Listen I get it, we all gotta eat. I love food (especially tacos). However, that doesn't mean we can't find ways to save money on groceries while still eating good.
It's actually pretty common for people to overspend on groceries:
Did you know that on average people are spending $240/person or more per month on groceries, not including dining out? That's $2,880 per year for each person in your family.
If you follow the simple tips below to learn how to lower your grocery bill, you can quickly drop that number to $150 per person and save over $1,000 per person each year.
In this post, I'm going to show you how to save money on groceries by breaking it down into three steps. I'll show you what to do:
- Before you go grocery shopping
- While you're grocery shopping; and
- Once you get home from the grocery store
So without further ado, let's get into it!
Before You Go Grocery Shopping
1. Organize Your Kitchen
Before you even think about going to the grocery store, organize your kitchen. This will be a pain in the ass, but it will be worth it.
First, you may find that you don't even need to go grocery shopping yet because you have enough food to last a few more days.
Second, if you need to go grocery shopping, you'll be easily able to see what you need and what you already have.
Third, it's going to save you a ton of time in the future when you're putting away groceries.
2. Use What You Have
According to the National Resources Defense Council, on average, American families throw out around 25 percent of the food and drinks they buy. For an average household of four, this equals an estimated loss of $1,350 to $2,275 annually.
Would you throw money into the garbage?
Now that you've organized your kitchen it should be easy for you to take inventory of what you have an what's about to expire. Head over to supercook.com, insert your ingredients, and it will give you a ton of recipe options based on what you have.
3. Eat Something
Have you ever gone shopping on an empty stomach and bought every delicious looking thing you could find? This is fun no doubt, but it's not going to help you save money on groceries.
A simple but effective grocery saving tip is to eat something BEFORE you go, then you won't be tempted to impulse buy those delicious looking snacks.
4. Plan Your Meals
You could come up with a meal plan yourself, but doing so can be annoying, boring and time-consuming. It's also not an easy task coming up with new, healthy meals every day of the week.
This is why a lot of families are signing up for the $5 Meal Plan. For only $5 a month (2-week free trial for a limited time here), you'll get a grocery list and meal plan sent to you every week (it's customizable too). Also, the meals cost $2 per person or LESS which is pretty much unbeatable.
For $5 a month, you free up the time you used to spend planning meals, and you save thousands a year on groceries, could it get any better?
Remember you can always try it for free for two weeks to see if you like it.
5. Make a List
Whenever I go to the grocery store without a list, I wander around the aisles hoping that what I need will just appear in front of me. Sometimes this works, but most of the time I end up buying things I don't need, wasting time, and then getting home and realizing I forgot several things I did need.
Don't be like me, plan out your grocery shops by making a grocery list. This will save you time spent in the grocery store and money spent on food you don't need.
If you're part of the $5 Meal Plan, you'll get a grocery list sent to you every week, so this will be easy peasy.
One more tip:
Stick to your list! It's not going to help you save money if you end up buying a bunch of junk that you don't need anyway.
6. Add Your Offers
Now that you've made your list and checked it twice, it's time to find some savings.
There are several awesome apps you can use to earn cashback on groceries, but these are my top two:
- iBotta (free $10 if you sign up)
- Checkout 51 ($5 sign up bonus) (Available in U.S. AND Canada) (Full review)
Want to stack your savings even more? Check out these other apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51.
Get on those apps before you go to the grocery store and see if there are offers for anything on your list.
If you're planning you're own meals and not using the $5 Meal Plan then you may want to look for offers first and then plan your meals. It's easy to remember cause it rhymes: check the deals, plan the meals.
Related Article: 15 Apps That Pay You To Shop
While You're At The Grocery Store
7. Lone Wolf It
When you go shopping with your kids or significant other, you're more likely to buy items that aren't on your grocery list.
It'll be less fun, but go solo to save money and time.
8. Shop With Cash
Studies have shown that when you use a credit card, you're more likely to impulse buy AND buy less healthy food at the grocery store.
By going to the grocery store with $50 in cash in your pocket, you'll be much less likely to impulse buy because you simply can't afford to. You'll also buy more healthy food because it feels a lot better handing over cash for stuff that's good for you, like fruits and veggies, then stuff that's bad for you, like ice cream and Twinkies.
If you've already established your budget, you should know exactly how much cash you can take out for groceries each month.
If you don't already have one, you should look into starting a budget.
9. Use Coupons
Coupons have been around since, well, a long ass time.
