With rising food costs, it seems like everyone is looking for ways to lower their grocery bill. I’m a pretty frugal girl by nature so I try to do everything I can to keep costs down and stretch what I have as much as I can. Here I’ve complied a list of tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way to help you lower your grocery bill and stay within your budget.
15 Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill
Making a menu plan based on what you already have and what’s on sale is a great way to keep grocery costs down. It seems like everyone has a different system for Menu Planning. Follow my 6 steps for menu planning success here.
Menu planning is great, but if your consistently planning meals based on expensive ingredients, then you aren’t saving as much as you could be. Before you sit down to do your menu plan, check the sales flyers for your local stores and base your meals around what’s on sale (save even more if you have a coupon to go with the sale). Also, if you see something for a great price don’t be afraid to stock up!
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget about the drugstores! They are a great way to get groceries at rock bottom prices. Click here to learn more about how to save at CVS.
Keep a Price Book
A price book is a record of what you pay for certain items on a regular basis. It’s also a place where you record rock bottom prices (i.e the lowest sale price or stock up price.) Sometimes you think you find a great deal at one store, but then see it at another store for cheaper. Keeping a record of prices at each store will help you to avoid this situation.
Meat is one of the most expensive categories in the food budget so finding ways to use less and stretch what you have will end up saving you a good amount of money. We normally have 2 or more meatless meals each week such as homemade waffles with eggs. You can also omit the meat from most Mexican dishes and replace it with beans such as burritos, taco soup, etc. When you do prepare meat use it sparingly such as mixed in with soups or casseroles. Check out these posts for more ways to make your meat go further:
Cook From Scratch
It’s amazing how much we pay for convenience food. Learning how to make things such as your own yogurt, oatmeal, bread or granola bars will save you money and be healthier for you. Cooking from scratch requires time, commitment and planning, but it’s worth it. If you tend to eat out a lot then having something like a frozen pizza in the freezer could end up saving you money, but for the most part try to do as much as you can homemade. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Grow Your Own
Growing your own food is a great way to save money on produce, especially if you start your plants from seed. We have a large garden and I normally don’t have to buy produce in the summer months. Check out my post 5 Tips for Beginner Gardeners if your thinking about starting a garden and want to learn more!
If you grow your own food, then you will more than likely have a surplus and getting together with fellow gardeners to swap produce is a great way to get more for you money! Also, if you stock up when things are on sale and buy a few extra you could always get a couple of friends together and trade for what they have on hand.
We have so many choices in food these days that its easy to get caught up in eating whatever we feel like without thinking about what it will cost, but our ancestors did things differently. They ate simple food on a regular basis such as rice, beans, potatoes, bread, etc. and saved the more exotic ingredients for special occasions. We could save a lot of money and be a lot healthier if we ate simple meals on a regular basis. Check out my post 30 Frugal Meal Ideas (for when you’re broke) for inspiration in simple cooking.
Dairy is another expensive category that is worth cutting down. Consider using less cheese in recipes or buying blocks to shred yourself. Also, keep an eye out for coupons and rebates on these items and stock up when they are on sale if you have a way to freeze or use them up before going bad.
Pay With Cash
Did you know that people who pay with cash tend to spend less that those who use a card? Take your budgeted amount in cash to the store and leave your cards at home. This way if you come up short you will be forced to put something back to stay within your budget.
Learn How to Freezer Cook
Freezer cooking is a great way to save time and money. Stocking up when things are on sale means you will have lots of ingredients on hand and a great way to use them is to do a freezer cooking session. I love freezer cooking because for a little bit of time and effort you have homemade convenience foods in your freezer! Check out my freezer cooking posts for more information:
To save the most money, you will need to be flexible and creative when cooking. If you have everything but one ingredient to make a dish consider skipping it or replacing it with something else. This way you will are saving money and reducing waste. Also if a recipe calls for an expensive ingredient consider switching it out for a cheaper alternative such as beans for ground beef.
Shop Once per Week
Plan your meals, go shopping and then stay out of the store until the next week! Anytime you run in just to get milk or cheese then you are more than likely going to buy other things that you didn’t even know you needed or wanted. If you run out of something then consider substituting or going without it until your next planned shopping trip. The less you go to the store, the less you will spend.
Check Sale Sections
Find your stores discounted sections and look through them every time you go shopping. You never know what you will find and if you see a good deal then stock up! Normally stores will have several different areas with marked down items so keep your eyes peeled. You will want to consider expiration dates before buying.
Shop Discount Stores
My absolute favorite grocery store is Aldi because they have high quality items at discounted prices. I can easily save 30% or more just by shopping there instead of Wal-Mart. See if you have an Aldi or other discount grocery store in your area and frequent them regularly. Also, see if you have a bakery outlet where you can find breads, rolls, etc. at discounted prices. These items freeze well so you can stock up if you find a good deal.
Dollar Tree is another store worth checking out especially since they accept coupons. They regularly carry name brands such as Nature’s Own Bread and Hormel Pepperoni. Plus, they accept coupons which makes for some great deals!
I hope this list will help you to reduce your grocery bill and keep more money in your pocket! Do you have any other tips to add? I’d love to hear them!
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