Are you looking for ways to save money on groceries?
Grocery shopping is something we all do, but most of us hate it. Many of us spend too much money in the process, too.
How do we go about finding food for our families without breaking the bank?
I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Over the years, I’ve raised a larger family on a meager budget. In short, I had to get creative to figure out how to get the most bang for my buck.
Here are a few of the best ways to save money on groceries:
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1. Less Shopping, More Growing
If you’re looking for the best ways to save money on groceries, it all starts by avoiding the grocery store. Why purchase what you can grow?
The reality is if you have room for a potted plant, you have room to grow some of your own vegetables and fruits. Use what space you have to grow as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can.
This will eliminate these items from your grocery list for at least part of the year.
2. Call on Friends
If you have a group of friends, you have multiple pantries to pull from. Let’s be real, we all have food in our pantries that we aren’t sure how they got there.
Yet, we know we aren’t going to cook them. Why not create a time to swap unwanted foods with your friends? This will give you new foods without spending a dime and therefore, save you money at the grocery store.
3. Check the Weekly Circular
When you’re ready to go grocery shopping, don’t even consider leaving your house without browsing the weekly circular.
This will give you an idea of what’s on sale, what you should stock up on based on current sales, and which foods you should base your meals around for the week.
4. Pull Out Your Phone
There are a variety of apps that you can use to help save money while grocery shopping. I use Ibotta most frequently.
Whichever app you prefer, check out the deals, and cross check them with items on sale in the weekly circular. This will help you save and make money simultaneously.
5. Farmers are Friends
Many local farmers will advertise their crops through social media or at the local Farmer’s Market.
At times, you can shop from your local farmer for less money than the grocery store. Be sure to know your price points to comparison shop.
6. Make It Yourself
We buy many items from the grocery store that are premade and cost more. One example would be boxed macaroni and cheese.
Stop buying convenience foods. Instead, figure out how to cook from scratch, and save yourself money in the process.
7. Preserve It
I didn’t know until I was a married woman, living across the street from my mother-in-law, that canning was such a thing.
She said, “Well, yeah. If they [the stores] put it in a jar, why can’t you?” She was right, and I learned how to preserve my own food.
If you’re able to buy local crops in bulk or grow your own, don’t let excess go to waste. Instead, preserve it yourself.
8. Grow It in the Backyard
If you’re a meat-eater and are looking to save money, consider raising your own meat. You don’t need large pastures to raise meat.
9. Inexpensive Foods
We’re so blessed that we frequently take it for granted. We get something in our mind that we want and don’t see why we shouldn’t have it.
If you’re looking to save money on groceries, why not buy cheaper foods or fix cheaper dishes? Rice, potatoes, frozen vegetables, and beans are much cheaper than meats, fresh vegetables, and other foods we commonly fill our diets with. Try buying what’s less expensive.
10. Buy It in Bulk
I’m a big believer in buying in bulk. It isn’t always cheaper, but if I have the opportunity to buy food in bulk, I usually do.
It saves me money in the long run because it’s less time I must spend at my local grocery store. Plus, I have plenty of food on hand if or when it’s needed.
11. Manager’s Specials are Great for Saving Money on Groceries
The next time you’re scrolling through your meat or produce department, and you see a sticker that reads “Manager’s Special” you know you better snatch it up.
If you eat the produce quickly or preserve it, you’ll save money. Meat can be brought home and popped in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it.
12. Clip Your Coupons
I love to coupon, but I don’t have a lot of time. I use SouthernSavers.com to find out which sales match with which coupons.
They also offer links for printable coupons. This allows me to get the coupons I need without having to collect them all.
13. Left Over Night Every Week is Essential When Saving Money on Groceries
We waste so much food. If we would simply eat what we already have, our grocery bills would die down quickly.
This is why my family and I have at least one night a week where I empty out the fridge so we can eat all of our leftovers. It stops waste and overspending.
14. Know Your Budget When Trying to Save Money on Groceries
Before you even head to the grocery store, you should know how much money you want to spend.
Don’t ever step foot in the store without knowing your budget, or you’ll overspend without even realizing it.
15. Use a Calculator to Save Money on Groceries
Once you’ve decided on how much you should spend at the grocery store, it’s time to make sure you actually stick to it.
We never leave the house without our cell phones anymore so we have no excuse. Pull up your phone’s calculator and calculate what you’re spending as you shop.
16. Meal Plan Before You Shop
This is another big mistake many people make. They head to the grocery store without a list or a plan of meals for the week.
Know what you’re fixing for the week, what you need for the week, and please, don’t go to the grocery store more than one time per week. You’re asking to have a blown budget if you do.
The less you go to the grocery store, the less opportunity you have to spend money there.
17. Eat Before You Go to Save Money on Groceries
Don’t ever go to the grocery store hungry. You’ll end up buying stuff you normally wouldn’t even want.
Even if you don’t have time to grab a full meal, eat a snack on the way. This will curb your hunger and allow you to shop with your brain instead of your stomach.
18. No Time to Rush When Trying to Save Money on Groceries
When you grocery shop in a hurry, you’ll throw anything in your buggy because it’s there. After all, you need to get in and get out of the store because you’re in a hurry!
If you don’t have time to shop well, don’t shop. Go home and see what you can scrounge up for dinner and keep the grocery shopping on hold until you have more time.
19. Let Them Bring It to You
Modern technology makes life much easier, and it can help with sticking to your grocery budget as well.
Instead of running to the grocery store and being tempted to deviate from your list, shop from home. Many grocery stores offer grocery pick-up or delivery services that can save you both time and money.
20. Go It Alone
I don’t like grocery shopping with my family. I know I probably sound awful, but every time I take my husband and kids with me they all want something not on the list.
