How to Save Money on Groceries – 32 Proven Ways

Last updated on July 23rd, 2017

Our diet consists of fresh vegetables, some meat, healthy fats, and a moderate amount of healthy carbs and fresh fruit. It’s a pretty solid, research-backed diet that should lead to optimal health.

All that to say, we don’t have the cheapest diet. Most people would consider it top shelf living. And because we don’t eat processed foods, coupons are very rarely an option. However, we bet that if you looked at the cost of our monthly grocery bill, you’d never be able to tell. Through a few simple habits, we are able to consistently eat great food at reasonable prices.

How to Save Money on Groceries at the Store

1. Make a list:

It’s important to go into a grocery store with a plan.  Take a look at the ads for your local grocery stores and  make a list of the best deals and where they come from. Having a list of items that are on sale and the items you want to price match (see #3) is imperative. Not only will it help you avoid impulse buying, it will also help you get in and out of the grocery store faster so you can get on with the rest of your life.

2. Focus on Sale Items:

This step is crucial for saving money on groceries. Your list should consist of what’s on sale each week. Learn to appreciate variety in your diet, and it will save you a fortune over time.

3. Price match:

Price matching local ads at Walmart is easy, and saves time by allowing you only visit one store. Price matching involves looking at ads from your local grocery stores, making a list of the best deals and taking that list to Walmart (or other stores that advertise their price matching program). When you get to the register, tell the cashier that you will be price matching your items. Then, when they ring up each item, tell the cashier the price you saw the item for and at what store and watch them “roll back” the prices even more.

4. Get a rain check:

If the store runs out of the advertised special, go to the customer service counter and request a rain check and ask when they will be restocked. A rain check means they will let you buy the advertised item at the sale price when the item has been restocked, even though it is no longer on sale.

5. Buy first, then meal plan:

Step 1: Only write down sale items on your grocery list.

Step 2: Price match the best deals each week.

Step 3: Research new meals to prepare with the items you bought on sale.

This is by far the most underutilized grocery shopping money saving habit. Most will tell you to meal plan and then shop. However, that introduces too much of a temptation to buy things that are not on sale (or unnecessary) to complete the recipe for the meal you planned. By shopping first, and then planning your meals, you will have to work with what you bought on sale.

In order to meal plan with what you bought on sale at the store, simply type in the main ingredient you want to use and then type the style of food you want to make. For instance, say I bought a lot of chicken this week. I would type in, “chicken Paleo recipes” and I would get a plethora of recipes to choose from. Look for a recipe that you already have all the ingredients for. If you don’t, then skip it and find one where you do have all the ingredients. The recipe is out there, and it is usually not that hard to find.

6. Don’t shop hungry:

I know you’ve heard this rule before, but it is true. You will have less patience and less self control, leaving you powerless against impulse buying. Do yourself a financial favor and eat before you shop.

7. Know average prices so you can spot a good deal:

How will you know a good deal from a terrible deal if you don’t know how much items normally cost? The more aware you become while you shop for groceries, the more familiar you will become with pricing.

8. Check unit prices:

A unit price is the price for one unit of the item you are buying. For instance, when you are buying items in a multi-pack, there are usually a few options for size or brand. The way unit pricing works is that the bigger the bulk of the item, the less you will often have to pay. Knowing the unit price will help you determine how much you will save per unit when you do buy in bulk. It will also assist you when trying to determine between two brands.

For instance, you are trying to buy a package of tortillas. A 27 ounce package will cost you $1.50 and a 66 ounce package will cost you $3.15. The first package will cost you $0.06 per ounce where the second option will cost you $0.05 per ounce. You can see in this situation, you would be paying about one cent less per ounce with option 2.

However, if you didn’t want to have 66 ounces of tortillas, you wouldn’t be losing too much money to buy a smaller portion. If this was a one time purchase of tortillas, then the smaller option might be better. However, if tortillas are part of your weekly grocery list, you would be throwing away $0.45 to buy the smaller packages, not to mention the extra time it takes you to repurchase the tortillas every week.

Some stores, like Walmart, kindly do the work for you. Other times you have to do the math yourself. Look to the left of the price tag at grocery store to see if they display the unit price.

9. If it’s on sale (and you’ll use it), stock up:

Stocking up on items that go on sale is always a good idea. You can even stock up on produce by picking out items that are not ripe yet. This will give you a few days or weeks before you have to consume them. Just be aware of expiration dates when stocking up.

10. Buy generic:

Generally, generic is of equal value to name brand. Occasionally, it is the EXACT same product in a different package. So, save money by going for the more reasonable, generic choice.

11. Limit your use of coupons:

Coupons are great when you are looking for a deal on nonperishable or hygiene items. However, they can also pose as a temptation for you to buy items that are less than nutritional. It’s great to look at the coupons to see if they have any stellar deals, but if the temptation to buy processed or junk foods is too great, skip the coupons and follow the other 34 tips in this article.

