After your mortgage or rent, groceries might be your next largest monthly expenses. Yet, everyone needs to eat so a monthly grocery bill is inevitable. However, with some planning, you can easily reduce your monthly grocery spending.
1. Keep Pantry and Freezer Organized
It’s hard to know what to cook when you don’t know what you have on hand. This can lead you to waste food and buying duplicates of what you already have. Keep your pantry and freezer organized. I keep a list on the freezer and pantry doors telling me exactly what I have on hand.
If a recipe calls for ground beef, I can easily tell whether I already have some. When something’s running low, I put that on the shopping list so I don’t have to worry about running out of staples.
2. Menu Plan
I like to make a plan for what we’re going to eat for the week. My menu planning entails looking in the freezer and fridge to see if there’s anything I need to use up. I try not to keep food in the freezer for over 6 months. Also, if I’m cooking something that requires the use of a freezer item, I’ll know to take it out and let it defrost in time.
I also look at our schedules to see if there are any meals we’ll be eating out. That way I can cross those days off and not worry about planning a meal for those days. If I know I’ll be home late on certain days, I’ll plan easy meals such as a slower cooker meal or pasta. Having something that’s ready-made or can be thrown together quickly means I don’t have to resort to takeout.
3. Make a Shopping List
Now that I have a menu, I make a shopping list based on what I need. That way, I don’t have to wander aimlessly through the store and buy unnecessary items. Not only do you have money, you can be in and out of the store so much faster.
Before I head off to the store, I like to peruse the circulars or the store websites to see what’s on sale. I may not plan on using a certain item in the week’s menu but if it’s on sale, I’ll buy it and stock up the freezer. This is especially helpful for saving on meat. I very rarely buy meat the same week that I need it because things are never on sale when you need it.
4. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
When you’re hungry, all you can think about is food. That’s not how you want to feel inside a grocery store. I don’t like to go to the store right after work because that’s usually when I’m hungriest and the store tends to be super busy at that time. If you must go shopping after work, have a light snack before hand so you’re not tempted to buy everything in sight.
5. Buy Seasonal Items
Buying food that’s in season is an easy way to save money. Last week, I was able to buy 3 mangoes for a total of $1 because they’re in season during summer months. If I were to buy them in the winter, they’d sell for at least $1 each.
Foods that are in season are more plentiful. When the supply is high, stores will sell those items at a lower price and you get to slash your grocery budget.
6. Stock Up When There are Sales
I pay attention to what the grocery store has on sale because it gives me an opportunity to stock up. For me, I like to stock up on meat and non-perishables like canned tomatoes, peanut butter, pasta, etc. When these things go on sale, I buy extras. The meat can be frozen and the non-perishables have long shelf lives.
Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. But, if you see something on sale and it’s what your family regularly eats, stocking up presents huge savings. Some people don’t like to stock up because it means paying more up front. When you average it out though, it’s cheaper over the long run.
7. Freeze Extra Portions
I like to make big batches of food to save time and money. When you’re only cooking for 2, that means a lot of leftovers. It can get tiring to eat the same thing day after day. Don’t throw your food away though. Portion out the leftovers into individual servings and freeze to make your own freezer meals!
On days when you don’t know what to cook or have no groceries, you can eat one of your homemade freezer meals. This prevents food waste and saves you from a trip to the grocery store.
8. Shop on Double Coupon Days
Certain stores have double coupon days where the discount on your coupon is doubled. If you are a coupon clipper, these are the days you should go to the store because your savings are doubled.
Additionally, pay attention to your store’s sale cycle. Most grocery stores run sales from Wednesdays to Tuesdays. However, there are some stores whose sale cycles start and end on the same day of the week. Those are the best days to grocery shop because there is a greater selection of items on sale.
9. Use Meat as a Condiment
Meat tends to be the most expensive grocery item in our household. Therefore, I like to feature meat as a side dish or a way to flavor the meal rather than as the main dish. Doing this allows me to stretch out the meat and I can go longer before needing to buy more.
For example, if pork chop is served as the main dish, each person at the table gets a whole pork chop. I stretch that by making stir-fry and bulking up the dish with vegetables. It’s healthier and cheaper. I like eating meat and I don’t think I can become vegan or vegetarian. But, I know that it’s not good for my body or wallet to consume too much meat.
10. Snacks and Sodas are Treats
I enjoy soda and chips every now and then but I see them as treats rather than a must. I’m not gonna lie, I love the salty crunchy goodness of potato chips. They really provide no nutritional value, however, so I try not to buy them very often.
When you cut out processed foods from your grocery cart, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you save. By focusing on foods that provide the nutrients you need, your wallet and health will both thank you.
11. Shop in the Evenings
You can save by shopping in the evening because this is when stores mark down prices on items in the bakery and on meat. These items are still perfectly fine for consumption. They’re just getting close to the end of their shelf life so stores lower the prices. This is a perfect chance to buy meat at a discounted price and stock up your freezer. Evenings are also the perfect
Evenings are also the perfect time to buy things like rotisserie chicken and other things in the hot bar because grocery stores don’t tend to resell them the next day. Therefore, they’re discounted heavily to encourage customers to buy them.
Do you have any tips to share on how you save on groceries? What are some of your favorite ways to save?