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Tired of Overspending on Your Groceries? Try This Today

Did your groceries just cost you over $200 again for the week? You even tried cutting coupons this week, and still, it’s got to stop. Are you tired of overspending on your groceries?

Maybe you have had a similar situation to mine. 

“Come on kids. We have to get home before your father does.”

You are scrambling through your purse for your coupons. Your kids are throwing things up on the register belt. You gawk and yell- “the apples will bruise”

You drop your coupons, you go down to pick them up, and the kids are fighting over who gets to put the last item up on the belt.

It doesn’t stop there.

Your coupons don’t scan. The people behind you are ready to pounce. Your total has somehow reached $250. You quickly start thinking, “What did I buy that cost so much?’

Can you relate to the scenario?

Before we took hold of our finances, I never looked at a store’s weekly ad.  I thought- BORING! I looked for store brands and sale prices in the store. I grabbed the fancy end caps of items that seemed like a good deal- but the sale was only $0.20 off.

I was a marketer’s dream shopper.

Let’s not be a marketer’s dream shopper. Let’s tell these big brand companies that we are tired of spending so much money on food that lasts milliseconds in our homes.

Let’s be able to fill our fridges with wholesome, nutritious food so our kids can go a whole 2-3 hours before the dreaded words- I’m hungry come out”

Why? Because we are tired of overspending on groceries. If you start implementing the tips below you will be one step closer to taking back your grocery budget. You will be one step towards your greater victory.

You have a grocery budget. If not grab one here.

how to keep your grocery budget under control
my grocery shopping trip in july 2023

Know What you Already Have

When I am not taking the time to plan a meal or shop from my pantry, I first go to the store, buy what looks good or is on sale, come home, and hope I can figure out two meals. Then in the middle of the week, I have no clue what else to make so I head back to the store for more groceries.

But really, I have enough food in the pantry to make a dish.I think we have forgotten simplicity.

We let our emotions and thoughts take over, and we forget that we can serve a simple, affordable dish with just beans and ground meat.

Before you, grocery shop take a look around your kitchen. See what pantry staples you have.  Write down the proteins( meats) you have.

Figure out how many meals you can make with what’s in your pantry.

This is exactly how we survived our 6-month spending freeze.

Tired of Overspending on Your Groceries? Try This Today

Shop with a List

Self- Control.  Resisting the urge to grab, throw, pay, and put away. Say goodbye to the days of going shopping without a list.  Shopping with a list is a must-have when the kids are with you, or an empty stomach has you salivating over Pop Tarts.

Read: How to Make the Perfect Grocery List in 4 Steps

Tired of Overspending on Your Groceries? Try This Today

Now to maximize your savings at the grocery store you need to know what to put on your list. Start by looking at the sale flyers if you have hours upon hours on your hands or get it done quickly with my coupon matchup lists. Check the items that are free or cheap or that you can make meals with for the week.

Print it out or save it to your phone.

ultimate simple meal planner mockup

Meal Plan

I talk about this a lot because, as a mom, it has saved us. I believe that everything happens for a reason. While I was on maternity leave with my first child, I got a call from my boss telling me my position was eliminated.

There was another position that I could take for less money and more workload.I already despised the job, so I prayed and declined.

Guess what? I was a 25-year-old living on 75,000 a year income. When I first stayed home we were hit with many eye-opening experiences. I won’t get into all the details here- another post for that but through hardships, meal planning worked.

All the tips here today and on this site are how we went from low to debt-free ( except for the mortgage)- paying 2 mortgages and utility bills for two houses through Christmas and our kid’s birthdays and didn’t touch our savings account; all on one construction workers income.

I would have never imagined being in the financial position we are now, but it was because of these tips. I would have never thought that when I graduated college with a degree in journalism, I would be here sharing with you how we are living our best life on a budget!

tops markets coupon trip

Always Check the Unit Price

To be a smart, savvy shopper, you really have to discipline yourself always to be looking at unit price, cost, and quantity, and then considering all that and comparing it to the store down the street.

If you are going to be a shopper who is getting the most bang for their buck, then you HAVE to get to know your prices.  Compare online and in-store. Keep track until you have a good feel for prices on items you buy weekly.

When you are in the moment staring up at the aisle, and you don’t know who has the cheapest price- you need to compare the off-brand and name brand by looking at a unit price. Knowing your prices over the long run helps you quickly recognize what is a deal and what is not.

Another tip- the most expensive things are at eye level. Healthier options are usually at the top of the aisle, and the cheaper items are at the bottom.

For Example:

Tops have Del Monte Fruit Cups in this box.

You get 12 -3.2 oz. pouches. They want you to pay $8.99. $0.74 a pouch for your child to suck it down in 30 seconds!

The EXACT same product offered at Target right now is $5.19 or $0.43 a pouch.

Right, there you are, saving $3.80.

 WOW, a whopping $3.80, you might be saying. Well, hold on.

Just imagine if almost all the items in your cart were an average $2-$3 more.  Say you buy 50 items in a week.   You just paid $150 extra if every item you bought was an average of $3 higher.

Tired of Overspending on Your Groceries? Try This Today

Wait for a Sale

Wait for a sale. I mean a real sale, not just a $0.30 off sale. A good $1+ sale. When you wait for a sale and pair it with a coupon, it makes those once pathetic-looking values of $0.60/1 coupons so appealing.  (And even better when you use them at a store that doubles its value! ) 

I live in western New York, and we have a Tops Market. It is my favorite store next to BJ’s to coupon for groceries. Every region has a grocery store that is the most coupon friendly.

