Save Money on Groceries
With the Complete Guide to Grocery Savings!
The Complete Guide to Grocery Savings is a free guide full of tips and techniques to fit shopping for groceries into your busy schedule and feed your family for less. By following these tips, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on your food budget.
Throughout this guide, the budgeting experts at EveryDollar will show you how.
Before a new month begins decide how much you want to spend on groceries. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out your latest bank statements. How much did you spend on food in the past? Use those numbers as a starting point and make adjustments from there.
Remember: There is no hard and fast rule about how much you should spend on food. You get to choose how much you budget, so don’t feel bad about spending more, or less, than other people. Pick your number and own it.
You can easily set up your grocery budget in EveryDollar:
It may seem easier to pick up a pizza on your way home from work, but those quick purchases here and there add up fast. A better way to save cash—and calories!—is to create a meal plan before the month begins. Trust us when we say you will love the feeling of walking out of the grocery store knowing you got exactly what you needed—and stayed on budget. Use our template at the end of this guide to help you plan your weekly meals.
Meal plan! Don’t just shop willy-nilly, grabbing things that look good.
If you have a smart phone, you have a front row seat to some sweet grocery deals—and we’re not talking about the pastries here. Most grocery stores have mobile apps full of coupons that can score you some great savings. Download the apps from your local grocery stores and look through the coupons before you head out the door. Some of our favorites include Wal-Mart’s Savings Catcher, Shipt, Kroger and Instacart.
Remember: Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you need to use it. Coupons can make it easy to spend money on things just because they are on sale. Even if you got it at a discount, it still cost you money! So remember, coupon responsibly!
Eat a quick meal or grab a snack before you tackle your grocery list. Shopping hungry makes everything look good—even the things that aren’t on your shopping list.
Take a picture of what’s in your fridge and pantry before you leave the house. If you get to the grocery store and can’t remember if you have a certain ingredient, check your photo and see.
Grocery trips can be stressful. Take a pair of earphones and pump yourself up with some of your favorite jams as you weave your way through the aisles.
When you’re pushing an empty shopping cart, you feel compelled to fill it—which means you buy more than you need. If you don’t have a big grocery list, stick to a basket or one of those fancy half-carts. Those are more fun to drive anyway. Double win!
If you can’t decide between this almond butter and that almond butter, check out the price per ounce display on the shelf tag. Remember, not all foods are created equal, so make sure you know what matters most to you—cost or quality. But if you’ve narrowed it down to your top choices and it looks like cost will be the tiebreaker, the price per ounce will help you get the most bang for your buck!
Keep a running total of your grocery bill as you shop. This helps you know exactly how much you have left to spend as you wheel your way between aisles. If you start inching close to your budget total before you’re done shopping, you can figure out what needs to go back on the shelves before you get to the checkout lane.
Business Insider reports that the checkout line is the most profitable area of the store. And with all the overpriced candy bars and lifestyle magazines on the rack, it’s not hard to see why. Hello impulse purchases! Make a mental note to end your shopping trip before you reach the checkout aisle.
With online grocery services cropping up all over the place, you can now fill your shopping cart from anywhere! Depending on the service, you can get your kitchen staples delivered to your house or your car. That’s a lot of time and hassle saved for a lot of shoppers. Plus, you can easily see your grocery total without ever leaving the comfort of your home!
There’s a reason they place the colorful, sweet treats on the lower shelves—those goodies are easier for your little ones to grab! Keep the kids at home or let them have a snack as you shop.
Stay in the shopping zone with a simple “no thank you” or eat your sample on the go. If you enjoy it, put it on your list for the next grocery run.When those sample tables at the ends of the aisles try to lure you in with cheese cubes, fruit drinks or tasty treats, just remember, the fewer samples you take, the better. You don’t want to linger too long and be talked into buying food that’s not on your list.
Grocery stores are built to keep you occupied. Once you make your shopping list, map out where in the store you need to go—and follow your route! Don’t give in to the urge to mosey!
Once you get home from the store, grab your receipt and enter your grocery total into your budget. You can easily do this with EveryDollar. When you track your purchases, you eliminate the chance of overspending later in the month. And the best part? It only takes about a minute. You could even update your budget before leaving the parking lot!
Remember: If you picked up shampoo, toothpaste or other household items, make sure you split your transactions when you get home. Otherwise, those items will cut into your food budget. Not cool!
Making a different category for household items makes a huge difference in our food budget.
Americans are notorious for wasting food. According to Consumer Reports, we waste as much as one in four bags of groceries. That’s more than just wasted food— that’s wasted money! Avoid throwing your hard-earned dollars in the trash by prepping your meals when you get home from the grocery store. Turn on music and make it a family affair. Wash your produce, chop your veggies, and cook things like rice, hardboiled eggs and other ingredients that stay fresh for several days. This will not only save you time during the week, but help you stick to your meal plan too.
If it looks like you’re going to have more food than you bargained for, take advantage of the freezer. If you have a few bell peppers that look like they’re about to go bad, chop them up and freeze them for future fajitas. If you have an extra serving or two from chili night, freeze it for a quick dinner next week. If you’ve got extra cash, buy enough food to make a few extra servings of your meals and freeze the leftovers for later in the month. This will save you big bucks in the long run!
Easily store leftovers or prepped food in glass storage containers for a quick grab-and-go when it’s time to eat.
Throw extra leftovers in a freezer-friendly bag for a quick and easy meal later in the week.
Toss in all your ingredients in, set the timer, and dinner will be ready as soon as you are!
Put these tips into practice and grocery shopping will be a breeze. You’ll love the feeling of walking in the store, getting exactly what you need, and walking out— without wondering if you forgot something (or if you spent too much).