We all know that food is our biggest expense behind housing in most households. It is also the best place to reduce spending with the most flexibility. Here are more than 60 ways I have found to reduce your spending and save on groceries.
How to Cut Your Grocery Bill Without Using Coupons
When it comes to frugal living, groceries are the most flexible spending category we have in our budget. Although coupons can help save money, it requires a lot of time and a lot of running from store to store.
1. Utilize freezer – freeze everything! Leftovers, fruit that has been ignored, three tablespoons of leftover veggies, chicken bones to name a few.
Anything that you know you won’t get to before it spoils. In the freezer, I have some rice and some leftover cubed ham that I am going to make a casserole out of for dinner tonight!
I am going to cut up the rest of the pork loin we had two nights ago and put that in the freezer because nobody has eaten those leftovers.
It will be enough for another meal next week and I can save on groceries for next week. I just need to put a label on it (I sometimes forget and we end up with a mystery dinner)!!
2. Prep your own food – cut up your own apples, slice up your own mushrooms, dice up your own potatoes.
3. Create a meal plan – Did you know I love to plan? But I also love to give myself enough room to be a little spontaneous. I plan so I have all the ingredients but then I decide on the specifics within the day (or minute)!
4. Do not buy prepackaged foods – not only is it more expensive, you never know the effects boxed mac and cheese can have on your body.
Many times those prepackaged foods can be made from scratch for less money and in the same amount of time.
5. Shop minimum once a week (or better yet once a month) – I have been grocery shopping every other week for years and have recently made the change to once a month grocery shopping.
I’m only in my second month right now but I can tell you, cutting back to once a month has definitely saved me time.
I’m sure it has saved me money as well. The point is to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible.
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How Can People Save Money On Groceries
Each of these lessons for saving money on groceries has one thing in common. Planning. It is IMPERATIVE to your success.
Taking the few minutes needed at the beginning of the month will drastically help you reduce the time and money you spend.
6. Grate your own cheese – this one may or may not be true dependant on cheese and store but at least take a moment to do the math, here. Grab yourself a nice cheese grater and do it yourself.
7. Know the sale cycles – each store has their sale cycles.
Chicken could go on sale every third Sunday of the month or ‘buy one get one free’ bread every six weeks.
Chat with the sore employees and see if they will disclose this top-secret information to you. Take note and plan accordingly!
8. Use cash – Always. Every time. Enough said. Need to know more? My cash wallet system has saved me.
9. Set a budget – I believe creating a budget needs some practice. You might find it beneficial to take a peek at past grocer shopping practices to see what the average is that you spend.
Then, play with the numbers to reduce that gradually until you get to a place you are most comfortable with. Then stick to it!
10. Keep track of your spending – keep a running total as you go through the store
11. Bring your own bags – many stores will either give you a credit for bringing your own bags or charge you for using theirs. You can either bring the plastic bags you have laying around or some fancy fabric bags.
12. Eat leftovers – If you are not a person who likes leftovers, you might have to come to terms with what leftovers mean.
Be grateful for the abundance and get over yourself. or learn how to cook with zero left over. Just never waste food.
13. Learn to store foods– learn how long the shelf life is, what that date really means and what you can and cannot freeze.
Freezing will help you save on groceries. Then go for it.
Reuse jars or grab some mason jars.
I bet you will be surprised to find out some of those answers!
14. Extend yourself a challenge – see how much you can get for your budget. Make it a game!
Cutting Your Grocery Bill Without Coupons
Cutting back on grocery spending (even temporarily to get some goals met) will definitely help.
15. Check the top and bottom shelves – cheaper alternatives are always higher or lower than eye level. Scan those to find a possibly better option.
16. Consider warehouse stores – this might mean a visit just to browse. Sometimes bulk purchase store prices are cheaper and sometimes they are not.
17. Cook from scratch – learn to cook. Utilize the Instant Pot and Slow Cooker. Watch Youtube videos and peek in on Pinterest. Everything you buy has a homemade version.
18. Know your “best price” – know when ground beef goes on sale for $1.99/lb, that is your best price and stock up. Don’t buy it unless it is that price or lower.
