If you recently started living on your own you might have found yourself quite lost when it comes to buying your food. While this is a natural thing to go through, it can be quite bothersome since not making a good buy will force you to go to the local grocery shop more frequently than necessary. But not only learning to grocery shop but also cooking for you is a form of self care, and a much neglected one.
How do I know what I need?
The first thing you need to do before grocery shopping is make a list of the things you need. In order to do so it is quite helpful to make a weekly (or even monthly) menu with specific recipes and detailed ingredients. To help you keep track of your food, we’ve put together a meal planner where you can write down your menu.
Now you might be wondering, how do I know how to plan my menu if I don’t even know how to grocery shop? Firstly, to have a healthy meal you need to divide your plate into three sections: one that takes half of the plate and two that take a quarter of it. The bigger section is reserved for vegetables while the other two need protein (meat, fish, soy, cheese) and carbohydrates (bread, noodles). With that in mind, you can start looking for recipes that include all of the above. Remember that healthy does not equal diet, you can eat as much as you want.
Making a meal worthy of a 5 star restaurant is not necessary, you can start by cooking simple things that make you feel good; after all, that’s what food should be about.
Tips to grocery shop
Grocery shopping for the first time can be quite scary since there are tons of options and you might end up buying things you don’t need at all. Here are a few tips to save yourself from unpleasant experiences.
- Don’t make unnecessarily big purchases. I know doing a grown up first buy at the grocery shop is super exciting, however, you shouldn’t get too excited about it since a lot of first-time shoppers buy a huge amount of things that end up in the back of their freezers for ages before seeing the light. Just buy what you actually need for the week/month.
- Check what you already have at home. Sometimes we tend to forget there are some items we already have so we end up buying more of the same thing which can lead to a storage space related problem or even the product going bad.
- Buy frozen products. Frozen food is a must when it comes to grocery shopping, it doesn’t need to be processed, you can buy, for example, frozen spinach instead of regular one. This way you’ll be able to save time when cooking.
- Don’t go shopping hungry. As silly as it sounds, eating something before grocery shopping will avoid unnecessary buys.
- Experiment. If it’s your first time grocery shopping there’s a high chance you don’t know what you like and what you don’t so give yourself time to learn all those little things!
How do I keep grocery shopping on a budget?
While you can keep track of your money by hand, having it written down is always easier. The best way to keep grocery shopping on a budget is to upload all of your spendings to a pivot table, this will allow you to know exactly how much you’re spending each month. If you do not know what a pivot table is or how to create one, don’t worry, we got your back, you can learn more about it here.
If you need to lower your grocery shopping expenses you can choose cheaper brands like GreatValue or find dupes for your regular products. Buying exactly what you need and nothing else also contributes to reducing your spendings. Another way to save money is to buy your produce at your local farmer’s market which will not only guarantee lower prices but also more freshness.
Living on your own is an adventurous ride but certainly a much needed one. Give yourself time to learn the do’s and don’ts while having fun in the meanwhile.