If you are looking for ways to get the most out of your income, preparing meals at home will be your most cost-efficient way of eating. Not only does cooking at home save money, it is often healthier because the portions eaten are more nutrient dense and smaller.
But even shopping for groceries can be expensive, especially if you have poor shopping habits.
If you follow even a couple of these 9 simple tips for saving money on groceries, you can easily save hundreds or more a month just by making a few small changes in how you shop for food.
1. Buy in Bulk
Many items have a smaller unit cost when you buy it larger quantities. A 36 pack of toilet paper will cost less per roll than a 12 cost per roll.
When doing this it is also important to not unit price, there are times when you may have a coupon or the lower amount will be on sale and you might need to do.. MATH.. but it’s really easy just divide the new lower price by the number of units them do your comparison.
2. Buy Only What You Need
Some foods are perishable and if you buy more than you can eat while it is fresh, all the savings you could have realized won’t matter because they won’t go into making meals.
You should be able to use everything you buy in a meal or a snack. Items that have a shelf life should be bought to be used during their shelf life period, an easy way to combat this is using the next tip by having a plan.
See also: 10 Ways to Maximize Savings in 2020
3. Meal Plan
Planning your meals ahead of time will make a huge difference in your food budget. When you know what’s on the menu each day, there’s no opportunity to linger around in the kitchen wondering what’s for dinner, no last-minute trips to the grocery store, no desperate take-out orders, and less chance that you’ll buy something only to let it go to waste.
Before you set out to make a plan follow this route when making your plan.
- Check what food you have on hand
- See what sales and check for coupons at your store(s) you shop at
- Try to focus on items that go with what you already have
- Narrow the list down with a focus of making meals under budget
- Plan out your meals for the week based on those ingredients
And you’re all set, just make sure to stick to your list to avoid the temptation of unnecessary purchases.
Once you have created a shopping list, you should be able to do your shopping in a minimal amount of time each week and shopping with a list is an easy way to avoid those expensive unplanned purchases.
4. Make it Stretch
In other words, get creative. If you’ve already consumed a bulk of the items in your kitchen, think outside the box to see what you can do with what remains. And don’t forget about any leftovers hanging out in the fridge or freezer that are still fit for consumption.
We try to cook more rice and pasta than we need to aid in eating leftovers for lunch at work, a lot of leftovers pair well with different simple dishes like this and help make the meals last longer without being the exact same thing over and over.
5. Buy Fruits and Vegetables In Season
Have you ever noticed that produce items are more expensive at certain times of the year? That is because they are in season and are more plentiful making them less expensive.
Florida has a season for strawberries, blueberries and citrus fruit. They can be almost twice as expensive during the off-season. In season fruits and veggies will be more flavorful than greenhouse grown or others picked early and shipped long distance as well.
6. Make a Budget and Pay Cash
Make a plan that includes how much you want to spend on groceries and take that amount of cash to the store.
When you have reached the cash limit, your spending is done. Have the cashier scan your must have items first and reserve want items until you know you have the cash to cover them.
Buying online can be a great way to stick to a budget also, more on that later.
7. Cut Back on Mear OR Hit the Meat Market
If you can reduce the amount of meat you purchase, you will see your grocery bill go down. Make sure you use every ounce of meat and seafood purchases.
Several years ago, when I set out on a mission to slash food expenditures in half, meat was always problematic. We couldn’t get enough of it, but the price always made it among the most expensive items on our grocery receipt.
After countless hours perusing weekly ads and driving around town from grocer to grocer in search of the best deals, I came across a promotional flyer for a meat market — and the rest was history. While we’re conditioned to buy everything at the same big store, big chains won’t always have the lowest prices on everything. Small and niche grocers — like butchers — can often offer better deals on fresher products: They specialize in one thing, do it well, and sell it cheap.
Another benefit of meat markets: They often sell in massive quantities, so when a good deal pops up, you can buy in bulk and freeze the rest to use later, this is where I love having a chest freezer in the basement!
8. Prepare it From Scratch
For those of us who are strapped for time or occasionally stricken by the laziness bug, frozen family-sized dinners are a cost-efficient alternative to eating out. But once the food is scarfed down, thoughts about preservatives and long-term health effects always linger in the back of your mind.
As a rule, we pay extra for convenience. So if you want to save money (and eat healthier to boot), trade in some convenience for cash.
The next time you’re tempted to pick up a frozen lasagna or pasta dinner, bail out of that section as soon as possible and head for the fresh veggie, seafood, and meat sections. Home-cooked meals cost a fraction of a dinner out and still come in much cheaper and healthier than frozen dinners, especially once you factor in leftovers.
And if you’re extremely crunched for time, try making a dish that requires minimal preparation or attention and can be cooked on autopilot in a crockpot.
9. Shop Online
Wouldn’t it be grand if you could have your groceries delivered to your doorstep? Depending on where you live, grocery delivery services such as Safeway, PeaPod, FreshDirect, Walmart’s Grocery-to-Go, Stop and Shop, and even AmazonFresh make this possible.
And at first glance, even though prices are usually a bit higher online, you can actually end up spending less. This is because you won’t be wandering the aisles, adding the extra unplanned items to your cart. Plus, you’ll know exactly how much you’re about to spend before you get to the check out allowing you to adjust your cart to stay on budget.
Another major benefit is that you can take advantage of special pricing without traveling all over town. However, the service is accompanied by a delivery fee, and you miss out on the opportunity to hand-pick your own meats, produce, and veggies. But it still beats rolling down the grocery aisle and picking up every item that catches our eye.
Conclusion – Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Outside of housing costs and vehicles, buying groceries can be one of the biggest expenses many families have each month.
Keeping your grocery bill under control can be challenging especially if spenders get involved in the food shopping.
Even if you’re only able to add a couple of these tips to your grocery shopping, you should be able to save yourself a hundreds every month!
Saving money on groceries is just one of the ways that you can make your hard-earned dollar go farther, to invest in your future, spend more on the family, or put it all into building PASSIVE INCOME.