One of the easiest places in your family budget to save money is on your food bill! Here are 6 ways to save on your grocery bill to get you started!
6 Ways To Save On Your Grocery Bill
For many people, making the decision to switch from two incomes to one can be a scary experience. They know they’re spending too much, but don’t know where to begin to cut back.
Most people don’t think they can live the frugal life and still be comfortable. I feed my family of 4 on $250 per month. In the last 5 years my husband earned an average of $22,000 per year. In those 5 years we paid off $20,000 debt.
There are countless ways you can cut, but if you are a frugal beginner, try these simple suggestions from my cookbook, Living On A Dime, for saving on your food bill first.
- Before you shop, take a tour through your pantry and your refrigerator. Be organized!
- Don’t buy what’s already hiding in your kitchen.
- If you are a fan of coupons, remember this: It’s not what you save, it’s what you spend. If you save 30 cents on something you wouldn’t ordinarily buy anyway, you haven’t really saved anything.
- A typical fruit item is significantly larger than one serving. Most people would be just as happy eating a small apple as eating a large one — so buy smaller fruits!
- This month, try two meatless meals a week (or one, if you’re a diehard meat fan). Use meat as an ingredient instead of a main dish. A good recipe for this is Green Chile. It uses only 1/2-1 pound of pork.
- Cut back on the juice and milk. Use the money you’ve saved from eating less meat and drinking less juice and buy something that’s on sale. Those sale items will help you cut back even further next month.
Green Chile Recipe
1/2-1 lb. pork roast, or chops cubed into small pieces
10 1/2 oz. chicken broth
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can (7 oz.) green chiles, diced
1/4 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. flour, dissolved in water
cheddar cheese, grated
Simmer pork in broth on low for 10 minutes. Add all other ingredients except flour and simmer 45 minutes. Thicken with flour so it is like a thick soup. Spoon about 1/4 cup into the center of a flour tortilla. Roll up tortilla and top with more green chile. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Top with sour cream if desired. This green chile freezes really well.
In staying at home, remember that it’s the little things that add up.
good morning. still waking up but just read this tip which is one I would never have thought would save money.
If you shop at the ware house grocery stores they say to take a friend or two with you so you can stock up but divide the case of cans between the friends. You don’t end up with too much of a good deal.
The example they gave was a lady went in for a case of gatorade for the childs sports team and along with it came out with a case of artichokes because they worked out to $2. a can. But what do you do with 48 cans of artichokes?
I said I wouldn’t have thought of that because I always figure taking a friend shopping would tempt you to buy something you hadn’t planned on just by seeing the friend pick it up and tell you the great recipe that went with it.
I like to shop alone but I guess maybe the idea is a good one. You could also save on gas if you shared the driving to and from the store week about.
If you have to pay for grocery bags make sure to always carry some stuffed under the seat of the car or in the trunk so you don’t have that extra .05 for every bag you have to buy. It does add up. If you are stocking up on bread or buns use a box. less squashed bread you have to make into crumbs or stuffing. More for sandwiches.
Now here is one that most people don’t think about.
My husband and I belong to the local rod and gun club and yesterday we had our annual kids fish derby. Each child gets a prize and coupons for hot dog, hamburger one bag of chips and a pop. Parents have to pay $2 for theirs. But at the end of the day the volunteers get to take home the leftovers. Yesterday I brought home 3 squirt bottles of each ketchup relish and mustard and a jar of hot pepper rings, a box of 80 frozen hot dogs and a box of potatoe chips and a 24 pack of coke. There were no other events going on that we would usually have donated them to so the volunteers benefited. We both got $25. gift certificates to the local pizza and wings place in town. So $50. on a take out night which will be nice.
So try volunteering at some event you will be at anyway and you might get to reap more benefits than a day in the fresh air with your children.
And yes Always shop at home before you go to the store.
I generally “ease up” on my spending for August thru September or even early October. I try to use up as much in my pantry as I can that is getting close to due dates or has been there awhile. I can get pretty creative but it helps clean out the pantry. I then have some extra money that I have budgeted to purchase items that always seem to go on sale for the holiday season. Since I cook most everything from scratch that allows me to “stock up” for several months! Then after the holidays I don’t have to spend that much money until maybe springtime or early summer again. I also freeze lots of vegetables that are coming in for the winter and of course many of them go on sale for the holidays too. I freeze chopped onions, carrots and celery which go into my soups and stews. I also stock up heavily on canned fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, pasta etc… I find in my area the holidays are the one time of year that a lot of non-convenience food goes on sale. So I take advantage of it.
here is something I am just learning after a few years of not having my sons at home to take over cooking duty when I am hurting, or just sick with the flu or a cold.
Don’t buy things you normally do that take a lot of prep or thinking. Pick up the convenience things that you usually try to do without.
I got a bit of a cold about 6 weeks ago but without thinking I bought cucumbers, lettuce, asparagus and regular meats for the freezer.
I ended up getting really sick and the fresh vegetables got tossed. I forgot they were there and even if I hadn’t I would not have been able to do much with them. Took too much energy and brain power.
I have decided that when the weather is changing I will buy stuff for making soups and things that can go into the slow cooker or the oven. Saves money and it saves my energy. I have always cooked from scratch but I am learning how to use the already chopped stuff and a few canned items. May not taste quite the same but at least I am feeding my husband.
