Saving on Groceries

 

 

Saving on Groceries

I knew when we decided that I would stay home that we would have to tighten our purse strings. I didn’t want to have to change our standard of living too terribly much. We weren’t going to be living on ramen noodles if I could help it.  Before even Squeak was born we would have a monthly budget of around $500 for the two of us.  Looking back I can’t even fathom the amount of food that was wasted every month.  As of January of this year, saving on groceries has taken top priority.

We were also shopping twice a month for our big trips and then stopping by the grocery store several times a week to pick up extras.  So much money wasted.  Genuinely hurts my feelings in reflection.  Of course, I’m still tweaking our schedules while I’m adjusting to the once monthly paycheck.  I’m thinking that we will continue with our large, staple buying trip and then maybe one additional trip for produce.  If anyone has tips on how to make produce last a month, I’m all ears.

So what have I done to drop our monthly spending $200 a month after adding our wee one?

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Shop Sales

This is absolutely critical to saving on groceries.  I try to buy as little as possible when something is not on sale.  Of course if you need it, then try to buy it for the best price you can find.  Sometimes this means stocking up on staples while skimping on other staples, but it usually evens out.  Also, speak with the butchers and find out when they mark down their products.  Marked down meats are safe to consume immediately or freeze for later.  We got lucky and racked up this month because we timed our trip just right.

Use Coupons

I wish I could be one of these extreme couponers, but that has never worked out in my favor.  I also don’t need 20 bottles of shampoo at a time.  However, most store typically run sales that match up with that week’s coupons.  I did have a problem in the past where I would buy something just because I had a coupon.  That is not the best way to do it.  Especially if said product is not something you would typically eat.  Now, if I’m buying something any way, I’ll use a coupon.  A lot of stores now have apps that automatically connect your selected coupons to your account.  This has been a time saver for me.

Start a Price Book

This is a bit of a tedious task, however, we’ve benefitted from it recently.  Right now, my price book only covers meat, but I’m working towards expanding it to cover our staples.  Check sales ads and when you see a sales price, write it down.  Eventually you’ll have a book with the lowest prices for items you normally purchase.  Once or twice a year almost everything gets to its lowest price.  When that time comes you will be able to stock up.  Trust me, it is so frustrating to buy something and then see a better price the following week.

Purchase the Family Size Packs

Not always, but generally there is a better price per unit on the family packs of meat.  So we try to purchase those whenever possible versus the smaller packs.  Of course, this does not mean that you should buy the largest packs of everything.  You don’t want to waste any of the food and if you buy more than you eat, then it could get thrown away and that’s not good.  Playing off of this point…

Break Down and Freeze/Store

This has been a struggle of mine for a while, but I am doing better about it.  Take the time and break down larger packages of meat into portions that fit your family.  We don’t need 6 chicken breasts, but before I would just throw it in the freezer and once it thawed I’d have to cook it all.  This can also be done for produce that is in season and at its lowest price.  Corn 2/$1 – stock up, break them down, blanche and freeze them and save them for later.

Saving on Groceries, Grocery Budget
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Grow a Supplemental Garden

If you have the space, this is an excellent means of adding to your diet without taking too much from your pocket.  Of course, not every has the room for a full size garden, but even some container gardening is beneficial.  If you like tomatoes, plant tomatoes in a container on your patio.  Every little bit helps and it is fun for children to become involved in the process.  Farmer’s markets are also an excellent place to get produce and depending upon where you live, you can get excellent prices.

Meal Plan

This is another one of my weak points, but I am working on it.  If you know ahead of time what you’re planning to make, you can better prepare your list.  OR if you prefer to shop sales and then make your meal plan so you’ve got your ingredients and nothing goes to waste.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish my post on meal planning soon.  Shelby with Little Coffee Fox has an excellent post about starting a recipe bank here.

** Update **

Make a List!

I have no clue how I managed to miss this because this is my absolute #1.  I list everything especially groceries otherwise I tend to wander around aimlessly and buy what I think I need (usually ends up being something that I want, but don’t need).  Nowadays, most big grocery stores have their own apps and you can even make and keep your lists within the app (which also has coupons) so it is extra helpful and can save time.  I most always have my phone with me and usually leave my lists at home.

What are your favorite money saving solutions while grocery shopping?

