Are you tired of spending hours each month meal planning?
Do you struggle to plan healthy meals for your family that they will actually eat?
Grab my free meal planning templates to help you save tons of time planning meals, make meals your family will ask you to make again and even please your picky eater!
This approach to meal planning is so easy. It takes me half the time that it used to to plan meals for my family!Kim
According to the USDA, the average food cost per month for a family of 4 is anywhere between $722 to $1107. It is no secret that the grocery budget can be one of the highest monthly expenses, but it doesn’t have to be. You can easily learn how to save money on groceries each month by taking the time to just plan a little bit before you hit the grocery store.
I started paying attention to our grocery budget when we decided we wanted to pay off debt. I wanted to be home with my family more. My job was pretty demanding and I was working 10+ hour days and often I would be emotionally and physically exhausted and felt I couldn’t give my family what they needed after a typical work day.
My husband had this great idea to start a budget and I finally got on board with the suggestion. I knew that I wanted to cut down on my hours at work and that vision kept me so laser focused on paying off debt that I started paying attention to our grocery budget.
I knew we could save money on food. We were buying mostly name brand food, making too much food at meals (which caused waste) and I didn’t have any kind of meal planning regimen which resorted to us eating out more often. I knew that I needed to have a plan to cut back on our food expenses. I started doing some meal planning and researching how to save money on food and this list of tips to save money on groceries is what I came up with.
How to Save Money on Groceries: 80 Money Saving Tips
Here is a list of the best ways I can think of to save money on your grocery bill:
Buy fruits and veggies that are in season. Freeze them for the winter. If eating healthier is a New Year Goal for you, you can sign up here to join my free healthy living email course. If you are am emotional eater, this course is for you.
Check local ads for what is on sale
Clip Coupons– not for me, but it works for others. I use Ibotta to save money on groceries. It is way easier!
Buy canned or frozen veggies if you are looking for things that aren’t in season
Plan your meals– If you are a beginner and feel overwhelmed with meal planning, you don’t have to. I create a resource to help you plan meals while saving time and money. You can check it out here.
Use up what you have at home. Use apps like Epicurious, Allrecipes, Grocery Hero, and Best Before. These apps give you suggestions on what to make based upon what you have.
Go to a Vegetarian Diet. You can do this for a short time to reduce your grocery bill or follow a vegetarian diet for a week each month. Get creative. It can be fun.
Buy less alcohol. I know, bummer right.
Only buy meat that is on sale. This will help you save on your meat expenses. Meat is by far the most expensive part of our budget.
Prep meals in advance. If you are looking for an all in one guide on how to prep meals for the week, check out this Meal Prep 101 post from Super Foods Life. It is an excellent resource that will answer all of your meal prep questions.
Have a mix of more expensive and less expensive foods. Basically, plan to have meals that are lower cost like pasta mixed with meals that may cost more like meals including beef.
Buy lower cost cuts of meat. For example, plan meals that use a whole chicken or buy chicken tenderloin versus buying chicken breast.
Plant your own garden.
Shop around. Find stores that are offering the best deals in your area. You can compare ads to do this. You will also want to price compare for stuff you normally buy like bread, milk and eggs
Shop at stores like Aldi, Trader Joes and Costco. In my opinion, these stores have the best deals all year round.
Shop farmer’s markets. If you buy from local farmers, the prices will be cheaper.
Buy meat in bulk. Do you know any local farmers who sell their meat in bulk? You may have to pay for the meat up front but the cost overall may be worth it. I would check and compare the price per pound of meat in the store compared to the price per pound of meat they offer.
Stock up on sales. Can you freeze meat if you buy it in bulk? Do you have a chest freezer? Buying meat when on sale can help significantly.
Save produce. Do you grow your own fruits and veggies? If not, can you buy them in bulk at a farmer’s market to freeze or can for the winter months? Just a suggestion.
Sign up for any loyalty programs. Giant Eagle has a loyalty program and signing up will result in getting some discounts in the store Plus you get free gas at GetGo when you shop. You can also get discounts at pharmacies.
Don’t take the kids. (Or husband). Have you ever noticed this? If you shop with the kids or hubs do you spend more? I have noticed that we do. If I go alone, I stick to the plan and spend less. Usually it averages that I spend $20 more when the hubs or kids tag along.
Don’t shop hungry. You will buy food to fill your tummy and buy things you don’t need.
Know where to shop in the store. Notice that the healthy food is generally on the outside of the store. Shop these areas to buy healthier food.
Order online. Can you go online and do some pre-shopping? You can at Sam’s club. If you are looking to buy in bulk, you can go online and select what you want to buy. They then have a shopping cart ready for you when you get there. This reduces the temptation to buy unneeded stuff.
