Let’s discuss how to save on groceries. You can chop your cable and latte costs, but you just can’t cut out food from your budget. The cost of food is high.
the average American spends roughly $7,500 annually on food. Your grocery bill can range anywhere from 14% to 34% of your income.
Whether you’re a college student on a restricted budget or a parent trying to keep food costs down, we can all use some tips in managing our grocery budget efficiently to save money. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your health when grocery shopping on a budget.
It’s very easy to shop smarter to get the most out of your monthly grocery budget. All you have to do is set aside the time. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to reduce your grocery bill in half!
15 Ways to start grocery shopping on a budget
What can you do today to save money on your next grocery run? Here are 15 ways to optimize your monthly food budget.
1. Learn how to cook
Home-cooked meals are often much cheaper than dining out at a restaurant. Cooking, though, may seem daunting to those who are not used to it. Anyone can cook. All you have to do is start with basic recipes using simple ingredients.
Cooking at home allows you to know exactly what you are eating. In addition, if you purchase your meats and vegetables on sale, the price of each meal will be significantly less than what you would pay to dine out. I have saved many thousand dollars by eating at home. You can pick up a new skill and save money on gas at the same time.
2. Use leftovers to make grocery shopping on a budget easier
One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to use the previous day’s leftovers to make new meals. Extending the longevity of meals in this way can help you save money. For example, you can use beans from the night before in tacos or another main dish.
Rather than letting food go to waste, get creative and create more cost-effective meals. Make a goal to cook every meal you prepare. Go to Pinterest to find recipes for ways to use your leftovers.
3. Plan your meals
Meal planning is crucial for shopping on a budget. Saving time and planning meals are the two keys to saving money when shopping. Start by preparing small meals for the day and work your way to larger ones.
Once you’ve accomplished that, work towards planning your weekly meals, then move to developing a monthly meal plan. It’s easy, and everyone can do it! Cook your food in bulk and store it for the week.
By preparing your meals ahead of time, this process not only saves you money by allowing you to distribute your ingredients among several meals evenly, but it also allows you to quickly heat up your meal and eat it directly. Moreover, there are many creative and cheap meals you can try!
4. Use a budget grocery list
We frequently spend more on food than we actually need. We buy more than we can eat, and we frequently lose track of what we should buy in the first place.
Just like how a task list keeps us on track with our work, a budget grocery list serves as a necessary reminder to keep our expenses low.
While this may seem to be something simple, it should be carefully considered.
Preparing a brief budget shopping list before you leave the store prevents you from purchasing unnecessary items while grocery shopping.
5. Use store rewards cards when grocery shopping on a budget
Most grocery stores have free discount cards, coupons, and gift cards. You can use these cards to save points and get free sale prices and other discounts when you shop.
In many cases, you will not have the store card if you do not already have it.
With that said, it is easy to miss getting the sale discounts. During checkout, items are often scanned quickly, and you may not even notice it until you get home and see the bill — that has certainly happened to me many times before.
To confirm that you do not miss out on the discounts, upload the bottom of your Fetch Rewards card next to your source of payment. If you were not asked for it, or you misplaced your card, go to customer service for a price adjustment.
6. Sign up for your store emails
Be sure to sign up for your grocery store’s email newsletters in addition to signing up for the store’s points program or rewards card. Stores often include special deals, such as printable coupons or free delivery or pickup.
They may even inform you of sales going on in the store that are related to your shopping habits or things you have typically purchased or bought in the past (based on information from your points card).
Always exercise caution when shopping for every item that is sent to you by email unless you need it and it fits into your monthly grocery budget.
7. Search online for manufacturer coupons
Several of your favorite grocery brands sometimes offer manufacturer coupons on their websites or on coupon sites (like coupons.com or redplum.com) that you can use in-store or online.
Use a quick internet search before visiting the grocery store to see what is available.
8. Don’t limit yourself to one grocery store
Sales do not just happen at one store. Every store is different, and each of them is always competing to offer consumers with the best deals. Shop around and take advantage of this opportunity.
