I love grocery shopping. It comes with the food blogging territory. I love wandering the aisles and seeing the new products that are coming out, but it is a massive trap to spend a ton of money. Trips to the grocery store can really make or break a family’s household budget each month.
So here are my must-see tips on how to save money on groceries each week:
- MEAL PLAN! I can’t say this enough. Make a list of what you’re going to cook for the week and stick to it. Don’t buy things for dinner then make an impromptu trip to the store a few days later because you don’t want to make what you originally planned. You’ll only have a ton of food on hand and you’ll have bought that dinner twice.
- Plan your meals from what you already have. Have a can of black beans already? Make chicken and black bean quesadillas. Have a lot of pasta and chicken broth? Pick up some sausage and make Sausage and Broccoli Pasta. Use what you have on hand. Don’t buy all new ingredients every week. Shop. Your. Pantry.
- Meal plan for that week based on not only what you have in the pantry, but also what’s on sale at your favorite store. If pork chops are on sale, you better believe we’re getting some. Meat is hard to come by in a really good sale so when I find something good, I’ll buy extra and freeze it for later.
- Buy only what’s on the list. Don’t impulse buy those cookies or that really expensive cheese. You don’t need it. Your budget (and your booty) will thank you later.
- Plan for buying extra on sales. Right now, it’s a great time to buy baking supplies since we’re headed into the holidays. Stock up on extra flours, sugars and nuts because they’re the best price they’re going to be all year.
- Once you have made your list (compiled of what you really need and what’s on sale at the store), scour the internet for coupons on those items. There are certain things that I’m always buying – Goldfish, granola bars, yogurt, etc. – so I’m always checking various sites for good coupons to use on those items that we will need no matter what.
- When it comes to produce, only shop what’s in season. Forget about buying tomatoes in December (if you live in upstate New York like us). Instead, I’m looking for recipes with more root vegetables, hearty greens, etc. They are much more prevalent this time of us – thus, quite a bit cheaper per pound.
- Know your store’s coupon and sales policies. ShopRite is a great store because they offer triple coupon days. That is a great time to clear out your stash and get some major sales. Price Chopper will double coupons up to 99 cents, and also accepts store coupons from other competitors (which you can then stack on top of a manufacturer’s coupon). You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to make some serious coin back from coupons. With that said….
- Don’t just use a coupon because you have one!!! I can’t stand the $1 off 2 item coupons. I never use them unless whatever it is on sale, but also something that we love (like Goldfish or another lunchbox item). It’s just forcing you to buy more than you normally would and inevitably something will go to waste.
- Also, only cut coupons for things your family actually uses. They are a great way to try new products at a discounted price, but when you’re on a budget, you need to get the staples. If you have kids like us, cut coupons for yogurt, crackers, milk, bacon, juice and more. There are some great deals out there, but be careful of traps. You don’t need 9 coupons for gum. So just avoid it all together.
- Before you go to the store, do your homework. Rely on coupon bloggers to do the leg work for you. So many blogs will actually match up the week’s sales with the coupons that are currently available. This shows you have to get really cheap items and with zero research of your own. My favorite coupon bloggers are the Shopportunist and The Krazy Coupon Lady.
- Check out money-saving apps like Cartwheel (Target’s app based coupons), Ibotta and Checkout 51. It saves you a few bucks here and there, and Cartwheel is amazing during the holiday season for kids’ toys. Since I signed up two years ago, I’ve saved almost $650 on Cartwheel. (Seriously!)
So those are my tips for saving money on groceries. Share yours in the comments below. I always love to know how people are shopping on a budget!