12. Weigh your dairy options:

Milk and cheese are pretty expensive at full retail price. As a result, we limit our consumption of each until we find a good sale. This tip may not work for some families, but consider buying almond milk, coconut milk, or other sale alternatives instead of cow’s milk. If you are open to all the options, you have a greater likelihood of finding a sale. By limiting consumption until a sale is found, we have reduced our usage and further kept the cost down.

13. Keep an eye on the cashier:

When you go through the checkout line, make sure you are watching as the cashier rings up your purchases. Then, if an item rings up at the wrong price, you can correct it. If you don’t watch closely, you might be overcharged. This would negate all of your hard work of price matching the item in the first place, so pay attention!

How to Save Money on Groceries at Home

14. Keep a running list:

Keep track of items you run out of, as well as items you’re about to run out of. This list is important so that you are not running to the store, wasting gas and time, on one or two items.

15. Only grocery shop once:

Once you’ve made a comprehensive list (no one item grocery store runs!) plan your route to the grocery store when you’re already going to be close to one. This will save money on gas.

16. Grow your own:

The best way to save money on produce and spices is to have a garden full of items you would normally buy at the store. Spending a little bit of time in your garden every day has big payoffs because you don’t have to buy marked up produce at the store.

17. Eat wild game:

Hunting wild game and raising chickens is a cheaper alternative to buying meat at the grocery store. Not only is wild game better for you, it is also better for you pocketbook. We had a relative who shot a deer, so Jacob helped skin it and then paid $30 to have 40 pounds ground. We made venison burgers and chili for months.

18. Cook at home:

When you avoid eating out and instead opt for cooking at home, you will avoid sales tax in some states and tipping. You will also be able to control the quality of your food and the portion served.

19. Learn to freeze produce properly:

Freezing produce is a great thing to know for when you have bought in bulk (see #5) or grown more than you can eat (see #16) and need to save some produce for later. I have been freezing produce to eat in a few weeks when we need a break from the produce we bought on sale that week.

20. Do the work yourself:

Don’t ever buy a main dish meal that is already prepared for you. For example, don’t buy a green pepper that is already stuffed for you. Pack that rice, beans, meat, and cheese in there yourself and save a wad of cash. The same goes for a veggie/fruit tray or other items that you pay to have someone else chop up produce for you. This is always a great way to waste money. You get less food for a higher price. When you buy items that come pre-cut, you are paying more for convenience. The other day I saw a rump roast packaged with pre-cut carrots and potatoes that was selling for double the price of a roast, potatoes, and carrots sold separately. Don’t be duped by convenience.

21. Make it yourself:

Some items like peanut butter, juice, and beans are better to make yourself. Not only will you cut out any harmful additives and excessive salt and sugar, but you will also save money by making it yourself. Buy peanuts, fruit and hard beans and crush, juice, and boil your way to cheaper staples.

22. Don’t throw food away:

Try to recycle the meals you make at home. For instance, if you have grilled chicken one night, make it into fajitas the next night. There are tons of creative ways to keep your leftovers from going to waste. Just ask Pinterest. Also, if you choose to eat out, take your leftovers home with you, and make sure they get eaten! If you spend the extra money to eat out, don’t leave half the food on your plate. This makes an expensive meal even more expensive.

23. Use what you have:

Take stock of what is in your refrigerator and in your pantry. Make sure you are using all produce before it spoils, and use the canned foods in your pantry before buying new ones. This will ensure that you are not just building a pantry full of food that will eventually get donated.

Shop Around to Save Money on Groceries

24. Buy food online:

For specialty food items such as coconut oil or coconut flour, buy online. Amazon is a great resource for any food item not commonly found in a grocery store. Some of these items can easily be found at health food stores, but are often much more expensive than buying online. We eat a lot of coconut flour and coconut oil in desserts, so we buy in bulk online.

25. Buy goods at the local farmer’s market:

Check your area for a local farmer’s market. Sometimes prices are better or prices are similar for higher quality food. The farmers market is also a great place to get fresh and hormone free meats and dairy.

26. Make a deal with a local farmer:

When it comes to dairy, meat, and sometimes produce, search Craigslist for a farmer in your area and negotiate discounted prices if you buy from them every week. If you can’t find a farmer on Craigslist, try negotiating a deal at the farmer’s market. Some might even barter with you!

27. Discount grocery stores:

Don’t be afraid to shop at discount stores like the Dollar store, Aldi, and Save-a-Lot. Their supply is generally limited, but their low prices make it worth the trip. We especially stock up on olive oil from Aldi, as they have the best prices around. You can also price match their ads at Walmart. However, be careful when you go into discount stores. Remember to stay sharp and to know a good deal when you see one (see #2). For instance, paying $1 for a pack of gum at the dollar store is not as good of a deal as paying $2.00 for four packs of gum elsewhere.

