Want to know how to save money on groceries? These practical tips work for any family and any budget – use them every week to save on food!
Sometimes saving on food is just plain ol’ hard.
One week you’ll have a plan to use up what’s in the kitchen and supplement with the great deals at the grocery store.
Then the next week nothing is on sale AND you’ve got a bare kitchen (because you ate it all last week). All the supermarket money you saved that first week? Gone.
Have you ever felt this way before?
You’re not alone there!
SAVE MONEY AT THE SUPERMARKET
Spending less on your grocery bill literally happens one shopping trip at a time. It’s 50 cents here, and a few bucks there. It’s choosing to eat stir-fry with millet because it’s in the pantry, and not making a trip to the store for rice. When you stick to the grocery shopping list and shop for competitive prices, it is truly possible to feed your family on a budget.
A successful grocery budget is achieved over many months, if not years, with each menu plan you write and each item you put (or don’t put) in your cart.
So, let’s get to work. I have a few tricks up my sleeve that keep the grocery budget in check month after month. If they can help me, I know they can help you!
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES RIGHT NOW
How can I spend less money on groceries? This is a big question, and while there are almost infinite strategies to save on food, these practical ways to save money on groceries are a good starting point to see quick savings.
1. STOP BUYING SALAD DRESSINGS.
Salads are a GREAT way to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re also a perfect opportunity to use meat as a condiment rather than the main focus of the meal.
Most store-bought salad dressings are filled with something to make it taste good (sugar), something to make it creamy (lecithin), and something to make it taste “fresh” even though it’s been sitting on a shelf for well over a year (preservatives).
Homemade salad dressings are easy to make and contain only the ingredients YOU want them to have.
Stop spending $3-5 PER BOTTLE and start making your own instead.
Enjoy these homemade dressing recipes!
Classic Italian and Greek:
Perfect for Asian Flavors:
Amazing for Mexican Flavors:
Tip: Turn any vinaigrette dressing into a “creamy” dressing by substituting plain yogurt for the olive oil.
2. STOP BUYING SNACKS.
Seriously, just stop. I know it’s easy to have them on hand, but you’re really buying expensive items for the packaging. And if you’re looking for snacks that are allergy-friendly? There goes your budget!
Most boxed snacks, brand name or store brand, have SOMETHING in them to keep them shelf-stable, or they’re processed in a way that prevents them from going bad.
Yikes, which is worse?!
If you really want to know how to save money on groceries, choose fresh fruits, veggies, and proteins instead! Create a snack box in the fridge and/or the pantry so it’s just as convenient as the pre-packaged goods. Here’s how:
1. Line a large, flat container with either a napkin or a paper towel. Add as much of the following as you have or can fit. You may want to pre-portion these for easy grab-and-go snacks, or just have containers of the snack items for your family members to choose from.
For the fridge:
- Carrot slices
- Celery slices
- Zucchini slices
- Cheese slices
- Cherry tomatoes
- Homemade gummies
- Homemade fruit leather
- 2-3 spoons (for scooping and eating yogurt)
For the pantry:
- Homemade granola clusters or granola bars
- Mandarin oranges
- Bags of trail mix
- Small apples
- Honey roasted almonds
2. When the family is hungry, pull out the box and leave it on the counter for them to pick/choose their snack(s). Put it away when they’ve chosen and have them wait until mealtime to eat again.
If you’re willing to scoop some yogurt for those who choose it, this can be a mostly hands-off approach and MUCH more filling than the packaged snacks. Plus, kids like being able to pick what THEY want for a snack. You just choose the options beforehand.
3. STOP THROWING FOOD AWAY.
But I could have also saved:
- Tomato tops
- Wilted lettuce
- Wilted spinach
- Broccoli stems
- Beet greens
- Asparagus ends
By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it helps to show how much food we throw away that is still perfectly edible!
4. DON’T WORRY ABOUT BUYING EVERYTHING ORGANIC…
At least not right now. If you’re really trying to save money to pay rent or utilities or other bills, the cost of organic food might be out of your budget (plus organic isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be).
There are plenty of ways to mitigate this though, especially if organic food is a priority to your family.
- First, only buy organic what you eat a lot of, and what you whole-heartedly believe is worth it.
- A food that you eat once a week doesn’t need to be organic. But the chickens or produce you’re eating at every meal? That should rank a bit higher on the list.
- Learn how to find affordable organic food in your area and shop the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.
- Find ways to enjoy the farmers market without going broke and learn what the stickers on produce mean at the grocery store.
There is a time and a place to buy organics (grass-fed, local, raw, non-GMO, etc.), but prioritizing your budget and needs comes first. (This is the very first lesson I teach in Grocery Budget Bootcamp!)
5. LEARN TO LIKE BEANS TO SAVE ON FOOD.
There. I said it.
With every penny at stake, there’s no room for “I don’t like beans.”
Find a couple of varieties that you can tolerate and eat them often. Garbanzo beans, white beans, and brown lentils are the friendliest types of beans for beginners. They’re even more affordable when buying large quantities in bulk.
Make bean burritos, eat beans over rice, add them to burgers, make hummus, bake brownies – do what you have to do to eat them at least three times each week (including all meals, not just dinner), especially if you’re cutting back on other protein sources.
6. FOCUS ON YOUR TASK OF SAVING MONEY ON GROCERIES.
It is SO easy to get distracted by the pretty packaging and the different varieties of foods at the store. I found myself oohing and ahhing over cheese just last week! But knowing how to save money on groceries for the long run is important.
- Always shop with a grocery items list and stay focused. In fact, shop as if you’re already late for an appointment.
- Shop without kids if at all possible, and definitely don’t shop when you’re hungry.
- Treat grocery shopping as an errand. You’re on a mission to get in, shop the list based on your meal plan, and leave. Viewing this errand as an excursion or something fun is a sure-fire way to ruin the budget with impulse purchases.
- You’re on a mission to get in, shop the list based on your meal plan, and leave. Viewing this errand as an excursion or something fun to do is a sure-fire way to ruin the budget.
- Don’t get distracted by things that are not on your grocery list and don’t even bother going down the aisles you don’t have to!
7. USE A PRICE BOOK.
Comparing prices can be overwhelming, but by creating a simple price book, you can really start seeing the savings roll in.
You don’t even have to go to all the stores every week to check prices! You can use the Flipp app to check local grocery store discounts, coupons, and ads. Then record the prices in your price book.
If you use grocery delivery services or store pick-up, be sure to factor in any fees to your price comparison. Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club will have an annual fee as well, so keep that in mind.
Here are some price comparisons I’ve done:
By choosing even one item on this list, you’ll start to see savings on food. How will you start to save money at the supermarket this week?
If you need a bit more help saving on groceries, sign up here for the FREE Fight Inflation Workshop. I can’t wait to share three AMAZING sessions focused on saving money on groceries NOW – despite the rising cost of food!
MORE TIPS ON HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
- How to Save Money with a Pantry Challenge
- 38 Ways to Save Money on Food Year-Round
- 10 Ways to Save Money on Coffee
- How to Save Time and Money with Batch Cooking
- How to Save Money on Real Food Using Ibotta