Groceries. When you hear this word you probably think- money. It’s a word we associate with expensive. You may feel you hit the store and leave there with just a few bags and a $100 less in your bank account.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
With a little commitment and a few different approaches, you can keep your grocery spending under control. Really. You can do it.
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Here are 10 Simple Ways you can start saving money on your groceries.
1. MAKE A MENU.
If you want a stress free delicious dinner you must make a meal menu. For me, I don’t plan out my breakfast and lunch because it’s whatever we have on hand. But dinners I have to have planned out the week before. Otherwise, I am asking everyone in my family what do you want to eat? With a two and four-year-old their answer always seems to be spaghetti or pizza or ham.
When I have a meal menu I can pull out meat from the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. When I was working full-time and didn’t have a plan for dinner I would defrost my meat in the microwave.
It will work.
But the taste… So poor..
Impress your family and plan your meals.
(Another quick tip, have 2-3 go to recipes you feel comfortable making and only use items from the pantry in case of an emergency.. like you forgot to buy the chicken on your grocery list!)
Not sure what items to have in your pantry? Check out my list of must-have pantry items.
Don’t forget you must have a budget!
2. DON’T EAT OUT OFTEN
We don’t go out to eat except on special occasions. This is the frugal side of me. When it was just my husband and I we went out to eat more. What kept happening was we would get disappointed by the quality of our dinner for the price.
I am blessed with my mom cooking everything from scratch. So I have a higher standard of home-cooked meals. Fresh tasting ingredients. So we leave going out to eat for date nights and birthdays. The kids enjoy it more and it becomes special for us all! And the break from cooking and cleaning feels so awesome 🙂
3. BUY DISCOUNTED MEAT
I buy discounted meat. I have an advantage because my husband is a hunter. So I am usually just buying chicken, fish and once in a while pork. But our local grocery store has special today stickers on their meat which is usually 50% off original price. You can freeze these items the same day if close to the expiration date.
This is also how we afford to add in all natural no-antibiotic meat. Ask you local meat department at your grocery store the day they mark theirs down. Most stores do this- including BJ’s! ( Which BJ’s Wholesale club is my go to place for meat when I can’t get it marked down at our grocery store. They always have the best prices even compared to Aldi!)
4. MAKE YOUR OUR OWN BREADS.
I received a bread machine 4 years ago and fell in love with making my own bread. The pizza dough was my first attempt. I cut out frozen pizza, which we were consuming at least once a week. Making your own bread especially for pizza dough is cheaper and healthier.
If you switch to whole wheat flour you can make your own healthy bread for a cheaper price than your local store. I now just use my stand mixer instead of the bread machine. You don’t need fancy equipment to make bread. I suggest checking your local warehouse store for the best price on yeast or ordering online. Want to get started with the bread machine? Head to your local thrift store. they are there. ALL the time! 🙂
5. FARMER’S MARKET SECONDS
Take advantage of the seconds at Farmer’s Markets. Many will offer large quantities of fruits and veggies called the seconds. This is the second picking and usually, they are a bit riper but the cost is less and you can preserve them. I can lots of items in the summer to help us get through the winter.
Each year I want to add a new item. My first year canning I did applesauce. The second year tomatoes, third pears. This year I want to can pickles. You have to start small so you don’t get overwhelmed and quit.
6. USE COUPONS.
I use coupons. Surprise surprise right? I don’t just print a coupon and go to the store and buy it. I plan. I LOOK AT THE sales in the ads and use a coupon only on sale items. A coupon database comes in very handy for this. This gives you the maximum amount of savings. You can read more about how to coupon effectively here.
*Remember couponing allowed us to live off a construction worker’s salary when we had our first child. It was the stepping stone to our debt free life.
7. USE APPS
I use all free money saving apps to save on my groceries and household item. Technology is amazing! Here is a list of those I use. I get enough money from these apps to save for Birthday and Christmas presents.
8. SHOP 3 STORES
I shop for the best price on fruit between three stores I narrowed down to have the best price and quality. To understand and find the best price I used a price book. It’s time-consuming and I know many of you may be turned off by that. But this was such a crucial item when I started our journey to debt free living. I now save time by checking my three stores and picking which have the cheapest price. And the plus, I no longer use a price book 😉
9. STOCK UP
You must stock up on items when they are a good deal. You need to shop from your pantry first. Sale cycles are usually about every three weeks. Once you have been couponing for awhile you know the brands that are always on sale and the coupons you usually always see.
That’s why we bloggers will use the word rare on some coupons. You don’t have to go overboard but do have enough to last you a week or two. Don’t get all extreme couponing on me now!
Celebrate and take a good look at your savings. When I started to really get serious about saving money on my groceries I had to get every deal. And we all know we are not super heroes. So give yourself a break.
If one week you got sweet savings on pasta soak that in. If you miss a deal it will come around again and instead, you can get creative and use what you have. It’s important to see the amount you are saving and feel encouraged because there will be temptations of just wanting to give it up for some. You can do it!
What tips do you have for saving money on groceries?