Saving money on groceries is necessary and honestly sometimes a pain in the rear. From scouring ads, clipping coupons, and shopping at different stores for different items it’s no wonder people tend to overspend.
Or if you’re like how I used to be, we would cheat and just eat out…a lot.
Well, all of that changed. We started becoming more serious about budgeting and saving money.
Since I was determined to cook and eat at home more, I had to find ways to buy good food and save money without the hassle. That’s where the following tips come in.
These 10 tips are proven to help you with saving money on groceries. Even if you choose not to follow all of them, you will still notice a difference in your shopping bills. I have been utilizing these tips for the past year and have made great improvements in my personal finance situation.
So go on and try them out and see for yourself!
1. Plan your meals ahead of time
This is at the top of the list because it should be a no brainer on the biggest way to save money on
This also helps avoid that dreaded question of “ what’s for dinner tonight?” When we didn’t plan out our dinners, my husband and I would cave into just eating out so we didn’t end up in a text battle of what to cook for dinner.
This was bad for our budget big time! At one point (when we did adult and budget properly we spent $700 in food alone for the month!)
Now we use part of our Sunday to figure out what to cook for the week, look up recipes, and build our shopping list. Not only is it something fun to do together, but it has saved us a ton of money from wasteful spending.
2. Create a list and stick to it!
So you have your meals picked out and your list made.
Good! Now stick to it!
Do not derail from the list if you really want to save money on groceries and see a difference in your monthly spending. I know how tempting it can be to just grab an extra item here or there, but those can add up
Not to mention, it also helps keep your shopping trip shorter. I don’t know about you but I have hated grocery shopping since I was a kid. Spending what seemed like an eternity going up and down every aisle with my mom.
Thanks to my list prep, I get in, get out, and get on with life.
3. Grab an ad
Almost every grocery store has them sitting right at the entrance. Grab an ad as you walk in and do a quick scan to see if any items from your list is on sale in the ad.
What you shouldn’t do is end up buying something that is on sale if it isn’t on your list! The only exception would be if it’s something that will in fact be used or needed and doesn’t expire soon.
**if you really want to finds deals, search the Sunday paper ads and match up items to your list. Stores like Walmart will price match if you show the ad.
4. Utilize Ibotta
If you don’t get the Sunday paper and ads then this is another option. Plus it’s free!
Ibotta is my go to app for cash back on tons of grocery items. (They also do cash back for other online shopping, but their grocery section is my favorite)
The way it works:
In the app you select your top grocery stores you frequent. Mine is Walmart and HEB (best grocer in Texas!)
Then search through and see if they have the items you need for the week. Ibotta offers anywhere from $.10 to a few dollars back on items.
All you do is upload a picture of your receipt showing the purchase of the items and the cash back with be awarded within the app. Once you reach the minimum threshold, you can “cash out” with gift cards to a huge selection of stores.
I typically redeem my Ibotta money with an HEB gift card and turn around and use it for groceries all over again. I have covered an entire grocery trip with the cash back from Ibotta several times!
They are also now starting a new feature where you can pay straight through your Ibotta app, similar to Apple Pay.
5. Shop Less
To make shopping trips seem quicker, I or my husband would just pick up things we need on the way home 3-4 times a week.
I know crazy right?!
This was such a bad idea because so many times we bought more than we needed, we didn’t go in with a list, and the amount of “non typical” purchases increased.
Again, save money! Plan your meals, make a list, and stick to it!
I will admit, on occasion I do make an extra trip because even with the list I still forget something. (I blame my mom brain) The items I usually forget are household items since I don’t buy those as often.
Which leads to the take inventory often of household items and not just food. That way you don’t need to question whether you need something or not.
6. Shop Store Brands
Another easy way to save money on groceries and get that bill down is to shop the store brand of foods or other items versus the “premium” brands.
Often times store brands of an item get a bad rap. Growing up, sure many store brand items were it good at all. At least things like cereal. (I used to hate when my mom bought the off brand stuff)
However, that bad rap has changed in today’s times. I started with a few HEB store brand food items here and there because of the better price, but now about 90% of my shopping cart if store brand.
I have been very pleased with how store brands are basically identical to the top company names. Even the big bag cereals have stepped up there game! (If your a 90s kid, you know how awful they used to taste, now I taste very little difference)
Also think about buying other generic brand products like cleaning products, OTC medicines, and skincare. If you read the label, the ingredients are often the exact same but half the price!
7. Don’t Let Food Expire
If you find yourself having to toss out food items that are not used or eaten then your are tossing money in the garbage.
I know I plead guilty on several counts for this, but since I implemented this one trick, I have gotten much better at it.
The one trick?
Stocking the fridge the right way. I make sure I put any item that has a shorter expiration date towards the front of the fridge and things that lasts longer in the back.
I know probably sounds stupid and like common sense, but how often to we get new items and just shove it in the fridge pushing whatever was in there towards the back?
Now that I take the extra minute to organize my fridge, no food is wasted. I also tend to not buy certain things in bulk, like fruit, because they tend to not last as long.
I also keep my pantry organized too. Even though the foods in there are mostly non perishable, I still keep tabs on what’s in there.
Although I’m pretty sure I have that one can of tomato paste that’s been there since I’ve bought my house.
8. Look at Unit Prices
Buying bigger or in bulk isn’t great for everything. You sometimes have to look at the unit price.
I tend to think brands are marketing geniuses and disguise the real cost of food by offering the “buy more save more” deals.
When comparing the bigger box to the smaller, look at the unit price of each. It’s typically displayed on the price tag just under the price.
You might have to whip out your phone calculator, but many times the unit price on the “bigger, better deal” item is a lot higher than the smaller one. So buying the two smaller versions of the item is cheaper.
However, buying some things in bulk is smart. For example, we buy our meat in bulk at Sam’s Club then separate into portions and freeze it.
9. Create a Budget
If you haven’t done so already, track your average grocery spending for a month or two. Then create a budget based on how much you typically spend.
If you wish to try and save and spend less, adjust your budget set for groceries and stick to it as best as possible.
Spending less is possible, it just takes a little homework and planning. I have read about families of 6 that spend as little as $60 a week on groceries!
While they must REALLY plan and coupon to stick with this extreme budget, it just highlights that it’s not impossible to save the money you want.
If you haven’t created a budget or even a way to track your monthly spending habits, you might want to read my article on How to Create A Budget in 4 Steps.
10. Never Shop Hungry
This last tip sounds silly, but trust me it’s true! Going to the store hungry and you are definitely going to buy something out of impulse because your hungry brain says yes!
Yes, as in buy those chips because they sound so good right now. Or mmmm look Oreos! Haven’t had those in a while!
Ok maybe it’s just me and my binge habits. Although I started making my own cookies versus buying since it’s cheaper.
Seriously though, go shopping well feed, it will help you stick to your list!
That’s All Folks
Following all these tips or even just a few and I promise you will see a difference in your spending. And hey with that extra cash you saved, you can put it towards a nice relaxing vacation! Or those new tires and rims for your 4Runner…no? Just me?
Have a tip to save money that I left out? Share below in the comments! Don’t forget to share this with a friend!
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