With rising costs of, well, pretty much everything, it’s hard to stick to a grocery budget. However, inflation is an opportunity to make smart choices to tighten up. The grocery category is one area that most of us can improve on. Here’s a few of my tried-and-true ways to save money on groceries.
Make a List
If you’ve ever spent $250 on groceries, only to need another stop at the store half-way through the week, you’re not alone. One way to avoid multiple, expensive trips to the supermarket each week is to make a list. I know, I know, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and plan your meals and create a list, but trust me, you’ll save more time in the long-run.
Without a list, you will be wandering the isles, grabbing what looks good, and trying to plan in your head if you have enough. A list will keep you on track, and save you time and money. Try only buying what you wrote down. Don’t deviate, even if there is a three for one sale on wine, or a new, organic cracker you saw on Instagram. Just stick to the list.
If you’re new to meal planning and list writing, try finding a cute template on Pinterest to help motivate you. I promise that this process gets easier the more you do it.
Skip Name Brands
I won’t deny that some name brand things are just better, but most are not. Next time you are at the store, stop to compare prices rather than just grabbing the brand you are most familiar with. You can save a lot of money by choosing the store brand instead.
I’ve noticed a big difference when I do this with kid’s items. For example, apple sauce pouches are pretty much all the same. So, instead of grabbing the popular GoGo Squeez, I grab the Great Value Organic pouches and save between $1-2. Every dollar saved will really add up when you consider a whole grocery trip.
Coupons, Apps and Savings Cards
No matter where you shop, take time to sign up for loyalty benefits. By simply entering your phone number or scanning a card, you will automatically get discounts. Some stores take it a step further and send you coupons in the mail, or offer an app where you can look for more savings.
You don’t have to be an extreme coupon-er to save money. After you make a list, just take a few minutes to look through a store’s app and see what items on your list have coupons. I do this at Target and Kroger, and then scan my app at checkout.
Try Grocery Pick-Up
If you’re having trouble sticking to your list, try grocery pick-up! With this option, you will choose all your groceries online, and can see the total before you checkout. Online shopping can make it easier to edit down what you don’t need to stay within your budget.
One downside of grocery pick-up is that you don’t get to select your items, which can be disappointing when you get lower quality produce or a substitution you don’t like. However, I’ve found that some stores do it really well. Wal-Mart and Whole Foods are two stores that have great online services. Whole Foods pick-up is through the Amazon app, and offers good savings. However, don’t let me into a Whole Foods to wander around or the budget will be blown.
Try ButcherBox for Meat Delivery
Hear me out. I know ButcherBox is not cheap, but I get the best quality meat delivered right to my door. I choose my cuts ahead of time and meal plan around that. Meat is something that I personally choose to spend more money on and I cut costs in other areas. I answer FAQ’s in this post. There are also fantastic organic meat and seafood options at Walmart and Aldi for great prices. You have to decide what is best for you and your family.
Choose the Right Store
Where should you shop to save money? This is a tough one, because I like to shop at a variety of places for different reasons – better produce, great prices, organic options, etc. I recommend finding the store where you can get most of what you need. Making multiple stops can trip up your budget. I usually end up at Wal-Mart or Kroger for the bulk of our groceries.
If you are shopping for a large family, a bulk store like Costco or Sam’s may be a good option once a month. Just make sure you make a separate list and stick to it there as well. I can’t be the only one who gets distracted by pajamas, cups, and new treats at Costco.
Produce: Dirty Dozen vs. Clean Fifteen
I know that a lot of us would love to be able to buy all organic produce, but that can be very expensive. So personally, I try to stick to buying organic from the dirty dozen list. These lists are from the EWG’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce. We are not perfect (ever) and we eat a variety or organic/non-organic fruits and veggies.
Don’t Shop Hungry
It may sound silly, but don’t shop on an empty stomach. Have a snack before you head out, or plan your trip for after a meal. It’s harder to make the right choices when your hangry or your stomach is growling and everything looks good.
Simplify Your Weekly Meal Plan
Finally, don’t stress about making a gourmet meal each night. Plan for a few simple meals a week that are cost efficient. At our house, this looks like spaghetti night, taco night, or chicken and green beans. We also love a breakfast for dinner moment in our family, it is affordable, easy and delish!
If you struggle to meal plan, it may be good to do variations of the same five meals each week. For example, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wednesday Spaghetti, Thursday Chicken, Friday Make-Your-Own Pizzas. Whatever you enjoy is great, but don’t feel like your meal plan needs to be fancy.
I hope these tips can alleviate some stress of an important and necessary task. I love a well-stocked fridge, and I love it even more when I successfully stuck to my budget. Let me know what tips you try and how they work for you.
Some Fave Budget Friendly Recipes
- Low Carb Turkey Taco Salad
- Healthy Baked Italian Meatballs
- Healthy Crispy Chicken Cutlets
- Easy Air Fryer Pork Chops
- The Best Baked Chicken Thighs
- Salisbury Steak Meatballs with Mushroom Gravy
- Low Carb Easy Tuna Cakes
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