Grocery store prices have been increasing over the years without a drop in prices in sight. We all know how easy it is to go in for a carton of milk and come out with more than you need. We all need to eat, so there’s no avoiding the grocery store, but there are ways you can confidently go grocery shopping on a budget and sticking to buying only what you need.
Over the years my husband and I have learned to shop smarter and our weekly grocery bill tends to be half of what most four-person families will spend. Why? Because since we moved out together over ten years ago, we had to learn how to shop within a tight budget. We simply did not have the money to splurge and in tern taught ourselves to go grocery shopping on a budget.
These days we have a much larger income than we did ten years ago but we have held on to those money-saving tricks we used to cut our grocery spending right back.
In the last few years, we have added two little people to our family and rather than spending a fortune on groceries, we prefer to use that money on other areas like putting extra money into saving, using it for holidays or other luxuries we would usually go without. And the best thing about it all? We shop and eat healthy food! No two-minute noodles in this house.
Here are over twenty-five ways to help you and your family save money at the supermarket.
25+ Tips For Grocery Shopping On A Budget
1 – Check pantry and fridge levels
Before you leave the house there are two very important things you need to do. First, make sure to check the pantry and fridge to see what food items you still have left and so that you don’t forget to restock staple items like sugar, oil, and salt. By checking you have a clear knowledge of what you still have and what you don’t need to buy again.
2 – Make a list (and stick to it)
The second important thing you need to do is make a grocery list. I can not state this enough. Ever gone grocery shopping without a list? So have I and it’s pretty catastrophic to my purse.
In order to save money make sure you make a very clear list of exactly what you need for the week (or however often you shop) and make sure to actually stick to it!
3 – Only buy seasonal produce
My husband does a lot of the grocery shopping in our house and he’s great at it. One thing he does which I love is that he only buys seasonal produce. This ensures you get the best prices but also the freshest and local produce.
4 – Meal plan
Creating a meal plan is a great way to stay organized, plan ahead and also helps to plan your food shopping. By creating a meal plan you know exactly what you are cooking, what you need and you can even plan leftover nights which we love in our house! I especially love it since I don’t have to cook on those nights! Meal planning is essential to grocery shopping on a budget!
5 – Leave the kids at home
Hubby and I have found great success with this one. As our kids get older they have now started demanding and screaming for so many things we don’t usually buy or need. By leaving the kids at home with your spouse you have time to think and focus on finding the best deal and you don’t have nagging kids asking to buy everything in sight. Our grocery bill is very different when we have kids in tow.
6 – Shop less often
Doing a weekly grocery shop will save you money and cut your spending in a huge way! Every time you head to the grocery store to buy a few items at a time, you tend to spend a lot more than you intend on. By planning a weekly shop you stick to your list and make do with what you have until you’re due for the next shop.
I find this method not only saves you money but forces you to not waste any food. I have been doing this for a couple of years now and it’s amazing how much you can make from what you have without needing to go to the store again.
7 – Check for specials
Always check for special to help you go shopping on a budget! Grocery stores always send out catalogs. You can also subscribe to their emails or check out their weekly specials on a regular basis, especially before you head out to do your shop.
8 – Buy online
I find shopping online is also a great way to cut on costs. Check out your local grocery stores to see if they still have great specials online before making an order.
I find by ordering online you save yourself a ton of money because you are not impulse shopping and you only search items on your grocery list. To further save, don’t get delivery of you get charged for it. Opt for the collect option so all you need to do is pop in to pick up your groceries and pay for them. This not only saves you money but a lot of time!
9 – Eat vegetarian meals
Meat can cost a fortune at times and sometimes your cheaper meats like mince and sausages are really not as healthy as they seem anyway. Try cooking 1-3 vegetarian meals a week and add heartiness and bulk to the meals by adding beans, lentils or chickpeas to your meals. These are all great sources of protein and cost a fraction of the cost.
Try cooking 1-3 vegetarian meals a week and add heartiness and bulk to the meals by adding beans, lentils or chickpeas to your meals. These are all great sources of protein and cost a fraction of the cost.
To further save, but dry beans, lentils, and chickpeas, but be prepared and allow for soaking time before cooking a meal. I find chickpeas in a can to be very cheap.
10 – Check out the farmer’s markets
Depending on where you live, will depend if this one applies to you. Have a look at your local farmer’s markets and see if they have better pricing than your grocery store. A lot of the time if you buy in bulk you get far better deals or at the end of the day when they need to get rid of their stock you can snap up some fabulous deals.
Grocery shopping on a budget isn’t easy, but with these simple changes it can be done!
11 – Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk can feel pricey to start with but you get a lot more for your money. Purchase meat, fruit, and vegetables in bulk to save a substantial amount of money.
Husband and I purchased a quarter of a cow to test and see if we got a better price. It was! See who can sell you bulk meat and if they pre-cut the meat for you. We found that each cut of meat was between $3-$5 less per kilo and it was all pre-cut for us. We just had to take it home and pop it in the freezer.
