It’s been almost four years since I transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle to fight the inflammation that was plaguing my body. There have been challenges but greater rewards. As a wife and a mom, I’m always on the lookout for ways to shop for my family and save money. There are times when leaning into a healthy lifestyle can challenge my budget.

I will admit that products labeled organic, vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based can often come with a heftier price tag, although following a plant-based diet has been shown to decrease your overall grocery bill. It doesn’t help that recent data shows that the overall price of groceries has gone up nearly seven percent since last year at this time.

Blame it on a variety of COVID-19-related challenges, including more people making meals at home, supply chain delays, increased labor costs, and inflation. I’m always looking for ways to get healthy meals on the table. These days, I’m doing it with strategies that have helped me save money. With some prep and a positive mindset, you can fill that grocery cart and feel good about your purchases. Check out a few of my favorite strategies below.

Easy Tips to Save Money While Grocery Shopping for a Plant-Based Family

1. Make a Plan, Make a List

Meal planning is not just for people on diets. The everyday family can benefit from meal planning as it forces you to make a list before you head out to the market. Keeping a list is a great way to help you avoid impulse buys. Going in without a plan can often lead to excessive costs and bags of items that aren't cohesive or don't add up to nutritious meals.

You can plan for a day or a couple of days. Try to consider items that can be used in more than one meal. On a recent trip to the store, I purchased frozen blueberries that I used in a recipe for coconut quinoa oatmeal and again in a blueberry smoothie. I’m a big fan of corn tortillas that can easily become tortilla chips or tasty tostadas.

2. Shop the Circular

Of course, you can shop for sale items with your cell phone in the palm of your hand. Most grocery stores have their own websites that make it easy to search for deals. I do encourage searching and comparing prices. I like to go old school so I sit down with my weekly circular to come up with recipes and ideas for meals. There’s something about flipping through each page that feels satisfying.

The weekly circular can help you identify which of your favorite groceries are on sale. This is really helpful as you can use those items to become the foundation of the meals you will serve that week.

You can also try new food products that are being promoted. That’s the perfect time to pick up an item that you might not have selected if it wasn’t on sale. It’s also a great way to double up on items that you love. I’ll tell you a secret. The first time I purchased butternut squash was the result of a two-for-one sale!

Check to see if your local grocery store has an app, where you can easily see weekly deals and clip virtual coupons. You can plan your meals around these deals to maximize savings.

3. Buy in Bulk

When I was single, I used to avoid buying anything in large quantities for fear of overcrowding my tiny apartment. What I didn’t understand is that items that come in small pre-packaged quantities aren’t always the gift that they seem to be.

Just recently, I almost bought two microwavable bowls of jasmine rice. They were already cooked and ready to eat. The retail price for two 4.4-ounce bowls was $2.79, with a cost per pound of $5.07. Further down the aisle, I noticed uncooked jasmine rice in five and 10-pound bags. Their cost per pound was $1.65.

At first glance, I didn’t think that I needed to purchase so much rice. I later realized that rice is a great pantry staple to have on hand. When stored properly, it can last for a long time. I saved money by purchasing the five-pound bag at the cost of $8.25. If I wanted 80 ounces of rice from the original microwavable bowls, it would have cost me almost 30 dollars!

For more simple strategies to save money at the grocery store, check out these expert tips from nutritionists. 

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