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I’m always looking into new ways of saving money at home. Most people start looking into monthly bills when they want to start saving more money. But, what about the grocery shopping?
Did you know that in 2015, U.S. households spent an average of $7,023 (12.5 percent of income) on food? (Source: BLS) That’s an average of $585 per month which is a lot!
We may don’t realize, but food waste can cost you an average of $53 per month. A recent study proved that U.S. households trash $640 in food a year.
Important note: I want to make clear that saving money on groceries doesn’t mean to have an unbalanced diet. At home, we always choose health over money, and that’s why we truly believe that a healthy lifestyle and saving money on groceries can be combined.
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In this post, I’m sharing some ways you can save money on your grocery shopping. After all, the less you spend, the more you save!
Before we get started, I recommend you to sign up for free to Paribus. Paribus gets you money back when prices drop (it actually will track the prices of the items you purchased and claim for refund on your behalf). Last month I got over $50 money back. You can sign up to Paribus here.
This list helped us to cut down our groceries expenses up to 50% (some months even more).
1) Create a menu
Creating a menu is one of the best ways to save money. The reason is simple, you will buy only what you need for your menu. If you go shopping weekly, plan the menu for 7 days.
This is also great to have a balanced healthy diet because you’ll be able to plan when to eat proteins, hydrocarbons, and vitamins.
If you feel like you struggle to create a menu, you can go for the $5 Meal Plan. The $5 Meal Plan is a weekly meal plan service that can make your meal planning as simple as possible. For just $5 a month, they will send you a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less. This will save you money, time and stress.
You can try the 14-Day trial of the $5 meal plan here.
2) Use coupons and loyalty cards
Coupons are of great value to any grocery shopper. Sometimes you can get 30 cents, other times may be a few dollars, every little count. Last month I saved nearly $50 just from coupons. I know it may don’t look like a lot but month after month, it adds up.
Loyalty cards are highly recommended too (I have for all the supermarkets I buy). You’ll receive extra coupons once in a while, and during some promotions, you can get better discounts.
You can join Swagbucks here (and get free 100SB).
Note: supermarket loyalty cards store your data (name, address, etc) and they can sell it to third party companies for marketing purposes. I think you should know it before applying. In my case, I don’t mind, I have nothing to hide.
3) Buy seasonal products
Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to stay healthy. However, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can be expensive, but it can be cheap too. It depends on what and when you buy it.
Buying strawberries out of season can cost you up to 4 times more than when you get them during the seasonal time. This applies to most of the fruits.
Try to stick to fruits and veggies that are in season. You’ll not only save money but will enjoy the best flavour of local farmers crops. Products out of season generally are imported from other countries and have been exposed to more chemicals during transportation.
4) Check for sales
Each of the products you buy always has at least one brand which is on sale. If you are not too picky with the brand you consume, you can always go for the one which is on sale.
Alternatively, if you only consume a specific brand, you can always wait until it’s on sale and stock them at home. For example, I’m a coffee lover and I can’t live without my Douwe Egberts. I know (by observation) that they go on sale once every 3 months. What I do is to buy and stock coffee for three months.
If you do the same for all the food that can stay for long periods, you’ll save a lot of money. Plus, you’ll be ready for a zombie apocalypse 🙂
5) Avoid daily shopping
As mentioned in the first point, aim to but weekly or bi-weekly. If you are like me, you’ll be tempted to buy things you don’t need every time you go to the supermarket. I can fight it once a week, but if I go every day, I will fall into temptation and buy unnecessary food.
Most of the fresh food can stay in good conditions for up to a week, so you don’t really need a daily shop. Plus, if you shop weekly, you’ll also save time.
6) Buy what you need
This is probably the most important strategy to save money on groceries but it’s also the most difficult one.
Do you know what you need? If you don’t have a menu, it’s difficult to predict how much food you’ll need to the whole week. That’s why having a weekly menu is highly recommended.
The $5 Meal Plan will send you a tasty meal plan for the whole week with a list of what you need for the next 7 days. So if you follow it, you will buy just exactly what you need. No more starve or food wasted.
Remember that if you buy more than what you need, there will be two possible scenarios; you’ll end up with food waste, or you’ll consume more than what you need (you’ll put weight on which may lead to bad consequences).
More ways of saving money on groceries
7. Buy generic items
8. The cheapest products are generally at the bottom selves
9. A whole chicken is cheaper than prepared pieces
10. Keep track of your expenses
11. Budget your grocery shopping
12. Buy at cheap grocery stores
13. Create an inventory of your goods at home (so you don’t buy duplicates)
14. Shop after your meal (shopping when you’re hungry may be a great mistake)
15. Check the farmer’s market
16. Compare prices between stores
17. Use your own bags (it’s a few cents but it adds up)
18. Make a grocery list
19. Sign up for Swagbucks for discounts
20.Leave kids at home (and focus on shopping)
21. Buy in bulk
22. Use your phone calculator (and buy by weight, not by units)
23. Drink tap water or filter it instead of buying bottled water
24. Check your receipt (sometimes cashiers make mistakes)
25. Some goods are cheaper after holidays (like pumpkins after Halloween)
26. Find good deals on clearance
27. Better frozen than pre-cooked
28. Canned food tends to be cheaper
29. Pre-Washed salads are more expensive, make your own salad
30. Use Apps to organize your shopping
31. Sign up to stores email newsletters
32. Sign up for Ebates to get discounts
33. Don’t throw away leftovers, reuse them
34. Grow your own vegetables (I do it and it’s the best!)
36. Clean out your fridge and cupboards regularly
37. Sign up for TopCashBack to get up to 6% discount
38. Be aware of expiring dates
39. Freeze meat and fish when they are at discount
40. Cook casseroles, they are cheaper
41. Not everything on sale is a good deal
42. Price match
43. Buy food online
Make sure you apply more than one of these strategies
Saving money on groceries is a matter of consistency and perseverance. You’ll start seeing results if you apply a few of these strategies and with time you’ll master it.
If you feel like you don’t have time to prepare your weekly menu, you should try the $5 Meal Plan.
The $5 Meal Plan is a weekly meal plan service that can make your meal planning as simple as possible. For just $5 a month, they will send you a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less. This will save you money, time and stress.
How do you save money on groceries? Do you apply all of these strategies? Would you add anything to the list?