Don’t forget to label each bag of meat with the date you put it in the freezer so you know to eat the older meat first. Our bulk order lasted us over 6 months for our family of four and cost us around $300. That’s pretty good for over 6 months of red meat!
12 – Preserve and Freeze Food
Continuing on from the point I made above, freeze your food or preserve it. This is a great way to buy cheap and use it later.
Freeze meat you purchased in bulk as well as fruit and vegetables. Make bags of vegetables ready to go in soups, slow cooks, and casseroles. Free fruit to use later in smoothies. A great idea is to make pre-made smoothie bags for your smoothies. Great way to save money and time.
13 – Make your own Jams and conserves
Continuing on with buying fruit in bulk. A great idea is to buy a lot of cheap fruit and turn it into Jam. This will save you a lot of money and you could even make money by selling your delicious jam! Homemade jam also makes a great and inexpensive little gift. Here is my go-to healthy jam recipe that I love to make!
14 – Meat and Fish on Sale
When you see meat on sale at your local supermarket, stock up and freeze! I love Barramundi fish, can’t get enough of it but in my area, it can be extremely expensive. So when hubby spots it on special he buys a few kilo. I then cut it up in single person sizes, wrap and freeze. It may not be fresh but it’s there for when we feel like fish and it’s not on special!
15 – Make your own cleaning products
This one is one of my favorite ways to save money! Yes, at first you need to invest in good quality essential oils and the base ingredients to make the cleaning products but once you have them you can make your products in bulk and it’s far cheaper than buying store-bought washing powder, all-purpose spray and more! Scroll through my Cleaning Hacks and Tips Pinterest board to find a heap of homemade cleaning product recipes I have saved! This is a fabulous way to save when you go grocery shopping on a budget because you’re making cleaning products in bulk using cheaper cleaning ingredients.
16 – Buy generic rather than brand names
You can save a lot of money over the course of a year by replacing brand name items with generic products. Always check your local supermarket and compare prices. There are some items I simply cannot replace, but there are many you can’t notice the difference.
17 – Loyalty Programs
Join store loyalty programs. This keeps you going back if they give some great discounts.
18 – Become a member
Another great way to save is to become a store member. This way you are always aware of what’s on special and can accumulate points for your purchases.
19 – Buy frozen
I always prefer fresh fruit and vegetables but there are times you can save a lot by buying from the frozen section. A big one is berries. If berries are not in season but you want to use them for baking or smoothies, then this is a great and far cheaper alternative. The same as frozen vegetables for meals like slow cooks, minestrone soup, and other soup recipes.
20 – Eat Leftovers
Leftovers are one of my all-time favorite ways to make sure I don’t throw out food, we use everything we have and the best thing about it is that it allows you some cooking free nights!
21 – Cook in bulk
Bulk cooking is also a great way to save. By planning your meals and doing a big batch cook in one day you will find you can extend how far your ingredients go and you can use every last bit of food you have purchased. Nothing goes to waste and you can plan cheap and quick meals. Buy a heap of containers and freeze dinners for your family.
22 – Cut down on junk food
I feel a lot of people overlook is how much it costs to buy junk food. Now I know a lot of people say eating healthy is expensive and yes it can be if you buy all organic and the most expensive products on the market. But buying crisps, chips, lollies, chocolate, soda, pre-made dinners and all of that unnecessary junk can leave your wallet feeling pretty sad at the end of a shop.
The convenience of pre-made, pre-packed dinners comes at a price. Try taking out all of the junk food in your shopping trolley and compare how much you save. Not only will you save a lot, but you will eat and feel healthier also!
23 – Buy generic
While you may be used to a certain brand of sugar, bread, or something else, the generics are almost always cheaper. Sometimes generic brand items are the exact same thing but at a lower price!
24 – Eat before you go
If you go to the grocery store hungry, you will almost certainly pay more! Buying groceries when you are hungry tend to make you order more than you actually need. Instead of shopping hungry, go shopping when you have just eaten to avoid impulse buys.
25 – Skip pre-packaged food
When shopping, stay away from pre-made or prepackaged foods. While they may seem tempting, they will cost more than the ingredients to make them yourself. They’ll taste better homemade and you’ll pay so much less.
26 – Skip bottled water
If you’re paying for bottled water, you’re throwing money down the drain. If you must have filtered water, buy a Brita filter instead. It’s much cheaper than the store-bought bottles and will last you for years.
By using only a handful of these tips you will start to see your spendings lessen and your savings grow.
Remember to make small changes and adapting to these changes can take time. You can have treats once in a while but if saving on groceries is your goal (which I’m guessing it is if you’re reading this) then try a few or all of these tips and keep track of how much you save! Sometimes the smallest of changes make the biggest impact.
Always set yourself a food budget and try and stick to it! The more you practice and learn to cut on costs the easier it will be to reach your budget.
Not only can you eat healthy and delicious food but you can do it if you are careful how you shop.
Can you add to my list? What things do you do each time you go grocery shopping on a budget? Let us know in comments.
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