28. Shop at drug stores for special buys:

I recently discovered that shopping at Walgreens and CVS is sometimes beneficial. Most of their items are wildly overpriced. However, their weekly deals are great! Last week we bought a dozen eggs for $1 at Walgreens.

29. Become a member:

Check out your local membership grocery stores. Before you sign up, do your research and find out how much a membership would cost and how long it would take you to make up the cost of the membership fees. Some stores have student and senior discounts for their memberships, so be sure to ask. Club membership stores sell in bulk which sometimes lowers unit prices.

30. Know the clearance aisle of grocery stores in your area:

Our favorite grocery store has a discount aisle tucked away in the back of the store by the bathrooms. It is the hidden gem of our grocery shopping experience. In every grocery store we shop, we make sure to scout out the clearance aisle.

Save money with smartphone apps

31. Ibotta:

While there are several cashback grocery apps, Ibotta is our favorite. It’s easy to use, has the most cashback opportunities, offers a $10 welcome bonus after you redeem your first rebate, and offers opportunities for cashback bonuses every month.

Not only is Ibotta a popular cashback app for groceries, but they also offer other cashback opportunities at in-store retailers like Krispy Kreme, Hallmark, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Best Buy, as well as a number of well-known mobile retailers like Amazon, Groupon, Ebay, and Booking.com.

The way it works:

  • Download the app.
  • Sign up for an account. (If you’d be so kind, add our referral code: CASHCOWCOUPLE when you sign up.)
  • Select your favorite stores.
  • Select desired rebates at your favorite store.
  • Go shopping and buy cashback items.
  • Submit your receipt.
  • Receive cashback.
  • Once your account reaches a minimum of $20, cash out via Paypal, Venmo, or your choice of gift cards.

lar grocery cash back app. The way it works: You find the grocery store you’re planning on shopping. Click on items you want to buy, and complete an action like taking a poll/survey, voting for your favorite item, watching a video, or learning a fact. Once you complete the task, you’re eligible for the rebate. Then, once you buy the item at the grocery store, you take a picture of your receipt and watch your cash back roll in. You can then either cash out  or use your cash back to buy a gift card.

32. Groupon Coupons:

Most people know Groupon as a great source of local deals, but did you also know that they launched a free coupons platform called Groupon Coupons?

  • Groupon Coupons is a service from Groupon that offers more than 55,000 online and in-store coupons from thousands of top retailers, including Target and Best Buy.
  • No matter where you shop, Groupon Coupons can help you save money because they have a mix of promo codes for online use and mobile/printable coupons for in-store redemption.
  • Many coupons on Groupon Coupons are exclusive – you won’t find them anywhere else – thanks to Groupon’s partnerships with top national retailers
  • Groupon Coupons is available online and in the popular Groupon mobile app for iPhone and Android, so you can find coupons whether you’re at home or on the go.
  • Some of the top retailers for kitchen and grocery items are Walgreens, Sears and Home Depot

*Because of some reader feedback, we thought we would recommend the finest cookbook available and the only one you will ever need – Nourishing Traditions

I hope you enjoyed our guide on how to save money on groceries. Do you have any other ideas to cut the cost of grocery shopping?

Comments
  1. Pingback: 10 Ways to Eat Out on the Cheap | Cash Cow Couple

    • Susan W
    • July 17, 2017
    Reply

    Years ago we started shopping at Aldi’s; at that time the checkout was not equipped with scanners. The cashiers had EVERY item price memorized! It was amazing to watch. Aldi’s also handed out plain paper price sheets as few items had prices posted overhead like they do now. We’ve saved a lot of money & have been happy to shop there. I purchased a “Be a Better Shopper” workbook which focused on unit pricing of each item. Basically, you kept a written record from your receipts, figuring out unit prices. I kept a clipboard with me as I shopped; it made me more aware of unit comparison shopping and my habits. “Be a Better Shopper” was from Cornell University and it was worth the trouble. We developed better shopping habits and seeing us being more careful on spending money made our children more aware of savings. We made a game of saving money.

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  9. Reply

    That’s a quite comprehensive list. Having a shopping list and planning your meal based on what you have and what is on sale are the key. I would also add bringing your own shopping bag–some states have introduced plastic bag bans and fees, and avoiding buying non-food items (unless they are on big sale)–you can buy those at lower prices elsewhere.

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  11. Reply

    Before I go to the grocery store, I make a list and come up with an estimated amount that I will spend by browsing prices at a local online grocery delivery service. Then my mind is primed with a an amount I am going to spend on each item. I’ll be more reluctant to spend more on an item than what I have written on the list. I’ll pay in cash because when you have the money sitting in your purse, you’ll be more reluctant to part with it. It’s very effective in controlling grocery costs but it takes extra effort and willpower.

