Are you having trouble keeping to your grocery budget every month? Or do you look at your grocery budget and want to spend less but don’t know how? I’ve definitely been there.
For many of us, our grocery budget is one of the largest variable expenses in our monthly budgets. Since it takes up a large percentage, it’s a good idea to try and be efficient with our spending. It can be hard to come up with game plan on how to spend less in this category.
So, if saving money is your goal, I want to give you more tools in your toolbox. That’s why I’ve made a list of different ways you can spend less on your groceries every month. Keep in mind that these are general rules of thumb, there are always exceptions and great sales. The main takeaway is that there are loads of ways to be an informed consumer and save money!
Here’s the list
- Plan your meals before you shop. Only buy what you need.
- Before you make your grocery list shop what is in your pantry.
- If the store has a loyalty card. Get it. You’ll save more on food and gas.
- Stop shopping at eye level. Look down at the bottom shelf. Prices are typically lower here especially for alcohol.
- Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
- Learn to cook in a way that you like. No matter how good you are at grocery shopping, you’ll always be tempted to go out to eat if you don’t enjoy your own cooking.
- Buy a notebook and title it “food prices” and begin tracking the regular items you buy and how much they cost at different stores.
- Use this notebook as a reference for good prices of items you buy often.
- Try to only buy a large amount of meat when it’s at a good price then buy a good bit of it to freeze.
- The general rule is generic brands are less expensive than name brands.
- Buy fruit in season and on sale.
- Cheaper doesn’t always mean less money. Check the per unit price when comparing two items. Something may be less expensive but also be less food, make sense?
- On this note, just because something is a better price per unit doesn’t mean it is always a better deal. If you don’t finish it before it goes bad, it’s better to buy the smaller more expensive (per unit) item. So if you only need a small amount then buy a smaller amount.
- Stop going to health food stores for your regular grocery needs. Sometimes there are good deals there, but you are almost always over paying for the other things you buy there. I’m looking at you whole foods.
- Don’t buy everything at the same store. Try out a few grocery stores near your house before you find your main place, that way you can get an understanding of what your staple items cost at each store.
- If a regular item you buy is at a great price. Buy a few. If a regular item you buy is above a good price. Walk away.
- Kids snacks are priced at a premium for single serving packaging. They are also priced at a premium for kid’s marketing. Sometimes this is worth it for convenience, but if you want to save more then you can consider cutting, or packaging kid sized snacks on your own.
- Know that if you buy food that is sliced or chopped for you that you could buy whole, you will typically spend more.
- Generally, buy blocks of cheese over sliced and shredded
- Try not to buy veggie or fruit trays unless you are strapped for 15 minutes. Cutting on your own will save you ⅔ of the price.
- Only buy the amount of deli meat you will actually eat. Don’t buy a pound if you won’t be able to finish it.
- If your bread is going bad on you before you finish it often, try to freeze it when you get home.
- Typically fresh meats are a better deal than frozen.
- Freezer meals for your family typically cost more.
- Bake a cake over buying one.
- Buy the tub of yogurt over individually packaged yogurts. If you’ll finish it.
- When you walk in the store. Grab the weekly ad and check the coupon section.
- Check out your local farmers market for produce and compare the prices to you list of good ideal prices.
- Keep the essentials stocked in your home. Like flour, rice, pasta, sugar, salt, seasoning, milk, eggs, butter, oil, bread, etc. This way you can always cook something simple.
- Pay cash you will spend less.
- Price match items that are more expensive than a competitor. Most grocery stores will do this.
- Grow your own fresh herbs.
- Stop buying the extras. Things like candy, that box of cookies that looked good, and the expensive ice cream. Or try to limit the extras. One or two is fine, but they start to add up quick.
- Pints of ice cream are priced at a premium.
- Buy bread from the bakery. Better quality for the same price.
- Consider making your own pasta sauce, salsa & guacamole
- Know what to buy in bulk. Buy dry goods, paper products, and non perishables.
- Be on the lookout for brands that offer bulk ‘deals’ that really aren’t less expensive. Check your price list. Do the math and don’t fall for it. Just because something is labeled ‘sale’ doesn’t actually mean it’s cheaper than normal.
- This is common sense but organic foods are priced at a premium. How much you decide to spend on this premium is more about your priorities as a family, but consider what you really feel is important to buy organic and what might not be. We buy what we can organic and other things we can’t.
- Carrots are cheaper per pound than they are packaged (typically).
- Organize your grocery list by section of the grocery store #efficiency.
- Learn recipes with chicken legs and thighs, not just chicken breasts. These cuts are typically ½ the price of chicken breasts. This goes for all meats, consider the cuts you are buying because meat is often the most expensive part of your trip.
- Use the bones of these chickens to make your own bone broth. Super easy and healthy!
- Buy a meat thermometer so you can cook your meat effectively. This will help you avoid over or under cooking meat so you can have less waste.
- Try to only buy groceries at the grocery store. Your shampoo, cleaning supplies, beauty products, etc are usually priced at a premium at the grocery store.
- Consider shopping online and picking up. Many grocery stores are starting this and there is no easier way to keep to your budget than shopping online. But do keep an eye out for package quantities, they can be tricky.
- Double your recipe then freeze the extra meal. This will save you the next time you’re in a pinch.
- When offering to bring food to a gathering, when possible offer to make a part of the meal like a “appetizer” “side” or “dessert” but decide what you’ll cook once at the grocery store, that way you can see what is on sale and in season. Obviously consider what else is on the menu so it doesn’t clash and consider food allergies/sensitivities.
- Memorize at least 3 recipes that you love and can almost always make with staples in your home. Preferable ones that are easy to you.
- Take the time to return items that are rotten before they should be. Like when you open it. Grocery stores don’t want to sell you things that are past their prime so they’ll happily let you return it.
There are so many ways to be creative with being frugal. What ideas would you add to this list? Let me know below!