If you’ve ever looked at your grocery bill and been shocked at the price you just paid for your food, these money saving grocery tips are sure to help.
Besides couponing, there are many ways to save quite a bit of money on food. Whilst cutting out loads of coupons may save you good money, it can be a bit of hassle if you’re busy, and don’t want to spend all your time mixing and matching items to get the reduced cost. Don’t get me wrong, couponing can work, but there are much bigger things to look when you’re wanting to save serious money on your grocery bill.
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Money Saving Grocery Tip #1
This is one money saving tip I learnt the hard way. One thing I always notice when staying at people’s homes or even making my own meals for work are the portion sizes. Too much food on the plate, and you’re stuck with leftovers. Too little food, and you’re reaching for unhealthy snacks to fill you up.
When we make our meals, often we will over estimate just how much food needs to be prepared. Have you ever cooked so much pasta it could feed a small village? Yep. That’s me!
Finding the right portion sizes for you and your family if you have one can make the difference between having an extra $20-50 extra a week. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says that the average American wastes $2,200 a year on food. That’s a LOT of leftovers.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to aim for 1 fist-sized portion of meat or protein, 1 handful of carbohydrates and 2 handfuls of veggies or fruit per meal, per person. This is just a general guide but it gives you an idea.
Tailor your portion sizes, try some meal planning for the week, and see how much money you can save just by cutting back on leftovers.
Money Saving Grocery Tip #2
Speaking of meal planning, it’s a fantastic way to save money on your grocery bill. In case you’re new to meal planning, meal planning enables you to know exactly what you’re going to eat in what amount and when each day.
Plus, this helps you to create a grocery list and only shop for the items you really need. How many times have you walked into Walmart or Trader Joe’s with an open basket and gone wild, even though ‘you were only looking for a few things’?
The thing with supermarkets is that they are designed to get you to impulse buy things you don’t really need. Ever noticed the rack of items at the front of the store with items slashed to 50% of their original price? How about the freshly baked cookies, donuts and breads near the entrance? Or the candy aisles next to the checkout?
They’re all there to get you to rack up your grocery bill. By meal planning, you’re keeping to a strict list, and therefore will save money (providing you stick to it!).
Oh and another pro tip I’ve learnt from many fitness trainers like Charlene Johnson over the years, don’t go to the grocery story hungry! You will fill your shopping cart with way more than you need.
Money Saving Grocery Tip #3
This neat little budgeting habit will make sure you only spend your allotted budget on your grocery shopping.
The cash envelope system, courtesy of personal finance expert, Dave Ramsey, means that you divide your budget into different spending categories i.e food, home, bills, clothing etc, and only spend that amount of money during the month. Whenever you go grocery shopping, you’ll want to take cash, not card, so as to prevent you from overspending.
A study by Business Insider showed that on average, people spend 100% more on their card than they do with cash.
Money Saving Grocery Tip #4
There are some food items and products that automatically command a higher price so you’ll want to limit these to every other meal.
Meat. When I lived in Geneva in Switzerland, I had to become a vegetarian. Why? Because the meat was SO expensive. For just 1 chicken fillet, I would pay 15 CHF which is the equivalent to 16 USD! Whilst this isn’t the same in the US or the UK, the same concept applies.
Meat products massively hike up your grocery bill, especially if you’re used to more premium cuts. To combat this, either add in some vegetarian meals, limit your meat intake, or bulk buy your meat for the week in a more cost effective way. Kid’s specially made chicken shapes for example cost way more than the same amount of chicken would cost if you bought a whole chicken and carved off some slices.
The cheapest meat product? Chicken. Plus, it’s a leaner meat than beef for example so better for your health.
Second food item is nuts. Nuts can be very expensive. If you want to buy nuts, make sure to buy them in bulk bags at places such as Costco, Walmart or Trader Joe’s. Those little snack sized packets can cost in excess of $3-4! To prevent them going stale once opened, divide the bag into snack sized portions and pop them in air tight freezer bags. Plus, this will also save you extra calories from over snacking!
The third thing to limit is alcohol. Alcohol is a budget killer. One bottle of ‘drinkable’ wine can cost $20-35. For some people that’s nearly a week’s budget. Keep alcohol as a treat not a staple to slash your grocery bill. Or when you have a bit of extra money to spend, buy a bottle and then stash it away. Keep a bit of a stockpile so as to offset the costs later on when your budget is tighter.
Money Saving Grocery Tip #5
So here’s a tip most people are reluctant to follow, especially when we’ve got used to certain brands. But, brand loyalty may be upping your grocery bill without you ever realising. If you’ve ever reached for the branded, well known ketchup over Walmart’s own or smaller, home brands you could be needlessly spending more money. 9 times out of 10 they taste exactly the same!
Sometimes, they even have the same supplier. So you really are paying more money for a label. Try out the store brands and see if you like them. You could save yourself anywhere between $50-100+ a month just by swapping out brands.
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