This “6 Super Helpful Tips to Save Money on Your Grocery Budget” post explains what my husband and I did to cut our grocery bill in half. We went through a six-month spending freeze applying the tips below to stay within our grocery budget.
When I was pregnant with our first child I was laid off while on maternity leave. I was a fresh college graduate and had no idea how we would make ends meet with just my husband’s construction worker salary. My best friend started sharing with me the show “Extreme Couponing” and how she was couponing and saving 50% off her grocery bill. Little did I know that a grocery budget would be a game changer.
I have always been frugal by nature but extreme couponing like that was brand new to me. I was the meal planner who would pick out recipes that sounded good and write a list of everything in those recipes. I had no idea to shop from my pantry first.
I learned quickly and I am SO Glad that I did because of the tips below and a frugal lifestyle we paid off all our debt, through a layoff, through two pregnancies and more.
If you are in need of saving money or want wiggle room in your budget try some of these tips that allowed us to eat on a $200/month grocery budget.
Only use coupons on sale items.
Find a local grocery store that doubles coupons- some stores like Harris Teeter will run triple coupon savings! That means a $0.50 coupon is worth $1.50! Here in Western New York, Wegmans and Tops will double coupons up to a $1 every day. Tops Market is my favorite because you earn 10 gas points for every coupon you use. Just 10 coupons you have an extra 10¢ off a gallon of gas.
We have 20 store coupon matchup lists for you to use and see how to start couponing and find the best price.
Shop with a budget and cash in hand.
Many times we let our emotions or a sale determine our purchase. If you know you only have $100 to spend on groceries bring the cash in with you. It is so easy to go beyond our $100 budget when we know we can put it on a credit card. Even if you only go over $20, if you did that each week when you grocery shopped that equals $80 and if you do it $10 over everything else you are buying the costs add up.
Find Discounted meat
When we were on our six-month spending freeze, I would ONLY buy meat with a yellow special today sticker. You may think that meat marked down is unappealing, but if you freeze it or cook it that day there is nothing wrong with it. Buying meat for 50% off or more is a great way to stock up your freezer so you aren’t forced to buy any type of meat when it isn’t available for it’s lowest possible price.
Of course not everytime you shop will you find discounted meat. Always look for it first when you shop though and if you don’t find any and the budget is tight- look to canned meat or make meatless meals.
There are so many recipes on Pinterest to use Tuna or chicken, or even tofu is a great filler for cheap. This canned meat option will get you through the week and then next week you may just find that amazing meat deal you wanted before.
Ask your local meat department at your grocery store the day they mark theirs down. Most stores do this- including BJ’s! ( Which BJ’s Wholesale club is my go to place for meat when I can’t get it marked down at our grocery store. They always have the best prices even compared to Aldi!)
Buy Fruit & Veggies in Season
This one is huge. In the winter here in New York, many of our fruits are not local, fresh and outrageous. Don’t be fooled that you have to eat strawberries every week to stay healthy.
Half the time produce out of season doesn’t taste great and not worth the cost. Instead look to canned or frozen fruits for this season. In the winter we tend to drink more smoothies then we do in the summer. Veggie based protein mixes are also a way to sneak in fruits and veggies and has a long shelf life.
In the summer months take advantage of farmer’s markets and preserving your own food. Canning and freezing items will give you that fresh taste you are looking for in the winter, and it cost you a lot less.
Keep your mind open to other options and don’t get set in you always have to have strawberries, blueberries etc. each week. Watch the sales and buy your fruits and veggies in season only.
Tip: Get to the market early and ask for the seconds. These are the second pickings and cost less.
Looking for MORE ways to save on your groceries?
Choose a Pick-Up And Pay Service
Walmart has many locations that offer free pick up and pay for your groceries. That means you can go online and order ONLY what you need and then pick it up at the curb. BJ’s also does pick up and pay for free- but you can only order nonperishable items.
Wegmans is participating and certain Tops stores as well. Check to see if your local grocery store is offering this. If it isn’t it will be soon- this is the way of our culture-everything online.
If you are someone who loves a deal but puts every deal into your cart this option may be one for you to try out.
Tip: Walmart will let you hand over coupons for items with their service too!
This one is hard and it’s why I saved it for last. Really though if you don’t discipline yourself to start implementing change to your grocery budget you won’t see the results. In our culture, it is so easy today to see only the success point from others. Rarely do we see the journey as they go through it. It takes a whole lot of discipline to change your mindset when it comes to spending money and the same goes for your grocery shopping.
The key to living a debt-free life is to live below your means. If this is the first time you are hearing this phrase here’s what it means.
Living below your means spending less then what you make. That means you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. We get tripped up with this idea because many times we aren’t willing to give things up in order to achieve our goals. We live in a world that tells us we are entitled to have the newest, shiniest and latest thing.
It takes discipline to live below your means. To truly look at what you can afford. And when I say what you can afford I mean what you can buy with cash. Ok or your debit card, or check. But what you can buy with the money you actually have in your account.
Related: Here are 10 tips to help you get started to live BELOW your means.
Do you have any tips to share with us how to save on groceries?