Have you noticed how much of your overall budget you spend on groceries really is?
Even though making every dollar stretch can be tricky, saving money on your weekly groceries is now a priority for many households these days.
To most families and households, food shopping is an essential cost, so it goes without saying that learning more money-saving techniques, is something that we all should do.
And believe it or not, there really are some tiny small ways to make your grocery shopping trips fit your budget.
You just need to know the little ins and outs to adjust the way you currently go grocery shopping, so that the process becomes more seamless and, of course, affordable!
Plus, eating a healthy balanced diet (while on a budget) can seem like it’s almost impossible but with a few hacks, you definitely can eat well for way less than you are spending right now!
Here are 21 simple ways to save just a little bit more money (every single month) on your grocery bills.
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1. You must begin with a plan.
Having a plan allows you to be prepared and productive while shopping for your food. When you spend a few hours a day preparing and thinking about what you’re going to buy, you’ll be less tempted to stray from your list.
Start by looking at the items on sale at your local supermarket and create food concepts with the ingredients on sale for that week.
In fact, have your shopping list so structured that you only have what you really need on there, so that you make fewer trips to the supermarket and buy exactly what you intended to.
2. Use apps.
There are a number of apps out there designed for the dedicated shopper. Some offer cash back rebates on items. Others alert you to coupons and sales in your area. Others “clip” digital coupons that you can use at the register. Take advantage of these apps when planning your next shopping trip. Price matching apps like reebee and Flipp can also help.
To find out more, check out these 8 genius apps to save even more money while you shop!
3. Don’t browse or shop when you are hungry.
If you are hungry, going shopping can quickly lead to needless food expenditures that you can not normally afford, says Shahzadi Devje, a registered dietitian and host of the Toronto-based Morrocco Real Food Adventure.
We generally invest more money on fast food. “Shop when you are less vulnerable to choosing high-calorie, low-quality foods.”
4. Join the savings club.
Most stores have a loyalty shopper program. It usually only takes a few minutes to sign up and gives you access to in-store discounts and coupons not available to the general public. Some stores even create special promotions just for you based on the items you buy most often. Others offer you discounts on other items, like gas, for shopping with them. Take advantage of your local grocery store’s customer loyalty program.
5. Buy generic.
Name brand items are simply more expensive and not necessarily better. When it comes to things like prescriptions and over the counter drugs, buying generic makes sense. Since pharmaceuticals and medicines must meet high industry standards you can expect to get an effective product. Food can be a little more tricky. Generic cereal may not taste like the name brand, but staples like ketchup, rice, or flour can all be bought at a discount by buying generic.
6. Shop Frozen.
The U.S. throws more than 38 million tonnes of food away every year. Much of that food waste comes from spoiled food. One way to avoid throwing away your hard-earned money through spoiled food is to buy frozen veggies. Many staple vegetables are available in the frozen food aisle. You can also buy meat in bulk and freeze the portions. Take advantage of your freezer to save money.
7. Eat in-season.
If you would really like to save money on groceries, start to buy what’s in-season at your grocery store.
In-season items are often abundant and cheap. Your local farmer’s market is a great place to see what’s fresh, local, and in season. Often you can get great deals on in-season produce from local farmers.
8. Meal plan.
If you haven’t started doing this, now is a great time to start. Your meal plan doesn’t have to be exhaustive, but an outline of what you plan to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week will help you pull together a list of items you need.
This way you can shop once for the week and get everything you need. You avoid buying things that you “might” want to eat and you won’t have to make numerous trips to the store during the week to pick up missing ingredients.
We all know the more often you’re in the store the more likely you are to spend more money.
9. Use the bulk bins, bottom shelves, and outer aisles.
Bulk bins are a great place to pick up grains and cereals that you may want to try or only need in limited qualities. Grocery stores usually put their pricier items at eye level. If you are looking for a deal you may need to look down. The same is true for the outer aisles.
10. Avoid prewashed or repacked foods.
You could buy a box of twelve cookie packets or a box of cookies. Buying the prepackaged cookies may be more convenient, but you are paying for the convenience. In the long run, you would do better to buy snack bags and make your own snacks. The same is true for spinach and salad greens. Prewashed greens sound convenient, but you can save a few dollars by washing your own salads.
11. Buy dried instead of canned.
Many people gravitate towards canned beans for convenience, but dried beans are a better value for your dollar. They keep just as well in the pantry and can be cooked in large batches and frozen for later use.
12. Eat less meat.
Simply put, meat is expensive. Learning a few meatless dishes to add to your weekly rotation will help to stretch your grocery budget and maybe even shrink your waistline.
13. Use a calculator & add up all your unnecessary spends
Impulse buying is a real problem. The treats on the ends of aisles and around the registers are tempting, and even more so if they are on sale. Take a calculator and keep track of how much you are spending. Can you really afford those sweet treats? Use your calculator to figure out which packages are giving you more value for your money.
8 more ways to prepare ahead for meals to save money.
- Plan your grocery shopping with a list to help you stick to your budget. You can learn more about why having a grocery list is vital to staying organized here!
- Prepare meals for lunch the next day, or freeze your remains for a speedy meal the next day.
- Shred your own salad and cheese (cheese often also freeze well!).
- Wash and/or cut fruit and vegetables once a week. It speeds up plans for dinner and lunch and offers ready to go nutritious snacks.
- Organize the cupboards and drawers for extra food storage. If you don’t know what you have or can not find what you have bought, you’ll unnecessarily purchase more of the same. Here are 12 fantastic ways to organize your kitchen for more space!
- If you stock up, see expiry dates and prepare the food for as long as you need to conserve it.
- Pre-cook or marinate, and freeze to improve mealtimes. If you purchase large packages of foods, it’s less tempting to indulge out if you know you’ve got food ready at home waiting to be recooked.
- Clean the refrigerator and pantry once a month. Using what you purchased before you decided to buy more.
See, you can easily save money on food. You just need to know a few simple ways to improve the way you shop and how you spend your money on your food every month.
If you would also like to learn more tricks and tips to save even more money on groceries?
There are a few more ways you can do that here!
Check out, 11 MORE Clever Ways to Save Extra Money on Groceries, next!
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Hi, my name is Rebecca and I am the face behind Everything Abode! I am a lifestyle and wellness writer based out of Vancouver Island. When I’m not writing or exploring mountains and beaches with my furry rescue, I love spending time learning creative ways to manifest a healthy home. Thanks for stopping by!
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