    • steve nj
    • May 1, 2016
    Reply

    Great tips! I will be following some of your advice. I like to buy bulk chicken breast on sale and then separate them into smaller zip lock bags to freeze. I do this with bacon and other freezable items too. Bacon always comes in large portions, and I don’t eat it as much, so you can find several zip lock bags containing 7-10 strips each in my freezer! Also, when I cook, I will make enough to freeze for future prepared meals….like chicken parm and meatballs, all separated into little meal packages. This saves me time during the week. When I do get food to go, they usually come in aluminum containers or plastic containers with lids. Save these items to store your frozen foods instead (or in addition)of buying Tupperware. The aluminum ones I reuse to cook on as well! Most plastic containers from purchased item such as sour cream or ricotta cheese are perfect for freezing eggs (no shell) and smaller portions of leftovers. so many ways to save out there! Best of luck to all.

    • Ryan
    • March 8, 2016
    Reply

    Great tips, will definitely take it on board!

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    • Nicky
    • November 18, 2015
    Reply

    This is a great list of tips about how we can save money on groceries, I mostly agree with number 6. “Don’t shop hungry”, thank you Vanessa for a great article.

    • jenny m
    • November 1, 2015
    Reply

    I love this advice. I have some more below. While not grocery-saving advice, it’s still money saved!

    1) drop the smart phone and get a “dumb” one. Save about $50 per month. Get a low-priced tablet (e.g., Kindle Fire) or use your old iPhone as a wi-fi only device. Wi-fi is available everywhere; you really don’t need to pay for cell-based data plans
    2) call your car and home insurance company and tell them you want to go through all your coverage because you found another carrier that is cheaper. They’ll probably help you “find” 10% off or more.
    3) speaking of car insurance – An expensive policy from GEICO, Progressive, etc. is not needed. You can find one usually for less than $25/month from a place like InsurancPanda. If you spend too much on car insurance from one of those big companies, chances are you are simply funding their expensive TV ads with cute animals.
    4) compare what your house is really worth to your assessment. Many assessments have never been properly adjusted down to reflect the market over the last 4 years. We cut our property taxes by about 20%.
    5) re-fi your 30-year mortgage to a 15. The interest rate will drop by at least 50-75 bps, more depending on your current rate. The payment may go up slightly, but it is because you are paying off your loan faster. If it’s possible, get the mortgage paid off before the kids go to college. At a minimum, have it paid off before you retire.
    6) review your credit card bills for all the things you are paying $10-20 per month for that you no longer need. I bet everybody has at least a couple
    7) drop all magazine (paper and on-line) subscriptions. If you look around, you can find comparable content for free.
    8) review your investment portfolio for ways to replace higher fee mutual funds or ETFs with lower fee ones. S&P500 funds/ETFs shouldn’t charge more than 0.10% in fees. Fees may be higher for specialty funds, but they are all coming down fast. If your company 401K uses high-fee funds, talk to the folks in charge. A difference of 25 bps in fees will mean a difference of about 5% in your portfolio value after 25 or 30 years.
    9) and of course the most impactful — never carry a balance on a credit card. If you can’t resist, cut up the cards.

      • Carolyn Reed
      • January 26, 2017
      Reply

      That’s, for posting your list of savings! Great documentation!

    • Reply

      Excellent advice! Thank you!

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    • Carey
    • September 21, 2015
    Reply

    You share some good ideas! Thanks!

    • Charles
    • August 21, 2015
    Reply

    Hi. I would like to thank you both for going through the effort to create this article and share it for everyone, including myself, so we can shop better. Thank you guys.

    Have a great day.

    • Rick
    • July 23, 2015
    Reply

    Interesting article with some good tips! I see that you are health conscious while looking for deals. Are you avoiding GMO’s during your bargain shopping? I’m interested because to me, that seems difficult at some stores like the ones you mention.

      • Gaylen Michel
      • March 12, 2016
      Reply

      If you have a 99 Cents Only Store, give that a try. There are often organic, non-GMO choices. Not a lot, but we always check for what’s new when we go in. The other day I bought Strawberry jam, canned black beans, granola bars, crackers, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, and chips… all GMO-free or Organic (which is by definition GMO-free). Also, tons of good quality home goods. All for 99c each. I also found 4 spices for chai tea for $4 that I cost compared at Albertson’s for $47. Shocking, isn’t it?

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    • Marybeth
    • June 26, 2015
    Reply

    I definitely checking this tips before having a grocery, I recommend this to my friends, it will be very helpful to them. THANKS.

