Thinking about ways to save money? Frugal living is important when you’re trying to save money or just make ends meet. When I decided to quit my full time job and work part time so I could be home with the baby more, frugal living was on my mind!
I panicked a little thinking about how we would make ends meet with much less money per month. I knew we could do it, but I needed to put my head down and figure out where we could cut expenses.
My first concern was how to save money on groceries. For a family of four, we were spending a good chunk of money at the grocery store, and I knew we had to cut it back. Healthy eating is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be with these tips!
I’ve learned these tips in the past 6 or so months and they have saved us so much money it’s not even funny. Frugal living is possible! I’m here to help you figure out one way to live frugal, and that is how to save money on groceries!
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How to Save Money On Groceries
1. Use what you already have in your home. One thing I’ve struggled with is buying random things that look good at the time and then not using them. This is where making a list and other tips come into play, but FIRST you want to start by making a menu with the items that you have already bought. Plenty of times, I had no clue what to make and we were pinching pennies, so I whipped up some magical chef creation using what we had in the pantry. With plenty of spices and seasonings, I was able to cook up some pretty delicious meals by being creative. If you visit SuperCook, you can enter the ingredients you already have in your house and they will come up with a recipe for you! It’s pretty awesome! Visit that website here.
2. Plan ALL of your meals. I know, this sounds like a lot of work, but if you really want to save money, you need to plan ALL of your meals, even snacks. This will help make sure that you are only buying what you need and will save you money because you won’t be buying what you don’t need. It’s important that you check store ads and see what stores have the best prices for what you need. Frugal living takes work. It shouldn’t take you much time to plan your meals and cruise the ads. It might even be a better idea for you to cruise the ads first to see what you can make for the week with what happens to be on sale at the time.
3. Do not go shopping while hungry. I repeat. Do not go shopping while hungry. If you go shopping while hungry, your eyes are going to be bigger than your stomach (story of my life, especially at Taco Bell — what is that?) and you will end up buying food that A) probably isn’t healthy and B) you don’t need. Try to have a snack before you head out to the store, or better yet, go after a meal so you most likely won’t be tempted to buy the junk food and food you don’t need.
4. Buy in bulk and plan for leftovers. Part of frugal living means looking for the lowest unit price, and often times, but not all the time, the bulk stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco might have the best prices. The plus side to this, when you buy in bulk, you can make more and plan for leftovers or meals you can freeze. It’s always nice to have food on hand you can bake/reheat quickly so that you don’t turn to ordering pizza and spending money you don’t need to.
5. Make a list and stick to it. I like to plan our our meals for the week (or two) and then make a list of all ingredients/foods I need. Then I stick to it. Again, if you don’t stick to the list, you’ll end up buying things you don’t need and that equals more money out of your wallet.
6. Don’t go shopping when you’re tired. You’ll be too tired to take the time to check for the best prices, and you might buy more convenience foods, which usually means less healthy foods.
7. Use the scale when buying produce. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bagged up some delicious looking apples or great looking fresh broccoli and not used the scale, then got to the check out and just about barfed when I saw how much I had to pay for that produce. (I’m always too embarrassed to ask to put it back). By using the scale, you can make sure you are staying within your budget. If you buy produce, try to buy the bagged produce, it’s almost always cheaper when compared to the produce you pick out individually. Also, don’t buy more produce than you will use within the week. I’m notorious for this. I’ll buy a bunch of produce and then not use it and it ends up being thrown out.
8. Use coupons. This may seem like a no brainer, but a lot of people don’t bother with coupons and then ask how to save money on groceries. Coupons are everywhere. They are in your Sunday paper, they are on the internet, they even have apps for your smart phone that will save you money! Take advantage of the stores that have double coupon days, and also look for store coupons that you can combine with manufacturer coupons.
9. Sign up for Ibotta. I signed up for and started using Ibotta just over a year ago. To date, I have saved $192.82! This app is so easy to use and you can use it just about everywhere you shop – even online! I earn cash back on almost all of my purchases. I’ve earned anywhere from $0.25 to $20.00 in one trip! I check out Ibotta before I head to the store to see if there’s anything we need that I can buy and get cash back to make the price lower. Some brands almost always have coupons in the paper or online, and I pair those with Ibotta for even more savings. Frugal living is working for your savings and this is almost no work at all. Just type in what you are looking for and see if there’s any cash back options! I use this every time I shop on Amazon as well, and I’ve earned so much cash back that I otherwise wouldn’t have if I didn’t use the app.
