Every week I used to spend about $125 or more to feed a household of three adults. Our grocery bill would total $500 or more a month, which in my opinion was beyond ridiculous. I realized a change had to be made – fast. And since I was the head grocery shopper (well the only one since no one else wanted this task), it was up to me to cut costs. I needed to find a way to save money on groceries each month.
So, I did.
How to Save Money On Groceries
In this post, I will show you how I save hundreds of dollars grocery shopping each month by just tweaking a few things. Before I do, though, I just want you to keep in mind a few things:
- I put out less than $200 (sometimes as little as $125) of hard earned cash each month on groceries.
- I didn’t change what we ate (though we probably ate healthier)
- I continued to buy mostly brand name products.
- I didn’t starve anyone in the house and I promise that everyone, including the dog, ate pretty well.
- I put the money we saved into savings and towards other bills.
So how do I did I do it and how do I continue to do the same month after month?
I will tell you the exact steps I take each month to make sure not to bust our budget on groceries.
I Plan Meals in Advance
In the past, I would figure out what I was going to fix for dinner while walking aimlessly down the produce aisle. This was counterproductive and wasted time and money. Now, I plan my meals for the week at home and save myself from trying to piece a meal together on the fly.
Advance meal planning minimizes waste by only purchasing items you need and saves money you would otherwise spend on additional trips for forgotten items. I have my go-to recipes such as spaghetti and chicken fajitas that make meal planning quick and easy. I also find a lot of low-cost meals (think $5 and $7) from ebooks I download for free through my Molly Green membership.
I Clip Coupons
When I was growing up, I would get embarrassed each time my mom stopped the cashier while she reached into her handbag for coupons. Not only did she hold the line up, but I thought other people would think we were poor. My mom didn’t care and had a coupon for practically everything. I, on the other hand, associated coupons with being poor and I wanted no parts of them.
Years later, I found myself turning into my mom. I now use coupons whenever I can. I won’t go to the extreme and hoard like I’ve seen on Extreme Couponing, but before buying anything, I will check to see if I have a coupon for it. If I can’t find one through the Sunday inserts (the only reason I buy a newspaper), I’ll check Coupons.com and print from there. I also signed up for Krazy Coupon Lady which sends me awesome emails with deals to maximize my savings with coupons.
I Use Apps
As much as I love to clip coupons, I can be a little absentminded about them at times. I’m always forgetting them at home, so they’re no good to me sitting on the table at home while I’m out at the grocery store. That’s where these apps come in. Not only do I save when I forget my coupons at home, but I also can often use them in conjunction with them.
These apps work differently, but mostly give you cash back for your purchases at participating retailers. To verify purchases you can link a loyalty card or submit a receipt. Some automatically apply savings when scanned at the register such as Target’s Cartwheel app. My favorite apps are SavingStar, MobiSave, Checkout51, and Ibotta (check out my review on Ibotta here and earn $10 for signing up).
Also, if you haven’t signed up for a loyalty card from your favorite retailer, do so now. Many allow you to load coupons onto your card, further eliminating the need to remember to bring coupons with you.
I Buy Most Items On Sale
Not only do I buy most items on sale, but there are certain items I only buy if they are on sale, such as soft drinks. This is great because most stores have at least some soft drink brands on sale each week. To really maximize your savings, you have to become aware of the sale cycle. Shop accordingly and stock up.
So, what is a sale cycle? A grocery sale cycle is when certain items go on sale. Though there’s a general monthly schedule such as this one, it will vary depending on your favorite stores and geographic location. I recommend following sale circulars for an entire month to look for patterns to get a better sense of what items go on sale week to week.
I Use Swagbucks
You’re probably scratching your head and trying to figure out how Swagbucks helps me to save on groceries. I’m going to tell you how, especially if you haven’t thought of this before. You can earn Swagbucks for activities completed such as completing surveys, shopping through certain online retailers, watching videos. In return, you are able to cash out these ‘bucks in the form of gift cards.
I love completing surveys and usually request Amazon gift cards. These are sent electronically, so I’m able to apply them to my account pretty quickly. Sign up for Swagbucks here and earn $5 as a new member.
Which leads to…
I’m an Amazon Prime Member
The gift cards I earn from completing surveys on Swagbucks allow me to purchase groceries through Amazon. This giant retailer offers grocery delivery services such as Prime Pantry, Amazon Fresh, and Prime Now. Since it doesn’t take much effort or time for me to rack up Amazon gift codes, this is a win-win situation and saves me another $50 to $100 I don’t have to reach into my pocket for.
So far, I only use Prime Pantry and Prime Now, though Amazon Fresh offers mostly locally grown and organic food. That’s really not my thing, but if it’s yours you should look into it. Depending on the service, you can receive groceries within hours or days. The catch? You have to be an Amazon Prime member to enjoy these benefits.
Now, if you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership or like buying groceries online, then this option won’t work for you. It works for me very well, however, so I’d thought I would share it.
You can try Amazon Prime free for 30 days to try their Prime services.
I Buy Groceries Online
Okay by now you probably figure out I like buying groceries online. Not only is it convenient, but it can often save me a lot of money. In my area, Peapod by Giant delivers food to my home. Though there are others out there, and it may not be available in your area, Peapod is my preferred service.
Shopping online allows me to have better control over my spending by seeing what my total cost will be before I push the submit button. I can also save money on the delivery fee if I choose a wider delivery window or have a coupon code. Not only does Peapod offer online coupons and savings, but they also accept manufacturer’s coupons as well. Not only am I saving on groceries, but I’m saving time and gas money I would have spent going out there to shop in person.
If Peapod is in your area, get $20 off of your first order through my link here.
Well, I hope these tips were helpful to you to save money on groceries. Not only was I able to shave off hundreds each month on my grocery bill, but I also saved money from going out less. We spent less on fast food because our refrigerator stays stocked with food.
I also spent less money on processed and packaged food, which ultimately allowed me to spend that money on much healthier options.
If you have any additional tips that help you to save money on groceries, please share below.