Groceries and other food expenses are often a large portion of a family’s budget.. This is pretty unavoidable. Food is necessary to survive and unless you’re living a self-sustainable lifestyle in the countryside, your food doesn’t grow on trees (AKA it costs money!).
While it is absolutely important to include groceries as a part of the budget, there are quite a few ways to cut down on this expense. And in a pinch, this is actually one of the expenses that can be reduced the easiest by budget cooking (but that’s another post).
Nevertheless, below are all tips that help us save on groceries year-round, whether or not things are tight. In case you’ve missed my post from a few months ago, our family of 3 eats for about $60/week. We eat fairly fresh and healthy, as well. Here are all things that help us accomplish this:
5 EASY ways to save on groceries
1) Meal plan
This is the #1 way our family saves money on groceries. I am convinced strategic meal planning saves us at least $100/month on groceries, if not more. While it took some time, I feel like this is an area that we have mastered. If you’re new to meal planning, or want to step up your meal planning game, check out this post I just wrote: “7 Tips for Successful Meal Planning”.
2) Cook once, eat twice
In other words, double your recipe and freeze half. We do this all. the. time. and always have a stocked freezer. It saves us a lot on groceries (and time) because:
- We always have extra meals in case of “emergency” so we don’t have to run out last minute and waste money on food
- It is often cheaper to utilize extra “leftover” ingredients to double a recipe than to buy all of the ingredients again at a future point
3) As much as you can stand it, eat the same things for breakfast and lunch
I understand this one isn’t for everyone, but if you can tolerate it, try to follow this rule. Our family eats the same nutrient-dense foods for breakfast and lunch every day. Is it boring? Yes. But it’s predictable. And predictability saves money. I’m never foraging through my cupboards looking for something to eat, or grabbing something on the go. Additionally, I can save money by buying items in bulk and time by preparing certain foods in bulk. Win win. For anyone concerned, we do eat something different for dinner every night, so we’re able to enjoy some variety then.
4) Utilize rebate apps to get cash back
Cash back rebate apps for our smart phones have saved us quite a bit over the last 6 months. ibotta is by far my favorite for all major grocery stores but ALDI. Basically, you “unlock” the items for rebate, scan your receipt to prove you purchased the item, and the rebate is credited to your account within 24 hours. It’s super easy. Within my first week of owning the app, I made over $100! It is “legit” and almost too good to be true (except it’s not!). The best part is, you get $10 free when you sign up after redeeming your first rebate. And these aren’t just 10 and 20 cent rebates. They are often $1.00-$2.00 rebates. All in all, this app is pretty amazing! You can read my tutorial about it HERE and use my referral code to get your $10 for signing up!
Find & Save is another rebate app that I like that gives you cash back. This one is different than ibotta, as it gives you a percentage back based on your grocery bill total (so the items you buy are irrelevant). The reason why I love this app is that it supports ALDI and often has rebates for ALDI! You can learn more about this app by reading my tutorial HERE.
Checkout 51 is another rebate app that can be used at ALDI (and any other store), but consists of rebates based off of very specific items, which sometimes makes it irrelevant for use. You can learn more about Checkout 51 from their website HERE.
There are a few other apps that can help you get cash back on groceries, but these are the 3 that have saved us the most money thus far.
5) Shop smart
This is a general statement, but here is what I mean:
- Always go with a list. This may seem obvious, but I’m stating it just in case it’s not. You are setting yourself up a disaster without one! More importantly, stick to your list!
- Buy in season. When it comes to produce, buying in season is key. If you’re trying to buy winter squash in the middle of summer, you will be paying much more than when cooler weather comes around. So meal plan strategically and purchase what’s already available in abundance for cheap.
- Be open to trying “cheaper” stores. Some stores, like ALDI, carry a stigma with some people that may no longer be applicable or fair. I used to not be open to shopping there, but the store has changed so much in the past few years. And the truth is, when we switched from shopping at Mariano’s to ALDI, our grocery bill was cut in half. HALF!! Because of this, I am never going back to Mariano’s or other supermarkets. In case you missed it, check out my viral article 5 Reasons Why You SHOULDN’T Shop at Aldi.
- Always check your fridge and pantry for items you may have before shopping. No need to accidentally buy items you already have in stock!
- Don’t go shopping hungry! Just trust me. There are literal studies on this and the fact is that you’re much more likely to purchase something not on your list (also something that is most likely also unhealthy for you) if you go grocery shopping hungry. So… EAT BEFORE YOU GO. 🙂
That’s it, folks. Do you have additional tips for saving money on groceries? I’d love to hear them so I can put them into practice!
If you’re interested in more ideas on how to save on groceries, check out my Pinterest. I have an entire board dedicated to this subject!
As for now, happy saving!