Saving money on groceries has never been more important. The pandemic has driven food costs through the roof. Plus, it is harder than ever to buy what you need to survive and thrive.
As a result, you can find yourself sinking a ton of money into this “necessity” without even realizing it. We may be overlooking how much of our money goes towards groceries, and what is a real need, not a want.
We’re here to tell you that you can save money on your next grocery bill, as well as on your overall food spending. Just follow these tips. They could save you up to half of what you’re spending now!
How to cut your grocery bill in half
These aren’t the only things you can do, but they’re some of the best. They don’t take much time and you might not realize how important they are.
Use a List
How many times have you gone to the grocery store without even really thinking about what you need? Maybe when you arrived you didn’t know whether you had things like milk at home or not. So, you pick some up, only to discover you already have two cartons in the fridge.
We’ve all been guilty of this. It not only causes us to spend more, but also waste more food. We can’t possibly consume the excess before it goes bad. This is why a list is your best friend when it comes to grocery shopping.
Keeping a list is simple. Just have a pen and paper in your kitchen at all times that you can add to throughout the week leading up to your grocery shop. If that’s too old school for you, keep the list in your phone. You can us apps such as Google Keep for a basic list. Conversely, try Google Home. It uses voice recognition so everyone in your family can add items directly into your phone.
One problem with grocery lists is that don’t guarantee you can make a meal from the ingredients. Instead, take things to the next level, save more, and meal plan. Unquestionably, when you build your list off your meal plan ingredients you will spend less and your groceries will go further.
According to research from the University of Pennsylvania, people who can avoid impulse spending when they shop with a list will save up to 23% on their grocery bills.
Eat less meat
Believe it or not, eating healthier has more benefits than just on your body and overall health. It can also lower your grocery bill. Why? Fresh fruit, vegetables, and non-meat products are often cheaper than meat.
Additionally, producing meat uses a lot more resources. If you’re interested in sustainability, health, and nutrition, plant-based foods could help protect the planet and your health.
Choose your grocery store wisely
Grocery stores differ, so don’t automatically shop at the one that is closest to you. It might seem convenient, but they won’t necessarily sell what you use at the best price.
It’s easier than you might think with online shopping today. It is even more true if you collect points that you can use for free deliveries or pick ups.
At the very least, look for a grocery store that offers price match. That way, if you see another store has an item you use on sale, your store will offer the same price.
This doesn’t mean you have to scour through countless flyers either. Flipp is an app that easily lets you browse flyers from many different stores. All you need to do is pin the deals you want to act on.
Choose generic brands
Generic brands offer similar (or better) products at a much lower price. The packaging is often boring, but the quality and value they offer is often exceptional.
For instance, Walmart’s Great Value products and President’s Choice goods could be big chain versions of the same products you already use. If you’re not sure, read the label. You may even find things you like even better than what you’ve bought for years.
Stop buying pre-made meals
Buying pre-made meals at the grocery store is definitely convenient. However, they are seldom economical or healthy. We will discuss meal prepping later in this article, so you can learn how to break the packaged meal habit and buy better instead.
We don’t mean you need to go into prepper mode and lock down for survival. However, when you see a good sale on non-perishables you use regularly, stock up on these items.
Stockpile staples in your pantry, fridge and freezer. Think long-lasting flavorful or nutrient-dense items like rice, pasta, beans, canned tomatoes and sauce, soups, frozen veggies, etc. These are staples that can easily be incorporated into a lot of recipes, and when you catch them on sale or buy in bulk, you can save.
As mentioned, meal prepping and planning can save you money. You are more likely to eat healthier and less likely to pick up fast food, which also saves you money.
Start Meal Prepping
A lot of people think they just don’t have the time to meal prepping. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t dismiss it before you understand your time and energy commitment. If you get into the habit of planning before you shop, it will save you time AND money. Plus, you’ll know what you’re going to eat for three meals a day, every day. There will be no more of “what should I make for dinner?” when you’re tired and uninspired.
To get started, build a meal planning strategy. This makes meal prepping less daunting and a lot easier for you to stick to. Here are some steps to follow when building out your strategy:
Draw a two column template that leaves room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for every day of the week on the left, and a grocery list on the right.
Fill in any meals that have already been accounted for such as that special birthday dinner at a restaurant or a lunch meeting for work.
Take stock of what’s in your fridge and pantry and figure out as many meals as possible from the ingredients you have in your home. If you have leftovers, don’t forget to include them in your plan so they don’t go to waste.
If you have some ingredients, but can’t make a meal, that’s okay. Include them in your meal plan and then add any new items you need to your grocery list to complete the meal. For example, you might have burgers in the freezer, but you need cheese and buns.
Lastly, fill in any blank spots with new meals. Need inspiration? Check out Pinterest of meal prepping websites for some super easy recipes. They’re great resources to utilize ingredients you already have too.
Simplify your planning process with themes
To keep things easy, assign a category based on days of the week. Try Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Crockpot Wednesday, etc. and mix the recipes up each week to keep things exciting.
Double recipes when possible
Make more than you need and then freeze the leftovers or use them for lunch the next day. It’s easier and more economical than preparing new dishes for every meal.
As you can see, you have plenty of tools at your disposal to help you lower your grocery bill and food expenses. Any savings in this area of your budget area can go towards something else you want or need.
What are your biggest tips for saving money on your grocery and food expenses? Share them with us!