Saving Money on Groceries in 5 Easy Steps
Lately, I feel like grocery shopping has gotten so expensive!! I mean, I know we are buying more food as our girls get older and eat more, but still, our grocery bill is way more than it used to be! Tell me that I am not the only one who feels like this! Saving money on groceries and sticking to a budget is possible!
I used to be very good at keeping to my grocery budget, but got away from my habits as I added kids to my cart. So, with the costs exploding (food is the third largest expense for most households, according to Time magazine), I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to get back on track! And I am going to share my tried and true strategies for saving money on groceries with you!
Tip #1: Write a Grocery List
We’ve all heard this, but it is so important! If you go into the store without a list, I can almost guarantee that you will spend more money on groceries than if you brought a list with you. When you make a list that means you have planned out your meals ahead of time, so you know what you need and you know what you don’t. This also helps avoid “I forgot something” trips later in the week, which almost always end up being more than just the item or two that you forgot.
Another way that making a list helps you save money on groceries is that is helps you avoid impulse buys. It’s been my experience that impulse buys have a greater chance of getting thrown away from not being finished. Impulse buy = more wasted food. Wasted food = wasted money.
Tip #2: Add Up the Cost as You Go
Taking a calculator with you or using the calculator on your phone is a great way to stick to your budget! This is actually the tip that has helped me stay on track the most. When you add up the cost of your groceries as you shop, then you know exactly how much you are spending.
I like to round up each price to account for taxes. Then I know my actual bill will be less than my total on my calculator. Adding up the cost of your groceries as you shop also helps you avoid impulse buys. When you go to put those chips in your cart and you have to type in $4, you will be much more likely to put them back on the shelf! And adding things up gives you an idea of just how many impulse buys you make when you shop. It might be more than you think!
Another reason I like adding up my groceries is that you get very familiar with the prices of items you buy frequently. Then, when a price increases or something goes on sale, you are more aware of it. I know, our peanut butter used to cost $4.59. Then it went up to $5.99 for a while. Then, it was a “new lower price” one week of $4.99. Ummm, not a new lower price! Being aware of normal prices helps you avoid falling victim to some of these marketing tactics, too. I mean, I still bought the peanut butter because we needed it, but if it had been something I didn’t really need, I might have thought twice since the price went up.
Tip #3: Shop the Coupons and Sales
Now, I am not a coupon lady by any means. I just haven’t had much luck with finding them for the groceries we buy. We spend most of our groceries on fruit and veggies, dairy, bread, and meat. Not a lot of coupons for those. But, I do use IBotta and have gotten some good deals through there for the meatballs we like and a ton of other things. It’s definitely worth checking out if you aren’t using it yet.
I do make a list before I shop, but if I have broccoli on my list and I get to the store to find cauliflower on sale, then I’ll buy the cauliflower instead. I find that veggies are pretty interchangeable in a lot of recipes. One way to save money is to be flexible and buy the veggies that are on sale that week.
The same goes for fruit. If your family usually eats oranges, but the apples are on sale, then eat apples that week. This also helps add some variety in your diet instead of buying the same things each week out of habit.
One place that I find a lot of good sales is the deli counter. If you are buying lunch meat or sliced cheese, be sure to check what’s on sale. If it’s the similar to what’s on your list you can probably swap it out and save a few bucks.
You might also be interested in these tips from the Krazy Coupon Lady for saving money on your groceries.
Tip #4: Buy Your Groceries Online
This is a great option if it is available in your area. This is a great way to avoid impulse buys because you are not roaming the aisles as you shop. Different options that may be available in your area are: curbside pick up, grocery delivery, or ordering online from Amazon.
Plus, you will know the total before you checkout, so you can guarantee to stay within your budget.
PLUS, no shopping with kids?! Yes, please!
I have done the “curb side pick up” and it is amazing. My grocery store charges $5, but it is well worth it because I am sure I save that much in impulse buys.
Tip #5: Shop the Perimeter
Most of the packaged (read: unhealthy and expensive) foods are in the middle aisles of the grocery store. So, if you can stick to the outer aisles (think produce, meats, dairy), then you will save time and money.
The less you can go down those middle aisles, the less impulse buys you’ll make and the better bang for your buck you will get. Fresh fruits and veggies are expensive, but not as expensive as prepackaged meals and snacks!
They Only Work if You Use Them!
These tips will definitely save you money, but only if you put them to work! I have used them all and was able to feed a family of four for $100 each week. Then, I got lazy and my grocery bill sky rocketed. ☹ Now, we are a family of five and the kids are getting bigger, so our budget will be $140. I know these tips will help me be successful!
Do you have a favorite money saving tip when it comes to grocery shopping? Share it in the comments – let’s help each other!
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Looking for even more tips? Check out this video on how this mom went from $2,000 a month on grocers down to $200! She has some great tips I had never heard before.