Did you know that the average family spends more than $6,000 on groceries a year, which is about 13 percent of their household income?! That is a HUGE amount of money! It is possible, however, to cut your grocery bill way down using some simple techniques, and you don’t even have to clip any coupons!
Some people may think of me as a coupon mom where I clip a lot of coupons to save money on my groceries, but I actually don’t really use very many coupons, and I don’t do extreme couponing. I only have a small coupon pouch (you can read about my coupon method here). For those of you who aren’t into couponing, just need a break from it, or feel like you just don’t have time, here are tips to cut your grocery bill without spending time clipping coupons.
1. Make A Plan
This tip is probably the most important step that will save you money, yet most people don’t even do it. Before heading to the grocery store, take 15-20 minutes to decide what meals to cook during the next week or two, and write a grocery list. Make sure to plan the meals based on what’s on sale that week and what items are already in the pantry. When at the store, stick with your grocery list and eliminate purchasing items you don’t need. Cut back on snacks, junk food, and soda, and ignore impulses to buy items. If it’s not on the list, DON’T buy it. Having a plan will save you from running to the store multiple times a week and paying full price for groceries.
2. Shop Less
Studies have shown that more trips to the store result in overbuying because of impulse purchases. The extra items purchased can add as much as 30 percent to the monthly grocery bill. Plus, the cost of your time and the money spent driving there adds up through these frequent trips.
I used to shop weekly because I wanted to grab as many items on sale as possible. After having my second child, I now only shop once every two weeks. I’ve realized that it’s okay not to hit ALL of the sales and that most of the items will be on sale again within 12 weeks. If there is an amazing deal the week I’m not shopping, and it’s something I know I really need in my pantry, then I’ll run and grab that deal, but I don’t do it too often. I also make sure NOT to throw impulse purchases into my cart. By shopping less frequently, I’ve noticed that I save more money because I’m not at the store to spend it.
3. Shop The Sales
Take a few minutes each week to glance at your local grocery store sales ads. If you don’t have a lot of time, then just look at the front and back of the ads. You will save money by purchasing items you use when they are on sale, especially if a product reaches its rock bottom price, meaning the lowest price you’ll see it on sale.
Sales on items reoccur about every 12 weeks, so it’s important to purchase enough of an item to get you through until the next sale, or you will end up paying full price for a product. Try to make it a goal to only purchase an item when it’s on sale.
4. Price Match
One way that I save a lot of money each month is by price matching groceries at stores such as Walmart and Target. If you have a store near you that price matches, take advantage of the opportunity. It’s a one-stop shop where you can price match the best deals from all the stores nearby you that week, and it will save you from running around to each individual store.
For those of you new to Saving Cent by Cent, each week I compile the best grocery products in Utah to price match at Walmart. I originally started doing this because it helped me to write out my grocery list each week. And as I’ve received feedback from people who say that it’s been really helpful for them, I’ve kept doing it. So how much do I save by price matching? For my family, it’s around $40-$60 per month. This may not seem like a lot, but over the course of the year, that’s more than $500 saved! This money is then used to pay down our home mortgage or to do fun family activities together.
5. Buy Generic
Generic brands usually cost less than name brands. It’s okay to have one or two favorite brands that you don’t want to live without, but overall, purchasing generic brands will help cut down on costs. You should also be willing to try new brands when they are on sale at the rock bottom price. Sometimes these brands are less expensive on sale than the generic brand.
6. Use Less Meat
Choose meals where you incorporate only a small amount of meat. You don’t need to use as much meat as a recipe suggests, and don’t always make meat the main dish of the meal. Most of the time, you can use less meat in a meal and it turns out great. For instance, if a soup recipe calls for one pound of ground hamburger, add 1/2 pound of meat and a can of beans instead. It still tastes good, and most likely you’ll have some leftovers for later. You might want to also consider cutting out meat once or twice a week and choose meals that are meatless.
By having a grocery strategy, it can save you a lot of money. These are just a few tips on how to cut your grocery bill without using coupons. Do you have any tips that you use to cut your grocery bill?
You might also be interested in reading the Buying Groceries on a Budget series.