How Do I Reduce My Grocery Bill?
Just like so many of us, I know you’re asking, “How do I lower my bills?” Saving money at the grocery store checkout is important to all of us, but knowing how to shop smart will help you to save even more.
If you follow these tips, you’ll likely be close to cutting your grocery bill in half. It is all about being smart and knowing the trips. So let’s get going!
1. Buy in season – One way to save money on groceries is to buy in season. When produce is available because it is being grown right now, stores and farmer’s markets are able to sell it at lower prices.
If you want to buy vegetables or fruits that are not in season, see what you can find in the frozen foods section instead. You may be able to substitute frozen for fresh at additional savings.
2. Shop the sales – Make the grocery store circular your friend. Each and every week, check what is for sale on the front page. These are the loss leaders (the items reduced heavily in order to get you in the store) and these are what you want to stock up on.
If granola bars are on sale for $.99 per box this week and you use them regularly, buy four. If cereal or macaroni and cheese are on a deep discount ($1.49 and $.69 respectively, for example), buy six. These shelf stable items last for quite awhile and if you can get them at a cheap price, it’s way better than having to shell out $3.69 for one box when you realize you need them.
3. Use coupons – Another way to save some money at the grocery store checkout is to use coupons. Every little bit helps and the savings really do add up.
Be sure to take a quick scan through what savings are available before heading to the store, as new coupons are added daily. Most grocery stores also offer their own digital coupons, so you can easily take advantage of that savings as well.
Note – do not purchase items just because you have a coupon for them. $.40 off of a $3 box of something you may never use is a lot more expensive than not buying it at all.
4. Shop Buy One, Get One Free sales – Take advantage of Buy One, Get One free sales on items that you need to buy regularly. Make sure that you have an idea of what the average retail value is for the product as well as the regularly offered sale price (so that you can be sure you’re getting a better deal).
This type of savings is most often seen on toiletry items such as shampoo, shaving needs, soaps, toothpaste, etc. and well as vitamins, so be on the lookout for this kind of sale when you realize that you’re running low on something. Buy One, Get One Free deals are a great way to create or replenish your stockpile. Be sure to also use coupons on these deals as often as you can!
5. Buy canned goods – Buying canned goods can save you money. Canned vegetables, fruits, legumes, and soups are great budget stretchers – particularly if you stock up when they’re on a major sale (think $.60 or less).
Canned goods last for a long time, so don’t be afraid to buy twenty cans if you see them on sale for $.25 each!
6. Stock up on dry pasta and beans – Make sure that you purchase some dry pasta (on sale!) since it’s one of the most common (and thriftiest) meals. Dry pasta can be made into a quick spaghetti dinner (with jarred pasta sauce) or even added to homemade soups. Plus, it is a product that stretches. For $1 or less per box, you can make half a box of pasta as a side for the family and save the other half for another meal.
Dry beans are another staple that come in many different varieties, colors, and flavors, and they are much cheaper when you buy in bulk. They can be added to rice for a thrifty meal or side dish, and are also rich in protein and fiber. This is an easy dinner option when you’re watching your budget.
7. Avoid treats – One way to save money on your grocery bill is to avoid buying treats at the grocery store. Cookies, cakes, pastries, chips, and other sweets aren’t usually a necessity – or even on a decent sale – so it can be tough to get a great deal. Buy them only if your budget permits or for a special occasion.
Remember, just because the ad circular says that chips are on sale for $1.99 this week, that may actually be the regular price (or sale price for 8 weeks in a row, virtually making it the regular price). Make sure that you know your prices in order to get the best savings.
8. Use cheaper cuts of meat – Meat purchases are usually your most expensive grocery store purchase. Save money on your grocery bill buy choosing cheaper cuts. A 5 lb roast for two people may cost you 15 dollars or more. That said, it can be used to make a meal AND you’ll have leftovers for sandwiches or stir fry for the next day’s meal.
When you compare this to purchasing two steaks for the same $15, you can see that the roast is the thriftier option because you can stretch it further. Ground turkey and ground chicken are often priced lower that ground beef, so consider those as alternatives. Think about making one or two meat-free meals per week and you’ll save even more.
9. Buy pre-made dinners (here and there) – I know that this is counter-intuitive, but buying some pre-made foods can save time and money.
Lasagna can be a very expensive dinner to make from scratch (particularly with meat and several cheeses). Pre-made family sized lasagnas usually run anywhere from $7-$10 . Make it for dinner, use it for lunch, and freeze the rest to use at another time.
Shepherd’s pie, pizza, and egg rolls are other pre-made meal choices that are usually cheaper to buy pre-made than to make yourself. Make sure that you know your price points for each ingredient and go for the cheapest option.
There are lots of little ways to cut your grocery bill, but the key is doing one thing at a time and building each step in as you go. Every tiny bit helps, so start stocking up on the loss leaders on the front page of your grocery circular each week, follow the tips here, read additional cost cutting ideas, and you’ll see your budget stretch even further.