Learn how to save money on your grocery bill. Check out our tips to reduce food waste and save money at the store.
Okay, so we cook most of our meals at home these days. Which, honestly, is a savings in itself. No pricey restaurant food here! Except for when we decide to splurge maybe once every few months.
However, we've also been trying to save money on our grocery bill. And doing a pretty fantastic job. Let's pat ourselves on the back here.
And now we want to share our tips with you! We're a family of four. Two adults and two hungry kids. We've managed to save a bunch of money on grocery shopping.
And here's what we've learned and our tips to save money on your grocery bill:
Meal plan ahead so you only buy what you need
This has been a GAME-CHANGER. I've been doing this for for the last two years, and I'm always surprised at how much this lets me focus our grocery list on only what we'll use so we're not buying a lot of extras we'll never eat.
Make a list ahead of time or do curbside/pickup/grocery delivery
When I think of when I spend the most money at the grocery store... it's usually when I make a lot of impulse purchases. I mean, so many things look fantastic when you're browsing the aisles. (Especially if you go when hungry). The way I combat that is by making a list ahead of time and sticking to it or placing an online order, so I don't have the opportunity to browse the aisles.
Look at what's on sale
It's always worth it to see what's on sale at your grocery store. Maybe it's meat you want to cook? Maybe it's something you might usually buy anyways? But looking at coupons and sales can save you money. If it's meat, you can always pop into your freezer and then pull out as needed.
Alternately, don't buy something JUST BECAUSE it's on sale
Most of us have bought something once upon a time just because it's on sale. Thinking we will use it. Thinking we will eat it. And then we don't. Wasting money and food. Only buy something if you really think you will eat and use it.
This is an important lesson. Sometimes generic brands are made by the EXACT SAME companies that make the national brands. Yup. It's true. So do your research and you can save a bunch of money buy buying from store brands. Here in the Austin area, I typically buy the HEB brand, Central Market brand, or Whole Foods 365 brands of products. I honestly usually opt for those if I get the chance, unless I have a STRONG preference for another brand or if the other brand is actually cheaper.
Eat what's in season
We know sometimes we yearn for fruits and veggies when they are out of season. But you can save so much money by eating fruit and veggies when they're actually in season. And guess what? They taste better that way too. If needed, opt for frozen veggies and fruits (not canned, frozen is healthier and usually cheaper than canned!)
Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals
Okay, so this seems ridiculous to those meat eaters out there, I know. I grew up in Texas (and still live here), and I grew up having meat with practically every meal! But these days, there are a lot of delicious recipes out there that are vegetarian or vegan and SO delicious and filling. And you don't have to eat tofu and such to do it! We eat vegetarian meals probably 60-70% of the time around here (and it does not seem like we're missing out!), and it has saved us so much money. And as a bonus, it's great for the environment too!
Not sure how to do it? Here's a few vegetarian meals we LOVE
Buy items from the bulk section
You can save a lot of money by picking up items from the bulk section. Beans, grains, nuts, etc. Buy from there if possible, rather than prepackaged. Or compare prices!
Buy dried beans
Similarly, buy dried beans if you can! Dried peas, dried chickpeas, etc. rather than canned. Then make a big batch of them and eat them throughout the week in soups, salads, and grain bowls.
Check your pantry and fridge
Okay, I'm guilty of buying items I already have a lot of at home. Simply because I don't realize we still have a lot of blueberries or onions or beans. Look through your pantry, fridge, and freezer and make a list of what you have! Go through what you have, if possible, before buying new items that are the same or similar.
Don’t buy bottled water
Of course, there are instances when you may get bottled water at the store. However, don’t buy bottled water just to drink at home (unless your water supply is compromised). Instead, invest in a good water filter and drink filtered tap water instead.
Grow your own herbs
Have you noticed HOW MUCH prepackaged fresh herbs cost? If you have the space, grow your own! Even in an apartment, you can usually keep a small herb garden. I personally grow mint, basil, chives, rosemary, and we’re hoping to grow cilantro and parsley soon.
Don't buy pre-grated and pre-sliced cheese. Or pre-cut veggies.
Pre-cut veggies have become huge these days! And they can save you a bunch of time from having to slice up vegetables yourself. But, they typically aren't cheaper than buying and slicing veggies yourself. Just remember, you're paying for convenience. And if you want to, that's fine. But if you're trying to save money, you're typically better buying and cutting up your veggies yourself.