Today I'm going to tell you how to painlessly cut your grocery bill nearly in half, giving you hundreds more in your pocket every month. These ways to cut your grocery bill work long term and take minimal effort. I used to spend almost $800 a month on groceries and now I spend no more than $450!
Food prices are going up. The cost of living is going up. Gas bills. Electric bills. Cable bills. Phone bills. Everything seems to be going up. If you're reading this post, chances are you are struggling to keep up (or just sick and tired of seeing your money go to waste).
Even with 2 working parents, it can be difficult to make ends meet. Budgeting for a family is never fun. Seeing how much of your hard earned money goes to things like student loans, electricity, water, phones. It's hard to budget and spend less on these, so when we need to cut back, we turn to groceries, eating out, shopping, and activities. All of the fun stuff!
These strategies that will cut your grocery bill take a little work and effort, but they are not all consuming and won't exhaust you, I promise! And they are well worth the effort you put forth.
cut your grocery bill by hundreds every month
I am not talking any gimmicks here. There are the things that I've learned over time when having low salary entry level jobs and later on while taking unpaid leaves from work. And simply because of a growing family. We never really accounted for needing to spend more on groceries as our family grew, so there were times I had to get pretty creative to cut the grocery bill. But I have learned so much and want to share the real ways that I have learned to cut your grocery bill and keep it down.
What am I not going to do? Tell you how to become an extreme couponer who spends 5 cents on an entire weeks' worth of groceries and brings home 30 boxes of cheerios. Who has the time for that? And who needs 30 boxes of cheerios?? To each their own, though, and if this is what you're looking for, here is a helpful article about how to start extreme couponing.
What I will tell you about are the changes I've made and simple ways I've found that have helped to cut my grocery bill in half. Literally. And while sacrificing very little. These are real strategies for hard working families.
strategies to cut your grocery bill in half
1. Shop at discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi
Shopping at a discount supermarket has been the best thing I've ever done to trim my spending on groceries. If you are serious about being able to cut your grocery bill in half, you need to do this. I absolutely love Lidl, the new German-based grocer of slightly higher quality than Aldi.
Discount grocers sell mostly their own brands and for way less than name brands (and even store brand) at the local traditional grocery store. They might not have everything you need, but they will have most. And because the store is smaller usually, it's easier to bring home just what you came for. Organic is actually affordable too!
I spend between $75 and $100 a week at Lidl for my little family of 4. The same amount of groceries at a store like Giant or Safeway would cost about $175, give or take. Now that I shop at Lidl and see how much more I can get for my hard earned money, I'll never be able to shop solely at the traditional stores again.
2. Take advantage of store memberships, like Target Circle
Always sign up for your store's membership rewards club! They are free, and not only do you get exclusive sales, many send you rewards after making so many purchases.
I love the new Target Circle because you can combine Target coupons, manufacturers coupons AND Circle offers on items. You can view products, prices, and coupons that apply to those products all from the app. Lidl also has a great rewards program that sends you a monthly reward (like 20% off meat) if you spend $150 in 3 shopping trips.
3. Price match
Know your store's price match policy and take advantage of it! The big name stores like Target, Walmart, and Amazon all price match each other. Now price matching won't generally apply to food items and grocery stores, but you can save money price matching household goods. I save between $5 and $10 at Target every time I price match my household supplies.
Did you know that many stores' online prices are cheaper than their in-store prices? Yes, it's true. And these stores will likely price match to their online prices, so make sure you do your price research before heading out the door. Last week I saved $22 in store at Target buying supplies like toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc., because I price matched to its online prices.
4. Start making homemade foods
Making some foods from scratch can save you a ton of money on your grocery bill. Making homemade food is not difficult for the most part. I started making this creamy yogurt after realizing that we spent about $20 on yogurt cups every week. It's incredibly easy and a mostly hands-off recipe. Now, I make 2 quarts of yogurt which lasts us about 2 weeks and it costs less than $2. That's a savings of $36 each month. You can also stop buying canned soups and make them from scratch. Homemade soup is incredibly economical (and healthier), so this can help to cut your grocery bill too!
I make all my soups from scratch unless I am feeling lazy, and I make big batches to freeze for later on. You can find my delicious soup recipes here.
You can also make your bread, pizza dough, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and croissants from scratch. You really only need inexpensive baking supplies and a good recipe to save a ton of money! And if you buy a bread machine, most of your bread-based recipes are completely hands-off. The bread machine does the work for you!
5. Join a retail warehouse, like Sam's Club, BJs, or Costco
For about $40 a year you can join a discount warehouse and save a ton on buying in large quantities. I find that Sam's Club not only has the least expensive fruit around, but it that lasts longer than any other store. Most of the time a 2 pound carton of strawberries is $4 at Sam's, compared to $5 for a 1 pound carton at traditional grocery stores. Buy the carton from Sam's and you've just saved $6! Plus you've got fruit that doesn't go bad before you have a chance to eat it. You can also freeze some if you don't think you need it all right away.
6. Freeze leftovers and extra vegetables + fruits
An easy way to cut your grocery bill is to buy an item in bulk when it's on a really good sale and freeze it. You can do this with many herbs, fruits and vegetables. I stock up when there's a sale on essential items that I use a lot (like onions, celery, broccoli) and freeze them so that I always have them on hand. If I know I have a stash of an essential in my freezer, than I won't buy it on my next trip.
I also freeze any leftovers that can be. And not just meals. Think extra sauce from the meatballs and spaghetti or the half can of pizza sauce that you didn't use and will probably get left unnoticed in the back of the fridge.
7. Ditch the junk snacks and baby food
Do you really need those Oreos or that bag of Doritos? No, you probably don't! Junk food is costly and the prices are only rising. In many states there is a tax on non-necessary food items like these. Opt for healthier snacks, like fruit, veggies, and cheese. Or make your own chips (like potato, zucchini, apple, kale) at home. Your health and pocket book will thank you.
If you have a baby, consider pureeing your own fruits and vegetables instead of buying baby jars. Baby jars are about $1 each. That means that if your baby is an average baby, she's eating 4-5 jars of baby food a day. That's $25 a week! You can make everything that you'd buy in a jar at home using fresh veggies and fruit. And when baby is big enough to eat finger foods, feed her what you eat (as long as it's something that can be easily chewed by a learning mouth). Skip the prepared lunches and dinners in a box. They are costly and not necessary!
Once I stopped buying these, my grocery bill decreased an average of $30 a week, or $120 a month. That's a significant savings!
strategies to cut your grocery bill that don't work for my family
What did not work to cut my grocery bill significantly are couponing, comparing sales and going from store to store to get the best deal, and planning my meals ahead of time and sticking to my list.
Couponing stopped working for my family when we started shopping at Lidl. Lidl does not accept coupons, and we saved so much more money here without coupons than at other stores with coupons. I also spent a ton of time cutting coupons and sorting through what I could use each week, and now with 2 kids, it's easier to skip this.
2. comparing sales and shopping around
There was a time when I compared 2 or 3 stores flyers or websites, create a list for each store, and spend hours going from store to store so that I could get my items for the best price. With kids, that time has come and gone! If you have children, you know what pain is to get your tired and hungry kids in and out of car all day.
3. planning all meals ahead of time
I believe that you should have an idea of your weekly meals and snacks, but should buy what is on sale and create a recipe from those ingredients.
And that brings me to the end of the best ways I've found to cut your grocery bill and save hundreds every month! I hope you'll give some of these a try and let me know how they worked!