You can either sound like the meanest person in the world by saying the word ‘no’ a million times, or you can simply leave them at home and shop in peace while sticking to your budget.
21. Shopping At Home Can Help You Save Money on Groceries
Before you ever get in your car to drive to the store or sit at your computer to order your groceries, take a look in your cabinets and pantry.
Try to base your weekly meals around what you already have and make sure you don’t order double of something. This can save you a bundle.
22. Utilize Your Freezer to Save on Groceries
We all have certain meals that we make too much of. You can eat on it a few days as leftovers, but you end up dreading having to eat it so many times.
The next time you make too much, use some of it as leftovers and freeze some for later. Freezer friendly meals are a great way to save money and time at a later date.
23. Avoid Binge Buys to Save Money on Groceries
The easiest way to overspend at the grocery store is to buy things that aren’t on your list. They come in the form of a candy bar at check-out, a candle on the laundry aisle, or a snack that looks too good to pass up.
By choosing to skip over these enticements you’ll be able to stick to your grocery budget and save money.
24. If You Don’t Need It, Leave It
I get a little torn over this tip because there are two ways to go about it. If you’re working on an extremely tight budget, you should only buy what you need.
However, if you have a little extra wiggle room in your grocery budget and find yourself coming in under budget, use that excess to stock up on sale items you know you’ll need later.
A good rule to follow is if you aren’t sure you’ll need it in the future, leave it on the shelf.
25. No One-Stop-Shopping
If you’re looking to save money on groceries, the fact is, it takes time. You can’t go to one store (in most cases) and get the best price.
Sometimes you must shop sales from all the stores in your area and decide where you’ll buy what. This may take extra time, but it can save you a bundle.
26. Price Match
Some stores don’t want you to shop anywhere else. They want to be your one and only. To make this happen, they agree to price-match.
Wal-mart is one of these stores. If you can bring them proof of an item’s price from a local competitor, they’ll match it.
If you don’t have extra time but still want bottom dollar, shop where they match competitor prices or accept competitor coupons.
27. Shop with Cash to Save Money on Groceries
This tip may not seem pertinent to the conversation, but I assure you it is. If you’re charging your groceries, you’re paying more for them than what the cashier tells you at check-out (unless you pay your card off each month.)
To avoid going into debt and paying interest on necessities, make it your goal to shop with cash.
Don’t even take a debit card because it makes it easier to overspend. If you have only the cash in your budget to pay with, you won’t go over to avoid embarrassment.
28. Bring Your Own Bags
Did you know there are some stores which will give you a discount for bringing your own bags? Aldi sells their groceries cheaper because they don’t offer complimentary bags.
However, there are other grocery stores that will give you X-amount off your grocery bill for each bag you bring. Find out if the stores in your area offer this benefit to help shave costs.
29. Shop Where You Get Rewards
I don’t know about you, but I like to shop where stores reward me. Instead of shopping at big box stores, consider shopping where you have a loyalty card.
These cards can provide discounts, allow you to easily upload store coupons, and you may even earn rewards for each dollar spent at the store for further discounts on future trips. Some offer gas rewards too.
30. Skip the Meat to Save Money on Groceries
Consider participating in Meatless Mondays. By eating vegetarian a few times per week, you can save a bundle on your grocery bill.
Protein is important but try adding protein in your diet through beans, peanut butter, cheese, and certain vegetables.
31. Store Brand Will Do When Trying to Save Money on Groceries
There was a time when store brands were non-existent. Those days are long gone. Almost every store has their own brand.
They taste similar to some name brands and can cost much less. Try store brands to save money on groceries.
32. Shop the Clearance Aisle to Save Money on Groceries
Many stores have clearance sections or aisles. They’re filled with items which will go out of date in the near future.
They may also include items that the store is trying to discontinue. Shop these items to save money.
33. DIY Herb Garden
Do you enjoy using fresh herbs in your food? Instead of shopping the spice aisle or the produce department, grow your own.
You can make beautiful DIY herb gardens that fit right into your kitchen. They can save you money while also adding a little charm.
If DIY isn’t your thing, consider purchasing an herb garden kit.
34. Make Your Kitchen Staples
Do you know how many items we buy what previous generations made themselves? To save money, you can make these items too.
35. Edible Landscapes
Do you live where there’s an HOA, and you struggle to produce many of your own foods because of it? Do you feel as though you’re stuck with the grocery store?
Be sure to check your HOA agreement before trying any of these ideas.
36. Search for It
Foraging is a real thing. It doesn’t make you weird if you look outside when you’re taking a walk to see if you can bring home something edible.
37. Shop on the Road
Many people still set up roadside stands where they sell their produce. Sometimes these stands are cheaper than the price you pay at the grocery store.
Consider shopping at your local roadside stand for produce that’s in season. This will help you shop local while saving money.
38. Shop Local
There’s a common misconception that shopping local automatically means you spend more money.
This isn’t always the case. It’s important to know your prices, but when possible, try to shop local. Your neighbors will appreciate it and so will your grocery budget.
39. Hunt for It
My husband’s family is filled with avid hunters. We appreciate it because they frequently hunt for sport but give us the meat.
If you know of someone who hunts but doesn’t need the meat, ask if you can take it off their hands. This is one way we fill our freezer every year without breaking the bank.
40. Substitute When Necessary
Some items are expensive no matter how you cut it. If you’re desperate to save money, consider substituting those items when possible.
For instance, coffee can be a pricey item. Utilize coffee substitutes to save a bundle on your grocery bill.
You now have 40 different ways to save money on groceries. Use them all or pick the ones you like to help you stay within budget.
Now that you have creative ways to save, it’s time to put them into action. Step outside of your “grocery norm” and start saving money.