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    • A. Marez
    • March 31, 2015
    Reply

    This is an AWESOME LIST!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for putting this together! I got some great new suggestions that will be put into work IMMEDIATELY! 🙂

    Here are a couple of tips that have worked for me.

    Buying at Sam’s Club or Costco is not ALWAYS a savings. In fact, it can be more costly if you buy in bulk items that will go to waste. Ex: Who really uses a gazillion gallon of cottage cheese before it goes bad?

    I used to go to Costco and spend $150 to $200 weekly, (I have an active 15 yr old son who homeschools & eats like a bottomless pit ALL DAY). I have taken heed to stopping by the .99 Cent store AND Grocery Outlet BEFORE hitting up Costco for items we DO need in bulk, (organic eggs, soy milk). I have been able to cut my weekly expenditure to about $60 – $80 a week. We also make sure to have a BIG pot of beans and rice cooked weekly to hold our son over between meals. (We are also of Central American background. Having a cooked pot of rice & beans is almost a requirement of our culture – LOL!)

    We keep meat, fish & poultry to a bare minimum as well. Our diet consists of a lot of fruit, vegetables, rice, beans & eggs. On a rare occasion my husband, also known as the cook in the family, will make a HUGE pot of spaghetti and it will last a whole week.

    Anyway, that’s just my cheep 2 cents. Thanks again for your list and have a blessed week!

  16. Reply

    Great tips here. Thanks for sharing.

    I really appreciate people who take the next step and share their new found ways to make or save money.

    Thanks once again.

  17. Reply

    Thanks for this really thorough guide. Am definitely be going to try a few of these!

    My tip is to buy your fruit and vegetables whenever possible at a local market. I live in Australia, and had always wondered whether there was actually much of a difference in prices between a fresh food market and the local supermarket. I did a price comparison, and the difference actually shocked me.

    The only thing is it generally takes more time, and like you I don’t love grocery shopping. However I do quite like the markets – so will try and visit at least once a fortnight, and use another market to stock up the freezer with meat and seafood. Seafood such as salmon can definitely be heaps cheaper at markets, and I think probably better quality too often.

    I think Aldi is great for those kind of staple items. I’m only a recent convert to Aldi – as it used to annoy me when I needed to do an entire shop and couldn’t find certain things. So now I’m just going to do one big trip and stock up on things before I run out – perhaps such as olive oil, jam, aluminium foil and that kind of thing.

    Joining a loyalty program at your local supermarket can be another way of getting good discounts – or buying in bulk and then splitting with friends if you don’t have a family.

    Cheers

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  19. I love this list! After our homes, groceries and eating out are our biggest monthly expense and it’s the “easiest” to fix. It just takes planning and following lots of the tips you shared here!

    • dojo
    • October 24, 2014
    Reply

    Terrific job with the saving tips. We need to get our grocery shopping in check, since right now it’s one of the biggest money ‘pits’ 🙂

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    • Goddesdoflubbock
    • April 25, 2014
    Reply

    Great list. I’ve been a couponer for 35 years or so. More of my weekly spending goes to non-food (HBA, cleaning, etc) and this is where coupons really help! I also do the deals at Walgreens and CVS when they are a good deal.

    I think having a list is really key. I start mine on Sunday, based on the ads. Without a list, how do people know what to buy?

    I am shocked to see you are in Lubbock. While I do price matching, it’s often an adversarial process with a CSM giving me 100 reasons why 16 oz of OM bacon in the ad is completely different that their 16 oz of OM bacon!! LOL

    One thing, you said bigger is always cheaper per unit, that is not true!

    Enjoy!

    • Reply

      When you have trouble with one person at Walmart, just pick another line. The process is not consistent across the board. It just depends on who checks you out. Some cashiers are nicer than others. And for anyone in Lubbock, about 1x every 6 months Lowe’s has bacon on sale for $1.49-1.69 per pound and you have to buy 10 pounds. If you go and they are out, ask for a rain check and they’ll give the bacon to you at that same price when they have it back in stock. 🙂

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  25. Reply

    I think knowing average prices is huge. People always mention things like “Wow only 50 cents per pound for this! That’s awesome!” and I have no idea how awesome it is or compared to what ‘normal’ price. Produce is by far the most challenging for me in this, it’s so essential and yet everyone has their own idea of what good prices are. Definitely need to put more energy into knowing average costs.

      • Jacob
      • November 26, 2013
      Reply

      Yeah Jon, knowing the product pricing is key! We had to learn a new set of prices when we moved to Texas this summer because prices vary geographically. That’s really annoying!

