One of the biggest expenses for families each month, after housing and transportation, is purchasing food. If you aren’t watching your grocery budget, those quick trips to the grocery store to purchase just $20 or $30 worth of food really do add up.
To help you spend less money on groceries, here are 21 tips how to save on groceries every month.
Above is a video of my top 10 tips on how to save money on groceries. If you can’t see the video, head over here to my YouTube channel to watch it.
And after making the video, I compiled this more detailed list of 21 tips how to save money on groceries and household items.
1. Meal Plan
I get asked all the time how to save money on groceries, because I only spend about $500 per month on groceries for our family of five. And the number one tip I share that helps me save the most money on my groceries is to meal plan.
Putting together a meal plan and making sure you know exactly what you’ll need to purchase at the grocery store can help you stick to your grocery budget. You’ll be able to save money because you won’t need to run to the grocery store multiple times per week, and you can just stick to your once a week (or in my case once every two weeks) grocery shopping trip. You’ll also save time because every day you’ll know what to make for dinner and you won’t spend extra time thinking about “What’s for dinner?”
If you aren’t sure how much money to budget for your family, a good starting place is $100-$125 per each person in the family starting at base of $300 per month.
So for a family of four, the budget would be $400 a month. This is just a general starting idea, and of course there are exceptions to this guideline. Some families can get by spending less per month. For others, they will need to spend more if they have family members with allergies or teenagers who are growing and consuming a lot of food.
If you want to get better at meal planning or see how I meal plan, head over to the post 6 Tips How to Successfully Meal Plan. It shows you how I plan my family meals, gives you ideas of how to create a menu plan, and how to prepare meals ahead of time. I also share new dinner ideas on the post.
And you will also like this post with 20 Easy Weeknight Dinners for the Family. If you are like me, I’m always looking for new and easy meal ideas for dinner that my family will love.
For those of you who are busy and want more help with your meal plan, Six Sisters’ Stuff has a weekly meal plan with family-friendly meals for just $48 a year. That turns out to be only $4 per month. Every week you’ll receive an email with 6 main dishes, 2 sides, 2 desserts or 1 snack/treat. You’ll also get a detailed shopping list of what to purchase each week at the store. Head over to Six Sisters’ Stuff to get more details or sign up.
2. Use What’s In Your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer
There are many people who skip this step and head straight to the grocery store. If you don’t know what’s in your pantry, fridge or freezer that can already be used, then you are going to waste money by throwing out food.
As you begin to meal plan, look through your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you have and what needs to be used up. And build your meal plan based on these items that you have on hand.
If you have food you don’t know how to use in a meal, then use sites such as Allrecipes.com and SuperCook.com. Type in the ingredients you have and it will bring up new recipe ideas with those ingredients. This is a great way to not let food go to waste.
3. Look at Sales Flyers
Also as you meal plan,
For instance, if broccoli is on sale, then make Chicken Broccoli Casserole and also add broccoli as a side dish to one of the other meals. If pork chops are on sale, then make Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops. And if cheese and tortillas are on sale, then make chicken enchiladas or quesadillas.
4. Plan Meals Around Your Week
And most families have the same 10 meals that they make each month that their family loves. Include these in your weekly meal plans to save you time on coming up with new dinner ideas.
5. Purchase What’s In Season
Plan meals and buy items around what is on sale for that season.
6. Make a Grocery List & Stick to It
So make a grocery list and stick with it while shopping at the store.
7. Pick a Good Time to Shop
Pick a non-peak time to shop when there are fewer people in the store and avoid the busy hours. This will save you time so you don’t have to wait in long check out lines.
If possible, leave the kids at home with the spouse or the babysitter. It not only takes longer to shop with kids, but you’ll also end up spending more money with impulse buys for the kids. If your spouse is the one who has a hard time not sticking to the grocery list, then leave him or her at home too.
If you need to take your kids to the store, then I suggest tip #11 to use a grocery pickup service in your area.
8. Ignore Eye Level Items on Shelves
9. Shop Less
Studies show that the more you go into the store, the more you buy and the more money you spend. The extra items purchased can add as much as 30 percent to the monthly grocery bill.
Because you’ll probably end up spending more money than you planned every time you step foot into the store, d
A follower of mine shared that she was skeptical about only shopping at the grocery store every two weeks rather than weekly. However, she decided to try it for a month and she was amazed that she really did work and she spent less money on her monthly grocery budget.
Another friend of mine does a big once a month shopping trip and spends $600 for her family of eight. She freezes bread, meats, milk and cheese. She will pick up fresh produce additionally in that month as needed. But by only doing a big shopping trip once a month, she saves a lot of money on her grocery budget.
