I Spend $30 a Week at Santa Rosa’s Trader Joe’s, Here’s How You Can Do the Same

Follow these tips and you'll leave the grocery store with more money in your wallet and healthier food in your cart.

Most of you are probably thinking something along these lines right now: “30 dollars for one person? No way,” or “I’d sure like to find out how I can spend that little on groceries.” As a college student, I know how challenging grocery shopping can be, especially if you’d like to eat healthy. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way – and I say this to even the most skeptical readers.

Now, this next sentence will probably put a few of you off – but stay a minute and hear me out.

I’m vegan. When I tell people this, many offer the same two objections: “you won’t get enough protein in your diet” (let’s save that topic for another article), and “it’s too expensive.” In my experience, cutting out animal products has actually helped me spend less on groceries. So, whether you’re vegan or would just like to reduce your meat intake, this might actually be an opportunity to save a few bucks.

For me, Trader Joe’s on Santa Rosa Avenue is a convenient spot for buying healthy produce on a budget. Of course, there are endless opportunities to load up on fresh fruit and veggies in Sonoma County – from farmers markets to CSAs to your own backyard. But, as we all know, sometimes it’s just easier to hit the grocery store, and there’s no shame in that.

Before I go grocery shopping, I make sure that I have planned my meals so that I only buy what’s necessary to get me through the week. This way, I can ensure that everything I purchase stays fresh and that I don’t waste anything. (Not so fun fact: globally, we throw out about 1.3 billion tons of food a year; and the United States wastes more than $160 billion in food a year.)

If you purchase everything on the grocery list in the above gallery, it should come to just over $30. Keep in mind, this list is for those of you on a really tight budget. If your bank account allows, you can always add a little more – but make sure you’re not wasting food. Follow these tips and I promise you’ll leave the store with more money in your wallet and healthier food in your cart.