You’re not alone in your expeditions to the grocery so take some time to check out the different prices and explore the cheapest ones. Exploring various stores is a great way to save money on groceries.
9. Get the store flyer when you walk in
The next time you pass through the grocery store, pick up a bunch of papers.
There are countless small coupon booklets in the grocery store, which can help you to get a summarized overview of what’s on sale. This will let you determine which items on your list are on sale.
10. Shop for store brand goods
Store-brand products are undoubtedly less expensive than commercial items, and generally, you can’t tell the difference beyond the packaging. Store-brand goods are independently produced by the shop and are individually packaged. They’re much less expensive.
While not all foods have a store-brand version, items such as canned foods, condiments, and other processed foods are guaranteed to have store-brand alternatives.
11. Bargain hunt when grocery shopping on a budget
Many people participate in shopping on a budget by searching for bargains. The most expensive item at the grocery store might be $
Pay attention to what fruits and vegetables are on sale at the supermarket. Usually, they will be in season and in excess.
If you see something on sale at the store, you should take advantage of it. Only $2 per lbs of pumpkin are there? Buy some and try out some exciting new recipes with the vegetables.
It may be just pumpkin soup, or you can get creative and get creative and create things such as pumpkin cornbread, pumpkin beef, black bean chili, or pumpkin cannelloni.
You may also find cabbage and corn at markets. These foods can later be stored and ready to eat at a later time, saving you plenty of money.
12. Learn how to store your groceries
The refrigerator is your most reliable ally. While canned foods, seasonings, and noodles are often not a problem in terms of shelf life, it’s a totally different story when discussing other food.
Fresh fruits and vegetables should be stocked up each time they are gone because they spoil so quickly even if they are kept in the refrigerator.
However, the shelf life of foods can be greatly increased by placing them in the right spot in the refrigerator and freezer.
Buy meat as soon as it’s on sale and store it in the freezer. Freezing meats will extend their shelf life significantly, so you should stock up when they’re inexpensive. Don’t be hesitant to freeze too much. Bread can be prepared for consumption the same way that other forms of uncooked meat are.
13. Buy your groceries online
Online grocery shopping saves money because you avoid distractions associated with exciting aromas or store layouts. All you simply need to do is pick out what you want and purchase it.
In addition, you should think about whether you need the items you have added to your shopping basket as you are shopping online.
Yes, the shipping costs may be high – typical prices are from $10 to $20. However, there may be discounts available if you use a new service.
And how many times have you spent much more than the delivery fee in-store after falling into the temptation of buying things that you didn’t plan for?
By picking to pick up your online shopping at the store, you may be able to save yourself on delivery costs. You simply place your order online, and the store gives you a pick-up time to come and get your pre-packed groceries.
The cost of shipping a pickup is often less than having a truck delivered. Many online merchants offer free shipping, which could help you save a considerable amount of money. Shopping online makes grocery shopping on a budget easier.
14. Pay with cash
People tend to spend more when using credit cards and debit cards. Using cash can help people better adhere to their monthly grocery budgets. The money envelope budgeting system helps individuals switch from plastic cards to cash.
This is where you store cash with designated envelopes for your monthly bills. For example, you would have an envelope for your groceries. This helps you keep to your budget and prevents overspending.
15. Prioritize your needs
Defining your needs vs. your desires isn’t just for goods you buy. This method can be used to compile your budget grocery list too. It’s easy enough to buy up a bunch of random food that we don’t necessarily need simply because it sounds delicious.
For example, are YOU going to want to buy steak each week, or do you find a cheaper alternative for dinner? Identifying ways to save on food expenses by listing what you actually need every month can result in big savings.
You can save money grocery shopping on a budget
It is easy to save half your food budget. It requires effort and time, but the savings are well worth the effort!
Finding ways to save money on groceries can enable you to save for other goals too. Suppose you save $50 per week on groceries; this adds up to $600 in a year.