Hi, I have found that keeping 2 or 3 crockpots with the food already in them sitting in the frig during fall helps in several ways. If I get sick then I cook one on low all day and my family still eats good that nite and my husband can dish it up for the kids without to much fuss :) I can also use them on days when I won’t be home because of work or after school events with one of the kids. Yes it takes planning to remember first in first out and takes some time to fill them but I have gotten used to filling the one just used as soon as it is washed so it works great. I pick up the pots at second hand stores and garage sales. I think I own 5 of different sizes… Good luck
I forgot to mention that I also keep at least one fully cooked dish in the freezer to pop in the microwave in an emergency. Happy cooking to all :)
I have a gallon ice cream bucket with a lid that I keep in the freezer. If we have 1/4 cup 0r so of vegetables left from dinner it goes into the bucket instead of the trash. When the bucket gets full of vegetables it is time to make vegetable soup.
Nice one! Thanks for the tip!
Me too Amy I also have a bucket for leftovers in my freezer. On the nights we buy the grocery store roasted chicken, I always make chicken stock with the bones. I even add lettuce and fresh greens to my freezer leftovers. When it’s full, it makes a great cream of veggie soup. I call this my free meal.
I’ve learned so many wonderful easy ways to waste less and save tons of money. I live in New Brunswick, Canada whick is on the Atlantic coast. I’m 10min away from the ocean. I love that you ideas are truly universal and simple enough for everyone to use.
Ask for a cash discount. Our local grocery store gives a discount for using cash. They also discount if you bring your own bags. I now ask when shopping other stores if they give a cash discount and have been surprised on how many say yes. It does cost businesses when you swipe a card so many are very accomadating. Also, our local grocery gives a1/2 cent on the dollar for non profit and school functions when you turn in your grocery receipt. This helps to encourage to shop local.
We know the guidelines… don’t shop on an empty stomach. Make a list and stick to it. Buy on sale, but only what you can and will use in a reasonable time period. Get creative with leftovers, or learn to cook without them. Don’t be afraid to try another brand, especially a store brand, in small amounts if need be. Don’t be afraid to learn from other cultures what frugal food looks and tastes like. Make good use of a freezer or garden or backyard livestock if you can. If you use coupons, treat them like you would sale items that you would normally buy. Share with some one else if you buy in great bulk. Cook from scratch whenever possible, but keep it simple. Learn about nutrition and portion control. Be thankful, and remember what a blessing it is to have food as available and as varied as it is in North America. Eat what is in season, and don’t rule out foraging where you can, or u-pick farms and gleaner opportunities. Keep an open mind, and while you are at it, as you are able, don’t forget to contribute to food banks or soup kitchens when you can.
I love all these ideas. My family doesn’t like the heals of the bread loaf, so I tear them up into pieces and pop them in a container in the freezer. When I have enough, I make bread pudding topped with blueberries and a dose of powdered sugar. I do this also if I discover stale bread.
Also, we no longer buy those plastic baggies, we use the bags that come from the cereal box which is food grade plastic with a clip. Most of the time we just use a glass container with a lid.
I buy only one rotisserie chicken, but we don’t eat it that way. I use it to make three different meals; stir fry, burritos, soup
( with leftover meat and stock), casseroles, or pesto pasta.
Buying meats in the weekly sale flyer and creating your weekly menu around them also saves money. Or freeze what you buy this week. I have noticed one week it is chicken, one week it is pork chops in my area.
For example: This week,(in February)spiral ham is on sale for 99c a lb. A dollar less than chicken! I will get one and make multiple dishes and freeze leftovers for breakfast omlettes and sandwiches. Or I might just freeze it whole and save it for Easter(if I have enough freezer space). Holiday dinner savings! And for the month that holiday arrives this year.
I LOVE “it’s not what you save; it’s what you spend.” This is true genius. Especially important for those who find themselves saying, “I couldn’t afford not to buy it.” Yes you could.
I am as an extreme couponer as I can be. But I am looking for things I can get for free or for 25 to 50 cents. You have to know your “buy price” for everything. For instance, If I have a coupon for $1 off two boxes of cereal, I am not going to get them. But when I can get cereal for less than a dollar a box, that’s my buy price, so I get it. Unless it is something so nasty that I would truly never eat it, like, I don’t know…, Fruity Pebbles or something like that. If the Fruity Pebbles were FREE, I would get them and then just give them away.
One thing to bear in mind, prices in the grocery store are constantly changing. I don’t mean inflation. I mean from one week to the next, the price on the same item goes up and down. So wait for it to go down, and combine that with your coupon, if couponing is your thing.
It is always better too to use coupons with sales items because you can really get a good savings then.
I use coupons. I love using them and getting the free products but sometimes we don’t use them. If it isn’t something we will eat I always donate them. I love trying new foods when they are free or almost free. That way if we don’t like them I don’t feel bad about tossing it in the compost pile. LOL I also enter sweepstakes. Sometimes I win. One time I entered for the $25 gift card but I won the box of free baby food which I didn’t need. I donated it later that month to tornado relief. It made me feel good to be able to help.
Usually with coupons and rebate apps name brand is cheaper than store brand. Sometimes I buy store brand like bread and milk and of course produce. I get about $20-$30 back every 7-10 days and I spend about 60-80 a week so not bad for 6 people and two of them picky eaters.
Mary Ellen Grenier
I don’t know if this is available in the U.S. but here in Quebec Canada we have a few large grocery stores that send food that is past it’s prime but still edible to an outlet that sells the produce to families on low incomes or people who just want to save money on groceries. For 30$ you receive $125 – 150$ of food. There is also a $10 cart that has aprox. $30 of food. You choose what you want. This is a good way for grocery stores to not throw out food that is still good and helps those who need a break from high food costs. Also, there are outlets for bread products which saves money as well. Wish all countries had outlets like this one. Less waste in the dumpsters and land fills…..