Need to save on groceries? These 25 tricks are foolproof!
I’m often told that buying organic groceries is too expensive.
While organic groceries do tend to cost more, you can still save on your weekly grocery budget.
There is no magic to saving money on groceries. All it takes is a little know-how and planning ahead.
Try to use one or two of these tricks every week. Before you know it, you’ll be a grocery saving ninja.
Tackle These 25 Foolproof Tricks to Save on Groceries:
1. MENU PLAN!
Each week, sit down with the sales circular for the store where you plan to shop. Immediately go to the protein (meat) sales.
Since most meals feature a protein in the form of meat, you will save the most when you buy the sale meat and plan your menus around it.
Flip through your cookbooks and online resources to find a recipe that uses that protein that your family will like. Make a shopping list of any ingredients you need to prepare that recipe.
For example, pork roasts may be on sale. I’d flip through my cookbooks to find an appetizing pork roast recipe. From there, I’d add to my grocery shopping list any items I may need to pick up to complete the recipe. Do that for the entire week.
Having a meal plan means less trips to the store, healthier food, and an end to the “What’s For Dinner?” 5:00 pm panic.
Meal Planning Done For You: Need help meal planning? Eat at Home has shopping lists and menus already done for you.
2. Shop WITHOUT Kids
Advertisers know exactly how to attract your kid’s attention with their bright packaging, and grocery stores are experts at displaying impulse purchases right where your kiddos can see them.
Avoid adding extra items to your shopping cart by doing the shopping alone. Then, make sure you stick to your list from your meal plan.
3. Make soups with minimal meat
Did you know soup is actually extra filling? That’s right, soups are more satiating than the same ingredients eaten in solid form!
You can make a filling soups using inexpensive ingredients like frozen vegetables, beans, and grains.
For a True Budget Friendly Soup, Try: Basil Tomato and Rice Soup
4. Use up leftovers
Stop! Don’t throw out those leftovers. Throwing out leftovers is like throwing away money.
Make sure you are regularly looking through your refrigerator to figure out what needs to be eaten before it gets rotten.
5. Minimize food waste
Did you know you can turn your scraps into something your family will eat?
6. Use online ordering and pick-up service
Erma Bombeck once said, “The odds of going to the store to pick up a loaf of bread and only coming home with a loaf of bread is are three billion to one.”
Ordering online means you won’t make impulse purchases in the store. Most stores now have online ordering and pick-up service. Some stores offer it for free, others charge $5.
If you routinely add things to your cart that aren’t on your list, online ordering and pick-up has proven to be an incredibly effective strategy to save on groceries – despite the fees.
7. Invest in a deep freeze
When you have extra freezer space, it allows you to stock up on meats and frozen foods when they go on sale.
You don’t need to buy a brand new freezer. Our freezer came from Craig’s List. You can also look for a scratch and dent appliance to save on a new model.
8. Pay in cash
It’s very difficult to overspend when you pay in cash.
The cash envelope system works well for many families. Add your family’s monthly grocery budget money to an envelope. Use that money to pay for your groceries. This forces you to really watch every penny you spend on groceries.
Have you heard of cow-pooling? It’s where several families go in together to purchase a portion of a cow. You can buy a quarter or a half dependent on the size of your family and your budget.
Cow-pooling is an excellent way to support a local farmer and get grass-fed beef at a reduced price.
10. Check your list against your pantry
Avoid purchasing duplicate items by taking a quick minute to check your pantry and refrigerator against your shopping list.
11. Grow your own
You don’t need to transform your entire lawn to raised beds. I’ve found growing a few containers of our favorite veggies (squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs) has been effective in offsetting our food costs.
12. Buy from the bulk aisle
The bulk aisle offers reduced pricing since there is no packaging involved. Plus, you can buy exactly what you need, even if it is just a tablespoon full.
13. Use cookbooks with simple ingredients
Buying expensive and exotic ingredients for just one recipe can blow your grocery budget. Stick to cookbooks with fresh, wholesome ingredients without a lot of extra ingredients. Your family will still eat well, but you’ll see significant savings.
14. Load coupon and rebate apps onto your phone
15. Make your own snacks like granola bars, hummus, and trail mix
When you make your own snacks, you not only save money over processed foods, you end up with a healthier product since you control the ingredients.
16. Institute a weekly refrigerator clean-out
One night a week, skip the meal plan. Instead, dig through your refrigerator. Find what needs to be eaten and create a meal.
Sure, your meal might look more like a mish mash of odds and ends, but the result will be a better grocery budget.
17. Only use coupons for what you would regularly buy
Coupons are great for saving money. However, don’t add items to your list just because there is a coupon. Only use coupons on items your family will use.
Browse: Each week I round-up all the coupons for organic products.
18. Hunting and Fishing
Many families benefit from the meat and fish they get through hunting and fishing.
19. Try Store or Generic Brands
Store brands and generics are a great way to save on groceries. Store brands are often times the exact same product as the name brand but can be purchased at a lower cost. Look at the bottom and top shelfs to find the off brands.
20. Shop the perimeter of the store and avoid the inner aisles
The inner aisles of the grocery store are packed with processed foods. Stick to the healthy, nutritious whole foods that are located on the perimeter of the store.
21. Senior, Military, or NFL Jersey Discount Days
Make sure you know if your local grocery store offers discounts on certain days. For example, our local grocery store will offer 5% off if you wear your NFL jersey on Sundays.
22. Canning and Freezing
Buying produce in season, when it is at it’s lowest price, then canning or freezing it to use throughout the year can net you significant grocery savings.
Read: 25 Foods You Can Freeze
23. Membership in a Discount Store like Sam’s, Costco, or BJ’s
If your area has a bulk discount store, investigate getting a membership. These stores offer good discounts because of the large quantities you need to buy.
I spent one month buying all my groceries from Costco. I only spent $475 and was able to buy mostly organic products.
Get the Costco Meal Plan: 4 Week Costco Meal Plan
24. Implementing once a month or twice a month only shopping trips
A once a month shopping trip keeps you out of the store and away from adding extra items to your cart. This is a great strategy if you are highly organized.
25. DIY Cleaning and Beauty Products
When you make your own cleaning products like bathroom cleaner and beauty products like natural eye make-up remover, you’ll save money over what you would pay at the grocery store. As an added bonus, these products are non-toxic and better for your family and the environment.
What ways do you save on groceries? Any tricks I missed?