One of the fun things we get to do as such is go to the grocery store and not end up with more than we can afford. [Ha.]
Ever struggled with this? I know I do sometimes. Thankfully, I had a very frugal mother who taught me well how to save money and still eat healthy.
Here are some of the tips I try and stick to when grocery shopping – hopefully they’ll help you out as well!
20 Tips for Saving Money in the Grocery Store
1 – Make a list of the things you need and stick to it. I never go grocery shopping without a list, even if it’s written in down by my sweet 7-year old, or hastily scratched out in the van on the way to the store. Sticking to a list guarantees I won’t be coming home with stuff I don’t need and thus saves me from spending money on said stuff.
2 – Do inventory of your fridge, pantry and freezer. Wait until you don’t have something, or will be out the next day, before getting more. Use up the older things first! I have a little dry erase board on my fridge that I add things to as I run out of them during the week/month. This way I don’t have to frantically run through the kitchen checking to see what I need before I head out and I don’t accidentally end up buying something I already have.
3 – Don’t shop on the weekends. This doesn’t really save money, but it does save time… and frustration. Stores are more likely to be full of fellow shoppers on weekends, which means full parking lots, lack of carts, and long lines. Blech.
4 – Get your coupons ready! My mom always uses coupons and saves a ton of money. I don’t usually use them, since coupons for gluten-free items are few and far between, but coupons for things like juice and diapers are always available. You can go to coupons.com and print them off right at home. No need for the newspaper. Just remember that because you see a coupon/sale for something does not mean you need it! 🙂
5 – Don’t shop when you’re hungry. Everything looks good and everything seems necessary – it’s probably not.
6 – Don’t buy pre-cut meats or veggies. Cut them yourself. It will be a little more work, but buying a whole or half chicken (frozen or not) will save you a whole lot of money and is a TON more healthy. You can even buy a beef brisket instead of ground beef and most grocery butchers will grind it for you.
Here’s my family’s Favorite Roast Chicken recipe. If you don’t think you can eat a whole chicken in one meal, no worries! Save the leftovers for yummy thinks like Slow-Cooker White Chili, and use the bones for homemade stock!
7 – Grate your own cheese and veggies. I usually make my hubby do this for me, since I have too many scars from cheese graters (no one wants a chunk of your finger in their meal). But seriously, this can save you a bunch. 🙂
8 – Don’t buy bottled water; filter it yourself. Brita filters and old-fashioned boiling save money and aren’t hard, we use the Perfect Water system, and have friends who love their Berkey. For camping and road trips, my family always fills old milk jugs with filtered water and brings along reusable water bottles.
9 – Be careful of the ends of the aisles – a display does NOT mean a sale! Seriously…
10 – Buy the store brands.Kirkland Signature, Equate, Great Value, Kroger… they are always cheaper than the name brands. The only things I don’t stick with this on are ice cream and toilet paper. Breyer’s all the way, baby! (The gluten-free stuff, of course.)
11 – If you shop at the end of the day, look for discounted bakery and meat items. I’ve often purposefully gone to the meat department 10-20 minutes before closing and the butchers have given me crazy amazing deals on cuts that they are going to toss because they haven’t sold yet. (I once got steaks for 79 cents a pound!!!!)
12 – Buy in bulk and split it with a friend. Granted, buying a huge thing of toilet paper at Coscto is not necessarily going to save you any money, but places like that and Sam’s Club can have some great deals. Their organic frozen meat is usually a heck of a lot cheaper than any other place’s, too. We usually stock up on organic meat and organic frozen veggies at Coscto once a month.
If you don’t have access to a bulk store (or if you don’t like dragging all your kids around)Amazon also has some good deals on bulk items. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends to go in on something with you if it will save you both money.
13 – Grind your own flours. For all you gluten-free-ers out there, this genuinely saves a TON of money. Pretty much any flour or meal you use (not including starches), you can grind on your own if you have a good blender or food processor (or an amazing Blendtec or Vitamix!). I regularly grind my own brown rice flour and oat flour, and even make my own coconut flour, for grain-free recipes!
14 – Bake from scratch as much as possible. Buying a good loaf of bread or a pie on sale is still a ton more expensive than making it at home. It may take you some time to get used to, but in the end you will thank yourself… so will your bank account.
15 – If you can have a garden, DO IT. Not only is gardening economical, it’s therapeutic and a great way to teach your kids – and yourself. 🙂 Plus, there’s nothing quite as rewarding as pulling a bunch of radishes from your garden…
16 – Don’t buy fruits and veggies that aren’t in season. Example: oranges in the summer will generally be 2 or 3 times more expensive than they will be in the winter. Know the seasons of the produce your family uses; if it’s not in season, you can probably live without it. If you really must have something out of season buy it frozen (NEVER CANNED).
This tip, however, doesn’t usually apply to root veggies, like carrots and potatoes. Their prices rarely fluctuate enough to warrant not buying them ‘fresh.’ Cabbage is usually pretty cheap, too.
17 – If you’re a yogurt fan, make your own. No matter the cost of milk, it will always be cheaper to make yogurt at home than buy it from the store. (It’s healthier, too.) You can make it in the oven, in a crock-pot, or in a nifty yogurt maker, like this one that I use.
18 – Buy spices, herbs and teas in bulk. There are quite a few online co-ops and health food stores that will give you a great deal on these things, and they are usually a better version of the stuff you’ll find in the stores. I like to buy mine on Amazon or Mountain Rose Herbs.
19 – Do your homework! Compare and contrast ads from the stores in your area. Most groceries will have on-line ads you can bookmark to save time, or you can always get the paper on the day it carries ads. Sometimes you can couple a sale with a manufacturer’s coupon and save more!
And last but not least…
20 – BUDGET!!!!!!I have a family of 7 and spend around $400 a month on food. It is sometimes difficult, but it teaches us discipline and the difference between a need and a want.(Note: restaurants, take-out, soda and candy are pretty much, unquestionably, never a need.)
If you haven’t started meal planning, this is a huge help when it comes to staying within your budget. Check out –>this post<– for a month’s worth of gluten-free meals to get you started!
There you have it, friends.
It’s not an exclusive list, nor do I always follow these tips to a T, but I try and it definitely helps save money!