Figuring out how to save money on groceries is one of those things that can have a massive effect on your finances.
After all, it’s all well and good to try to save a couple of dollars here and there.
But when you’re able to consistently save $300 each month, that very quickly adds up to incredible savings over time.
It literally means that a few small changes will allow you to save almost $4,000 in a year.
It’s not even about buying less. Instead, it’s about buying smart.
And as an awesome side benefit, I easily saved more than 20 hours in shopping and food prep time over the month when using these tips and tricks.
(Honestly, there are times – like when I get home from work absolutely exhausted and don’t have to stand in the kitchen for an hour – when I think I may be more excited about the time saved than the money saved…)
I also massively improved my diet. I went from grabbing a snack from the cafe in my office building or picking up a chocolate bar when I went to the supermarket to consistently eating good, fresh, healthy food.
So if it’s good for your wallet, your watch and your waistline, then you should definitely look into implementing these strategies in your own life!
7 ways to save money on groceries
1. Don’t go into a supermarket without a list
Going to a supermarket without a list results in a few different outcomes:
- You think you need something so you buy it – when actually you already have three of them in the cupboard at home
- You forget to buy something, meaning that you have to go back to the supermarket later in the week
- You buy something “just in case” that you don’t actually need
You get everything that you need and not a single item more or less(this never happens)
With option 1, that extra food you’ve just bought really adds up. Especially if you buy too much and it expires before it can be used.
For example, did you know that, for an average American family of four, the average value of discarded produce is nearly $1,600 annually?
For option 2, you’ll then have to buy even more things when you go back to the supermarket later this week.
Not to mention that you’ve just increased your chance of buying something extra “just in case” (option 3!) or being tempted by some “amazing” deal.
And before you know it, it’s goodbye more money.
This could all be very easily avoided by making sure that you make a list before you go to the supermarket.
That means that you’ll know exactly what you need to get. Meaning that you only spend exactly what you have to.
So to help you out with this, grab one of these Shopping List and Meal Plan templates that you can fill in each week with exactly what you need!
2. Use cash back apps
Did you know that there are apps out there that will give you money back for the things you buy?
These apps are great for saving you a few dollars on things that you’d be buying anyway. It means that you don’t actually have to change your spending habits and you’ll still be financially better off.
My personal favourite for getting money back on my groceries is Ibotta.
It’s an amazing (FREE!) app that gets you cash back on a range of things. Ibotta says that its members have saved over $27 million, which is a pretty incredible amount of money.
It’s also super easy to use. All you do is take a picture of your receipt and upload it as well as scan the barcodes of the various items.
Or, for certain retailers, just link your store loyalty card to the Ibotta app and it will automatically know that you’re eligible for cash back.
And then sit back and wait for the money to arrive in your account within 48 hours!
And as an added bonus, if you sign up for free through this link, you’ll automatically get a $10 welcome bonus. Not bad!
RELATED ARTICLE: 12 EFFORTLESS WAYS FOR YOU TO MAKE MONEY WHILE SHOPPING
3. Meal plan
Meal planning is one of the best ways for you to save a ton of money on your food. It can literally save you thousands of dollars per year.
After all, you’ll know exactly what you and your family will eat for the entire week so you’ll only buy exactly what you need – no more, no less.
The food won’t go off, because you’ll be using it all.
And you’re much more likely to eat healthier, as you’ll have all the food you need right there, instead of giving up when you’re missing a key ingredient and ordering takeout.
TO GET STARTED, CHECK OUT: AMAZING 7-DAY MEAL PLAN WITH QUICK AND EASY 5-INGREDIENT RECIPES
However, it does – obviously – require some planning. It can also be a bit of a pain to try to think of new things each week instead of sitting down to the same old meals each week.
I admit that I have struggled with that a bit.
So I’ve gotten around this lately by having the meal plans sent directly to me!
$5 Meal Plan costs just $5 a month and sends you meal plans each week, including recipes and shopping lists.
The amount of money AND time I’ve saved is worth way more than $1.25 per week. And better yet, the recipes only cost about $2 per person to make, so my wallet’s even happier about it.
I personally choose the standard version, but there’s a gluten free weekly plan as well if you’d prefer that.
So if you’d like to try it yourself, sign up here for a 14-day FREE trial.
4. Don’t go grocery shopping when hungry
I’ll admit it: Twix bars are my weakness.
And if I step foot in a supermarket when hungry, there’ll definitely be a Twix in my trolley.
Whatever your weakness, it’s been shown time and time again that people who buy groceries when hungry spend more.
