Recently, we asked the Mommysavers Forum members to answer this question: “If you were going to give advice to someone new to frugality on how to cut your grocery bill in half, what would you say?” We got many, many replies – but lots of common responses. Here are the most-often mentioned ways to save BIG on your grocery bill:
How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
Save Money on Groceries by Planning Ahead
- Plan meals around store sales and produce that is in season. Remember to build your menu plan around your schedule. Crock pot meals for busy nights are a great example. That way, you're not tempted to eat out. More: 15 Ways to Save Money by Menu Planning
- Make a list and stick to it. I track my list on the notes section of my phone, which sync with my computer. That way, I always have it with me. If you don't have a list, you be throwing things in the cart mindlessly, not planning around meals. If that's your strategy, you are guaranteed to overbuy, and have things go to waste later on.
- Know what items are in your house so you know at a glance what you have plenty of and what you are running low on or are out of.
Save Money at the Grocery Store
- Don't shop hungry. Eat before you go. If you go to the grocery store hungry, you'll put twice as much into your cart.
- Bring cash. If you bring a credit card it will be easier to overspend. Keep a running tally of the items you put in your cart so you don't have any surprises. If you have a calculator on your phone, use it as you go along.
- Try to shop without kids. If you do bring them, feed them before you go.
- Bring along coupons for things on your list. If possible, stack them with in-store coupons or other discounts. Find out if your store has an app for in-store savings.
- Keep a price book to keep track of various prices at different stores. so you know if you can get an item cheaper somewhere else.
- Skip convenience items. If it makes your life easier or is faster, chances are it's far more expensive than another option. Examples: Cut your own veggies instead of buying baby carrots. Buy a whole chicken and cut it up instead of buying chicken breasts. Buy bulk oatmeal and divvy up servings instead of buying instant packets.
- Buy store brand products or generic items: milk, canned corn, canned tomato paste, pasta, eggs, and other items and you really can't tell the difference between those and other more expensive brands.
- Before checking out, analyze every item in your cart and decide if you really need it. Put back anything that isn't really necessary or could be replaced with something you have already or a lesser-expensive alternative.
- Shop the sale or discounted racks if your grocery store has them. You'll often find them in the very back corner of the store. Buy marked down meat and freeze it for future meals. Shop the day-old bakery racks at Walmart yet. Many of these deals can be frozen for later.
- Buy in bulk when it makes sense to do so, but break it down when you get home so you're not tempted to consume in bulk.
- Compare frozen fruits and veggies to fresh. They are often much cheaper – and they don't go moldy in your fridge. Plus, many of them are even healthier because they're frozen at their nutritional peak. When produce takes a long time to travel from POINT A to POINT B it can lose a lot of nutrition in the process.
- When shopping, try not to buy a single ingredient for just one meal. If you have to buy sour cream or a certain kind spice try to figure out another meal or two that you can use it in for the week. If it's an expensive purchase, consider finding an alternative.
- Carefully analyze how much you're spending on drinks. Whether it's milk, juice, soda or alcoholic beverages – chances are you can cut back in some way. In almost all instances, water is better for you anyway.
- Look above and below the shelves that are eye-level and price-compare. Stores often place the most expensive items at eye-level.
- Plan ahead and freeze or can fruits and vegetables when they are in growing season. Many foods you'd least expect are freezer-friendly.
- If your store offers delivery service to your home for free at a certain price level (for example, for purchases over $100) this can save money in the long-run. You save on gas, avoid impulse items, and some store websites even point out digital coupons you can load onto your loyalty card with your purchase.
- Buy produce at a local farmer's market in early summer-early fall and freeze things like blueberries, cherries, peaches, peppers, and tomatoes.
- When meat is on sale buy extra and freeze it for later.
Keep on Saving at Home
- Cook from scratch. Try to make as many products as you can: yogurt, bread, etc. Make homemade snacks instead of buying them. When you do, freeze extra for later.
- Plan meatless meals once a week. Build your menu plan around frugal meal ideas and themes like breakfast for dinner, soup and sandwich night, cereal night, etc.
- Plan leftover meals, using up what you have in the fridge. Getting creative with leftovers is a skill that, when honed, can save a lot of money as well as improve your cooking skills.
- Cook double batches of what you're making for dinner to have leftovers another night or one to pull out of the freezer later on. It is almost always way cheaper to double a recipe than to make another dinner from scratch.
- This may sound odd, but keep your kitchen clean. Having a dirty kitchen will make it less likely for you to cook and more likely to order out.