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The Best Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Aside from your mortgage or rent, your biggest monthly expense is likely groceries. And unlike your mortgage, rent, car payment and most of your other bills you actually have some control over how much you spend at the grocery store each month.
But how can you feed your family good healthy food and still save money? If you’re struggling with saving money on groceries then you have landed in the right place!
I have some tips for you so keep on reading.
First Make A Grocery Budget
Ok I know budgeting is boring, right? But saving money should always start with a budget! But the good news is a budget may not be what you think!
The main purpose of creating a budget is not to restrict your spending and make you miserable but it is to track what you’re spending and get a full picture of your grocery expenses.
Are you spending $100 a month on Twinkies?? Chips? It’s possible and you just don’t know it because you’ve never actually taken the time to sit down and create a budget.
Start by tracking how much you’re spending on groceries for a few weeks.
Save your receipts, use a tracking app or just write it down on a tracking worksheet. You may want to get right to the saving but seeing what you’re spending is a real eye-opener.
You can even go as far as breaking it down and figuring out what you’re spending in each area like meat, produce, snacks (this is where you will see how much you’re spending on Twinkies) etc. This will give you an idea of what to cut down on.
From there, come up with a weekly or monthly budget. If you’ve tracked your spending for a month and you were spending $700 on food than try cutting it by $100 at first. That’s $25 a week and should be doable. Allot that money for groceries and whatever you do don’t go over it! The next few tips will help you with this.
Next, try cutting back your budget by another $50 per month. Keep cutting it down further and see how low you can go. I have had many people tell me that they have cut their grocery spending by 50% just by creating a budget and using the tips I am going to share with you below.
Now let’s go over ways you can cut your grocery spending!
Come up with a Meal Plan!
I don’t know about you but I never had a real plan for meals. I knew I would be eating meat and rice or soup or stirfry etc but other than a general idea I never actually sat down and wrote out a weekly meal plan and that was a big mistake.
This was a mistake and one that probably cost me tons of money. I know I wasted lots of food doing this because I thought I would eat them but ended up eating something else or I didn’t have the other ingredients I needed because of bad planning.
The easiest way to start a meal plan is to just write down a menu for the week. You can even skip the weekends if you want. For your first meal plan look inside your refrigerator and pantry and see what you already have that you can make dinner out of. Buy some additional ingredients to complete the meals for the week and work on next weeks meal plan.
With your list of ingredients go to the grocery store and stick to the list when at the store.
If this all seems like too much work then I recommend trying out $5 Meal Plans. For $5 a month you will get meal plans emailed to you each week that also include a shopping list! Um, I don’t know about you but $5 a month to have someone do all the work for me? Sign me up!
Plus you can try $5 Meal Plans risk-free for 14 days to see if you like it. Check out $5 Meal Plans here.
Come Up With A Few Frugal Dishes
You don’t have to make drastic changes and eat nothing but rice and beans or Ramen noodles all week, instead, think of a few inexpensive dishes your family enjoys.
Often meatless dishes will be your best frugal bet or use meat in small portions on frugal dish days. You can also do pasta in many different variations. Pasta is very inexpensive and most kids will eat pasta.
Enjoying frugal meals even just a handful of days during the month along with the rest of the things we are going to go over will make a big difference in your grocery budget.
Some ideas you can try are:
Stirfry with just a little meat cut into small cubes with lots of veggies and over a plate of rice.
Pasta with tomato sauce. You can even add a little meat to the sauce if you want but a smaller half portion than you normally would.
A rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for around $5 can feed a lot of people and you can just make rice or potatoes and a veggie for a side.
Chicken soup is also one of my favorites since a whole chicken is very affordable and you can use rice or pasta in it which are also very affordable.
Brainstorm some ideas for frugal dish days or even every day can be a frugal dish day if you want to cut your grocery budget even more!
Try Freezer Meals
I just discovered the whole freezer meal thing recently. What I like about freezer meals is that they allow you to buy in bulk at a discount. You can buy chicken and beef on sale and make freezer meals out of it.
If you’re new to Freezer meals like I was I HIGHLY recommend you sign up for a FREE FREEZER Meal Workshop!
In the workshop, you will learn from Erin Chase the $5 Dinner Mom who teaches you how to create 10 freezer meals in one hour! Imagine how much time you could save on busy nights? You can find out more about that here.
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Buy in bulk when on sale
I mentioned this a little above. Buying in bulk is a great way to save but just make sure you are freezing it properly and not wasting it. You can buy in bulk at a wholesale club or at your local market during a big sale.
This is another reason why meal planning comes in handy. If you get a huge sale on steak or chicken you want to make sure you utilize the meat in your meals and plan out how long you can make it last.
Take advantage of store loyalty cards!
This may sound like a no-brainer especially if its a store you shop often but it’s not just a matter of getting a store card. You have to make sure you are taking full advantage of all the card has to offer.
My grocery store (Stop & Shop) has its own app and it connects to my loyalty card. I can digitally load coupons and exclusive freebies right to my card from the app!
I have gotten free full-size items like cherry juice, soy milk, chocolate, cream cheese and more from just adding the free item from the app, it takes just a few seconds to check the app before you shop or even while in store.
They also often have one time discounts like $5/$60 or $3 off produce etc. So be sure to check to see if your local stores have an app and look at all its features to see how you can save!
Save Money on Groceries by Using Coupons!
Even if you hate cutting coupons or just don’t want to deal with them I want you to keep an open mind. Like I mentioned above there are many apps that allow you to use coupons digitally and save. This means you never have to clip an actual paper coupon!
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Stick to your list and don’t shop hungry
Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it!
If you’re meal planning like I mentioned earlier than this should be easy. All those little extras like the fancy bread from the bakery or the candy you grabbed at checkout start to add up. Get in the habit of skipping those extras unless there’s a good reason to buy them. Stick to your list and you’ll cut your grocery bill by quite a bit each week. It’s amazing how all those little extras add up.
Ever go to the grocery store hungry? It seems like every time for me but if you notice you will start to shop with your stomach and not your list. You pick up things to snack on while in the store or while on the ride home. You tend to grab way more things than you need and the total at checkout is a lot more than you were expecting! Sound familiar?
This is why sticking to your list and NOT shopping when your starving are included in ways to spend less on groceries.
Give these tips a try and see if you start to see big savings on a weekly basis. What you do with all the extra money each month is up to you. Save up for a fun summer vacation, pay off those credit cards or fund your emergency and retirement accounts.