So eat before you leave the house. And ignore the Twix bars.
5. Freezer cooking
I mentioned above that saving time is almost as important as saving money when it comes to our food.
But also I want to make sure that what we’re eating is healthy.
So when I found out about freezer cooking, it seemed like I’d discovered everything I was looking for.
Instead of having to spend time cooking every night for dinner and lunch the next day, I could simply spend a few hours in one hit doing the same thing – and then I’d be done!
For someone who finds it hard to get the energy to do anything after work, this was like being handed a winning lottery ticket.
Freezer cooking essentially involves preparing as many freezer-friendly meals as you can ahead of time.
And then when you need to eat, you just take a meal out of the freezer so that it can thaw and then heat it up in the microwave or oven.
This also means that you can just take a frozen meal out of the freezer and put it into your bag for lunch at work.
So in summary: freezer cooking is super quick, involves almost no effort and doesn’t affect the healthiness of the food at all!
For me, I spend about one hour every Sunday afternoon making 10 to 12 meals. So it’s equivalent to one hour of work producing enough meals for every week night dinner for the next two weeks.
I find this SO much easier than “regular” cooking. After all, I can slice up ten potatoes at one time much faster than I can slice one potato every day for ten days.
It also means that I’m spending less as I can buy in bulk. To take the potato example again – why spend more buying individual potatoes when I can just buy a whole bag that I know I’ll use before they expire?
Finally, it’s way better for cleaning up. I use everything I need to use on prep day, clean it up – and then have pretty much no mess except for plates for the next three weeks!
Like meal planning, it can be a bit tricky at first to figure out what kind of food works for bulk freezer cooking as well as what exactly is the best way to do this to make sure you’re spending as little time and money as possible.
So I’ve loved the service provided by My FreezEasy. The money and time that it’s saved me has been incredible.
In addition to showing you just how to get started with freezer cooking, they also send you great meal plans, so you can make the healthiest, cheapest and quickest (and yummiest – really, the food is amazing) freezable meals out there.
To get started, check out the FREE Freezer Cooking Workshop right here.
6. Include lunch in your meal planning
After I started my current job, I wouldn’t bring lunch to work.
Instead, I’d run downstairs to buy a sandwich from the cafe in my office building every day. Most people in my office did the same, so it seemed easier to just go along with the crowd.
The sandwich was super basic though. And despite that, it still cost me $7.40 daily.
I almost choked when I did the math and realized that that’s a cost of $148 per month or almost $1,800 per year.
Let me tell you, that number became amazingly effective motivation to start bringing my lunch to work.
So while it may take a tiny bit more effort to meal plan for both lunches and dinners, the cost-savings are well worth it.
Usually it just involves making a bit extra of dinner to take as leftovers rather than having to make an entirely new meal. This means that it takes more or less the same amount of time to make both dinner AND lunch and the cost increase is barely noticeable.
7. Only buy fresh produce that’s in season
It may be quite obvious, but you’ll pay far less for fruit and vegetables when they’re in season.
However, you may not know that it’s not only about the upfront cost of these items.
Produce in your supermarket that’s out of season will also go off much quicker than when it’s in season due to what needs to be done to keep it fresh in the off-months.
So not only are you paying more, but you’re getting less bang for your buck due to the risk that you won’t even be able to eat it, which is a further waste of money.
That said, it can be tricky to know what’s in season at the moment.
Luckily, we’re here to help! Grab your list of seasonal produce below and start shopping smarter.
How to save even more money on your groceries
The most important thing you can do to get your spending under control is to focus on the big expenses.
And considering that the average American family spends 12.6% of its total budget on food, this is definitely an area where focusing on saving can have a massive effect on your overall financial situation.
It’s all very well to cut coupons and so on, but making larger, ongoing changes will have a much greater effect.
I mean, just by changing a few of my food-related habits as outlined above, I’m going to be almost $4,000 better off this year – and that’s not even to mention the time that I’m saving!
So if you’re truly committed to getting your grocery-spending under control, I’d really recommend that you consider signing up for this FREE Grocery Savings Workshop.
It was created by the same woman who made the $5 Meal Plan, so she’s a pro at saving you money without sacrificing quality food.
The workshop provides great, easy to follow – and SUPER easy to implement – lessons on how you can save money on your grocery bill.
So take a look and see just how you can transform your household’s food budget…and start planning just what you’re going to do with that extra $3,600 at the end of this year.
How do you plan to start cutting your grocery expenses?