Let’s be honest – feeding your family is expensive! It seems to be getting worse and worse the older my boys are getting, I can barely keep my cabinet and refrigerator stocked with enough food to fill them up and that means I’m spending more and more on groceries.
I wanted to dive into a few tips and tricks that I’ve figured out that have cut my grocery bill in half, these are not extreme coupon tricks either – these are I only have an hour a week to meal plan so I need to get the biggest bang for my buck type of tips. Tips that anyone can do and make a huge impact on your bottom line.
Meal Plan – but do it the RIGHT way
Most people sit down to meal plan and decide what sounds good for the week. Maybe someone in the family wants roast and another person wants taco’s, so you put those on your menu and create your grocery list. Right?
A great tip for saving money is creating your menu around what’s on sale at the store that week and also using up what you having in your cabinet. Is chicken on sale this week – what recipes can you make with it? And, if it’s a really great deal – buy extra and freeze them for another week.
Making this simple change when you’re meal planning can save you tons of money! Shop the sales!
My good friend Jenny over at The Melrose Family has a fabulous new eBook out, The Meal Planning Game, it has tons of information on how to meal plan and get dinner on the table! Check it out!
Plus, be sure to print out our FREE WEEKLY MEAL PLAN PRINTABLE while you’re here!
I’m not talking crazy like – but it only makes sense to pick up things while they’re on sale. IF YOU USE IT! Just because creamed corn is on sale for $.10 a can, if you don’t eat creamed corn regularly – you’re wasting money buying it. It does no good to you sitting in your cabinet.
If your family loves a certain cereal and it’s on super sale, grab a few extra boxes for your stockpile. Another tip with stockpiling, keep it someplace out of your kitchen. If I have my stockpile of extra cereal in the kitchen, my kids would just eat it until it’s gone. Having it out of site, they don’t go through it as fast!
Stores typically rotate sales every few weeks so buy enough of what you need for that particular item until it goes on sale again. Maybe canned tomatoes are something that you use regularly in recipes, buy enough while they are on sale to get you to the NEXT sale. You’ll get better at this as you practice!
Shop the Sales
Like I said, you don’t have to be an extreme couponer to save money on groceries. Shopping the in store sales is a great way to cut down your grocery bill total. If you do want to dabble in couponing, this is a great place to start and you can double up your in store coupons with a manufacturer coupon for even more savings. You better believe when my favorite General Mills cereal is on sale at my local grocery store, I head over to coupons.com to see if there area any coupons available and double up the savings!
Meat is so expensive, I cannot believe how much it costs for a pound of ground beef these days. We try to have at least one meatless meal every week if not more to cut back on that expense. My family doesn’t really notice and it saves so much!
In recipes that call for beef, cut back on the amount you use and add in beans. This is not only cheaper but tastes delicious too!
Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry!
If there could only be one tip that I share with you that sticks, it’s this one. Do NOT shop when you’re hungry! Guys, I have come home many many times from shopping with a boat load of groceries that I just didn’t need because I went to the store when I was hungry. The snacks and things that I would never have bought normally, they looked amazing and I had to have them. It ended up costing me so much more than normal.
Worse yet is taking a hungry teenager, do not under any circumstances do this! Somehow they can talk you into buying just about everything in the store. Save yourself a lot of money by using this simple tip, in fact, if you can shop without your kids this is going to save you money as well. I admit that when my boys are with me and they ask for popcorn or whatever snack it is that they love, I usually give in and I end up spending more.
Cut out the Junk Food
If you’re anything like me, you put “snacks” on your grocery list. This basically means things for my boys to grab and eat. The problem is, I end up buying junk for them to snack on and it really doesn’t fill them up. If anything it makes them want MORE junk food. Cookies aren’t a snack, they’re a treat and by cutting out some of these items and replacing them with things that fill my kids up, like apples with peanut butter, I have saved a ton on my groceries.
Grow a Garden
We’re just jumping into having our own garden, but my Mom is known to have the largest garden in town. I’ve been lucky to benefit from her amazing harvest. She grows everything from Tomatoes to Potatoes and she does a lot of canning with her garden. She saves so much money every year by growing enough of most of these veggies to get her through to the next summer. There are even some veggies and herbs you can grow right in your kitchen. This might be worth researching!
If you’re just getting started with gardening, check out Moms Best Gardening Tips to get you going!
Cut out Paper Products
Stop using paper plates, cups and napkins because of convenience! These end up costing so much and by simply using regular plates and cloth napkins you can easily cut out these expenses. We always used paper in the summer months more than we needed to, just because it was easy when we were busy and on the go but to be honest it really doesn’t take more than a couple minutes to wash dishes so it was a completely unnecessary expense!
Drink water from the tap! Don’t spend money on bottled water constantly, instead pick up a pitcher and a couple reusable water bottles like these and start drinking from the tap. This is going to save you a ton of money every month if you buy bottled, you will have the upfront expense of the pitcher and reusable water bottles but in the long run this is so worth it!
Make it Yourself
You’d be surprised what all you can make yourself! Try making your bread from scratch to save money. We have a great simple French Bread Recipe that anyone can make and it’s so good! You can even make your own Fruit Snacks for kids AND Fruit Roll Ups!
Start thinking about what items you can make yourself and cut back on the costs!
Avoid Food Waste
This is a big one for us. I always make way more than what we eat and while leftovers are great to have, to be honest, we will eat them the next day for lunch and that’s it. The rest gets wasted.
Start making the amount of food you actually eat, I know it’s hard and you worry that there won’t be enough for everyone if you cut back but trust me there will be. If you’re anything like me, you make way more than one family needs or eats and you end up wasting so much food every week.
If you do have food waste that you’re not going to eat and you’re starting a garden. I would recommend using a Compost bin for that food and using in the soil for your garden.
Stop Eating Out
I know this isn’t a direct grocery expense but it is an expense all the same. We went through a time where we were eating out several times a week and the money we spent was atrocious! Cut out this expense and starting eating at home, make eating out a special occasion and watch how much you save!
Sometimes you have to get creative when you’re trying to save money. Maybe you need to go to cash only when your grocery shopping so that you don’t over buy things you hadn’t planned for? This could be a great way to stick to a budget too.
Try checking our your local farmers market to see if the produce is cheaper (and it’s super fresh). I love summer time when we can pick up items we don’t grow at the farmers market.
Buy in bulk the items that you use a lot of – toilet paper, oatmeal, etc. It might be worth sharing a membership to Sams or Costco with a friend just to buy these items.
I hope these ideas have helped and inspired you to really take a look at your grocery spending and see where you can save money. By implementing just a few of these tips, I was able to cut our grocery bill in half and to be honest we started eating better too.
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