How would you like to save on groceries – to the tune of $700? That’s a pretty amazing claim, right?
Well when I did the math, that’s how much I could save in a year if I followed the tips below – and that doesn’t even include the ways to reduce grocery spending I shared here, the practical ideas to save money on groceries here OR these 100+ easy ways to save money!
What makes the ideas I’m sharing today unique is that they don’t require brain work or fancy number crunching. They’re incredibly simple, easy to follow and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do them before.
Some of these I started doing naturally as a part of keeping our menu plans full of real food AND within our budget. Others I slowly took on as realized how much I could save by being more aware of avoiding food waste.
And if you’re curious, I DID crunch the numbers for you so you don’t have to pull out your calculator. I am amazed at the savings that come from following these simple tips, and they’re great for any family of any size!
How to Save on Groceries Without a Calculator
1. Evaluate Needs vs. Wants
As you pick up an item to put in your grocery cart, consider whether it’s a “need” or a want.” More often than I care to admit, I’m putting items in my cart because I want them, not because I need them.
It’s very similar to the classic “stick to your list” tip. Sometimes you really do need something that wasn’t on your list. But usually, you don’t.
Have an honest conversation with yourself and put the “wants” back on the shelf. Instantly, you’ll shave tons off your grocery bill.
2. Compare Pre-bagged Produce to Bulk Bins to Save on Groceries
Have you ever noticed that right next to the big bin of onions, there’s a 5lb or 10lb bag of onions ready to go? Most of the time, the price of the pre-bagged onions is very similar to the single bulk bin onions you can bag yourself.
But sometimes, they’re not.
Take a few minutes to weigh the pre-bagged produce and count how many items are in the bag. Then count out that many items from the bulk bin and see if your weight is more or less. If it’s more, go with the bag. If it’s less, bag your own.
3. Buy per item, not per pound
When you pack lunches or follow a recipe, how often are you packing 1/2 lb bananas or 3/4 lb of onions?
That’s because you’re not. You’re packing ONE banana or cutting up ONE onion or peeling ONE orange.
The next time you’re buying a package of items for a flat rate – like a bunch of bananas in a bag (like they sell at Costco) or a 5lb bag of onions for $3.29 or a 5lb bag of oranges for $4.99 – buy the package that has the most items in it. It will last you longer.
4. Save on Groceries by Buying the heaviest pre-bagged produce
If you’re dealing with a big bag of something and counting how many potatoes or onions are in there, weigh it instead. Since no two potatoes weigh the same (or apples, or oranges, etc.), neither will the entire bag of potatoes.
Pick up 2-3 bags, weigh each of them and put the one that’s heaviest in your cart. Often times you’ll come out with an extra pound or two of produce!
5. Save butter wrappers to grease pans
I haven’t bought cooking spray in 3 years thanks to this tip and I’ve got the whole family on board with saving and using butter wrappers instead of cooking spray!
When we’re done with a stick of butter, we fold the wrapper in half and put it behind the jar of yeast in the fridge. When we make rosemary olive oil bread or overnight cinnamon rolls, we reach for a butter wrapper instead of cooking spray. It works like a charm every time and I haven’t run out yet!
6. Get a Rain Check
I used to use this tip before I quit couponing, but just recently realized that it can be used all the time, for all sales!
Of course you’ll want to check with your local store about their rain check policy, but if you go in for a killer deal on bacon (or whatever) and they’re all out, get a rain check.
If they ask you for a quantity, say you’re not sure. This way you can take your time, save up extra money just for this purchase and take full advantage of the great deal when the stock is replenished.
Just don’t forget to check for an expiration date and use the rain check before then!
7. Save on Groceries and Cut it up Yourself
I know those cute containers of cut up cantaloupe, sliced watermelon and pineapple spears are tempting, but you are grossly overpaying for convenience. Buy the whole fruit instead and cut it up yourself. This alone will save you bookoo bucks every month.
Oh, and this applies to meat too! Just a couple of weeks ago I found a bone-in pork roast on clearance. I asked the butcher what kind of roast it was and he said it was essentially bone-in pork chops, just not chopped up yet. I took that bad boy home, chopped it up into 5 thick pork chops and saved $7 right there!
8. Use a spatula
I have small spatulas similar to these that I absolutely adore. I can get every last little bit out of any jar I have and make sure I’m not throwing an ounce of food away.
It might sound a bit over the top, but it works. Haven’t you ever gone to make a PBJ and counted yourself lucky to have just enough peanut butter to make it work? If you had a small spatula, you could probably get another sandwich!
By implementing a few easy tips to your routine, you can start saving big. Besides just saving money, you are also reducing waste and using the food you’ve already purchased. It’s a win-win!