It’s not always easy to keep a home in order. Sometimes money is tighter than we’d like, and unexpected expenses piled on top can add an extra strain. But, there are ways to cut costs so you can save money for when life just happens. If you look at your spending each month, the most money going out the door (besides the mortgage or car payment) is likely for food. But what can you do to cut costs here? You have to eat! When you’re trying to save a little extra, utilize these 15 tips to save money on groceries.
1. Meal Plan
Before heading to the store have a weekly meal plan for all the meals you will prepare. A plan will keep your list focused, and you won’t end up buying items that you are never going to use. Also, this can ensure that you shop only once a week, avoiding last-minute runs to the store will keep you on budget.
2. Check the Ads
If you have a variety of stores in your area, make sure you check all the ads. Maybe one week it would benefit you to shop at the other store because they have better prices on the items you need. Also, make your meal plan with the ads in front of you. If a chicken is on sale one week, try to plan your meals around chicken rather than beef.
Coupons are great, but use them wisely. During a sale on a product you normally use, a coupon can be a money saver. However, don’t rely on coupons to get you a great deal or use them to purchase items you have never used and may never use. Just because you have a great coupon, doesn’t mean it’s great for you. If your grocery store has their own coupon resources, this can be beneficial for you. They usually track what you buy most and send offers catered to your habits, especially if they have a card or rewards program.
4. Join the Store Rewards Program
If your regular grocer has a card or rewards program, make sure you are enrolled. There may be additional sales offered that aren’t advertised in the weekly mailer, and you won’t receive those savings when you aren’t enrolled.
5. Shop the Sales and Stock Up
Grocery stores go through cycles. About every 6 weeks, a sale will repeat itself. Shop for non-perishables and paper products during these sales. Purchase enough for your supply to last you through to the next sale. When there are great sales on meat, stock up and freeze it. Even better, make several freezer meals that are ready to cook and cut down on prep for busy nights.
Bonus Money Saving Tip: Are you spending too much on cleaning supplies? Try making your own DIY cleaning supplies.
6. Shop in Bulk
For items that you know you will use a lot of, buy in bulk. Sometimes it is worth a membership to a bulk store to buy items in large quantities. If you have a large family, buying diapers, rice, eggs, or similar items in bulk may make more sense. Do you do homemade pizza every Friday? Buying a bulk bag of flour and storing it will be more cost efficient than buying a small bag every 2 weeks.
7. Keep an Organized Pantry
Know what you have in your pantry to avoid buying things you don’t need. Move older items to the front of the pantry and new items behind. Be mindful of expiration dates so that nothing is going to waste. Find more ways to keep an organized pantry and download our free labels.
8. Shop Your Pantry First
When drawing up your meal plan, plan around what items you already have. You may have a whole meal for Monday already in the pantry. One night checked off the grocery list!
9. Eat Perishables Early
Eat your fresh produce like berries and bananas earlier in the week, and save heartier fruits and vegetables for later in the week. This will cut back on waste and keep you from heading back to the store more than once a week.
10. Buy and Cook with a Friend
Share the cost! Shop with a couple friends or family members and split the bill, then prep and freeze meals together to use for a week or throughout the month.
11. Use an App or Social Media
Some grocery stores have additional deals and coupons on their Facebook pages. Or try a phone app like Ibotta. It will load the stores where you normally shop, and then you will earn rebates or money back on items you have bought. Be careful with this, though. Similar to coupons, you may get caught up with the savings and buy something you wouldn’t normally buy.
12. Go Meatless a Couple Times a Week
You don’t need to be a vegetarian to save money on groceries, but meat can be more expensive than a vegetarian meal. Try to go meatless a couple nights a week to cut down on your meat spending.
13. Use Beans to Stretch a Meal
Adding beans to a meal can make it a more hearty, filling meal. Beef up taco meat with beans or try a bean sauce for pasta. There are plenty of recipes online for using dried beans and ideas on how to make a week of meals with mostly beans and rice.
14. Shop Local Produce Stores or Farmers Markets
Keep your eye out for seasonal markets. Sometimes they have in season produce at a lower price point than your big grocer. Make sure you know or research price points. Get familiar with the normal price of produce, eggs, and dairy so you can help easily spot a good deal.
15. Price Match
Stores like Walmart will let you price match. Save your ads and shop at one stop. You do need to make sure you communicate with your checker that you would like to price match certain items.
Always remember to keep your list and meal plan before you head out to the store. If you have a hard time remembering to pack your list, take a picture of it with your phone before you leave. Here is a free grocery list printable to help you get started. We hope this helped you think of some creative ways to save money on groceries. Happy shopping!