15 Ways to Really Save on Your Grocery Budget
Is money a little tight right now? Are you trying to stretch those dollars? I have 15 ways to really save on your grocery budget!
I remember when my girls were little, things were so tight. We had to cut out all extras just to survive.
We were so poor we didn't even buy garbage bags and paper towels were a huge luxury that only came with a coupon. We used Walmart bags for trash and as soon as they filled out, we'd walk them out to the garbage can. I admit it was good exercise and we didn't feel poor.
We didn't have cable but I took the kids to the library a lot and checked out books and rented movies. I'd keep them entertained any free way we could. Looking back it was a lot of fun but there were stressful days because money was so tight.
I had to get creative with the grocery budget and learned that by using a few simple tricks, you can save money on the things you need to buy, like food, and learn some important things along the way.
Clip coupons for the things you buy. Buy one get one free can be a great savings, but only if you’re going to use both items before they expire. You have to remember to only buy what you will actually need. The use of coupons helps to save money in big and fast ways but many people get sucked in and use coupons on things that just sit around.
How did I get my coupons? I asked friends and family for coupons they didn't need. I also printed up coupons from coupons.com. My local mom's group got together and did coupon swapping. You can also search for coupon swapping organizations. This type of group tends to swap items for coupons. So for example, if you have a coupon for peanut butter but you don’t need peanut butter, you can go to this group and trade someone for milk, or an object you may need.
Organize your food storage cupboards and drawers. Find out what you already have. If you don’t know what you have or can’t find what you bought, you’ll end up buying more of the same unnecessarily.
I highly suggest meal planning. When you create a plan, you know exactly what you need and there is no room for errors. his will help you to shop for only the ingredients you need for the dinners you’re serving. I have a free printable to help you stay organized.
Create a grocery list and stick to it. Many people tend to go over budget because they see things at the store that they think they need when in actuality, it’s not needed. By having a list, it helps you to stay focused and aware of the things you need to buy and the things that you don’t.
Don’t buy items you don’t need just because it’s a great deal. Only buy what you know you are going to use. This is back to the coupons but sales too.
Stick to your budget – Record your monthly spending on food and look for ways to save based on those numbers. This will force you to become more creative with your recipes and eat healthier, more nutritious meals.
Compare prices of different brand foods based on their weight. Bring a calculator with you to ensure your calculations are correct in figuring out which brand is the cheapest and most affordable.
Buy your food in bulk. Many times, buying things in higher quantities means more money saved. Buy durable things in bulk that you’ll need in the future, like paper towels, toilet paper, canned food, spices, and beans. If things are really tight then skip paper products (besides toilet paper) all together. You don't really NEED paper plates or paper towels, they are a luxury. I only buy them if I can get them in bulk and use a coupon. Beans, rices, and spices are always bought in bulk
Shop for baked goods during the daytime.
If you’re craving for something from a bakery, go during the day. This is when the bakers will be marking down all of their day-old food. You can even bake your own or cut out baked good all together. You can live without bread and cookies.
Buy store brand items.
In many cases, store brand foods are a lot cheaper than those more well-known brands. I only ever buy name brand if I have a coupon or there is a sale making it cheaper.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
These foods are usually more expensive, and oftentimes are less nutritious. Buy the inexpensive but healthy items, like oatmeal. If you cut out drinks alone and switch to filtered tap water, your grocery bill will go down so much!
Snacks were my biggest budget killer so I had to start making my own. I made oatmeal cookies for snacks, bought big tubs of yogurt (I hope to one day make my own) and made individual servings, made homemade pudding, and bought other snacks in bulk. I admit, it took some getting used to.
Don't shop when you are hungry.
You’ll buy less snacks and/or things you don’t usually buy. Shopping while hungry can add a significant amount of money to your shopping trip. Also fight the urge to order pizza after a big grocery shopping trip, that used to be a bad habit of mine!
Shop at stores like Aldi.
Produce is 30-60% less than at Walmart. They have a lot of affordable organic food.
Know your prices and shop multiple stores
I know this doesn't work for everyone, especially if you live in the country but if you are in town and near multiple stores you need to sit down and compare prices. Many times I buy meats that are on sale from one store, vegetables from another, and so on. Sometimes I save up to $50 or more!
Bonus – Use grocery store pick up or delivery service
Many stores have a grocery store pick up service. You order online ahead of time and roll up and load your groceries into your car. If you order online you know exactly what you are getting and you know the price. You are less apt to do impulse buying. You can also use a service like Shipt. You pay someone to go grocery shopping for you, they only buy what is on your list. Even paying a delivery fee, you still save money because there are no impulse buys!
Knowing how to properly shop for food is key in saving money for those other things you need. Ensure that if you are having money issues, you make some attempt to save as much money as you can wherever possible.