Want to save money on groceries without eating rice and beans every day?
I don’t know about you but if I am not careful I can spend a fortune on my food shopping.
I love going to the grocery store, looking at all the delicious food and thinking about what I can buy.
Problem is when we are surrounded by all these choices we can often blow our grocery budget and spend too much.
The quest to eat healthy foods and still save money on your groceries can seem to be at cross purposes.
Eating healthily can get expensive very quickly if you buy the wrong foods in the wrong store.
The good news is, it is totally possible to learn how to save money on your food shopping. And still eat healthily with a little planning and using a few tricks that I share below.
Saving money and cutting your grocery bill down does not need to be difficult or boring, it can make your life simpler and easier.
And we could all do with a bit of simple and easy couldn’t we?
How to save on groceries every month – Shop Monthly?
There are many people who talk about only going to the grocery store once a month. And I know a lot of people are asking the question: does grocery shopping once a month save money?
From experience I have to say no, with a couple of exceptions. If you truly only go to the store once a month then either you don’t eat much fresh fruit and veg or you grow a lot of your own.
In which case a monthly visit to the store might just save you money.
If you don’t fit one of those categories then no, I doubt you will save money. Or rather I doubt very much that you will only visit the store once in a whole month.
I’m all for using every veggie, limp or not, at the bottom of my fridge, but even with a huge fridge I could not keep a month’s worth of fresh produce in it. Especially when the girls were at home.
You can stock up on all the non-perishables once a month and fill your freezer, but fresh veggies and fruit either don’t last long enough or you run out of storage space for them.
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How much should i spend on groceries each month?
When you need to know how to save on groceries every month, your starting point is often, what’s my grocery budget supposed to be?
And then you start asking how can I spend less money on groceries?
And, how to save money grocery shopping for one person?
Your grocery budget can be anything you want it to be but if you’ve never really looked before at how much you spend on food each month then start with last month.
Pull out your receipts and see how much you actually spent. This is your starting point.
Then go and read my post about how much should I spend on groceries which will help you set the right grocery budget for you from now on.
13 Killer Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Quick Money Making Tip
Use A Shopping App
Shopping apps can save you money and give you cash back. There are many different ones around but these are the 2 FREE ones I recommend.
Plan Your Food
A meal plan will be fundamental to you being able to successfully learn how to save money on food for the whole family.
Plan out all your meals for the next 7 or 14 days, whatever period of time you are going shopping for.
Plan out breakfasts and dinners as well as lunches that you are packing for work/school.
Understand what ingredients you need in order to make all these meals.
Creating your plan stops you from buying excess food on a ‘just in case’ basis.
When you take the time to meal plan you can think about what each meal is costing you.
Doing so will help you build in some healthy frugal meals which also helps with the money saving.
I used to try and plan out meals where the protein was no more than £1 and total cost was £2. This was for a family of 4.
Now I am meal planning with a grocery budget for 2, my meal plans are more varied in cost but can still be as low as £1 for both of us.
I batch cook to bring the price of our meals down and bulk out with cheap vegetables to reduce how much protein we eat per meal.
Key tip – remember snacks and treats – I can’t live without a few treats at the weekend!
Related reading: 55 Cheap And Easy Meals You Are Going To Love
Know Your Food Prices
I learnt this tip years ago from Amy Dacyczyn who advocated the use of a price book in her frugal bestseller The Tightwad Gazette .
This is about knowing the lowest price a product will sell for and waiting until it hits that price, then stocking up.
Key to learning how to stockpile food on a budget is knowing your food prices.
Know the best, lowest price of all your key staples and you’ll know when it’s time to stock up.
Most stores reduce key staples every couple of months, when this happens you want to buy enough to keep you going until the next price drop.
E.g. tinned tuna is a staple in our house but I never buy it at is everyday price.
I know it lowest price is roughly 25% less so I only buy then and buy enough for 2-3 months.
I kept a price book for a few years and updated every so often.
Using a price book helps you spend less money on groceries but you do need to be organised and keep it updated.