10. Eat Before You Grocery Shop
11. Use a Grocery Pickup Service
If you struggle to keep on top of your grocery budget, have a hard time sticking to your grocery shopping list, and tend to be an impulse buyer, then use a grocery pickup service.
Check out my post on Tips on Using Walmart Grocery Pickup + $10 Off Your First Order.
With a grocery pickup service, as you are adding items to your online grocery cart, you can see the total cost of what you are purchasing and you can take items off the list if you go over your allotted grocery budget.
A grocery pickup service also helps you to avoid impulse buys because you are only adding items to your online grocery cart that you need or are on your grocery shopping list. And you are not in the store where you might be tempted to add more to your cart.
You are also saving time by not shopping in the store or standing in long checkout lines.
12. Make Meals in Advance and Freeze Them
By making dinners in advance and freezing them, you can save yourself time and money. You can easily pull out a freezer meal on busy days where you know you won’t have much time to cook dinner. And if you already know what to make for dinner, then you are less likely to order take out food or pick up fast food through the drive through.
A great way to get a bunch of freezer meals made all at once is to plan out part of a day and make the freezer meals. Plan which freezer meals you want to make, pick up the ingredients from the store, then prepare and freeze them.
However, if you don’t have a lot of time to set aside part of a day to make freezer meals, then try this option. If you are making dinner and the food can freeze well, then double the batch of your dinner and freeze one for later.
This video on how to freezer casseroles and slow cooker meals will give tips to those of you who haven’t made freezer meals before.
If you aren’t sure what you can and can’t freeze, then read this post 70 Foods You Can Freezer or That Don’t Freeze Well.
13. Don’t Waste Food
The average American family wastes 250 pounds of food each year! That’s a lot of food!
Not wasting food can save you thousands of dollars. So be sure to rotate older food from the back of the fridge and freezer to the front so you can see what you have, use it in upcoming meals, and eat the perishable items first.
Also, eat or freeze leftovers rather than throwing them out. Our family eats the leftovers from dinner the night before for lunch. And we will also have leftovers night once a week. We’ll bring out all of our leftover food from the fridge and the kids can choose what to eat for dinner that night.
If we can’t eat all of the leftovers fast enough, then I’ll bag it up and put items in the freezer.
14. Buy Generic
n some cases the generic brands might be exactly the same as the name brand but just packaged differently. Plus, the generic brand quality and taste is just as good.
15. Use Less Meat
Purchasing meat is an expensive part of the grocery budget. Since it is expensive, don’t always make meat the main dish of the meal. Consider choosing meals where you incorporate only a small amount of meat. Or try cutting out meat once or twice a week and choose meals that are meatless.
Also, you don’t need to use as much meat as a recipe suggests. 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 a half pound of meat and a can of beans instead. It still tastes good!
In addition, purchase meat when it’s on sale and freeze what you won’t use right away. Read about How to Save Money Purchasing Meat in Bulk.
16. Keep Track of What You’re Spending
17. Don’t Overbuy because of Advertising
18. Don’t Buy More Than You Need
Buying in bulk at warehouse or discount stores doesn’t always mean the product less expensive or that you are getting the best deal. Be sure to check the price per unit or ounce to see if you really are getting a good deal.
Also, don’t buy more than you need if you aren’t able to use it up before it goes bad. For instance, if you go into a warehouse club and purchase produce in bulk and don’t end up eating it, then you’ll throw it away, which is a waste of food and money.
Check out these 9 Tips to Save Money at Warehouse Clubs.
19. Pay With Cash
The best way to keep your grocery budget down is to pay with cash. If you only have cash, then that’s all that you can spend at the store. When the cash is gone, it’s gone.
And paying with cash makes you think about each item you place into your cart. You’ll prioritize grocery needs versus impulse buys and if you have enough money to purchase those items.
If you have a hard time sticking with your grocery budget each month, then take out cash each week for your groceries rather than for the whole month. This will help you know what you can spend each week.
20. Skip the Packaging & Pre-Cut Food
A prepackaged bag of salad with a dressing packet is more expensive than buying lettuce at the store, cutting it up and serving it with homemade dressing. The unpackaged fruits and vegetables are almost always less expensive than the packaged produce.
In addition, if produce is pre-cut, sliced or washed, you are paying more for it because of the convenience. Stick with washing and cutting the produce yourself to save money.
21. Use Grocery Coupon Apps / Clip Coupons
Some grocery coupon apps include
I used to hand clip coupons all the time years ago, but the amount of money you save now with coupons just isn’t what it used to be. And it does take time to clip coupons and pair them with the sales at the grocery stores.
However, clipping coupons can still help you save money if you use the coupon with a sale.
By doing many of the tips above, you’ll be able to save money on your monthly grocery bill and stick to your grocery budget. You can then use that extra money to pay down debt or save for something you want.
What other tips do you have on how to spend less money on groceries?
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