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 grocery list. 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 good news is, it is totally possible to save money on groceries with a little planning and using a few tricks that I share below.
Grocery shopping on a budget 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?
Follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and financial tips!
13 Killer Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Have a plan
A meal plan will be fundamental to you being able to save money on groceries. 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.
Key tip – remember snacks and treats – I can’t live without a few treats at the weekend!
Know your prices
I learnt this tip years ago from Amy Dacyczyn who advocated the use of a price book. This is about knowing the lowest price a product will sell for and waiting until it hits that price, then stocking 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.
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.
Buy in bulk
When you see a deal on one of your regular products make sure you stock up to take best advantage of the deal. 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. 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.
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 store
Save money on groceries by visiting 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. If you are grocery shopping on a budget then you will want to get the best price on your protein every time.
Know your prices, buy in bulk when your favourite protein hits it’s lowest price and stock up your freezer.
Stay out of the 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 save money on groceries 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.
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.
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.
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.
Always use coupons where they genuinely will help you to save money on groceries. Don’t use them if it means you spend more of have products hanging around in your store cupboard – that’s wasted money.
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 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! The easy way to save money on groceries is to prep your own version of these items. Slice and wrap individual portions of cheese and fruit.
Related reading: 10 things I don’t do or buy
When you are grocery shopping on a budget 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.
We love asparagus but we only ever have it in the summer months at £2 a lb. Yes we can get it in the winter but at £2 for 100g! Strawberries out of their natural season just do not taste the same and cost double the price.
Related reading: 21 benefits of growing your own food
You can grab a great bargain if you check out the reduced item aisle. Products that are near to their best before date get marked down but are still good to eat.
I know I said above to only buy what’s on your list and meal plan beforehand. But when you find a good markdown you will want to 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 store list, but it doesn’t often work that way!
Related reading: 25 tried & tested money saving tips
Perfecting your grocery store list
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.
Reminder of the ways to save money on groceries:
- 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 store
- save on protein
- Stay out of the store
- Have a standby store cupboard meal
- don’t buy convenience food
- seasonal produce
- Love markdowns