These practical ways to slash your grocery budget have saved me thousands of dollars on food over the years. Here are 12 smart tips to save money on groceries, when you need to save money more than ever.
Tips to Save on Groceries Are Needed Now More Than Ever
This whole new way of living has brought many changes in our lives. As we are staying more at home, the need to have bigger groceries orders has also increased. At the same time, we are also looking for ways to not go broke during such a crucial time.
Many people have been looking for different ways to save money on groceries from the pre-pandemic period up to this date. In the pre-pandemic period, you might have a clear grocery list alongside a good idea of the typical amount you spend.
With many households that have been hit by the effects of the COVID-19, there is a lower flow of income. Budgets are tighter leading to stressful grocery shopping for many families.
There is a bigger need to come up with even more ways to save on groceries. Differently from the other types of expenses like entertainment, gym/sports membership, etc, food is not something you can easily kick out of the budget.
I can’t kick coffee out of my budget either. If this is you too, here are 7 ways to save money on coffee.
Fortunately, there are ways to make some changes to your grocery shopping budget when the number on the bill begins to climb. With the tips below, you can learn how to save money on groceries easily.
Consider including these tips to save on groceries and get your money-saving journey started.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
How to Save Money on Groceries Now: 12 Practical Ways
Make a Shopping List In Advance
This tip applies pandemic or not, and it is one of the best tips to save money on groceries. Before heading to the store create a list and stick to it which maps out whatever you will cook.
In a nutshell, shopping with a list at hand keeps you on your budget, saves you time and money, and also prevents you from unwanted impulse buying (which I miiight know something about lately…)
I made a weekly planner with space for planning your meals for each day, a section for notes where you could write down groceries, and a to-do list. Get it for free here:
Tally the Grocery Bill As You Shop
This is one way of tracking your costs and avoiding unnecessary stocking by keeping track of the products in your cart and calculating how much they are costing. This will prevent you from impulse buying of unwanted products as you’re focusing on the specific cost of an item.
Impulse buying during pandemic may result in unnecessary stockpiling of foods and other items. It must be noted that there are no reported shortages of essentials during this period.
Additionally, bulk buying not only causes you to waste a lot of your money but also creates severe shortages for vulnerable individuals in society such as people with strict budget restrictions.
Buy Groceries Through a Cash-Back Site
Sign up for a website like Rakuten where you can earn FREE cash back for just spending like how you normally would when you buy groceries online.
All you do is click on a store that you want to shop through (there are tons of grocery stores such as Safeway, Amazon, Costco, CVS, Sam’s Club, Walgreens, Walmart, and SO many more), and online grocery shop like usual.
Rakuten makes a commission for referring you to the store you just shopped at, and they give you some of that money back as a thank you.
When you sign up through my link, you receive $10 cash back as a welcome bonus for signing up!
Prioritize Plant-Based Foods
Meats, seafood, and poultry are some of the priciest foods in the market. Besides, a study published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition suggests that by eating a plant-based diet using heart-healthy olive oil instead of animal protein you can save $750 a year.
Moreover, a plant-based diet includes eating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains which are generally considered as a staple in a healthy diet.
Freeze Fruits to Avoid Wastage
Veggies and fruits stand out to be one of the most wasted foods.
A smart food tip is to buy them in bulk and freeze those that you are not eating right away. You can freeze strawberries, avocados, peeled bananas, and even blueberries.
Don’t worry about the nutritional benefits because frozen fruits are as nutritious as fresh ones.
Save Money on Groceries by Shopping Strategically
Almost all grocery stores are strategically designed such that you are tempted to add a whole bunch of items you weren’t planning on buying.
The things which are likely to be on your lists like essentials and dairy products can be found on the perimeter of the store.
Keep yourself to the outside edges and avoid passing through middle aisles. That will help you to avoid buying expensive and unhealthy budget breaker processed foods such as candy, cookies, and other convenience foods.
Check out my new e-book: It’s a totally doable meal planning guide + full meal planner that’ll teach you how to meal plan, save more, and stress less.
Go Days without Meat
You might decide to go meatless to boost your meal budget.
Start by choosing a particular day of the week and eat a plant-based diet on that day. It may feel daunting, suddenly going vegetarian when you are used to eating meat daily. Start with a day or several days in a week without meat. It can be a healthy, simple, and cost-effective choice.
There are lots of delicious meat-free recipes available online which are very simple to prepare. Whenever you discover that you are enjoying vegetarian dishes, take it to the next level and increase the number of meatless days and save more.
Try this crowd-pleasing, picky-eater-pleasing vegetarian lasagna that is also super budget-friendly.
Buy Meat in Bulk and Freeze It
When buying meat, seafood, and poultry, purchase in bulk to save you money. Package the meat into small portions and freeze what you are not using in the next several days. This is the best cost-effective way to do it. Buying meat on sale is perfectly fine as well.
Buy canned tuna and canned chicken – both are much cheaper than the fresh versions. They are good protein staples to keep stocked in your pantry. Here are 10 deliciously easy recipes using canned chicken for some inspiration!
Focus on The Less Processed Groceries
The more processed a food is the more expensive it becomes.
Less processed foods are way cheaper and also healthier. Frozen foods will be set at very high prices compared to the other normal meals.
Try to cook more from scratch. Highly processed foods may seem cheap and time-savers, but are usually poor value for your money. For more on how to save money on groceries while eating healthy, here are 16 tips to eat healthy on a budget.
Plan Your Meals to Save on Groceries
When you attempt to go grocery shopping without knowing what you need to cook over the week, it can be a clear path to frustration and overspending.
Creating a simple weekly meal plan helps you build an effective shopping list and save your time as well.
For an easy meal plan sent right to you in your inbox, including weekly grocery lists, try the $5 meal plan. Here is a free 14-day trial to start.
Rather than just aimlessly wandering and buying what you see, you could get in and out with exactly what you want if you have a meal plan ready in your hands. This will help you to stick to your budget and avoid impulse buying.
If you get overwhelmed by the idea of meal planning, consider a healthy meal box. HelloFresh provides yummy meal kits that give you the perfect portions and ingredients, so you have just enough and no food waste. It also cuts down on impulse buying. If you want to try HelloFresh use my link for $60 off, including free shipping on your first order!
Save on Groceries By Considering Foods That Make Leftovers
Stews, soups, and casseroles (aka crockpot meals!) are some peoples’ pandemic favorites.
Try loading them up with good stuff like celery, broccoli, onion, carrots, and other veggies that usually do not go bad quite fast. Pad them with inexpensive ingredients such as pasta, rice, etc. Also, instead of going for one meal day after day, you can freeze what remains and can have it later.
Make Use of Digital Coupons and Flyers
You can save money on groceries by using coupons anf flyers. Take time to read through store flyers, login to your favorite store’s app, and check out that week’s deals and coupons. You can also increase your savings by combining the weekly store offers with coupons.
As well as giving you a percentage of your purchases as cash back, Rakuten also offers lots of coupons for different grocery stores. To try it out (with a $10 sign-up bonus!), go here.
Final Thoughts on How to Save on Groceries
During these unprecedented times saving on groceries can be an important step to get your finances back on track. Don’t try to follow all these tips to save on groceries at once. Try to include a few that resonate with you at first and assess your budget to see how much money you saved on groceries!
For extra help, I highly recommend the program Budgetize by MOMables. It’s a complete program to teach you how to meal plan, grocery shop, and trim down your food expenses. It is totally worth it if you want to save even more money on groceries. Check it out here (and read the reviews!)
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