The app is free to download, and when you click here to sign up and use my code PXMCMNF you will get a free $10.00 bonus once you redeem any in-store offer within 30 days of signing up. You can get another $5.00 bonus for redeeming a mobile shopping offer (such as Amazon like I do) within 30 days of signing up, and yet ANOTHER $5.00 bonus for redeeming an in-store or mobile shopping offer within 30 days of signing up. This app is wonderful and will definitely help you save money on groceries!
10. Buy meat in bulk and freeze your own portions. Meat is cheaper in bulk. Buy meat in bulk and when you get home from the store, divide it up into portions you will use and freeze it. We have started doing this and it really does save money!
11. Don’t buy stuff at the checkout. Stuff at the check out is made for impulse buys and is normally more expensive than in any other part of the store. For example, you can buy a travel size pack of antibacterial wipes in the check out aisle, but the normal size package in the soap aisle is cheaper per unit. The pack at the checkout I was at was $1.97 for 20 wipes, but was $3.00 in the aisle with the soap for 100 wipes.
12. Ask for discounts. I am not afraid to ask for discounts on less than perfect items. For example, if I see that a can is dented or damaged but is still sealed and perfectly fine for consumption or use, then I ask for a discount. I have never been turned down! The savings add up. This has definitely helped our need for frugal living.
13. Buy coffee in bulk. I learned quickly that buying K-Cups was so much more expensive than actually buying coffee in bulk and filling the single serve dispenser that came with the Keurig. It’s less waste for the environment too.
14. Don’t buy bottled water. Bottled water is often just filtered tap water from some factory. Investing in a water filter (they aren’t that expensive) is a lot cheaper if you feel that you must filter your water. We drink only tap water in our home, and very rarely drink bottled water. I bought a few reusable water bottles (click here to see the ones I love and use daily) and just fill them up with our tap water.
15. Don’t buy non grocery items at the grocery store. Things like shampoo, deodorant and toilet paper are going to be cheaper at a discount store such as Target or Walmart. You will save a few bucks by shopping for non grocery items at discount stores instead of the grocery store.
16. Look for fill the bag savings. Our local grocery store that I buy meat only at (long story) just had a fill the bag sale. They hand you a big paper bag, and they give you 15% off all of the meat you can fit in the bag. I filled that sucker up and saved almost $11.00! Totally worth it.
17. Try buying store/generic brands. I rarely buy name brand food items when I’m shopping. I have found that a lot of the store brand or generic items I like better than name brand. They are cheaper and often times just as good if not even better.
18. Sign up for AARP for extra savings. You don’t have to be 50 to sign up for AARP and reap the rewards. Some grocery stores and discount stores offer discounts for AARP members. No matter your age, you can sign up and receive discounts for everything from travel to groceries.
19. Watch out for 10 for $10 pitches. Do you really need 10 bags of chips just because they are 10 for $10.00? No! Those are pitches to try to get you to buy more. Even if you bought one bag of chips, it would still be a dollar. Watch out for this tactic and only buy what you need. If it’s something that you use a lot of, it may be worth it to buy the bigger amount, but think it through.
20. Check out drug store deals. I signed up for the loyalty card at CVS and I get coupons in the mail all the time. Recently, I received a coupon for 30% off my total purchase, with very little restriction. I used to use these coupons for Carter’s baby formula. They came in super handy and saved us big money at the time. Drug stores often have great deals on grocery items, so keep your eyes peeled for them.
21. Choose your method of payment wisely. Do you have a credit card that offers points or cash back? This is one more part of frugal living and it can really pay off big time. It’s almost like a little savings account if you don’t check it or use the cash back often. Instead of using cash, use the card, gain the points and pay it off online when you get home.
22. Finally, watch the cashier and check your receipt. Cashiers are just humans and they make mistakes. Make sure you do your best to watch what they are scanning and check the prices as they show up on the screen. Also check your receipt when you’re done checking out. I’ve found many errors on mine over the years!
Those are the tips that have helped me save hundreds on groceries in the past year. Frugal living will take some getting used to and it will take some extra time, but the money you will be saving will be well worth the time and effort!
Have a money saving tip I didn’t list here? I’d love to hear it! Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you do to save money! We’re all in this together! Frugal living forever!