Many people think eating healthy costs an arm and a leg. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely can…unless you’re smart about it. Instead of mindlessly wandering through the aisles the next time you’re at the grocery store, try incorporating the following 5 tips and tricks into your routine. You’ll find that you can still eat healthy and save, too!

1. Buy produce that’s in season
Not only will your produce be tastier, but the price will be, too. Naturally, when there’s more of something, the price will always be lower. It’s the simple law of supply and demand. Have you ever tried buying raspberries out of season? Yeah I know…ridiculous.

If a particular fruit or veggie is out of season, frozen ones are a great alternative. They typically don’t have the added salt and sugar of canned ones. Plus, the price is easy on the eyes.

2. Shop the sales
Check your grocery store’s weekly ad and sales flyer, and coupon, coupon, COUPON! It takes a little more effort and time, but it’s totally worth it. However, steer clear of junk food that’s on sale. No matter how cheap it is, that stuff will never be good for you, and not buying it at all will save you even more money. In addition to cutting out coupons, most grocery stores will send you extra coupons if you’re a member of their rewards program.

3. Stock up and freeze
Load ‘em up! Stocking up can save you some serious bucks. Obviously, you can’t stock up on a ton of fresh food and expect it to stay good. All of it will go bad unless you plan to freeze some of it. Recently, blackberries went on a major sale at my local grocery store. I bought 20 containers, freezing 17 of them for smoothies and leaving 3 in the fridge to snack on. Find items on sale, stock up, then freeze what you don’t plan on using.

4. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
Cheetos! Oreos! Chocolate! Everything sounds better when you’re hungry. When you shop hungry, you’ll justify making unhealthy choices. You’ll also most likely end up buying way more than you need, just because everything sounds so darn delicious.

Also, try to shop alone. Children, spouses, and friends can influence you to buy more than you normally would, or get you to cave into buying junk food. So just remember, don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach and leave the posse at home!

5. Do it yourself
Pre-cut, pre-bagged, pre-shredded, pre-wrapped, pre-anything will cost you. While it’s nice and convenient to buy things that are already done for you, it usually comes with an expensive price tag. Save yourself some cash by doing the work at home.

Happy shopping!

-Julie Tukuafu