How We Save a Ton on Groceries

 

Over the years I have tried time and time again to budget. I actually really enjoy the math, and if budgeting is something you need to do (and don’t necessarily love the math) I highly suggest Every Dollar. But I digress. This is specifically about saving money on groceries.

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When I started setting up our budget I did a quick Google search to see what I should expect to spend on certain things. Obviously I know how much my rent is, and we have plenty of other set expenses, but groceries are a little more obscure. I found a lot of different answers on what I should expect to pay for groceries, but all of them left me a little flabbergasted. For a family of two the low end was supposedly around $400. Up until November 2016 I ate most of my meals at work, so even though Ryan and I still shared a lot of our meals, I doubt we spent more than $200 a month on groceries, and we probably only went shopping once a month.

 

But that changed when I left my food service job. We started going grocery shopping every two weeks and I knew we were going to have to do something about excessive spending on groceries. In general we were spending about $175 every time we went shopping, it’s still lower than $400 a month, but only by about $50. We could definitely save more.

 

There’s always food in our cabinets, in fact a lot of it ends up going bad. Especially fresh fruits and veggies… you know the stuff that we should actually be eating a lot of. So I needed a way to minimize our losses. Why spend so much money on food that is going bad before we can even eat it?

 

We started eating at home more.

Obviously, this saves us money because cooking is way cheaper than restaurants. However, it also saves us a ton of money since it doesn’t give our food a chance to go bad.

 

I don’t buy groceries we don’t need.

Meal planning is hard because you never know what  you’re going to be in the mood for. Turkey chili might sound great while you’re planning, but when you actually get to the day you planned it for you think “turkey chili? What was I thinking?!” The solution for me is to not set specific meals for specific days. Meal planning is still incredibly important (and a huge money saver!) I come up with about 12 meals that we can eat throughout two weeks and some general ideas for lunch. I plan meals, make a list, and the only things we buy outside of that list is a few snacks.

We shop discounts.

Whenever we visit my parents we make sure to take a trip to the “used food store”. It’s actually a place that sells damaged, expired/close to expired goods. Which means big discounts. We also started shopping at Aldi… which I’ve known about for a long time. I always forget about it since it’s kind of small and out of the way. BUT doing as much of our shopping there as possible saved us at least $40 on our last shopping trip. I also don’t buy name brand products unless I know they’re actually better than off-brand counter parts (for example I only buy Kraft Original Mac and Cheese).

 

We eat leftovers.

Let’s be honest, there are nights that you just don’t feel like cooking. You don’t have time, you’re tired, you just don’t want to. On these nights it’s easy to grab fast food, go out, pick up a microwave dinner, or snack aimlessly on whatever we have around. We save all our leftovers. I generally make enough that I know we’ll get at least one leftover meal out of it. I don’t just set that aside either. I’ve been learning mindful eating and Ryan eats slowly and hardly ever finishes his meal. We take the food from our plates and save it too… there’s no reason not to. Maybe with kids this might not be a great plan, but it works well for us!

 

I use apps

Cartwheel, Ibotta, etc. There’s a ton of apps out there that can help you save. I recently downloaded the Krazy Coupon Lady app and I’m excited to see how we can save!

 

If you enjoyed this post check out my Creamy Ranch Chicken and Roasted Potatoes Recipe

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26 Replies to “How We Save a Ton on Groceries”

  1. This is a great post! Saving money on groceries is something I’m always trying to do. Meal prepping definitely helps, but I wish I had one of those discounted food stores by me.

    ~ Katie Burry

  2. These are some great tips. I try to be really diligent about eating leftovers up. It’s hard sometimes when only cooking for two!

  3. These are such great tips! We spend so much money on groceries and now do “freezer challenges” where we don’t go shopping and make it a point to eat what we already have in the freezer.

  4. Left overs are a huge way to save and take advantage of eating all your food so nothing goes to waste! And a great was to save some money!

  5. My boyfriend and I definitely spend a bit excessively on groceries, on one hand I think it is worth a little more to eat healthy food I really love but I do think it is important to try and eliminate food waste. You have some really great tips for cutting back on needless spending!

  6. These are really great tips! We eat practically all our meals at home and do left overs. I also like to base my meals on which items are BOGO at Publix. Really helps keep the cost low!

  7. I actually wrote a post on having a meal planner board on your fridge a few months ago. Has saved us so much money! We rarely throw out food now.

  8. These are such great tips! We’ve been eating at home more and cancelled our meal subscription boxes and it saves us a ton of money on food. I’ve switched to shopping at Aldi because they’re so cheap. I make an extra trip to the store to pick up anything they don’t have.

  9. Loved this post! Groceries can seriously add up to be a lot of money! Meal planning has saved me a lot of time AND money but I totally hear ya, sometimes you’re just not in the mood for what you planned for that day so you have to have some extra options 🙂 Shopping at Aldi definitely saves me money! I’ll have to check out some of the other apps you listed too for coupons!

    Kristen | http://www.sophisticatedgal.com

  10. I think these are good tips! We also use our Kroger card or Meijer rewards card when we shop there. I have ibotta but I never use it! I need to, because I love saving money haha!

  11. I always do a much better job of sticking to my grocery budget when I meal plan! I made a printable for myself and plan out meals based on what we already have in the pantry to avoid waste. Great tips!

  12. Yes girl, I love these money-saving tips! I just started using Cartwheel recently and before I head to Target I try to look at what’s on sale and what has a Cartwheel discount so I can stack those. Sometimes if you google those same items you can find manufacturer coupons online as well!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

  13. Yes girl, I love these money-saving tips! I just started using Cartwheel recently and before I head to Target I try to look at what’s on sale and what has a Cartwheel discount so I can stack those. Sometimes if you google those same items you can find manufacturer coupons online as well!

    xoxo, SS

    http://www.SouthernAndStyle.com

  14. I am obsessed with saving money on food both groceries and whenever we order takeout. I use Ibotta, Cartwheel and the Meijer app for grocery shopping. I recently started shopping at Aldi again and I have to say, the biggest savings come in the summer when you find wonderful deals like a bag of 7 roma tomatoes for $0.89. It’s INSANE. Also, everyone needs to get the dark chocolate and sea salt caramels from Aldi – they’re amazing and have changed my life.

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