Alex and I try to save money wherever we can. I’ve written previously about some ways we reduce our budget every year, but today I wanted to share about grocery shopping specifically. It will never cease to amaze me how fast money can be spent on food! So here are my top 8 ways to save at the grocery store!
1. Half your meat – Most recipes can easily be altered to use less meat. I do this with most of the casseroles I cook, and they usually don’t have to be ‘edited’ in any other way.
Instead of using 1 pound of beef or what not I use a half pound and save the other half for the next night’s recipe. The flavor is still nice and meat-y and we save a lot of money every week this way!
2. Bake your own bread – This is not something that I’m currently doing, but I’ve done it in the past and it saved us a lot of money every month.
Bread can be expensive, especially depending on what type you buy! We buy bread for a bit over $2 a loaf, but I could bake my own for about 50 cents a loaf. BIG difference, and can make a huge impact on your grocery budget if your family really likes bread! (my boys LOVE it!) I used this recipe when I was doing it. It’s an easy and fast recipe that makes really yummy bread! You don’t even have to worry about kneading the dough!
3. Meatless meal – Do one meal a week without meat. Meat makes up a majority of the cost for most meals, so even just doing 1 meatless meal a week could save you a lot in the long run.
Do a meal like beans & rice, meatless spaghetti/Alfredo noodles, a lot of fresh veggies/potatoes (Baked) or even breakfast tacos. So many tasty (and easy) meals don’t require meat and that can really reduce your overall grocery cost.
4. Shop sales – Only buy produce that is on sale. If you familiarize yourself with the average price of fruits/veggies that you like you an easily shop accordingly.
We eat fruit and veggies by the season, and sometimes I will change our menu to plan around an extremely cheap veggie I found in the store. Plan to be flexible if there are good deals on ingredients to something that you know how to make.
5. DON’T shop aisle end caps – You know those “great deals” on the end caps of aisles? You are just walking by and then you see something and think “oh yeah, I need that!” and so you grab one and keep going? I don’t know why we automatically assume it’s a great deal if it is on the end, but I’ve noticed that most of the time it is not.
Many times it’s an awful deal and if you go search for that item actually on an isle you can find the same thing (different brand) at a much lower price. So when you see something you are forgetting, go and find the product where it is normally located in order to find the best price.
6. Buy “off” brand – Do I even need to say this one? Don’t always buy name brand. Be willing to experiment with the off brand stuff, and you will end up saving a lot of money.
Target brand (up & up) diapers are amazing, and they are half the price of name brand. Walmart whales (equivalent of goldfish) are actually better in my opinion, but they are much cheaper.
There are so many great products that are not name brand, be willing to try and see what your family likes.
7. Stock up when there are sales – If something that you use regularly is on sale, buy as much of it as your budget will allow.
This month Chicken was half the price it usually is, so I stocked up and filled our freezer! We will be eating mainly chicken meals for at least the next month (depending on how long the sale lasts), but we are also saving a LOT of money.
8. Buy some treats – Okay this may sound counter productive but hear me out. Find a healthy limit to “treat” food (ice cream etc) and stick to it.
If you cut out all of the special foods you will end up splurging by going out to an ice cream parlor or hitting up the grocery store another time in the week to pick something up (and we all know it is impossible to go to the grocery store and leave with just one item).
I keep our treats/junk food limited to 1. We can only have one sweet/sugary/’treat’ in the house at a time. I will not buy more than one a week and I will not buy any more until the first is GONE. meaning if it lasts longer than a week, I won’t buy anything else ‘special’ the next time I’m shopping. This keep us disciplined, healthy, on budget and enables us to enjoy special desserts and treats a few times a week.
If you are looking for more ways to save while you shop, use ebates to get cash back!
Have you tried any of these? Or do you have any great grocery-budgeting tips of your own? I love hearing your input!
Even more budgeting tips – learn how to survive, and thrive on one income!