Learn how to save money on groceries while keeping your budget on track the easy way.
I’ve been pretty frugal most of my life, but when 2008 came and we lost almost everything in our real estate business, I had to learn a new way of being more frugal with our grocery money and make it stretch as far as it would go.
I hope this guide will help you learn how to save money on everyday grocery expenses in any size household.
Using coupons on items you normally purchase will save you money. Since the tv show “Extreme Couponing” basically stopped so many of the good sales using coupons, I had to figure out a new way to shop. Comparison prices are still the best way to save money today. Compare to see if the generic brand is cheaper or does other stores carry the same product cheaper without using a coupon? Following sites like Southern Savers and the Krazy Coupon Lady will help you learn how to coupon better.
Shop the BOGO’s with coupons is still a great way to save money and stock up. Since I live in Florida, Publix is my choice to do BOGO deals. Florida is a true BOGO state which means you have to buy both items to get the BOGO deal. Some states will let you buy one BOGO item and it will be half price. Be sure to check out your local grocery stores’ policies on BOGO deals.
Check to see if anyone you know may not use their Sunday paper coupons which will save your money. I have a neighbor who doesn’t use coupons and she will give them to me each week. There are several websites where you can print out coupons as well. Such as Smart Source, Grocery Smarts, RedPlum, Coupons.com, Savings.com, P & G are the ones I use the most.
Shop the discount stores like Aldi’s, Save A Lot, and Dollar General Store. I use Aldi’s for most of my produce, dairy, bread, and organic items and Dollar General Store for a lot of household items.
Buying by bulk at Sam’s or Costco is another way to save money. I will buy my meat, coffee, toilet paper, and other items we use a lot of so I can fill my freezer. Also, look for your local farmer who sells their meat in bulk. No more middleman and you can find out his growing practices. You purchase the kind of meat you want and you save money. Buying 6 steaks at Sam’s will cost about $25.00. That’s about $10.00 for Mr. G and me to have steak one night compared to about $40+ for us to eat out. Your local farmer also has the best organic eggs or if you have space, raise your own hens. That’s my next project.
I recently started using Amazon Subscribe & Save program with some non-perishable items. You can save not only your time but gas and up to 15% off your items. Many of these items will have coupons to use.
Where ever you shop for your groceries, be sure to compare prices! Go to the websites of the stores in your area and look at their sale bills to compare sales. I will also go to Amazon to see if it’s cheaper for Prime delivery. Start a spreadsheet of prices per size from each store you shop to help you decide the best store to buy your groceries from.
Don’t Overbuy! Only buy what you and your family can use so you won’t be throwing out any food which has gone bad. Try to only go to the store once a week which will help you not overbuy. I have noticed that if I shop alone, I won’t buy as much. Mr. G likes to buy items we shouldn’t be eating anyway.
I have some heavy-duty shelves in my garage where I keep our “Store”. When I find a good BOGO deal on items with a long shelf life, I will buy several of them. Especially the items we use often. Mr. Gl made the wooden sectional parts of the shelves for me.
Grow a Garden
Having your own garden or participating in a community garden is a great way to save money on groceries. Other advantages are knowing that your produce is chemical-free, grow items not only for your family but also to share with others, having an abundance you can or freeze for later in the year. It’s also a great teaching moment for the kids to learn where our food comes from.
As you can see in the picture above, my garden is small but perfect for 2 people. I mainly grow cabbage, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, several varieties of lettuce spinach and kale. Living in Zone 9a means I can have a garden from September to May.
If you worry about not having a green thumb, then start out small by growing in a container right out the front door, on your windowsill or on a balcony. You can also grow a small garden indoors too. There are so many different varieties of garden plants made for containers now, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs.
Learn to eat with seasonal foods. Local farmer’s markets are perfect for in-season vegetables and fruits and are cheaper than buying at the grocery store and when they are not in season.
Look for your local U-Pick farms to buy in bulk to store in the freezer or if you like to can foods. Keeping your pantry and freezer stocked also helps to save money. We go every spring and pick 2 buckets full of blueberries to put in the freezer for the whole year. My blueberry bushes produce a lot but not for the whole year.
Plan Your Meals
Stick to your list and use a calculator as you shop to stay under budget. Shop on a full stomach and you’ll buy fewer snacks and/or things you don’t usually buy and only buy groceries, not all the extra stuff at the grocery store! Save that for the discount stores.
A few years ago, I started planning out my weekly meals before I went grocery shopping. Knowing exactly what you want to fix for meals will save you money and time. Going to the grocery store without a plan or when you are hungry will only mean you buy more than you need.
My favorite grocery shopping app is the AnyList App which allows me to make several lists to different stores. I also sync to my favorite recipes to glance at ingredients. You can sync up with other users in the family so that they can add to your lists. The app is also synced up with my Echo Dot so I can add items to any of my lists when I think of them.
I recently discovered the Ibotta app and I’m so glad I did. Ibotta is SO EASY to use. Simply open the app before shopping and select your store (Target, Walmart, all major grocery stores, and more). Quickly search through the sale items on the app and select what you’re going to buy. Then, go shopping. When you get home, scan your receipt into the app and get cashback! This money adds up quickly and can be transferred directly to your PayPal account. Sign up here and get $5 for FREE in your account!
I use the Publix app which shows their sale bill each week where I can choose what I want to purchase which is added to the apps shopping list. While I am shopping the app will tell me where to find each item on each aisle and I can then check off what I put in my shopping basket. A great time saver.
I love cooking in batches and freezing meals to have something on hand when we are busy or I’m just too tired to even think about cooking. Having a meal plan will help you save not only time but also you won’t be rushing through the drive-thru for dinner and paying more for unhealthy meals.
Make from Scratch
I make as many items as I can from scratch to save money. My dressings, BBQ sauces, spice mixtures, smoothies, cleaning supplies, etc. are just a few. Instead of using packaged meals, I will make them from scratch. I love my homemade yogurt and it’s so easy to make. I know what’s in my homemade items and don’t have to worry about all the nasty additives, preservatives and can control the fat, sugar, and salt. I even make my own ice cream on special occasions with my small ice cream maker. I found a great book called The Made-from-Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home for a lot of recipes to make from scratch to help live a chemical-free life.
Eat Out Less
I know this is a tough one to follow, but eating out can be so costly. A meal for the two of us will average about $40 in our area. There are also health consequences by going out to eat often since there are so much fat and salt in restaurant food. By cooking at home with yummy recipes, you can control what goes into your meals. Save your money for a special occasion for a meal out then you will appreciate it more.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards
I know this sounds a little strange, but I love saving money this way. I will check at Cardpool.com and Raise.com to see if they have my local store’s gift cards at discounted prices. You can save up to 20% on your next shopping trip by using your store’s gift cards.
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I’m just a country girl loving my geeky life with my wonderful husband, always taking pictures, getting my hands dirty in the garden, being crafty, exploring with travels and enjoying all this on a budget. But above all, living my faith as a child of God!