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    • Barb Cunningham
    • October 30, 2013
    Reply

    I commend you for your frugality. I’m a senior citizen who still rather prepare my own meals than to order in or eat out all the time. Sometimes I treat myself to something extra, but most of the time I buy and eat healthy foods. Fresh vegetables, grains, eggs, fresh fruits, fish and some meat are the majority of what I eat. I usually buy milk, but end up throwing some away. My main concern is not the price but rather the health benefits derived from buying fresh and knowing exactly what I’m putting into my meals. Keep up the good work.

      • Jacob
      • November 6, 2013
      Reply

      Hi Barb! Thanks for reading and commenting! Sounds like you are an exceptional grocery shopper. We obviously announce our low price purchases, but we care more about our health than anything else. We eat exceptionally well, and as you said, avoid eating out because of unknown ingredients.

  28. Reply

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    • Beth
    • October 16, 2013
    Reply

    I price match my groceries at WalMart. They will price match any advertised price locally and nationally as long as that store is nearby. I typically save $15-$25 a week on my groceries with only using a few coupons. I stock up on items when they are on sale.

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    • Catherine
    • September 8, 2013
    Reply

    Shop as much as you can at “grocery outlet’. They don’t have everything you need but they do carry most of your staples at a much lower price. Cereals, cheese, butter, dog & cat food, mayo, ketchup, mustard, olive 0il , etc. They also have $5 off coupons if you spend over a certain amount.

  32. Reply

    Hi,
    I just found your blog-it’s great, and helpful as I attempt to downsize my spending after an increase in rent that has left our budget bleeding.
    I’ve been here before, and all your tips for saving on groceries are very good. The one tip I didn’t see (but that really helps me) is to have a ballpark amount I’m going to spend in mind when I go into a store, and then constantly know the price of my grocery basket. As I add groceries, I keep a running total in my head so that I know what I’m spending. That helps me keep any impulse spending under control, and sometimes when I’ve reached the end of my grocery list, I have enough money left over to buy a treat.
    Thanks for your blog. Maggie

    • Reply

      That’s an interesting tactic! I think that takes a lot of self control. I’m glad you’ve found a groove that works for you. I might have to try that out. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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  35. These are fantastic tips. Thank you for sharing! I especially like that you’ve had good experience with Aldi; they are opening near me soon, and I have heard mixed reviews.

    I am curious: do you shop at multiple stores every week, or do you try to price-match at Walmart most often? It sounds as though you have a few different stores in your rotation.

    • Reply

      We try to make it a one stop shop. We don’t like spending our time grocery shopping. Not our idea of a fun afternoon! We price match most everyting at Walmart. If we happen to be near another store, we might go in. But, like I said, not our favorite activity.

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  37. Reply

    Hi,

    I’m curious as to what you eat for breakfast if you don’t drink milk? I guess cereal is out? I’m gluten-free and sometimes that can be a challenge when keeping to a budget. Do you buy gluten-free breads? All gluten-free food is really expensive over here in the UK!

    Regarding saving money- I’m mostly echoing tips already mentioned, but I’ll share mine.
    Cook in bulk and freeze meals that can defrost all day whilst you’re at work and quickly be heated up in the evening, even by a husband with minimal cooking skills! 😉
    Buy a slow-cooker.
    Get food cheaply that is being reduced because it has a short-date- usually this means working out the best time to go, generally in the evening to get the cheapest deal. Meat, fish, bread, soft cheese, cream and milk need to be frozen or used immediately. But I have no issues eating eggs, hard cheese or fruit and vegetables after their dates. You can tell when these have gone off by looking for mould, bad smells or putting the eggs into a bowl of water- if they don’t float- they’re fine.
    Down shift a brand- if you usually buy the brand name, buy the store brand. If you buy the store brand, try the economy brand and see if you like it. We’ve down-shifted at least 50% of our shopping and saved a bunch! Sometimes the cheapest brands taste bad, or are full of chemical nasties. In which case- leave them on the shelf. But sometimes they contain fewer ingredients than the store brand and taste just the same. All that’s different is the simple packaging.
    Buy in bulk
    Buy special offers
    Use coupons
    I’ll leave it there for now 🙂

    • Reply

      Hi Elizabeth! To answer your questions, we eat meat and eggs for breakfast. I drink fruit, peanut butter and kefir in smoothie form, and I make Jacob vegetable juice for breakfast. We don’t buy gluten free bread because it is way too expensive. If we get a craving for bread I make paleo biscuits with coconut flour and almond meal and we buy the ingredients online for way cheaper than health food stores.

  38. Reply

    Great tips. I like the one not shopping hungry. It really works. When I am stuffed I barely want to shop at all. That however goes into an opposite effect that in many cases I do not buy what I need and have to go shop again. that goes into a list advice and I am not much good at it – I always forget it at home…

    • Reply

      Try putting your list in your wallet. You definitely won’t forget that!

  39. All terrific tips here, Vanessa! We use lots of these and it really does save a ton of cash!

    • Reply

      Great! Thanks:) Keep up the good work.