Tops Markets products are outrageous if you are buying name-brand items that are NOT ON SALE. If you need an item that is not on sale at Tops, and they do not carry an off-brand, then you should find the best price elsewhere.

Aldi and Save a lot are great places to check out to start cutting back on your grocery bill without any extra work.

Yet I must add to be careful at Aldi- almost 90% of the name brand items they do carry are more expensive than other retailers. Remember don’t be a marketer’s dream shopper. Be the smart, savvy shopper you are! 

Buying only certain name brands will cost you more. If you are a generic buyer, you will for sure save money. Take a look at these 18 generic brand items to get an idea of how to get the best deal on generics. 

No time to read the article above? Look at this example.

Tuna at Tops Markets (common store in Western NY).

Valu Time is $0.69

Tops brand Tuna is-$0.89

Which one would you choose? Why?

These two items are EXACTLY THE SAME! They are distributed by the same company. Topco! When I worked at Target, Byrne Dairy supplied our milk. ( I was the manager at Starbucks so we went through a lot of milk. Byrne dairy slaps a Target sticker on the milk.  This was in 2010, so maybe a different carrier now.)

My husband was doing work at a food plant.  He saw all the Welch’s grape Jelly jars going down the line getting the Welch’s label on, then the same jars coming down and boom a Wegman’s label goes on.

Do not be fooled! Many products are the same thing! And don’t be fooled by the Loss Leader Marketing either.

Want to learn how to extreme coupon? Check out my FREE GUIDE HERE.

snack grocery shopping haul this week

Stock Pile

Stockpiling for today’s resource shopper is to stock up on an item when it is a very sweet deal. I may have gone overboard in the beginning!  

Instead of buying just one or two of the same thing, you buy as many coupons as you have for the item or the amount allowed. You don’t have to get crazy, but enough to last you until the next sale cycle.

Here’s an example.

Cereal with a coupon is on sale at your local grocery store, and you will pay $1 for a box. You can print two coupons from your computer and two coupons from your smartphone. You have four coupons potentially to use.

Should you buy just the two boxes because that’s what your kids will eat in a week, or all four so you have some for next week?

All four because if your kids eat the two boxes in one week, next week you will need cereal again, and it won’t be $1 it will be $4. You will have spent double the amount, and if you do this for all your grocery items, you are spending DOUBLE on EVERYTHING! Yikes!

Remember, when you stockpile, you are able to use what you have and not be forced to go buy an item you need at the full price. I

If you have an image of a basement full of items and that turns you off, let me encourage you that couponing and shopping the sales doesn’t mean you will end up with a room full of “stuff”.

 We all know we have plenty of stuff that slows us down.  I am not an extreme couponer- yet I save 50% on my grocery bill EVERY WEEK! I can feed a family of four for less than $100 a week, and so can you!

Tired of Overspending on Your Groceries? Try This Today


Produce is the one area that gets me every time because it’s healthier, and the kids eat it in a day! Yet there are ways to save on this budget breaker. We save by only buying produce that is in-season. You will pay double the amount when you buy fruits and veggies in the off-season.

Read: 6 Must Have Apps to Save Money on Your Groceries

If you have a local farmer’s market, I encourage you to buy your fruits and veggies there. The items are in season, and you can get deals. Try talking a price down or grabbing the “seconds”. These are items that are the second picking and are great for preserving.

Since I do not buy produce that is not in season weekly, I utilize the seconds at our farmer’s market and preserve it by canning or freezing.

Then in the winter, when we are craving asparagus, I pull it out of the freezer. It’s like meal planning, you always have to be one step ahead in how to make this last.

Stocking up on fruits and veggies is possible, and paying less during the winter is a must.

Let me encourage you. YOU CAN DO THIS! Together we can do this!

“From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.” Psalm 61:2


Tired of Overspending on Your Groceries? Try This Today

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Dianne M Lutz

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

I have been couponing for a long time but your tips are great. There is always room for improvement. Thank you for posting this

Lissa Crane

Friday 3rd of November 2017

I love the Stockpile suggestion! I never did this until recently and it also comes in handy when there is a storm and you can't get to the store!


Monday 23rd of May 2016

I always try to compare prices between brands in the store since my husband also witnessed at a food packing plant that store brand items are exactly the same as top brand items, but in different packaging! But I am not nearly as patient as you at finding the bargains. I meal plan and make lists but could do so much more!

Amanda | Maple Alps

Monday 23rd of May 2016

I follow most of these tips - love them all! It's hard to wait for a sale for some products that I frequently buy, but when it does go on sale, I definitely stockpile (well, if it's a staple). Additional things I do are keeping an excel spreadsheet of my frequently visited grocery stores and the prices compared (sale and normal). I also keep my husband at home ;)


Monday 23rd of May 2016

LOL Love the part about your husband! It's amazing how they can sway our shopping habits when they come with us. It's best for me to keep my husband at home as well! The spreadsheet is a great tool in helping keep track of stock up prices!

Elizabeth Thompson

Wednesday 15th of April 2015

I love this! And I appreciate you saying that we are human and sometimes can't get the best price on things like milk and diapers because we go through them too fast. When I first started couponing, I was really hard on myself. I felt so guilty if I couldn't find the right deal. I've realized I need to do the best I can, be patient, be smart, pay attention, and let it slide when the deal isn't out there when I really need a key item. So many great tips here--thanks!


Monday 20th of April 2015

You got it- to do the best you can, be patient, be smart pay attention! Those are the steps in saving your family cash! Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth!

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