Making a grocery budget for my family is something that always manages to give me a headache. Add to it the need to save as much money on groceries as possible, and I feel the immediate need to hire someone to do it for me.
Managing your money is just as complex as earning it. It takes immense planning and wisdom to spend money in a way that it meets all your basic needs. When planning on buying some durable item for your home, you often prefer to wait for the item to go on sale or you simply delay the purchase to make way for things that are more important. When short on cash for the month, you make do with old clothes for a while. Or you simply revoke the plan to get yourself a new phone. But groceries is one expense that can’t wait or be delayed.
You can wait a couple of months to buy yourself a new jacket but you can’t wait to feed yourself. No matter how much the inflation soars up, food is something that you simply cannot do without. Even if it means that you have to let go of other things. Did you know that an average American household spends anywhere from $500 to $600 on food per month? Well, that’s quite a significant amount of money, more so if you’re living on just one income.
This post contains Affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
With grocery items consuming a big portion of your monthly earnings, every penny saved on them matters. Coupons are a great way to save money on groceries but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful finding one for your next shopping trip. So are there any real, practical ways to save money on groceries? Well, I believe there are. All you need to do is change the way you shop.
1. Go shopping during store sales
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to shop for grocery items when they are on sale. Buying toiletries during grocery store sales can save you a huge chunk of money. These items are generally overused at home and can be expensive if bought on MRP. Besides, kitchen items like cooking oil, spices, cereals and other things that can be used over a few weeks should be bought on store sales to save you some extra amount. Always make it a point to prepare a list of grocery items you need before you step out for shopping and use an Expense Tracker to keep a track of your grocery spending.
2. Store Membership
I never knew how much a store membership could save me until I signed up for one. Grocery Store membership saves me nearly 30% every month on groceries. Besides, membership points and money saved from festive offers can be used to make further purchases.
One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is stockpiling. Stockpiling allows you to save on things that are cheaper if bought in bulk and can also last longer. You can stockpile the necessary items like toilet paper, paper towels, sanitary napkins, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, etc. for at least a few months. It can easily save you up to $50 per month.
4. Going vegetarian
Did you know that meat eats up a significant portion of the grocery budget? And it’s no secret how much items like chicken, pork and beef cost. Cutting down on meat and going vegetarian for a few extra days in a month can easily save you up to $200 every month on groceries.
5. Meal Planning
Unplanned meals usually leave me running to the local store to buy things. Moreover, I always end up paying more than I would if the meals were planned in advance. Planning meals ahead for the week can reduce last minute buys which usually cost you more than the amount you would have to pay for them during grocery store sales.
Hate Meal Planning?
If the task of meal planning makes you cringe, then $5 Meal plan is something that you should definitely check out. They offer a weekly meal plan service that makes the task of meal planning as simple as it can be. The fact that they plan meals for your family at the cheapest possible cost makes it worth the $5 that you will spend on them.
6. Using leftover food to prepare your next meal
Using leftover food can easily save you a lot of time and money. Food that doesn’t make enough servings can easily be reused for your next meal instead of getting wasted. I sometimes make some extra rice just so I can use it as leftover for my next meal. You can also create new meals out of leftover chicken, bread and boiled rice. You’ll be surprised to know that leftovers can sometimes provide for an entire meal of yours, if done effectively.
7. Try a different brand
If you are not too brand loyal or don’t mind switching brands, try the ones that require you to pay a little less without compromising on your needs. Buying store brands for things like frozen food, canned goods and dairy products saves me a lot every month. There’s not much difference in quality plus I find the shift worth the cost.
8. Online Coupons and Cashback
Cashback is my favorite way to save money on groceries when buying it online. Online shopping often comes with cashback and amazing offers. I prefer buying certain items from Amazon Pantry if they are available for a lesser price. But make sure to get rid of the urge to impulse-buy the extra items that you might not need. Amazon Pantry has the items that you can’t always find in grocery stores and it saves you money in the form of coupons, gift cards and product discounts besides cashback.
9. Shop less often
The more you shop, the more items you’ll buy. You can reserve a specific day of the month to step out for grocery shopping. In order to avoid impulse buying, I sometimes call for grocery home delivery of the items that I need. Since my membership card gets refilled at the start of the month, I usually go out shopping for my groceries on second or third day of the month. I end up spending more than I need to if I shop more often and the entire discount gets squared off by the impulse spending.
10. Per unit price comparison
Doing calculations while shopping for groceries can get a bit annoying. But comparing per unit prices of goods can help you save a few cents on many grocery item that you buy. More often than not, you will find the per unit price of a bottle of 1 liter liquid detergent lesser than the 500 ml pack. This goes for almost every item in the store and it’s usually cheaper to buy the larger packs as their per unit prices are generally low.
For a hassle free grocery shopping experience, it’s always good to plan your grocery purchases in advance. You can put up a post-it note on the refrigerator to keep a track of the grocery items available in your home. The ones you’ve run out of stock on can be bought on your next shopping trip.
If there are other ways you use to save money on groceries, drop in a comment below. You can also write me at email@example.com. I would love to hear anything from you.