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  41. Reply

    Oh man, #1 is just critical. If I go shopping hungry, all kinds of very bad things end up in the cart!

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  45. Reply

    I am mastering the art of saving money grocery shopping and you have definitely given me some more tips. Thank you.

    • Reply

      Awesome! So glad to help out. It is definitely an art. 🙂

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  47. Reply

    I always thought milk was critical to calcium intake and therefore bone strength and density. Have I been deceived? I think non milk alternatives (ie almond, oat, soy etc milks) don’t offer the natural calcium you need – what are your thoughts? I do agree dairy is pricey though!

      • Jacob
      • June 26, 2013
      Reply

      I guess you’ve been deceived. Soy is unhealthy, period. Almond milk has about the same or possibly a bit more calcium that cow’s milk per serving. Not to mention green leafy vegetables are loaded with calcium as well. Cow dairy products certainly aren’t critical for calcium intake.

      • Reply

        I’ve never taken to soy. Seems the dairy industry’s really pumped their advertising enough to have brain washed me! Thanks for the tip.

    • Reply

      Craigslist is pretty much always the answer to getting a better deal!

  48. Reply

    Great tips! I wish we had the space for a garden to grow our own veggies 🙁 Maybe next year we’ll give community gardens a whirl. Our favorite tip is to stock up on flyer deals. Most of the time these prices beat the local club stores.

    Check out my grocery budget challenge for some great cheap and healthy eating sites.

    • Reply

      We currently don’t have the space to grow veggies, but we are attempting a small herb garden. You can grow herbs in small pots, so they are a great place to start.

      • Reply

        True! We do have some small pots with herbs, but what I’d love are a few tomato plants. Mmmm, nothing like a fresh, home grown tomato!

  49. Reply

    Vanessa, this is a college course, and I just got it for free. That’s a Cash Cow deal! Thank you!

    I fear we have a long way to go in the grocery savings department, but we do not put anything into our cart that is not on the list. CJ has typed a list that correlates with the aisles in the store, so even I can go alone and make it out with everything. We’re hoping the Sprouts that will open up near us will give HEB some competition on produce because that is where we spend the bulk of our grocery money.

    Oh, and we’re headed up to Lubbock for some dinner. Your food list sounds right up our alley!

    • Reply

      You guys are headed to good ol’ Lubbock?! Whatever for? – Oh, and we shopped at Sprouts for the first time the other day and really loved it!- But we still make a trip to the good ol wally world for price matching unfortunately. :/

  50. Great tips. When we buy meat we almost always try to buy in bulk and repackage it ourselves to freeze. I don’t eat red meat, but when we find a good deal on steak we buy a bunch and freeze them in separate freezer bags. We also look for meat on mark down. If you make friends with your local butcher he/she will tell you the markdown time. Ours is Sunday around 2pm. We’ve found boneless chicken breast, steaks, pork and seafood for super cheap (1.00 a pound or less sometimes!) that way. You have to eat them that day or the next or freeze them immediately. We usually freeze them.

    • Reply

      Cool! We will have to try that out!

    • E.M.
    • June 25, 2013
    Reply

    I follow many of your tips! I usually look through the flyer for what’s on sale and make a list from that. I’ve definitely been buying more generic brand items. We are trying to eat healthier but we just haven’t gotten into the groove of cooking yet, so half our meals are made from scratch and the other half aren’t.. I need some inspiration; hopefully getting a cookbook for my birthday will help.

    • Reply

      The best cookbook around is mentioned above in the article. Nourishing Traditions is the name. We’d highly recommend it!

  51. These are great tips. My wife and I are terrible at eating healthy. We eat a lot of processed foods because it’s cheap and easy when I know we shouldn’t. We’ll have to try to utilize some of these tips and work on eating healthier.

    • Reply

      I’d argue the cheap side of processed foods. A lot of times fresh produce at discount prices are cheaper. Also, long term healthcare costs are a potentially high cost to eating processed foods. Not to mention, you’ll feel great eating healthy foods! 🙂

  52. A great list, Vanessa! Store brands have really improved and are such a good bargain. For me, the big things are meal plan, have a list and know average prices. Taking a few minutes upfront saves me money and time when the kids and husband are sitting at the table waiting for dinner. 🙂

    • Reply

      I am going to have to start learning how to make meals in advance! I have had the luxury lately of being home 3 hours before dinner-plenty of time to cook. But my work hours will be changing and one of us will have to pop a pre-made dinner in the oven. Ugh.. not looking forward to that. Do you have any tricks?

        • tania
        • February 2, 2015
        Reply

        Try using a slow cooker 🙂 Pop it in earlier and leave for as long as you like! I even put frozen stuff in and leave it going all day. Come home to food ready to eat, and nice and tender too!