 

 

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27 Replies to “Saving on Groceries”

  1. Shelley Woods says: Reply

    I can count on two hands the number of times I have grocery shopped without a list. Menu planning is easy. To plan for a week (or week and a half if you eat leftovers), choose four desserts, two baked and two fruit-based. Alternate meats from beef to chicken to fish to pork, though we have bypassed chicken this week since I got a good deal on a large amount of ground chuck. I would include meatless meals though some in my house would not. Choose a few family favorites and look online or through cookbooks/magazines for inspiration. I always give myself a challenge as well of cooking something new. This week is gluten-free pita bread and ratatouille.

    1. SamanthaOSummers says: Reply

      I didn’t even think about putting having a list on there. That’s definitely in the top 10 ways to save money, though.

  2. These are all really great tips. Shopping at the grocery store, for almost anything, can really add up.

  3. I love the idea of keeping a book like that! Also I don’t know why I never thought to break down meat before freezing. You’re right– we normally will buy 2 lbs of ground beef and use a half pound and freeze the rest. The next time we use it we are making 1.5 lbs of taco meat for two people lol! Thanks for the good ideas!

  4. Great tips! I’m always trying to find a way to save money on groceries, since it is by far our largest expense and we are also on one income. Another tip I have found incredibly useful is to plan your meals around similar ingredients when applicable. For example, if I’m making hamburgers, I know we’re not going to use all the lettuce and tomato up, so I plan to do tacos or BLTs the next night, if I know there’s going to be leftover chicken, I plan for chicken and noodles to follow up, and so on. It’s amazing how little changes like paying attention to sale prices and paying attention to what you’ll actually use can make!

    1. I love this! I don’t think I do it as often as I should, but it is one of my goals for this year. That and then the people who can remake leftovers into something else entirely.

  5. I’m currently doing couponing and meal planning. Thanks for sharing the other tips on how to save on groceries. I’m always looking for ways to save money any way I can.

    1. Same here. I know I definitely need to step up my meal planning and couponing game.

  6. This post has great tips. Cutting back takes training but is definitely beneficial. I agree having a list is key. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t get bought.

  7. Great tips, especially the one about coupons! One of my favorite things to do is look through the newspaper on the weekend and find awesome deals! xoxo

  8. Wonderful tips! I agree a list/catalog is one of the best lines of defense when wanting to stay on track and save money. I also do 99% of my shopping at Aldi, it is just my husband and I and we save so much money!

    erika || http://www.entirelyerika.com

    1. I’ve heard so many good things about Aldi. Don’t think we have one within 100 miles of us so boo on that.

  9. Coupons are a great way to save money! Also, there are lots of apps where you can earn cash back, but I always forget to use them and upload my receipts!

    1. Same here, I always forget to do my receipts too.

  10. I love your tips! I have been trying to stick to a grocery budget and it is super hard!

    1. It definitely is! But I promise it is well worth it!

  11. The price book is a really good idea! I meal plan and shop once a week. I try to stick to just my list and it definitely helps me save money. I also like knowing that I’m not wasting food by planning ahead.

    1. Food waste is one of my biggest problems and peeves. I’m still not perfect at eliminating it, but it has been greatly reduced.

  12. Use coupons, use coupons, use coupons – and check out great websites like mine to help you! 🙂

  13. Also make lists! When I shop blindly I always spend so much more. This is a great list!

    1. Yes! I usually leave them at home and do the same.

  14. These are fantastic tips! Thank you for sharing them! I think I need to print this!!! I hate food wasted, but sadly, I’ve been havin to throw food away (totally not cool with that). I’m sure this list will help me reduce that waste! Thank you! 🙂

  15. My weakness is meal planning as well. I wish I could motivate myself to get into it, lol.

  16. Meal planning and breaking big packages down are the two big ones for me. Maybe I just don’t know how to do it right, but I quit couponing because it didn’t seem worth it to spend and hour searching and clipping to save a buck or two.

    1. Breaking the meat down is an absolute huge money saver for us. Well worth the hour’s time after shopping. I don’t have the energy to scour papers for the huge discounts either. Wish Flirida doubled coupons, that would be fantastic.

  17. and especially if, like me, you need to eat allergy-free (ladies and gentlemen, it can be done!)

  18. I’m glad to report that this has helped me a ton! Especially the breakdown and freeze/store. I’m no longer throwing away food which is a huge relief! Thank you for this great list! 🙂

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