We went 2 months without beef mince once because I refused to pay more than what my price book said was the best price.
I eventually gave in as we all wanted spaghetti bolognese!
Beef mince has never gone back to my original price book price.
I do recommend you keep a price book as it was one of the key things that helped me learn how to save money on groceries and household items when I was starting out.
Key tip – keep your price book updated, maybe check prices every 6-8 weeks.
You may also like: When Money Is Tight, How to Enjoy A $35/£30 Grocery Budget For 2
Love The Loss Leaders
Stores regularly offer heavily discounted products as a way to entice you into their store.
You’ll know which products they are as they are on the front page of their ads and heavily promoted.
Would you believe stores make a loss on these products?
They are gambling that if you visit their store and buy their loss leaders, you’ll stay and spend a fortune on the rest of your shopping.
Be wise to this, buy the loss leaders and only what is on your list that the store is cheapest for.
This way you make the best savings on your groceries and don’t get suckered into buying more expensive products to finish off your shopping.
Buy In Bulk
When you see a deal on one of your regular products do try and stock up to take best advantage of the deal.
I know this might blow your grocery budget for that week, but you’ll save money overall.
Having a little flex in your budget will help you save money on food for the month.
Knowing the lowest price of every product means you know a deal when you see one and can take advantage of it.
In winter we go through a fair amount of potatoes as they are a staple ingredient for many frugal recipes and as a side dish.
No point buying them every week when mother nature created them to store really well.
So when I see a great potato deal it goes on my grocery list.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying too much though. The last thing you want is to be trowing away food.
Use everything up and reduce your food waste to a minimum.
Plan Your Loss Leader Meals – Combine Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4
Meal planning your meals in advance by knowing your prices allows you to make the best use of the grocery stores loss leaders.
If one store has a deep discount on chicken then you will save money on your groceries by planning your meals around chicken, visiting that store and buying enough chicken for all those meals.
You also want to buy in bulk to keep you going until the next time chicken is on a deep discount.
Shop In More Than One Grocery Store
You might know which is your cheapest grocery store overall but often certain stores are cheaper for some items and more expensive for others.
You can save money on your groceries every month if you take the time to visit more than one store.
Every store has special offers each week but on different products.
When you are grocery shopping on a budget you want to buy every item on your list at the lowest price.
Which you can achieve by visiting more than one store.
The key to success with this tip is only buy what is on your list!
I use both Aldi and Asda/Walmart to get the best prices on my grocery list.
Save On Protein
Protein is often a staple in our diets but it comes at a price.
When you are trying to reduce your food bill, especially with a large family of mouths to feed, then you will want to get the best price on your protein every time:
- Know your prices
- Buy in bulk when your favorite protein hits it’s lowest price
- Stock up your freezer
I also advocate stretching your protein use so you use less in each of your meals.
This helps to turn a nice meal into a frugal meal and you save money on protein as you need less.
An added bonus of bulking out your protein with veg is the increased healthiness of the meal.
A 500g pack of ground beef will stretch to a minimum of 6 portions when I’m cooking.
Not so far when Mr2p cooks though!
Related post: 10 Simple Ways to Save Money on Meat
Stay Out Of The Grocery Store
I know I have just encouraged you shop at more than one store but hear me out!
The more often you go shopping the more likely you are to spend more.
If you want to spend less on food then the key is to shop less often but still visit the stores you need.
It’s the top up shops you do mid-week that will kill your grocery budget and stop you saving money.
How often have you popped out with your short grocery list (eggs and milk?) and invariably ended up with a basket full of extra stuff?
Yep, me too!
I know when you are buying groceries for a large family this may be a little more difficult as the amount of food you get through is that much more.
Meal planning is the key to successfully reducing your food bill especially with a large family.
Create your meal plan, then create your shopping list to buy the ingredients you need for your planned meals.
You shouldn’t run out of food if you get your meal plan and shopping list perfected.
(But it does take time and we all have our off weeks!)
Have A Standby Store Cupboard Meal
Sometimes your plans just don’t work out, you missed a meal off your grocery store list or you fed more people than you planned for.
