Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How To Save The Most Money On Groceries


      It feels so domesticated of me to I say I love grocery shopping. But it's the truth! I don't know what it is, but ever since I've been married, I've always looked forward to grocery shopping each week - it gives me some relaxing "me-time" out of the house, and as the compulsive list-maker that I am, it gives me the satisfaction of crossing things off of my list for the week. Also, I see it as a great reminder to re-evaluate our cupboards and fridge and throw out any uneaten leftovers or snacks that haven't been touched within the last few weeks. Nothing like a nice, organized fridge and cupboards! *swoon* Today I wanted to share five simple ways that you can save the MOST money on groceries, and also get the most bang for your buck.

HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERY

     Before I share these tips I wanted to give a few details about our grocery/family/life situation:

1. I budget around $100 on groceries per week - this covers 5-6 dinners for my husband and I, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and household/personal items (sometimes I spend a little more if I'm purchasing extra items we don't go through quickly, i.e. cleaning supplies, cat food, garbage bags, etc.)

2. I do not use any coupons. I know this may be blasphemy to some of you, but stay with me here. It is truly RARE for me to come across a coupon for something that I actually legitimately use on a daily basis. I've never understood the trend - I guess I've never felt the need to purchase enough shampoo to last the rest of my life and beyond. Haha, okay, so maybe I'm being a liiittle stereotypical, but with shows like "extreme couponing" on TV, that's the first place my mind goes! If you use coupons, more power to you - but you won't see them suggested on this particular list. :)


TIP MAKE A MEAL PLAN


   Making a meal plan is a CRUCIAL first step for someone who wants to save money on groceries (and it's actually easier than you think!). If you're someone who has a hard time planning ahead, you can start by making a general list of meals you know you (or your family) enjoys. For example, we LOVE chicken here, so every week I usually include one or two chicken-centered dishes that I know we like. Your kid will only eat mac and cheese and hotdogs for every meal? Plan for those too! Even if you don't follow your plan down to the day, setting your meals in stone is a great way to make sure your actual list doesn't have a bunch of items on it that you're not going to use. If you're like me and enjoy writing things down the old fashioned way - pencil and paper - it definitely helps to have some good quality meal planning worksheets to have on hand, in order to stay organized! I've created some meal-planning resources JUST for my readers - click the link below to get yours!



TIP MAKE A GROCERY LIST


   Don't go to the store without a list. I repeat, DO NOT go into the store without a list. Because when you don't have a list, you know what happens? "Oh I'm just grabbing a couple things" turns into -

"Wow geez I haven't had Lucky Charms since I was a kid!"
"Oh also these chips look good..."
"Oh I might as well buy these 18 other things for no reason." 

I know this because this happens to me every single time I have gone to the store without a list. Making a grocery list of every item you need will help you say N-O to extra things you don't need. This goes hand-in-hand with making a meal plan: when you've planned your meals and have ONLY those ingredients on your list, you'd be amazed at how much easier it is to bypass those extra things that are going to sit in your fridge or pantry and go to waste.

   
     You know those weekly sales flyers you throw away with the rest of the 'junk' mail? For someone like me who doesn't clip coupons, checking the weekly flyer of your preferred store is a great way to find out about reduced prices and specials, especially if you buy a lot of fresh produce and meats like I do. Also, check the sales flyer for the current week as you're sitting down making your meal plan. If your family loves tacos and you notice ground beef is on sale for that week, add tacos to your plan and pick up the beef at its discounted price. You don't have to purchase ONLY items that are on sale (unless you want to!) but basing your meal plan around what's on sale that week can definitely help you save some dollars! Chances are, multiple stores in your area send out weekly flyers, usually with competitive prices! Weigh your options to ensure you get the best deal available.

      BONUS TIP: Keep an eye out for additional sales that are only made available through store apps or online services. For example, the Target app (formerly known as Cartwheel) usually has a few exclusive discounts only for app users. Vitacost is another website that is always having sales, and is a great destination to find organic snack foods, vitamins, and other speciality items that sometimes cost a fortune in the store. Last but not least, you can use apps like Ebates or Ibotta, which both give you cash back when you shop - I've used both and they're both worth checking out!


TIP  USE WHAT YOU HAVE


     Frequently taking inventory of your fridge and pantry is a great way to stay on top of what items you already have on hand. Knowing what you already have can keep you from buying excess of one specific item, and also help you eliminate things on your list. I don't buy a lot of frozen vegetables (no real reason, I'm just partial to fresh), but one thing I always have on hand is a bag of frozen green beans. I love the Trader Joe's brand, and the Aldi brand is a close second! Frozen vegetables in general are great to have on hand as a healthy side dish. Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes both have a decently long shelf-life and can be incorporated into a number of different dishes and cooked several different ways. If you have one odd ingredient you bought for another recipe - such as a fresh herb or a special type of sauce - try using it in another recipe that week so that it doesn't go to waste.

     BONUS TIP: If you find yourself buying fresh herbs often, but struggle to use the whole bunch before it goes bad? Try freezing the leftovers! This guideline provided by The Farm Girl Gabs gives you two different methods to try when freezing your herbs.


LOVE LEFTOVER FOOD



   If you're someone who cringes at the thought of leftovers, I know this fifth and final tip might be disappointing, but hear me out! Eating leftovers may not be glamorous, but it's a great way to save money, especially if your grocery budget is a little tight. This deserves a post of it's own, but there are countless meals that make incredible leftovers: roasted chicken, chili, lasagna, quiche - just to name a few. If you plan for leftovers at least once or twice a week, your grocery list will be shorter, and your wallet happier!! If you prefer to cook something new every single night, and/or you work away from home, you can still save money by cutting the lunch foods from your list, and taking leftovers instead! I love whipping up a batch of my favorite chili recipe (which requires cheap, simple ingredients) and enjoying it for lunch and dinner for a couple days afterward. A whole, roasted chicken can be used the next day in a soup or salad. Leftover side dishes such as quinoa, rice, vegetables or potatoes can be enjoyed in a breakfast omelet, or used to put together an easy casserole. The possibilities are endless!

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Were these tips helpful to you? What are some ways you save money at the grocery store?


10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Excellent tips! I routinely struggle with organizing my meals and managing costs.

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    1. Awesome, I'm glad you found it helpful! :)

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  3. These are such good tips. I've been able to cut our grocery budget so much by doing these things and a few others.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! It's such a good feeling being able to save some money just by making a few changes. :)

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  4. Excellent tips all of them. I completely agree with the meal planning and taking stock of the pantry and fridge. These two things have made a lot of difference for me in terms of saving money and cutting down on wastage.

    Cheers!
    Parul - https://girlinchief.com

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    1. Thanks for reading, Parul! It's amazing how simple measures can make a world of difference. :)

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  5. These are amazing tips! I am always looking to make my shopping trips cheaper. I will definitely be using some of these!

    -Michele Renee
    www.lifewithmichelerenee.com

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    1. So glad you found this helpful, Michelle!

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