Grow your own herbs. Herbs are actually pretty easy to grow. Take it from me. I stink at sustainable produce but I can grow herbs pretty easily.
Don’t buy pre-cut fruits or veggies. They cost more in general. For example, a pineapple that is pre-cut will cost about $5.99 compared to a pineapple you have to cut up which will cost $3.99.
Resist the temptation to buy items at check out. Gah! The check out items. Just act like they aren’t there or check yourself out. Studies have shown that you are less likely to buy items next to check out if you are doing the bagging.
Plan out all snacks, drinks party needs etc. Check out 100 Cheap Clean Eating Snack Ideas. Make sure you plan what you will need each week.
Stop buying things you don’t really need. Do you really need paper towels? Nope. You actually don’t. You can use regular wash cloths to clean up spills. How much will you save? Check out the Busy Budgeter and how much she saved by now buying paper towels.
Organize. Make time to meal plan, buy groceries, create a binder of go-to-recipes. Organize and create systems with meals and you will save money. You will also notice that meal times are much less stressful.
Shop generic. You don’t have to buy name brand foods all the time.
Look on lower shelves. The foods on higher shelves are more expensive because they are at eye level.
Make your own desserts. They will cost less and they are healthier. You have total control over the ingredients in the dessert.
Refrain from buying bottled water.
Grate your own cheese– a block of cheese is cheaper than pre-grated cheese and it is actually better for you.
Make more with potatoes. Potatoes are pretty cheap and there are tons of ways to use them for a meal. You can use Sweet potatoes as an alternative also
Check Amazon. The Penny Hoarder did a review on 7 unusual ways to save on groceries and Amazon grocery was one way to save. People use Amazon for everything so why not groceries
Eat pasta once a week. Pasta meals go further. Check out 21 Cheap and Easy Dinner Ideas
Eat the same things for breakfast and lunch. Well, generally the same things. If you keep your list pretty planned out and only buy variable items for one meal, it actually helps your budget.
Shop less often. If you can swing it, make less trips to the grocery store. The more time you spend there, the more you will spend. Plan your meals for the month. If you need help doing that, check out how I meal plan for an entire month in less than 15 minutes
Shop the Dollar Store. If you are looking for storage or personal care items, the dollar store has these for cheap according to Money Crashers. You can check out what else they recommend buying at the Dollar store here.
Budget your money. Find a way to stay accountable to how much you are spending. Pay with cash or watch your receipt at the end of a grocery shopping trip.
Buy food first, then meal plan. This is opposite of what I generally do, but the Cash Cow Couple recommend looking at sales first and basing your meals off the sales. Not a bad idea.
Go dairy free. Milk and cheese can be pretty expensive. Can you think of meals without milk and cheese?
Buy dried beans. These are cheaper and honesty not too hard to make. They will go a lot further than the beans in a can
Keep a list of what you have at home. What meals can you still make? Do you have any snacks left? By having a list you know what is readily available to use
Create a list of what you need to buy. A list will keep you focused on what you need. Don’t deviate from the list
Use a whole chicken and make the most of it. Shred chicken for enchiladas, make chicken soup, make homemade chicken broth
Make meat as part of the meal and pair it with beans. You can stretch meat longer if you pair shredded chicken with black beans for example
Don’t make too much food. You don’t want to waste food by cooking it and not using it
Plan to eat leftovers. If you don’t want to waste the leftover food, plan it in as part of your lunche
Don’t make separate meals. I am so guilty of this. I sometimes make Greg and I something different than I make the kids. My little Logan has food allergies and I try to make dairy free meals, but I will sometimes make something he can’t have. This is not ideal, but I am working at it.
Track your expenses at the grocery store. Use your calculator on your phone to keep track of how much you spend.
Eat oatmeal. Oatmeal is cheap and you can literally use it a ton of different ways. Make overnight oats or make muffins or other baked goods with the oatmeal. It is seriously one of my favorite things to buy
Buy Eggs. I buy eggs at Aldi as they are cheaper there than anywhere else and cost less than a $1. I usually buy 3-4 dozen because I bake with them and we eat eggs for breakfast a lot. You can also eat breakfast for dinner which is another cheap meal idea.