They're still one of the best ways to save money.
Also, check out CouponSurfer for more free printable coupons, they've got a section just for groceries.
10. Use a Calculator
You don't have to bring out your fancy graphing calculator from high school for this, don't be silly.
All you need is that handy calculator app on your phone. All you're going to do with it is keep a tab on how much all your groceries are going to cost as you shop.
This way if you have a grocery budget you can be sure you won't go over it.
11. Avoid Certain Aisles
There are some aisles that I just try to avoid like the cookie aisle because I'm always tempted to buy something I don't need when I go down them. By avoiding these aisles, you avoid unplanned purchases, save time, and save money by sticking to your shopping list.
12. Buy Produce That's In Season
Around a quarter of your grocery budget should be spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. This is good for your health, but it can be hard on your wallet if you're not smart about what you buy.
Try to stick to what's in season because it'll be a lot cheaper. You can always stock up and freeze things like strawberries.
13. Check Expiry Dates
Too many times have I bought something from the grocery store forgetting to check the expiry date, and gotten home only to find out it expires the next day.
Check the products near the back of the shelves because they're usually the freshest.
14. Buy No-Name or Store Brand
“Ew, no-name brand? Gross.”
Not so fast.
Yeah, some no-name brand or store brand products don't taste as good as the real deal. However, some are practically identical to the real brand, and they're cheaper. If you're trying to save money on groceries, give the no-name and store brands a chance.
15. Look High and Low
Grocery stores typically place the most expensive items on the middle shelves because it's where most people look. Don't fall for their tricks!
Check the top and bottom shelves too because they're lonely, dusty, and they could save you money.
16. Find The Best Place to Grocery Shop
As you do your next grocery shops, try to visit different stores in your area and write down the prices of these everyday items. You may find that you could save more money by going to a different store.
For example, if each of your bi-weekly shops usually cost you $150 but a new store could lower that to $125, you'd be saving $600 a year.
This task could take a few hours, but would you do a few hours of work to save $600 a year?
17. Buy In Bulk
You can save a lot of money buying certain things in bulk especially during promos and sales.
If you buy household goods at the grocery store (e.g., toilet paper, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent) try to buy these products in bulk because they won't go bad and it will be cheaper and time-saving.
For food just remember to have a plan on how/where you're going to store whatever you buy. Also, make sure you only buy what you can finish, don't want to have to throw anything out cause that's what I call a food funeral. So sad.
Helpful post: 9 Foods To Buy In Bulk To Save Money
18. Price Match
You may not know it, but lot's of grocery stores offer price matching programs. That means they'll match prices if you can prove another store is selling the same item for cheaper.
For example, Walmart offers a price match policy if you find a lower price from an online retailer on an identical, in-stock product. If you can search flyers and online stores to find cheaper prices, price matching is a great way to save money on groceries.
You'll also save gas & time because you won't be driving around to different grocery stores to get better prices.
When You Get Home From Grocery Shopping
19. Scan Those Receipts
20. Store Food Properly
If you followed rule #1 and organized your kitchen, this will be easy because you'll already know where everything needs to go.
If you're unsure whether something should be in the pantry or the fridge, or you want to know how long something will last in the freezer, check out food storage 101 for a quick guide.
Or, if you have some more time on your hands, check out this in-depth food storage and preservation guide from Groom and Style.
21. Watch for Price Drops
Just like how some grocery stores offer price matching, some also offer a price drop policy.
What this means is that if you buy something for $20 and then a week later it's selling for $10, you can go back to the store and get a refund for the difference (in this case, $10).
If you don't have time to constantly check for price drops, Paribus can do it for you automatically.
If you were to only follow one rule from this post, it should be to have a plan. Without one you're going to waste time wandering down every aisle, you're going to make impulse buys that are going to rot in your fridge later on, or you're going to be buying processed TV dinners that are awful for you and your wallet.
I already mentioned it above, but I feel the need to mention the $5 Meal Plan again. Thousands of families are already loving it and how could you not?
An average meal out costs $15, compared to the $2 per person that the $5 Meal Plan offers. The annual savings are over two thousand dollars, and that's not even counting the hours you would save each week on meal planning and grocery list-making.
With a free two week trial, there's no excuse not to try it.
One more thing:
Don't forget to reward yourself.
I love saving money and eating healthy and all that good stuff, but don't be too strict on yourself. Relax and treat yourself because you deserve it!