Groceries in my house are probably one of the biggest variable monthly expenses we have. And I’m sure I am not alone.
I must admit, I love to eat.
When I was single, I used to spend about $600 a month on groceries. This was mainly for meats (chicken and beef) and not to mention, I’m a bit of a bottomless pit (well my wife thinks so).
After I got married, my wife and I discussed this area of our budget, and I was shocked that she would only spend about $350 a month on groceries! That’s nearly half of my spending! I honestly thought that I would starve… but clearly that’s not the case. Between a reduced metabolism after turning 30 and my wife’s budgeting/cooking, we’ve made lots of progress and have cut down on our grocery spending!
We now spend $400 a month on groceries. This has allowed us to enjoy eating well without feeling like we have sacrificed quality to maintain our budget.
Now while $400 a month for two people may seem high, we also buy toiletries and household cleaning supplies in this bucket of money. Figure out amount works for you and then try to go under!
We have all heard the usual tips for saving money on groceries, like “don’t shop when you’re hungry” or “go with a list.” I agree with all of them! But I also think there are more ways to save money on groceries than that.
For this post, I wanted to think outside the box.
Check out what my wife and I do and how we save money.
How many times have you wanted to make something but you didn’t have all the ingredients?
Or you forgot to defrost that chicken, so you end up ordering in?
Meal prep is an easy way to start saving money. There are many recipes and guides online (hello, Pinterest!) on how to meal prep for one or for a whole family. By meal prepping, you know exactly what to buy, and it can last you for the week, or at least a few days.
Meal prepping also saves you time in the long run. You don’t need to stress about rushing home to prepare a meal or wondering if you have all the ingredients for dinner…. because you have planned for it! And everyone likes things that take the stress out of our lives!
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I use the FLIPP app to price match. I love this app, and I’m sure there are many more like it. It’s like a virtual coupon finder!
You search the item that you want to buy, and it helps you find where that thing is on sale. Then you present the coupon (saved on your phone) to the cashier (at a store that does price match), and they will honor the price.
I can’t tell you how many times I use this app and it has saved us loads of money. I’d say at least $30 a week.
Sure, there are some things we prefer to buy at stores that don’t price match, but that’s only on a few things once a month.
Don’t shop at wholesale stores
This may be a sore spot for some people and trust me, I love shopping at our local wholesale store. But I have realized that I often overspend on items that I don’t need or won’t use in time.
We honestly save over $100 by avoiding the wholesale store.
Now I’m not saying they are bad. I love getting specific items from there, and they do offer some unique things, but for me, it has become a place where I end up spending money that I didn’t plan to spend.
I call the dangerous spot “action alley.” It’s often right in the middle with tons of traffic. The deals are too good to turn down, but did I really need an extra sweater? Jacket? Or patio set?
If you have strong willpower and can ALWAYS stick to your list, then shop away! But for me, I really limit my shopping there to absolute MUST HAVES that I can’t get anywhere else.
At the register, take out ONE item that you don’t really need
Alright, so you have made it to the register (in person or online). Now I have a challenge for you: can you go through your shopping cart and take out one item?
Pretty tough eh?
You’d be surprised that if you look long and hard, there is probably something in there you don’t really need. Or it’s not THAT good of a deal to buy it.
By taking out one item, you can save some money that you can use for another week of groceries or save it for yourself. Either way, any extra money is a good thing!
Buy in bulk
Okay, so I have stopped buying in bulk from wholesale stores, but that doesn’t mean I don’t stock up when I see a good deal!
When I see products that are massively reduced in price, I grab a few of them!
Sure, I don’t need 3 tubes of toothpaste NOW, but if it is a bargain, and it is something that I will use way before it goes “bad,” why not!
Make sure what your getting is an actual deal though. Many items are promoted as a sale but are not too far from the regular price. Get to know your pricing!
Ever since Walmart has created this option, my wife loves to order groceries online and pick them up at the designated time. This has saved us a trip down each aisle in the store, and more importantly, it has saved us money.
When you can shop from your home, you are less distracted and will buy only the items that you need. There are no tempting “sales” to look at or things that you think you want to try.
If you pick up in store, there is no fee, but if you want it delivered, there is a small charge. I’m sure Walmart is also not the only people to offer this, so check out your own favorite store to see if they also provide it!
Buy store brand/generic items
I know that some name brands are just worth the extra money. If you have found a favorite product that is just better when it’s a brand name, then stick with it.
But if you are just buying name brand food because you can’t be bothered trying something different, then I suggest you give generic brands a try.
SOME items actually taste the same or even better than the pricier brand-name option.
Get creative and buy that generic item… if you hate it, then at least you know. And if you love it, then you will be saving money in the future!
Bring just enough cash
This tip seems easy, but when we live in a world of debit and credit cards, it can be harder to have cash on hand.
Whatever you go grocery shopping, make sure you go to the store with only a set amount of cash. Set your budget before you leave home. You will be surprised at what you actually end up spending when you just have a fixed amount of money with you!
We all have certain ways that we shop and certain items that we like. I challenge you to try one or two of my tips and see if you save some money… I bet you will!
You can still enjoy the finer things without blowing your budget. It does take some time and effort, but it’s worth it. Don’t let convenience keep you from being attentive at the store!
Think it through
- Do you know how much you spend on groceries each month?
- What can you do to plan your meals/shopping more to save money?
- What are some ways for you to shop smarter for food?
- How not to overspend and save money
- The one thing most people forget when budgeting
- Why budgeting actually give you more freedom, not less
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