While it is true that there are already hundreds of articles on how to conserve your money when buying groceries, we’re sure that one more won’t hurt. We’re all about saving money and giving out free shopping tips on all sorts of things, but groceries tops our list as one of the most important things to save money on.
Your grocery bill, depending on what kind of food you buy, the size of your family or the number of people you’re providing for, as well as the amount that each person consumes daily, can make your food bill anywhere between $150 to $700 (yes, $700) a month. That’s a lot of money every month (over $8,000 a year), especially for food.
We’ve done our research, acted on these tips from personal experience, and thus we have compiled our top ten tips (rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?) for saving money when buying your groceries.
1. Use your sales wisely.
We all get junk mail, that’s true, but in that junk mail that you usually throw away without sparing a glance, may be a few hidden gems; those being the numerous sheets upon sheets of coupons for your local Stop & Shop or Costco. You may usually disregard these, but if used correctly, can come in handy very often. We’ve all heard the stories about those super-soccer-moms who somehow spend only $60 a month with a family of 6. That is only possible through the power of coupons. Save them!
2. Limit your drink purchases!
The majority of what we drink every day is water. It’s almost free, always fresh, containing healthy minerals and produces no trash, which is safe for the environment. You don’t need to drop $4.75 on a small frappe at Starbucks. Instead, you could just buy some teabags once or twice a month for $3 a box ($2 with coupons, or use a sale to your advantage) and save a LOT of money.
3. Shop somewhere else?
Yeah, I know it sounds crazy, but you should try it sometime. Just don’t buy those bizarre $1 steaks at Family Dollar. They’re gross. Anyway, you may find that a local grocery store you’ve never tried has way more organic produce at a lower price. It’s always a good idea to experiment.
4. Buy very basic foods.
Gallons of milk, bags of rice and buckets of potatoes, canisters of oatmeal and slabs of uncut lunchmeat as well as your dirt cheap selection of Italian herbs and spices can very easily make dozens of different meals, at a low price.
5. Put all of your food to use. Eat your leftovers!
All of these tips won’t help you very much if you make a tasty meal (with the ingredients mentioned above) and don’t eat your leftovers. You’re just wasting valuable, fresh food at that point!
6. Plan a Menu.
A good way to save money is to plan of time, based on what you eat, what you want to eat, and what your budget is. That way, you can buy exactly what you need without wasting money on random items.
Not everyone has the time, money, nor inspiration to cook for themselves regularly. However, DIY-ing your food can stretch your budget for the month. For instance, 4 quarts of store-bought yogurt would be around $12, while 4 quarts of homemade yogurt (using a gallon of milk and your spices) would be around $4.
8. Go to your local Costco.
Everything is more expensive when you purchase small, individual packages. Take a huge bag of lifesavers ($2.99) versus a tin of Altoids. ($1.99) Not to mention, your budget will stretch much farther if you buy bulk items.
9. Take a closer look at store brands. (Yeah, I said it.)
Generic store brand items have improved in the last couple of decades. A lot of them are good. You could save $2.50 on a box of Lucky Charms cereal, and that box would probably be bigger, too.
10. Eat whatever is cheap.
As long as you’re still eating healthy and not compromising on your nutrition, you should be trying to eat whatever is the least expensive. (Again, basic foods) For example, eat oranges instead of kiwis, or a cheap cut of lunch meat instead of corned beef. You can still make a delicious and healthy meal without spending all of that extra money.
So, there it is! Our top ten tips for frugal grocery shopping. Remember, it may be a good idea to drop a few eating habits. You don’t need to buy a name-brand box of cereal (or cereal at all) and that box of pop tarts once every two weeks. That alone could save you $20. And, of course, there are obviously more ways to reduce your monthly grocery bill, but these should give you a pretty basic but effective outline to work off of. Happy shopping!