19. Stretch your meals – everyone knows the rubber chicken theory, right? How many meals can you make from one chicken?
20. The bulk aisle for spices – if you are looking for a specialty spice for a recipe and only need a small serving, consider only buying what you need to.
21. Pass up toiletries – toothpaste and shampoo may be pricier at grocery stores than they are at Target, CVS, or Walmart. Unless they are having a great sale, shop other places for these items.
22. Skip the expensive beverages – buy less soda and juice. Drink water.
23. Take inventory before shopping– check the pantry and cupboards before you leave. Buying duplicates will not help save on groceries.
24. Reusable containers– skip the baggies and zipper bags and use reusable containers.
25. Utilize the butcher – most grocery store butcher will cut a large piece of meat for you. For example, a large pork loin can be sliced to make pork chops.
26. Try discount grocery stores – stores like Aldi and Price Rite are a discounted grocery store with their own name brand products. Consider checking those out from time to time for less expensive options!
How to Save More Money on Groceries
Saving money on groceries can go well with protecting the environment. Using a refillable water bottle or cloth napkins are great ways to do both – save some cash and save the earth.
27. Drink tap water – cheaper and better for you than all those sugary drinks, anyway. Grab a refillable water bottle if you’re on the go.
28. Skip paper – use cloth napkins and old rags instead of paper towels
29. Bring a cooler – this allows you to keep your food cold while running around grabbing those bargains.
29. Shop sales – Vow to shop sales only and see how much your total decreases. Plan your meals around the sales!
30. Bulk up meals – use things like beans, rice, and lentils to bulk up casseroles and stews and will help save on groceries.
31. Eat less meat – meat is always the most expensive part of my grocery budget. Reducing our meat consumption and replacing it with beans and other proteins, I can drastically reduce our grocery budget.
32. Eat seasonally – Know what fruits and veggies are in season in your area and eat those. The majority of the time, they are cheaper.
33. Sign up for loyalty cards – I think just about every grocery store has a loyalty card these days. They may give you points for shopping there or allow you the fantastic sales they offer only with their card.
Many allow you to punch in your phone number rather than carry those keychain cards with you, making life that much easier.
34. Careful of end caps – these items may or may not be on sale. Proceed with caution.
35. Buy store brands – I have found many store brands to be just as good or better at the fraction of the national brand price.
Try them. If you don’t care for them, many stores will give you back your money and then some!
How to Save Every Week on Groceries
36. Grab a rain check – if the store is out of a particular item, grab a raincheck at customer service and ask them to attach your coupons )if using them) to the raincheck if they are close to expiration.
37. Ask store employees when markdowns happen – if you are kind, many store employees are happy to let you know the insider secrets. Just remember kindness matters!
38. Buy in bulk – buying in bulk can be a real money saver. Just remember to do your math first and decide whether you will be able to finish it before it goes bad.
Buying fresh berries in bulk won’t save you any money if you have to throw three-quarters of them away because they all grew fuzzy winter coats. Throwing items away will not help to save on groceries.
39. Pay attention to check out – computers and humans are not perfect and mistakes can be made. Pay attention to the prices ringing up and that an item hasn’t been scanned more than once.
40. Price match – stores like Target will price match other stores, even online and some Wal-Marts will also price match, too. Ask if your grocery store will price match.
41. Make substitutions if needed – if a recipe called for gouda cheese in a recipe and you don’t have any but you do have sharp cheddar, consider substituting that instead
42. Shop clearance – as much as possible. Our small grocery store has a table where they place reduced-price produce. I always go there first.
How to be Frugal With Groceries
Planning is my number one tip when it comes to being frugal and food shopping. Know what you are going to make for the upcoming meals and know what you need to buy for those meals.
Here are a few other ways to practice food frugality.
43. Plan meals – sit down with pen and paper (or a cool meal planning app) and write down the families favorite meals. All of them that you can think of. Ta-da! Meal plan. You are welcome!
44. Don’t browse – don’t look for sales or new foods to buy. Do your job and leave.
45. Shop later in the evening or first thing in the morning for deals – many times this is when the markdowns take place. Inquire with your favorite grocery store employee for more information!
46. Shop online and pick up groceries – this is something that is pretty new in our area. We are able to make out our order online and then pick up our groceries.