Buy bagged fruit and veggies. Avoid buying apples and onions singly (is this a word? I mean one at a time). Buy in bags to save some extra money
Make soup at home. You can make a whole pot of chili for cheap. Avoid buying it in a can
Make your own salsa. Salsa is so easy to make and actually cheaper to make yourself. I buy one can of diced tomatoes, I use 1 tbsp garlic, 1/4 of an onion, a splash of lime juice and some cilantro. I like the taste better and I can control what I want more of
Eat rice and beans. This may not sound appealing but it is a cheap meal
Make your own bread. If you eat a lot of bread, it may be cheaper to buy a bread machine and make it at home
Buy cold cuts at the deli. Prepackaged are way more expensive
Buy baking goods in bulk. What can you buy in bulk to save money? I actually like to buy 3-5 pounds of flour at a time because it is cheaper. Oat flour is also cheaper to buy in bulk if you don’t want to make it at home yourself
Make sure you are getting the right prices. Watch the cash register to make sure you are getting the sale price
Pack your lunch. Avoid shopping at a convenience store or buying lunch out
Buy after the holidays. After Thanksgiving and Christmas, you may be able to purchase turkeys and hams much cheaper than you would before the holidays. Can you stock up and freeze these meats
Make your own salad. Prepackaged are more expensive.
Buy spices from the bulk bins or Dollar Store. They cost on average a dollar compared to $3-4 at a store like Giant Eagle
Substitute ground turkey for ground beef. In our local stores, ground turkey is at least a dollar cheaper
Use Tuna. Tuna is relatively well priced and there are tons of ways to use it. Become one with the tuna.
Make your own condensed soups. This one I learned since Logan has a dairy allergy. I find by using this recipe, it makes more and it is cheaper
Make your own pancakes/waffles. You can make your own pancakes and freeze them. They are easy to reheat in the microwave and now you have made your very own convenience food. Boom.
Limit breakfast meat. I don’t like this one either. I like sausage and bacon, but I also know they aren’t good for me and they aren’t budget friendly. I actually tried feeding Greg vegetarian sausage once. The face I got was priceless.
Don’t be afraid to put items back if they cost more than what you thought.
Get in and out of the store as quickly as possible.
Check the produce aisle for produce that is on sale.
Use up the brown bananas. Think banana bread or banana ice cream. Don’t waste those sweet little brown nanas!
Use rice as it is cheap and a great side. Pair it with chicken stock and veggies to make a great side with a protein.
Buy pork loin in bulk and ask the butcher to cut it into pork chops. I have found this is a bit cheaper and you can get lots of meals out of it if you have a family of four.
Keep an eye on what you are spending. Check your receipts after you are done shopping. Are you spending more or less than what you thought? Do you need to re-evaluate the budget? Check Ibotta to see if there are items you can get cash back for. In summary, there are a bunch of ways to save on food that include the choices of food you buy. You can also save money by meal planning, prepping food to prevent waste and by using free apps like Ibotta. It helps to be organized and prepared when you are grocery shopping.
What To Do With These Tips to Save Money On Groceries
What I would do from here is print this list and highlight the ways that you think would be feasible for you to save money. I know there are a lot of tips on how to save money on groceries in this post and some may not work for you so I suggest figuring out which ones would be the easiest and start there.
You can realistically save $100 (or more) on your groceries easily every month by watching your spending and finding little ways to save money using the tips provided.
I will say the ones with the biggest impact for us were meal planning and shopping at stores like Aldi. If I had to choose my top 3 biggest tips to save money they would be:
- Shop at Aldi or Trader Joes
- Plan your meals
- Go to the grocery store less often.
I hope these tips help you transform your grocery budget and help you start saving a ton of money each month. I know firsthand it is possible.
I am an affiliate for MyFreezeEasy, $5 Meal Plan and Ibotta because I believe in them. I also use/have used them myself and trust them.
The Busy Mom’s Guide to Meal Planning– An all in one resource for how to set up a meal planning binder, how to set up a meal planning system that will literally take you just minutes per month to meal plan and how to get over the obstacles commonly faced with meal planning in families (picky eaters, how to stick to a meal plan)
MyFreezeEasy– If you are interested in getting started with freezer cooking, this is the perfect meal planning system to get started without feeling overwhelmed. I have used MyFreezeEasy to help me with meal planning and prep and it was a life saver.
$5 Meal Plan– I used $5 Meal Plan for 6 months and I saved all the recipes which are now in my meal planning binder. It works super well if you are looking for someone to give you quick recipes to make for dinner.
Ibotta– my favorite way to save money on groceries. It is a free app you install on your phone. Look for deals before you shop and redeem the savings by scanning the item and the receipt. Money is automatically added to PayPal. So easy!
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Are you tired of spending hours each month meal planning?
Do you struggle to plan healthy meals for your family that they will actually eat?
Grab my free meal planning templates to help you save tons of time planning meals, make meals your family will ask you to make again and even please yoru picky eater!