Grocery Shopping Tips to Save Money While Saving the Planet

Grocery shopping on a budget can be extremely difficult, but when you are also trying to make environmentally conscious choices, it can seem practically impossible. Saving money and going green seems contradictory because many products that are considered “eco-friendly” tend to cost a lot more money than generic products. But don’t worry — going green on a budget is not only possible, but you can actually save money by doing so!

  1. 1.   Skip the Pre-cut Fruits and Vegetables 

    When you walk through the produce section of a grocery store your eyes immediately go to the large wall of pre-cut fruits and vegetables. It can be easily tempting to buy the pre-chopped onions and pre-cut melons so that you don’t have to spend time preparing the produce yourself, but is it worth the cost? In 2018 Vice did a comparison study to find out how much money you save by buying whole produce. They found that in some cases chopped produce was selling for more than three times the cost of whole produce. Not only is precut produce a wallet burner, but it is also detrimental to the environment. Precut produce is usually sold in plastic containers which oftentimes end up in landfills, or worse, the ocean. Whole produce has a natural protective barrier of skins, peels, and rinds which eliminates the need for excess packaging.

  2. 2. Choose Plant-Based Protein

    Tofu salad

    Over the past few years, you’ve probably become increasingly aware of the damaging effects that the meat industry has on the environment. The meat industry is so harmful that the Union of Concerned Scientists considers meat-eating as one of the largest environmental hazards facing the earth. Environmental concerns aside, meat is expensive! A study published by Sous Vide Guy titled “Exploring Opinions on Plant-Based Eating” found that meat-eaters spend $23 more per week on groceries compared to those who don’t eat meat. Products like tempeh and tofu are great ways to get your protein while saving money and helping the environment. These plant-based proteins are cheaper than traditional meat and they are eco-friendly as well.

  3. 3. Shop in Bulk

    bulk bins, zero waste,

    The bulk section of the grocery store is oftentimes overlooked, but when you are looking to buy beans, nuts, flour, or dried fruits, the bulk department should be your best friend! According to the Bulk is Green Council, bulk foods can cost up to 89% less than packaged foods. And if saving money isn’t a reason enough to befriend the bulk section of your local grocery store, consider the environmental benefits. By choosing to shop bulk, you limit your packaging waste which reduces your carbon footprint.

  4. 4. Buy Seasonal Produce

    Fall Produce 3

    Researching what produce is in-season before going shopping not only helps the environment but can save you money too. Produce that is out-of-season has to be transported from far away locations which result in a greater carbon footprint. Not only does buying out-of-season produce cause harm to the environment, but it also puts a dent in your bank account too. Shopping in-season produce is oftentimes significantly cheaper than regular produce. The large abundance of in-season produce allows the seller to lower the price of the product — this tends to be especially true when shopping small and local. 

Follow these tips next time you shop to save money and help reduce environmental damage!