Many people love this idea and it is a real time saver. It will also keep you out of the store so you don’t browse around.
47. Bulk cook – instead of one lasagna, make two and throw one in the freezer.
48. Bagged vs single – apples sold by the pound vs a bag of apples for 2.99 – compare and doing the math will take a little longer but will be worth it to save on groceries.
49. Stay organized – one of my favorite tips. Know what is in your freezer and pantry and know what you need to buy at the grocery store. Know how much money you have to spend and what the meal plan is.
50. Buy only what you need – substitute expensive spices for cheaper alternatives. Only buy two pieces of chicken rather than eight.
51. Use apps – there are a few apps that promise to save you money on the things that you already buy. Some examples are Ibotta and Checkout 51.
52. Eat first– ALWAYS!! The last thing you want to do is buy that GINORMOUS bag of cheese popcorn because you are hungry and are planning on eating the whole bag on the way home.
At least pack a bag of snacks to bring with you in the car!
53. Compare unit prices – I do this often when I am shopping. The unit price simply breaks down the price for you.
For example, if you are looking at 32 ounces of pasta sauce for $4.88 and 18 ounces of pasta sauce for $1.28, the unit price will be broken down into ounces for you.
The 32 ounces will cost you .15 per ounce and the 18 ounces will cost you .07 per ounce. Those numbers will be on the tag on the shelf. Or, you can do the math to make sure the store isn’t wrong. 🙂
Lower Your Grocery Budget Without Coupons
Convenience is something we all really like. But those items that might seem convenient can really add up. Using k cups and premade cartons of stock are going to cost more than slow cooking a bunch of chicken bones and veggie scraps or buying ground really tasty ground coffee from Aldi.
54. Meat as a supporting actor, not the main event – when deciding on a meal plan for the week, chose your meat as a small portion of your meal rather than making your pork chops the star of the show.
Consider a potato casserole and then a pork chop on the side. Consider spaghetti and meatballs.
55. Stop using k cups – brew your own coffee from grounds. We have (almost) successfully switched over from k-cups.
About a month ago, I bought a combo k-cup/auto-drip coffee maker that is AMAZING!! It has allowed us to drastically reduce our k-cup consumption.
56. Stock up during a sale – this is one of my favorite ways to save money. During the summer, Hellmann’s Mayonaise goes on sale.
Any holiday that is celebrated with a picnic or BBQ, they put condiments on sale. So, I have five Hellmann’s Mayonnaise in my basement pantry!
This will last me all year. Be sure to check the expiration dates on these if this is your game plan!
57. Use coupons – I know. This is all about how to save without using coupons but I had to mention them. Some people are not into couponing.
But even if you check out the coupons that are in the sales flyers and use those, you are ahead of the game. My local grocery stores send their flyers out in the little newspaper we get every Thursday.
This week, there is a store coupon for butter. $1.88 for Cabbott Butter! If you do a search for a printable coupon, you might be able to find one and stack the two! Think of the savings!
58. Buy frozen instead of fresh – depending on the time of year, frozen might be a less expensive option.
Also, consider that with frozen broccoli, you have a longer time period to use it before it goes bad giving you more opportunities to eat those leftovers and save on groceries!
59. Make your own broth and stock – freeze bones and parts of vegetables that you cut off in order to make your own chicken, beef, or veggie stock.
60. Order groceries from Amazon – some people like to order a lot of their groceries through Amazon. The prices seem comparable and the shipping is fantastic! They offer Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh for monthly subscriptions. Check it out – it might be worth it!
61. Shop alone – if at all possible, leave all the people at home when you grocery shop. This way you can better concentrate on what you need without others “sneaking” things into your cart!
62. Use up food – soups and stews, as well as casseroles, are great ways to use up food that is no longer at its freshest.
63. Buy from a farmer – cows, pigs, chicken, eggs as well as farmers markets are great places to save on groceries.
64. Make a list – a list is imperative to a successful grocery shopping trip! Make a list from your meal plan and stick to it!
65. Try 5$ Meal Plan – If you’re really stuck, you can always try 5$ Meal Plan. It’s a great way to get you started with meal plans and foods your family actually likes. And it’s $5!