Groceries can be expensive, especially when you are trying to eat healthy food. These tips will help you save money on groceries no matter what your dietary needs are.
We eat largely organic food and that can be expensive. Over the years I’ve worked to reduce our food budget without having to give up the foods we love and without sacrificing quality. I even shop a lot at Whole Foods.
Don’t feel like you should start using all of these tips at once, that could be overwhelming. Start adding them in and see what works to help you save on groceries.
How to Save Money on Groceries
- Meal plan. Having a meal plan helps you know what food you need and helps prevent the need to run to the store for dinner ingredients last minute. No time for meal planning? Try Eat At Home, they make the meal plans and shopping lists for you.
- Use a shopping list. Going to the grocery store without a list is a good way to spend too much money. A well-organized grocery shopping list will help you get in and out quicker and make sure you are buying what you really need.
- Eat less meat. Meat is one of the more expensive food items. Eating less of it can really help your budget. One easy way to reduce your meat consumption is by doing meatless Monday.
- Use a cash-back app. This is something I’ve started using more lately and it really does help you save. My favorite cash-back app is Ibotta. When you sign up you get a $10 bonus to get you started. Then before you go shopping see if there are some deals you want to use and add them to your list. Make sure they are really items you need or it won’t save you money. When you get home you scan your receipt and earn cash-back.
- Start a garden. Even if you just plant a few things in containers you can save money.
- Use sale ads. When making my meal plan I like to check sale ads. It helps me decide what to make and which stores I want to go to.
- Grocery shop online. Sometimes shopping online is not only convenient it can also save you money. We like to buy bulk items and some pantry items with Amazon Prime and we use Subscribe And Save for things we get every month. This is how we get things like dog food, protein powder, and vitamins. I also really like Thrive Market for natural food items. They have great prices, especially when you buy their brand. If you haven’t used Thrive Market before you can get 25% off your first order.
- Grocery shop less often. I only grocery shop once a month, filling in if I need to at Aldi and a local dairy store. Being in the store less means buying less unnecessary things. It also forces me to be more organized which helps me waste less and spend less. Even if you once a month won’t work for you cutting back can help. If you want to learn more about once a month grocery shopping download my free guide.
- Use coupons. Even if you eat organic food you can find coupons. Many stores like Target, Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc… have coupon apps so you don’t even have to print or cut coupons. Just be sure not to buy things just because there is a coupon, that will not save you money!
- Use store brands. I love store brands. There are few items where I prefer name brands but for especially for staple items, I love store brands. Just be sure to check prices because they aren’t always cheaper, especially if there is a sale. I shop a lot at Whole Foods and people always ask how I save money there and in part, it’s by buying their brand which is often very well priced.
- Consider shopping at multiple stores. I usually shop at about 3-4 stores when I do my monthly grocery shopping. Depending on sales, store brands, and normal pricing you can get better deals on things at different stores. Start at the store that is typically the cheapest and end at the store with the higher prices. Typically, I start at Sprouts and shop their sales, then get everything I can at Trader Joes, and end with Whole Foods. Sometimes I’ll go to Natural Grocers or Target as well.
- Make more from scratch. You can often say money by making food from scratch. Buying packaged food you are paying for the ingredients and for convenience. If you have the time, start making more of your food from scratch. Not only will you save money but it’s often better for you and tastes better. Some things you will be surprised how easy they are to make.
- Try freezer cooking. Busy days when you don’t have time to cook can lead to eating pre-packaged meals or food out, both are usually more expensive than homecooked meals. Instead, have some freezer meals on hand. A quick way to build up a supply is to double recipes that freeze well. You won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen but will still end up with an extra meal for later.
- Skip the meal services, or not? You can usually do better buying groceries on your own than what you will spend for the food sent to you by a meal service like Blue Apron. However, if you eat out a lot or end up wasting a lot of ingredients it could save you money. It depends on your family and current stage of life. If you think it may save you money try keeping track of how much you spend on groceries for a few weeks, how much food you throw out, and how much you spend on food out. This will help you decide if a meal service will save you money or not
- Keep an inventory of food you have on hand. This month I didn’t do a normal grocery shopping trip. Usually, I shop once a month with my mom but she is doing a no-spend month. Instead, I just did a small grocery shopping trip. To make this work I took an inventory of everything I had on hand and then came up with as many meals as I could using those ingredients. Even when it looks like we had no food I came up with about 12 meals. That meant I didn’t have to buy that much to make it until next month.
- Try shopping at Aldi. We got an Aldi a few years ago and I love it. It’s not a fancy store and you have to bring your own bags and bag your groceries but that helps Aldi keep prices lower. They have a pretty good selection of organic food and it seems to grow every time I’m there.
- Use your leftovers. Food waste is a big problem and it costs us a lot of money. Use your leftovers in new meals or remember to eat them for lunches or have a weekly leftovers night for dinner. I buy very little food for lunches for myself and usually just eat leftovers. It’s more delicious than a sandwich and makes sure food isn’t wasted.
- Organize your fridge. Keeping your fridge organized also helps reduce food waste because you are less likely to forget about food. Try and keep the things that need to be used the quickest in the front. Also, clean out your fridge often so you see what is about to go bad and can use it or freeze it.
- Eat before you shop. My mom and I eat lunch together before we go grocery shopping. It helps keep you from buying things simply because you are hungry. Since our shopping day is long we will sometimes grab a tea or coffee during as well.
- Shop in season. When possible buy produce that is in season. It’s much cheaper and usually better quality as well.
- Buy frozen produce. When buying out of season produce or if it’s items you won’t use quickly, frozen is usually the better choice. This is also how I am able to shop once a month. We eat the fresh stuff earlier and frozen after it’s gone.
- Pay attention to the per-unit price. The bigger package isn’t always the best deal. Be sure to look at the price per unit to see what is the better deal.
- Skip single-serving packages. You will usually pay more for single-serving items and they also create a lot more waste. Divide food into single servings yourself instead. If possible use reusable containers, which will save you more money and is better for the environment.
- Buy in bulk. For items, your family uses a lot of look at buying in bulk. Just be sure to check the per-unit cost and make sure it really is a good deal.
- Bring your own bags. Many stores now offer a small discount when you bring your own bags. That discount adds up over time.
- Check out your farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets can be a great way to save money. You cut out the middleman so you usually get a better deal and you are supporting your local community.
- Have a budget. Having a budget is important, even if it’s not really strict it gives you a goal and helps you to be more mindful of your spending.
- Follow your favorite brands on social media. Brands often share coupons on their social media pages so be sure to follow them and keep an eye out for deals.
- Shop alone. I always spend more when my husband shops with me and I’m sure it’s the same with kids. Two or more people shopping can lead to more impulse buys. It can also distract you from finding the best deals.
- Shop on the right day. There tend to be fewer deals on weekends and some stores even have double ad days when their sale flyers switch over. Sprouts have theirs on Wednesday. You can get the deals from two week’s worth of sale ads.
Using these tips can help you provide your family with delicious, healthy food, without breaking the bank. I’m always excited to see how much money I can save each shopping trip. Saving this money allows us to do fun things instead of just spending all of our money on food.
Want to get even more tips for saving money on groceries? Check out my meal planning printable pack.