If you have a standby meal you can always make out of your store cupboard staples then your family can still be fed, without resorting to eating out or popping out again to the grocery store.
Our standby meal is spaghetti with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
It’s a great frugal recipe as it can be stretched to accommodate to feed more mouths.
It saves me money on my groceries every month because I don’t end up nipping out to the store mid-week.
You may also like: 48 Oh So Simple Ideas To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck
Coupons are great if it is for an item you are going to buy anyway and something you will definitely use.
But coupons for items that you don’t usually buy or for a branded item that costs more is no good when you are shopping on a budget.
Learning how to save money on groceries without coupons is key to keeping your food bill down low.
I’m not saying don’t use coupons, far from it.
But if you can master how to save on groceries every month through other means first, then couponing is the next step in driving up your savings.
Always use coupons where they genuinely will help you to save money but resist the urge to use them just because you have them in your purse.
Don’t use them if it means you spend more or have products hanging around in your store cupboard – that’s wasted money.
There are plenty of ways to save money on your groceries without coupons.
In fact I hardly use coupons now because our diet is mainly fresh fruit and vegetables and store own brand products.
The more you cook your food from scratch the less you will find yourself using coupons to save money.
Many coupons seem to be for processed and ready made products. Which often cost more than if you made your own.
Related post: How To Use Coupons Effectively Without Going Extreme
Don’t Buy Convenience Food
These days you can buy almost anything in individual portion sizes – for your convenience.
But you will pay a premium for it.
Here in the UK individual serving porridge pots are popular in the winter but they cost more than a whole bag of oats!
Items aimed at lunch boxes are also costly. Individual packs of biscuits or sticks of cheese.
You are paying extra for someone else to wrap your food for you!
If you prep your own version of these items you’ll save money on your food bill for sure.
Why not slice and wrap individual portions of cheese and fruit?
When you are looking to save money on your food bill you want to buy the produce that is in season.
It’s much cheaper than produce that has been flown half way round the world at vast expense.
Out of season food costs more because of those transportation costs.
Your seasonal produce is much more likely to be grown nearby rather than 3,000 miles away.
And it’s much better for the environment as a result.
We love asparagus but we only ever have it in the summer months at £2 a lb when it is grown locally.
Yes we can get it in the winter but at £2 for 100g and likely from South America!
We love strawberries but out of their natural season they just do not taste the same and cost double the price.
Related reading: 21 benefits of growing your own food
This is my number one favorite grocery saving tip. I love a good bargain hunt!
You can grab a great bargain if you check out the clearance section.
Products that are near to their best before date get marked down but are still good to eat.
I know a previous tip for the grocery store is to only buy what’s on your list and meal plan beforehand.
But when you find a good markdown you should buy it and either incorporate it into your meal plan or freeze it for future meal planning.
The ideal markdown is one which was already on your grocery list, but it doesn’t often work that way!
Related reading: 25 Super Easy Money Saving Tips That Actually Work
How To Save Money On Your Groceries And Household Items
If your grocery budget is out of control then following all these ideas will help you to perfect your grocery store list and shopping habits and save you a fortune.
You don’t have to give up quality food, just tackle your shopping in a planned and thought out way.
If you have a large family you can save a significant amount of money on your groceries following these tips.
Whether you are in the UK, US or someplace else some or all of these grocery tips will help you save money.
For more money saving tips on how to save money in your kitchen check out this post:
Reminder of how to save on groceries every month:
- Have a plan
- Know your prices
- Love the loss leaders
- Buy in bulk
- Plan your loss leader meals – combine steps 1, 2, 3 and 4
- Shop in more than one grocery store
- Save on protein
- Stay out of the grocery store
- Have a standby store cupboard meal
- Don’t buy convenience food
- Seasonal produce
- Love markdowns
Top Tip – Subscribe to the 7 day Grocery Budget Bootcamp and learn how to take back control of your spending on groceries in just a week!
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Last Updated on 26th September 2021 by Emma