Changes We Made to Maintain Our Grocery Budget

Swapping Eggs for Tofu: Changes We Made to Maintain Our Grocery Budget

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How has your grocery budget been impacted this year? Grocery prices, much like everything else, have escalated since COVID-19 hit. It’s been challenging for many around the country and the world to juggle finances, work, and other responsibilities.

It was frustrating watching our standard grocery list tick up in price each trip. Though Brian and I made adjustments due to inflation, we recognized that we needed to continue to pivot.

Our go-to budget-friendly favorites, Lidl and Aldi, gradually began raising all of their prices. While remaining less than other major grocery stores in our area, an increase is still an increase. So, we challenged ourselves to find even more ways to save on groceries.

Grocery Shopping Changes

We had already switched up our diet to be more of a low-meat, bulk-focused variety. Eggs served as our protein replacement for many meals. Remember when an 18-count carton would go on sale for .99?! Those were great days. While the price of eggs are now somewhat leveling out, they are nowhere near a dollar. In fact, an 18-count carton can cost $6 depending where you’re located. So, to combat the rising prices on eggs and other staples, we made some changes.

Tofu Scramble

At $1.39/lb., a block of tofu provides “eggs-ceptional” value. It’s high in protein, offers a wide range of nutrients, and is calcium-rich! Rather than dropping a bunch of money on eggs, we started picking up more tofu.

If you prefer more of an egg-like scramble, Jasmine & Chris’ Basic Tofu Scramble from Sweet Simple Vegan offers an awesome egg-centric alternative!

Ultimately, Brian and I passed on purchasing Kala Namak Sulphur Salt (which gives the tofu an eggy flavor). Instead, we found that we preferred our own spice blend:

Brian’s Tumeric Tofu Scramble

  • 2 blocks of soft tofu
  • 1 medium or large onion (chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tumeric
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

We mix all ingredients until well-blended and then store in an airtight container. When we’re ready for a fresh scramble, we dish out our servings and pan-fry until the onions are translucent. That’s it! Two blocks of tofu provides us with 6-8 meals worth of scramble. We’ve enjoyed experimenting with egg alternatives. I have to say, this one has been a keeper for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Reduced Prices

We largely shop products that have been deeply discounted due to approaching sell-by dates, expiration dates, and overstocked inventory. These items are discounted anywhere from 50 to 80 percent off the original price!

Our meals are modified to accommodate what we find. We freeze what can be frozen that we don’t consume right away (such as loaves of bread for easy toast!).

Shopping reduced prices helps us consistently save on:

  • Dry goods such as cereal, oatmeal, breads, and pasta
  • All kinds of ready-to-eat greens
  • A variety of desserts
  • Dips and spreads
  • Canned/jarred goods
  • Plant-based proteins
  • Seasonal snacks

Since Brian and I are mindful of our budget and intend to save money, we don’t purchase these items every time we see them discounted.

Request Discounts

Sometimes items close to their sell-by date are overlooked by store associates. If Brian and I find a product that we’d like to buy close to its sell-by date, we ask an associate if it’s possible to mark the price down. We haven’t been turned away yet. These markdowns are at least 50% off the original price.

Sam's Club

Weekly Specials

I always check the weekly specials of each store before I make our grocery list. While we love finding deep discounts, they aren’t always a given, especially for creating weekly meals.

Weekly specials can list grocery items at half-off their regular price. Sometimes, stores run really great deals, like this one:

We absolutely bought a few of these roasts to slice up and freeze for later.

International Grocery Stores

Brian and I enjoy visiting international markets. We take our time to explore; it’s like a treasure hunt for us. Produce, meat, and seafood sections are stocked with fresh offerings that are popular in a variety of global cuisines. Their inventory is much more robust and affordable than the standard “international aisle” located in chain grocery stores.

We often buy fruits, vegetables, spices, and other specialty ingredients from international grocery stores. The prices on these items can be anywhere from 50 to 60 percent less than other supermarkets!

See what you can save on by browsing through your local H Mart, Mega Mart, supermercados, and international farmers markets.

Grocery Budget Goals

Making these changes helped us stay on target.  Rather than experience an increased grocery expense, Brian and I have been able to maintain our budget.  We altered our diets and how we shop so that we could keep spending and saving toward our own goals.

Have you made any changes that have an impact on your grocery budget?

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