5 Strategies to Help Anyone Save Big Money on Groceries

June 24, 2015
by Dr. Mark Hyman for Thrive Market
5 Strategies to Help Anyone Save Big Money on Groceries

When I tell my patients about the importance of eating a balanced, healthy diet, I often hear one response: Grocery shopping for healthy food is just too expensive.

Though the high price tag for organic fruits and vegetables and non-GMO foods can at first seem too much, there are ways to buy everything you need for a healthy diet without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks that help me save money and still have a pantry bursting with wholesome, delicious foods.

1. Buy in bulk when you can.

Sure, buying a massive bag of dried lentils or a huge pack of toilet paper might seem a bit inconvenient, but the large quantity means that you get a lower price per unit. In other words, each individual roll of toilet paper costs you less in bulk than it would in a smaller package. As long as you buy something you know you will lose—and something that won’t spoil quickly—buying in bulk is the way to go.

2. Choose seasonal, fresh produce from your local farmers market, and freeze the leftovers.

Not only is buying produce in season great for farmers and the local economy, it’s also gentle on your wallet. Out-of-season fruits and vegetables often have to be shipped in from more tropical climates, and come with a big price increase.

Make the most of your seasonal farmers market trips by buying plenty summer tomatoes or winter squash and freezing your leftovers. That way, you can enjoy the freshest produce all year round!

3. Plan out your meals before going grocery shopping.

Impulse buys are the enemy of a healthy budget. Reduce your chances of falling prey to supermarket ads and last minute decisions by planning out exactly what you need to buy. When you have a clear list, you’re much less likely to pick up any extras.

4. Shop for all the nonperishable foods and products on Thrive Market.

Get all your healthy whole grains, nuts and nut butters, spices, and pantry staples at a discount on Thrive Market. When everything costs 25 to 50 percent less, the savings really add up. Plus, when you stock up on supplies and spend more than $49, shipping is free!

5. Avoid processed food as much as possible.

This tip doubles as a health hack. Processed foods—such as microwave dinners and deep-fried potato chips—don’t seem expensive, but actually often cost more than cooking a healthy dinner yourself. Plus, since these foods are often loaded with trans fats and other questionable additives, it’s better to skip them for your health’s sake, too.

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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This article is related to: Farmers Market, Grocery shopping, Healthy Eating, Meal planning, Saving Time

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6 thoughts on “5 Strategies to Help Anyone Save Big Money on Groceries”

  • Molly Jo Graham
    Molly Jo Graham June 27, 2015 at 12:33 am

    You may want to fix the little typo in #1. I'm certain you meant "use" rather than "lose."

    • speak_the_truth1
      speak_the_truth1 July 4, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      lol, I had to go back and read it again. Gave me a chuckle. For me... I probably would lose something I bought in bulk.

  • Roberta Chadis
    Roberta Chadis June 27, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Thank you for the reminder on freezing leftovers... so often I forget the value of putting things in the freezer.

  • Lynn Langhoff
    Lynn Langhoff July 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    these products are STILL too expensive for those of us on fixed incomes. stop deluding yourself. all of this organic stuff is just out of reach for most of us who need them because of our bad health. horrible to say they are still affordable. no way

    • thrivemarket

      Hi Lynn,

      We absolutely hear you, and sympathize with you. The often exponentially high cost of healthy, organic foods is why we started Thrive Market. We hope that by offering healthy products at 25 to 50 percent lower prices, more people will be able to afford wholesome foods and nontoxic household products.

      We also offer free memberships to low-income families and households. This is our way of trying to help expand access to healthy living. If you think you would qualify for a free membership, please feel free to reach out to our Member Services team. You can email them at help@thrivemarket.com or call (866) 419-2174.

    • Omnedon

      It would be out of reach of many people, including "middle" income to buy 100% organic. There are lists out there of things that you really should buy organic and others that can get by with common market items. For example, things you intend to peel are not as critical for surface pesticides as something where you would eat the peel. Ideally we'd use the pesticides only for spot infestations, but the food "industry" does not see things that way.

      Antibiotic use in the meat/dairy industries are largely "necessary" due to the overcrowding in CAFO grain feeding operations. Grass-fed (and finished!) meat and dairy are more sustainable for land use than growing grains, cows can graze on lands unsuitable for plowing and harvesting. Random dropping of "fertilizer" works better than applied commercial fertilizers, both for reduction of greenhouse gasses and prevention of run-off from the huge manure ponds generated by CAFO operations.

      Every purchase you *can* make from organic and other sustainable farms promotes the growth of more of the same, ultimately driving prices down. If at all possible, get out to the farms and meet the people growing the food. Find out what their practices are, in a number of cases you will find them following organic methods, merely lacking the "official label" which must be paid for and then passed on to consumers.

      Among other things, buying from places like Thrive Market allows them to buy in more bulk, so you don't have to and still get the savings.

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