The Art of Grocery Shopping: Get back to basics

I love food. It holds a place near and dear to my heart. However, as it happens, food costs money. In the city it seems to cost even more money. As an active person I need more of it. Before you know it, you’re spending hundreds of dollars a month on it. However, I didn’t get started down this path to save money. I started looking at ways to make the dishes I love, from scratch. To my surprise, they were better (and cheaper)! If you change the way you cook, it will change the way you buy food (and what you pay!)

Although buying food is unavoidable, you can definitely tighten the belt on your bill and still enjoy what you want. As far as what you’re buying, here are some strategies:

  • Buy base level items (flour, stocks, tomato paste, oil, rice, lemon juice, spices, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc). These items last forever, and whipping up simple sauces, breads, and side dishes produces way better food than $5 pre-made junk). Protip: Marinate chicken or pork in Sriracha and Soy Sauce; it’s delicious.
  • Frozen vegetables are less expensive and last longer than their fresh counterparts.
  • Don’t buy bottled water. Personally, I keep a number of flip-top bottles in my fridge so I can have cold tap water as soon as I walk through the door. This alone has saved me hundreds of dollars.
  • Don’t give up the foods you love, find ways to make them better. If you like steak, skip the porterhouse. Choose a cheaper cut and spend more time preparing it. Flank steak with chimichurri is a great choice.
  • Using dry goods and soaking them is better than buying canned. Save leftover pasta sauce jars to soak beans and chick peas in. If you buy a bunch of the same sauce, poke holes in one lid to strain. This is better for the environment and your wallet.

Those were just some examples of things you can do to change your habits for the better. I can’t list ‘everything’ you can do, but I can give you the strategy. Take the foods you like, and learn to make them better. Find out how to make amazing dressings, sauces, doughs, pastas, salads, and more. From scratch really is better. It will change the way you eat and look at food in the store.

– Mike

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