This aspect I touched in my epic post 101 ways to save money briefly. There are tons of ways to save money on grocery bill. When I last examined, our grocery bill is the second most expensive item after rent for us. We are two people family and we eat out very rarely. of course the best way to save money on food is to cook it at home and take the left over for lunch.
Here’s some things that SMB(my wife) and I often do and are effective for keeping costs down while not neglecting yourself good quality whole foods:
1. My first tip above everything; Don’t shop hungry- Shopping when hungry tends to lead you to purchase things that look good now that might be related to cravings such as sugars and starch. Shop for what you want later not for right now.
2. Save on Meat – Buy chicken breast with bone in. This can cut the price in half. Save bones from chicken for making stock which you can use in soups. If buying pork choose the pork shoulder over the loin. Cheaper and in my opinion is better tasting.
3. When buying frozen fruit or veg go for the store brand generic type. More often than not this type of product comes from the same place as more expensive brand types. That cost difference comes from basically paying for something that is a brand that has packaging and advertisements.
- Frozen food is an often overlooked but incredibly valuable and helpful product. You only use what you need and the rest doesn’t need to spoil and only tend to cost a few dollars per package. I’ve mentioned that fruit and Veg that is flash frozen can be more nutritious than fresh organic produce.
- The fresh stuff starts losing nutrients as soon as it is picked. So if it is traveling across country it is quite depleted by the time it gets to you while frozen food retains all it’s nutrients from the moment it was frozen, which is usually not long after it was picked.
- Think of how Han Solo was frozen in carbonite in the Empire Strikes Back…sorry that’s the only Star Wars reference you will see
4. Use coupon for day-to-day food items. Your local super markets run deals every week. Deals are published to get customers through the door. It’s expected that you’ll purchase a lot more items from the store than the advertised deals. I’d say, buy only the deals available. Deals run on vegetables, meat, packaged food, etc
Just one word of caution, do not let deals dictate your buying. First make grocery lost and then try to search for deals which are already in your shopping list. This largely controls impulse buying.
5. A no-brainer is that vegetables and fruit will not only be better for you but are cheaper than processed foods. The average price for a huge bunch of Kale is $1.99 where I live and has enough kale for about 3-5 salads or almost 8 green smoothies. I can’t point out enough that healthy foods are cheaper
6. Your best value for cuts of beef are going to be
- skirt steak
- flank steak
- chuck & blade
- top rump
This is where a slow cooker can be your best friend. Slow cooking can take any type of cheaper cut and turn it into a fantastic, tender dish. You can add in things like broth that you made, vegetables, garlic etc set it for 6 hours or so and just leave it. It turns out to only costing you a few dollars a meal and make incredibly good meals. If you’re in a grocery store look for the cheaper cuts or if at a market or butcher ask them for these cuts as well. The farmers and butchers will also know the best way to cook the various cuts of meat and what goes well with them so use them as a great resource!
7. Quinoa- quinoa is not a grain but a seed and good organic varieties are becoming as cheap as rice. This ingredient can be stretched far in dishes as well as making salads.
8. BULK BARNS- A lot of people tend to think of Bulk stores (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc) as places where you can buy mass amounts of jelly beans or gummi worms but they are a very overlooked resource. These stores can be of great assistance in saving money and storing up on some key items. They are great places to get things like nuts and seeds.
I always will buy things like raw almonds and sunflower seeds at them. Also great for finding things like wild rice or quinoa if you’re consuming them. You can even find things like the omega 3 containing, detoxifying Chia seeds. It’s also great to find those improved alternatives to flour like coconut or almond flour.
Definitely start including Bulk stores into your shopping routine.
9. For fresh Veg keep them in either a plastic bag or brown bag and wrap the bag up while trying to squeeze all the air out. Doing this and keeping it in a vegetable crisper in your fridge will vastly extend the life of the Veg. Keeping as much air out as possible allows it to not break down, wilt or turn brown
10. Grow your own herbs- If you’re like me you use a ton of herbs for things like salads to almost every dish I eat. Herbs contain important phytonutrients that help in fighting disease and providing us with antioxidants along with enhancing the flavor of our food. Depending where you live an outdoor garden is cheap and easy to do.
You can buy plants like basil or oregano for only a few dollars and they will still grow each year.
Or you can order packages of seeds year round online through amazon for only a dollar or so per package. You’re now only looking at pennies per plant. Herbs can also be grown on windowsills in apartments
The easiest herbs to grow also tend to be some of the best for you such as:
- Also very easy to grow in an outdoor garden and extremely healthy are garlic, bell peppers and tomatoes
Take some of your own grown garlic, roasted and make a fresh soup with your own grown tomatoes and basil with some of the chicken stock you made and you will have a soup that is better than any you’ve ever had and will cost you next to nothing!
[…] total grocery expenditure would be by buying groceries for the week. This one of the more important ways to save money on your grocery bill and is a huge step in the right direction. But there are many other ways to decrease your grocery […]
I have made the mistake of shopping when I’ve been hungry way too many times. It’s always a disaster and I buy everything that I see!
Upwards of Twenty says
Great article, when we revised our budget food waste expense was one of the areas that made me sick. We have started buying BOGO and increasing our frozen foods. We even buy produce when it is in season and cheap, we cut it and freeze it. My daughter even enjoys a lot of the frozen fruits as a snack. The only thing is I worry that she will choke so I cut them small.
My last point is that making enough for leftovers also saves money since it can equal two meals for the price of one. As always keep them coming.
Mortgage Free Mike says
Love this list.
Where do you find low-priced quinoa? I find it to be rather expensive, but its benefits are worth the price.
Nothing is cheaper that the old standby, rice!
Bryce @ Save and Conquer says
Good tips. My number one tip, that I didn’t see in your article, is to always have a written list before going shopping, and don’t deviate much from the list. Grocery stores are expert at displaying their money makers in special displays, or at the very least at eye level. The things I typically buy are often on the lowest or highest shelves. As long as I just keep working off my list, I keep on budget.
We save on meat by trolling through the local grocery stores and stocking up when they have deals. We bought one of those Food Savers, so we just vacuum seal the meat and throw it in the freezer.
Carlos @ TheFrugalWeds says
Having a list is a must to avoid purchasing items that are bad for you or items you will waste. We love quinoa for its versatility as well.
We also use brown rice which is healthy and generally cheaper than quinoa. Last thing, buying dry beans as you can get much more than buying canned.
John C @ Action Economics says
One thing that has saved me a lot of money is using the grocery stores reward program. At my local grocery store, they have an online coupon and rewards program that saves me about $30 a month. I also travel a lot for work and several grocery stores (I think Food Lion comes to mind first) offer huge discounts to those who use their free discount card.
Jean McRae says
Having a list is a must to avoid purchasing items. Which brand I should buy