Hubs in Whole FoodsEach week we make a trip to the market to get food for the week.  Unfortunately for our wallets, it is a weekly instead of monthly trip since most of our food is made up of fresh fruits and vegetables and a minimal amount of processed items which last longer in the pantry.  For some, a weekly trip to the market can be very daunting and even more, expensive, if you don’t have some tips for keeping it quick and efficient.

Be Prepared – Our first rule, BE PREPARED.  My husband and I attempt to think ahead to the week and scheduling and make a menu for the week.  Some days dinner falls on him since I coach on Tuesday nights which puts me home around 7 pm, and for our eating style, that can sometimes be a little intimidating when it comes to putting together the ingredients.  Making a list and sticking to what’s on the list makes our shopping much more efficient and less expensive because we are not purchasing items that will not be used in the coming week.  Whether we are planning breakfast, lunch or dinner or maybe work snacks, the list is quick and simple.

Shop the Outside Aisles – Since we do 95% of our shopping at our local co-op market, this rule for saving money is pretty simple.  All of the fresh produce and other non-processed items are generally on the outside aisles of the market.  Hit those aisle first and fill and most of the time, even if you have a list, you will get inspired to try some new fresh items that are in season and on sale that week.  We go to the inside aisle to grab our weeks worth of black beans and my husband’s favorite breakfast granola, which can also have items you need on sale if you don’t commit yourself to specific brands (but still be conscious of ingredients!)

Cupcake IndulgenceDon’t Go Hungry – The last tip for saving money at the market, NEVER EVER go to the market hungry.  This is a sure disaster for not only an inflated cash register bill, but you can sabotage yourself and your healthy eating habits by going hungry.  Make sure if you are headed to the market and you find yourself a little hungry that you grab a small snack.  This could be something as simple as a handful of nuts or a half of a banana.  Maybe you eat a half of a peanut butter sandwich to tide you over until after you finish the shopping.  Whatever it is, make sure you address those hunger pangs before hitting that shopping trip.

What are your rules for hitting the market without breaking the bank while still feeding you or your family healthy dishes each week?  I’d love to hear your strategies for getting it done while keeping some bucks in your wallet!