused, Dr. Greger from NutritionFacts.org, as always, does an unbelievable job presenting the most available research regarding this confusing topic in his 5-minute video you can view below.

References:

  1. Arcidacono, B., Iritano, S., Nocera, A., Possidente, K., Nevolo, M., Ventura, V., . . . Brunetti, A. (2012). Insulin Resistance and Cancer Risk: An Overview of the Pathogenetic Mechanisms. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2012. Retrieved January 11, 2019, from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2012/789174/.

  2. Greger, M., MD, FACLM. (2017, January 6). Retrieved January 08, 2019, from https://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-causes-insulin-resistance/.

  3. Sahyoun NR, Jacques PF, Zhang XL, et al. Whole-grain intake is inversely associated with metabolic syndrome and mortality in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jan; 83(1):124-31.

Cleaning Without Chemicals

Cleaning Without Chemicals

As part of a healthy lifestyle, we focus on limiting our exposure to harmful ingredients and products. Unfortunately, there are many every day ingredients/products we may use in our homes, apply to our skin, wash the dishes, deodorize, etc. that are linked to cancer, endocrine (hormone) disruption, respiratory issues (i.e. asthma), and other chronic conditions. Thankfully, Norwex products replace most, if not all, of our traditional cleaning products. Learn how to clean without chemicals!

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