How to save even more money at the grocery store!
Bold statement, isn’t it?
When I first came across AndThenWeSaved.com, I was feeling a bit frustrated.
I cut back my spending, I wasn’t going to fancy coffee shops anymore, the fiancé and I were eating at home nightly, I was throwing supreme amounts of money at my debt monster, and I was doing everything people are supposed to do to get on track.
However, I was impatient. I wanted to get out of debt even faster.
After analyzing our finances, I decided that tackling the grocery bill would be the most fruitful. By looking at the last several months, I realized we were spending an average of $700 per month on groceries! This seemed like an enormous amount of money, and I knew there were money-saving possibilities tied up in there! I just needed to sit down and think out where, and how.
Here are 6 steps I took to cut an average of $300 a month from my grocery budget, without couponing, and still managing to eat healthy…
1. Meal Plan, Meal Plan, Meal Plan
I know this isn’t a surprise, but it is so incredibly important to sticking to your money goal. What I do is I meal plan for an entire month. I sit down at the beginning of the month, and I map out dinners for the whole shebang. What is the benefit of meal planning for a month? It gives you the opportunity to plan your spending so much better. Take a look at the sales, is chicken on sale? Well, stock up and make a few more chicken meals this month. By having a plan for the entire month, it gives you the opportunity to stay on track, longer, which means making frugal living a habit. (Here are some meal-planning templates.)
2. Limit Your Trips to the Store
Think about it. How many items that weren’t on your list happen to wander into your cart each shopping trip due to cravings, hunger pangs, or simply the “ooh that looks good” syndrome? The less time you spend in the grocery store, the less you spend — ‘nuff said. After making my meal plan for the month, I make two grocery lists: one for the first half of the month, and one for the second half of the month. Not only does this cut down on my impulsive buys, it makes me stick to that meal plan all the more rigidly. There is less opportunity for straying if you have less food in the house.
3. Buy In-Season or Buy Frozen
A major roadblock I once faced with my savings plan was the fact that I love exotic fruits and veggies. Mangos? Pineapple? Avocado? Gimme more!! What stopped me in my tracks was realizing how expensive some of these items can be! Check what is in season in your local grocery store. Stock up on those fruits and veggies. It’ll not only ease the sting your wallet feels, but it gives you an opportunity to mix up your meal routine, and support local farmers. Who doesn’t love that?! Still craving that pineapple mango smoothie? Check your frozen section. While it might not be less expensive initially, it will save you money in the long run, as you can store it in the freezer. Better yet, wait until they’re on sale, and stock up!
4. Stroll Through the Bulk Bins
There are three different grocery store chains in my city, and one of the reasons I shop at the one that I shop at is because of its excellent bulk section. It is astounding how much money you can save there. All your baking goods, pasta, spices, cereals, are so inexpensive, it should be illegal. You also have the choice of just buying a small amount of something you don’t use very often. Does your recipe only call for a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric? Why spend $6.00 or more on a whole bottle that will just sit in your spice cupboard for the next eternity? Over time, shopping in the bulk section will save you a ton of money. (Got a ton of stuff in your cupboards that are weighing you down? The How to Be a Fearless Minimalist Guide can help!)
5. Double Your Recipes
Variety is the spice of life without a doubt, but it can break the bank. If there are meals that your family particularly enjoys, double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe. Store extras in the freezer. When you make next month’s meal plan, incorporate these ready-made meals. When I make my meal plans, I often check out Pinterest for inexpensive meals that are easy to double. After stocking your freezer a bit with these meals, you will see the dollars flying off your grocery bill.
6. Buy the Store Brands
No need to explain this one. The store brand is almost always cheaper. In the long run, it is all the same stuff. Don’t splurge on the fancy name brands.
I hope you can incorporate some of these tips into your grocery budget! Finding new ways to shave money from your grocery bill is always an ongoing process, and I hope these tips can help you save a few dollars. What about you? How does your family save money at the grocery store?
Melissa is an avid meal planner, frugal living advocate, and yoga lover. She lives in BC with her fiancé.
P.S. MyFreezeasy has been a total game-changer for our family! 10/10 recommend! CLICK HERE to learn about it
Aldi, Aldi, Aldi.
I switched to Aldi a few months ago and LOVE it. I literally leave there spending half of what I would at a normal grocery store and get items that are still of great value including basic staples of milk, eggs, coffee, cheese, etc.
Ohh how I wish there was an Aldi near me!!!
I also plan dinners for the whole month but I shop each week. At the beginning of each month, I make a list of all ingredients I need for the entire month, excluding fresh fruits or bread. When I shop on Sunday, week one, I will look at everything on my list and will only buy what I need for week 1, and if any other items are on sale, I will buy them. Then the next Sunday, my list is shorter, but I will go shopping again, and again only buy the ingredients that I need that are on sale. I continue each Sunday, and by the end of the month, there is not much left on my list and I have bought everything for the entire month on sale!! For fresh fruit or breads, buy them at the beginning of the week that I need them. So, I am still going into the store once a week, but what I do buy, is on sale! Yaeh!!!
I love this strategy!! I’m going to try it out
Love this! People over look the possible savings at the grocery store.
we have just started doing freezer meals. we make a meal plan for an entire month and repeat the same meals a few times. last month we ended up with an extra weeks worth of meals somehow! We still have to go every week to buy fresh fruit and vegies and pick up little things here and there but we only need to buy meat and non perishables once a month. Not sure yet if its working out cheaper! I haven’t added it up, but it sure is convenient.
I’m sure over time you’d find a decrease in your monthly bill. Freezer meals are such a great idea.
I 2nd the comment of “Aldi Aldi Aldi”! I recently started shopping there and as a family of 4 we save SO MUCH compared to what I was spending hitting up Meijer/Walmart/Kroger in our area. And I’ve been impressed with most everything we’ve bought there!
Great advice. I shop once a week and buy at stores like Aldi. I have a list which I created of the stuff we get every single week so I don’t really have to think about what I need to get, just what I am going to make with it. Helpful and save some time. I plan every 1-2 weeks with meals and also buy in bulk. Great advice!
Love this! I started making my own breakfast and chicken and rice burritos for morning and lunch. They’re great for throwing into the freezer and very affordable if you make a bunch at once. Much healthier than the store bought kind. Eating vegetarian meals once or twice a week also help as it tends to cost less than meals with animal protein. Making a stir fry with tofu and veggies is really healthy and delicious (and cheap!).
I have only just started shopping at Aldi and it has knocked about £30.00 off my shopping bill.
Yum, where did you get your burrito recipe?