          • Jacob
          • February 3, 2015
          Reply

          We do use our slow cooker. Great option when we are busy, and heats the house during winter! 🙂

  53. I’ve found it helpful to pay attention to when things go on sale at the stores. Grocery store definitely through sale cycles on certain items, so I’ll try to time my purchases based on that.

    • Reply

      Grocery store sales are a way of life for us! 🙂

  54. Great list — thanks for posting!

    Along the same lines, whenever we cook, we always make sure we’re cooking for at least two nights. This can be both a cash savings and especially a time savings. Here’s an example:

    My wife decided on Sunday that she wanted to cook up a few pounds of chicken to have for a number of future meals (wound up being six). A lot of the cooking time is normally spent in the setup and cleanup, so the incremental time spent to cook meals 2-6 were negligible. She spent 45 minutes total and now we have 6 dinners frozen and put away for convenient mid-week meals.

    It’s also rough when a recipe calls for a smaller quantity of something you rarely use. Instead of buying the normal prepackaged version, we can usually buy a small quantity in the ‘bulk’ section of a store like Whole Foods and walk away not spending a lot of money and not wasting any food.

    • Reply

      This is a great idea! I really need to learn how to make larger quantities and make something new with it every night.

  55. Love the tips. My wife and I definitely shop the sales as we are flexible with what we eat…sale price is much cheaper. We also buy generic often and we don’t really taste the difference. As with milk, we watched a documentary saying that regular milk isn’t as good and we have tried other types of milk…seems more expensive though.

    • Reply

      My 2 cents about how to lower the milk cost is to drink less of it. Make it more of a treat than an every day drink. 🙂

    • cj
    • June 25, 2013
    Reply

    Cannot believe I can get all that good info for free. Sweet and exhaustive list here, Vanessa!! We do not stock up on anything though band because it causes clutter and waste in out tiny Hoombah Kitchen. We end up with a clean, empty cupboard and fridge each week. Creepy, but really cool! I could see how stocking up when prices are right may work for others however. If I were to find a free item or one that was 90% off, you can bet your Cash Cow I’d stock up on that and deal with the clutter and potential waste!

    p.s. How do I resubscribe for posts? I miss getting my CCC in the old inbox!!!

    • Reply

      I didn’t know you and Tammy didn’t stock up! Ha, I can see how that would be stressful. We recently stocked up on an item and as I was putting it away I could feel the clutter coming on. But for us, it’s worth it. We don’t like clutter-but more than that, we hate to pass up a good deal. 🙂 Also, funny you ask about the email. We are currently working on it! Coming soon. 🙂

  56. Reply

    Is almond milk cheaper? The last time I bought it, it was just over $3 for 1 quart. I can get a gallon of milk for $3.59ish and almond milk usually only lasts about a week after it’s opened. While I like almond milk, I’m not sure it’s the cheaper alternative.

    • Reply

      Thank for bringing this to my attention! I can be a total ditz sometimes. I have updated the article. Thanks for keeping me in check!

  57. Reply

    Great tips! We’re actually working hard on the grocery line item right now. It’s the one place where sudden spikes in spending seem to creep in. Totally agree on almond milk. Although the weird thing is the package says to use within 7 days, which would be a shorter usage time than regular milk. So far I’ve just been ignoring that warning, though.

    • Reply

      Before I was married, I used to buy almond milk and keep it for about 2 weeks, and it always tasted fine. Ha! I was clueless that it had an expiration of 7 days. Oh well! I’ve update the article to reflect some changes about the almond milk. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Tara
    • June 25, 2013
    Reply

    As far as getting items like coconut flour and almond flour, I suggest sites like Netrition.com and Honeyvillegrain.com. These sites sell coconut and almond flours of higher quality grind than Bob’s Red Mill and at cheaper prices than Amazon.com.

    • Reply

      I checked out those websites- thanks for bringing them to my attention! I will definitely be checking them out when we need to reorder and comparing them to Amazon. Right now we have Amazon Prime, which gives us free shipping. Depending on the item, it makes ordering from them worth it.

  58. Yeah..

    I like stocking up when I see a good deal. Just yesterday I specifically looked for some in store coupons and then bought multiples!

    I must say as far as the farmers market, it is not the place to save money in our area (we go to the one in Bee Caves) but really any farmers market around or in Austin.. We go anyway for the just-picked, organic produce. Every time I go I think how I need to get a robust garden going. 🙂

    ~ darlene 🙂

    • Reply

      I would love to have a garden too! I think the value of the farmers market depends on where you live. Where we are currently, the farmers market is completely pathetic. However, I have been to farmer’s markets in other cities that were everything a great farmer’s market was meant to be- fresh and competitively priced.

  59. Reply

    Absolutely!

 

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