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Budgeting is hard when you’re not used to it! Budgeting for groceries can especially get difficult. Here are simple ways to save money on groceries and to make a little extra money on the side just by shopping for your groceries!
I’ve read them all.
“How my family of 6 lives on $50/week groceries”
“How you can save $200 extra a month on groceries”
“Cut your grocery bill in half!”
I’ve tried the tips and tested them for my family. It takes discipline, planning, and organization for your meal planning and grocery shopping to get your grocery bill that low.
Sometimes, I have the drive to save a ton on my grocery bill, but most times I fall short. I’ve tried planning meals around grocery store sale cycles and cutting coupons. But most of the time we’d need groceries, I didn’t want to spend a ton of time planning the meals, scouring the ads, cutting the corresponding coupons to save. I didn’t have that time in my day!
If you have that time and drive every time you get groceries, this article probably isn’t for you.
It wasn’t realistic for my family, so I’ve found some simple ways to save money on groceries for those who don’t have the time to plan in-depth ahead of time.
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Simple ways to save money on groceries
1. No way around this, you have to meal plan!
I’m not talking a big elaborate plan. I simply print out a month calendar, stick it on my fridge and plan things out by week. This way I can see what we’ve already had and get inspiration on the days I can’t think of something to do for dinner!
If you don’t plan out your meals, you’ll skip getting a key ingredient needed or decide to eat out instead of cook at home since no one wants to figure out what’s to eat.
2. Make a list!
You can’t expect to save money on groceries without a list. This one you can’t get around! You need to make a grocery list so you don’t forget anything that you need for dinners that week!
We always have our staples on our list like milk, fruit, bread, eggs, but if I go to a store without a list, I end up over spending and forgetting ingredients I need for dinners that week.
3. Use money saving apps!
It’s so easy to use Ibotta and save money on groceries! This is the one app I whole heatedly recommend to everyone for grocery shopping!
If your not using it, you need to! Ibotta’s newest app makes it easy to redeem your receipts.
I use Ibotta as my own little “savings account” towards Christmas gifts each year. So I cash it out every December to use towards gifts! So far, since January, 2017, I’ve earned $182.85! (That’s in 8 months time!)
Checkout 51 is another app available for grocery rebates. I don’t use this app as much as Ibotta, but it still gets you money back for your grocery purchases!
It’s worth downloading the app onto your phone and scanning their selection to see if they have the groceries you are already buying available for a rebate.
I always make it part of my routine to scan both Ibotta and Checkout 51 to see if they have what I’m already going to purchase on there and make sure I “clip” that deal so it’s in my account and I can redeem it later!
4. Use grocery pick-up
Walmart has grocery pick-up now available in our area and it has been a game changer for our family!
It makes it so easy to order with the Walmart grocery app and stay within our weekly budget because we can see the amount we’re spending before we checkout!
It’s not available at all Walmart locations, but it’s worth checking to see if it’s available in your location!
I’ve noticed that other grocery stores around our area has come out with curbside grocery pickup and/or grocery delivery since Walmart began the curbside pickup in our area!
They all need to compete with each other and in the end, the consumer is winning for the convenience of grocery pickup!
5. Buy toiletries from Amazon Pantry/Subscribe and Save
Any of our toiletries we use on a regular basis, we have shipped to us free of charge with Amazon Subscribe and Save.
Benefits of Subscribe and Save
- I have my account set up for the products I want shipped regularly.
- I chose how often.
- It’s very easy to cancel or switch around right online in your account.
- You get a percentage off for each product in subscribe and save.
If you don’t want to continue an investment with Amazon Prime ($99/year), you can search Amazon’s products for Amazon Pantry. With Pantry, they require you to fill up a box before it’s shipped out. (Each product fills up a certain percentage in your box if it’s available with Pantry)
6. Use cash to pay
If you’re going to the grocery store. Budget out how much you are going to spend each month on groceries and get that in cash.
Once your cash is gone, you either have to borrow from other budget categories, or switch up what you are purchasing.
Since I order online with Walmart’s grocery pickup, we use our debit card to pay for those purchases, but I track how much we spent on our groceries and deduct that amount out of the grocery cash budget for those quick trips when we need extra milk or we ran out of something else.
7. Buy generic on the brands where it doesn’t matter
This is an easy way to save money on groceries. You can go all out and always buy generic brands, but for some people, like us, sometimes the generic brand tastes much worse.
We go with generic for where it doesn’t matter. Like our soy sauce or pasta noodles. To us, the taste doesn’t change if it’s generic or name brand, so we always go cheaper here!
8. Do a quick comparison for price per ounce.
The price tags on the shelves always has the price per ounce labeled next to the whole price. And usually, the bigger packaging of items are right next to the smaller packaging of the same brand.
If it’s something you would use all of before it goes bad, go with the bigger amount that is less per ounce.
If you will not use up the bigger amount, it most likely isn’t worth getting the bigger packaging!
9. Invest in an extra freezer
We bought a small chest freezer to keep in our garage for extra meats. We’ll stock up on meat if it’s on sale and freeze it.
That way, we’re not buying meat every time we go shopping and it cuts down on the amount we spend.
This goes with the extra meats. If we buy a big package of meat, we’ll cut it down into smaller portions before freezing it so we can pull the portion size we need without needing to thaw all of it.
You don’t have to get a top of the line food saver, but a decent one that’s not going to break on you after a month of use, is helpful! We’ve had good luck with the FoodSaver brand and have had ours for 7 years now!
11. Use your leftovers!
My family never uses up all the ground beef whenever we cook it up, so I’ll split it up after browning it, and use the leftovers for our meal the next day.
I know what my family will use all of and what we won’t so when making our meal plan, I’ll schedule 2 nights in a row that uses up the ingredient we’ll have leftovers of.
By implementing all the tips, you will save money on groceries. These aren’t difficult to implement each time you go grocery shopping. Once you get in a routine, you’ll find it’s simple to save money on groceries.