Here are 5 Fail-Proof Ways to Reduce Grocery Spending and still eat healthy! Learn about how meal planning and paying with cash can help you save on food month after month!
As a busy mom of two kids, a teen and a ‘tween,’ I know how easy it is for grocery spending to get out of control.
The grocery budget is the most flexible expense that I have in my home. I can always run around the house to turn off lights and unplug appliances – but I won’t save nearly as much on electricity, as I do when I manage my food spending well and reduce grocery spending!
Currently, our food budget for our family of 4 is under $400 a month. This is just food—not cleaning supplies & etc.
Since I’ve been helping families save money on food and reduce grocery spending since 2012, I have found the average family overspends on food so much so that they could buy a cruise ticket every month!
Some could buy 2.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Eating a real food diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is very important to me, so I shop for it differently than most…
For example, I once had a freezer-cooking day with friends. We all had the same recipes, same shopping list and went home with the same amount of food. The others spent between $200-$350, but I spent $85.
How to Cut the Grocery Bill and Still Eat Healthy
When I’m shopping, I spend a few seconds on every item looking for the best value without compromising health. For the freezer cooking day, I made a couple of substitutions that didn’t change the final outcome of the recipes. For example:
- Prepared pesto sauce was $1.50, but the ingredients to make my own pesto were more than $10.
- One of the recipes called for a block of provolone cheese. Aldi only carried provolone slices, but they were half the price of buying a block of cheese anywhere else.
- I bought the slices and tore them into pieces instead of grating cheese from a block. My final recipes turned out just as delicious as the others!
Remember – I eat REAL food. Before buying anything prepared, I make sure there aren’t any preservatives or questionable ingredients listed on the labels.
You can save money when grocery shopping too! Here are five steps to our super-low budget…
5 Fail-Proof Ways to Reduce Grocery Spending
(1) Reduce grocery spending by paying with cash.
We budget a certain amount every month, and when the money is used up, I’m done for the month.
But here’s an insider tip – I like to save a bit in a separate envelope for the last week of the month. Just to make sure we can still buy what we might need, if something comes up and we need to make a last-minute trip to the store.
(2) Know how much things cost by using grocery budget worksheets.
Is that “sale item” actually on sale for a good price?
I have a head for numbers and pay attention to food prices. If I didn’t, I’d write them down in a pocket notebook (also known as making a price book). Then when prices drop significantly I recognize the deal.
(3) Stock up on groceries when the prices are at their lowest.
When I see a good deal, I like to buy enough so that I won’t have to buy until the next sale. For example, if pasture-raised chicken breasts are on sale, I take advantage and buy in bulk so I can use them in chicken meal prep plans like this one.
(4) Meal plan with the food I already have on hand to reduce grocery spending.
It’s a technique called reverse meal planning – Instead of shopping from a list of recipes, I shop for the best deals I can find and then meal plan around those foods. Of course, I don’t always do this, so don’t feel like you can’t create meal plans that include your family’s favorites.
The Harvard School of Health says that meal planning and prep is a helpful and healthy eating strategy that reduces stress, saves money and saves time. Good news! Remember that you can still include your favorites in your meal planning and stay within budget!
(5) Buy necessities first, treats last.
Everyone likes a treat now and then, but it’s easy to go to the store and spend too much on cookies, chips and soda and not have enough money for healthy foods.
I buy essential foods first. Then – and only then – a treat for one or two times a week.
More Grocery Budgeting Tips
Once we get used to thinking about grocery shopping in a new way, it becomes second nature to spend less without sacrificing nutrition. If you’d like to find out more read these posts:
- The Secret To a Healthy Grocery Budget
- How to Make a Frugal Grocery Budget
- 38 Ways to Save Money on Food Year-Round
- How to Budget for Bulk Purchases
- Best Foods to Make From Scratch
We all have “secrets” to keeping our budgets low- what are yours?
Original post was written by Angela at Grocery Shrink.