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10 easy ways to save money on groceries

Lower your grocery budget with these simple ideas

How to save money on groceries.

Have you ever actually taken a close look at what you spend on groceries? You might be really surprised. I know I was. We used to be pretty good about cooking at home and sticking to somewhat of a budget, but after having a baby and moving, some bad habits took over. We did a lot of eating out and convenience meals. Almost six months went by before we realized the damage we were so easily doing each week at the grocery store (damage on our wallets and health!)

One night we sat down to update the labels of transactions in our Mint.com account for the first time since moving. I was shocked to find that we were averaging about $200-250 each week for our family of four 😳 (and one of those four was still exclusively breastfeeding at the time... so really it was all for three people!). And that wasn't even including what we were spending on eating out.
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What were we even spending it all on? I had no idea. It didn't seem like we were buying anything excessive or overly expensive. But since we didn't have a meal plan, we were usually making multiple grocery trips each week which inevitably meant we were picking up a few extra things. We also hadn't lived near a Wal-Mart before, and now we were doing most of our shopping there. We were suddenly able to do more than just food shopping all in one trip, but it was all being dumped in our grocery budget. It was very apparent that we needed to make a change!

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We put some new systems into place and have been able to quickly cut our grocery budget by $300+ each month! We are working hard to continue reducing it with a goal of spending about $125/week. Here is what is working for us so far...


How to spend less on groceries

  1. Start meal planning.
    When you plan ahead and make a grocery list based on your meals, you are less likely to buy extra, unneeded items. You're also less likely to eat out. Meal planning is the single biggest way we are saving on groceries. Even better if you use a meal rotation plan to stock up ahead of time and save even more. 
  2. Stock your pantry.
    A well stocked and organized pantry keeps you from accidentally buying extra stuff (um... why do I have four bottles of vanilla extract??) and will save you on the days that you just don't have time to follow your meal plan. Running behind today and didn't have a chance to do the prep work for your planned meal? By knowing exactly what you have on hand in your pantry, you'll be able to easily whip up a quick rescue meal!
  3. Drink water.
    It's amazing how much can you cut from your budget when you're not drinking juice, soda, etc. We're not big soda drinkers in our house but we are major suckers for Gatorade! A simple change to tap water can save a lot of money and a lot of calories. If you can't drink from your tap, even buying a water filter will save you money in the long run. 
  4. Limit grocery trips to once per week. I don't know about you, but when we lack a meal plan, we tend to make several spur of the moment trips to the store each week, and inevitably we come home with extra things we saw that we just had to have. Instead, pick a designated day for grocery shopping and get everything at once to avoid extra unneeded purchases. (We go every Saturday. And yes, we go together as a family because in this season of our life, that's the only way it works! One of us takes the baby in the stroller, the other takes the toddler in the cart, and we each go down separate aisles and then meet at the end of the aisle to drop stuff off with whoever has the cart. Wam, bam, shopping done!)
  5. Use store membership saving programs.
    If you're not taking advantage of store perks, you are missing out. Almost every store has a membership program with special members only prices, sales, and coupons. Check out your store's website and sign up. (FYI- Walmart doesn't have their own member program, but they do have a cash back program for guaranteed low prices. You just scan your receipt with the app on your phone, they check the prices at other stores, and they give you money back if they find a lower price. I almost always get money back.)
  6. Download the Ibotta app.
    I can't believe I hadn't heard of this app sooner. You get Cash Back on things you're already buying anyway! Most chain grocery stores are in the app. Search for offers, add them to your account, and then scan your receipt when you're done shopping. You can cash out to PayPal, Venmo, or a gift card. Sign up here to get a $10 Welcome Bonus.
  7. Categorize.
    Make your grocery budget just for groceries. We decided to give household items (toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc.) its own budget and to only buy those items during one trip a month to avoid buying extras or picking up random things (try a site like Boxed.com if you want to automate shopping for household products). We also gave baby items like diapers and wipes their own budget. Pets got their own category too. (We actually started getting a once/month delivery of cat food and litter from Chewy.com. It worked out to be cheaper and would keep our budget consistent each month).
  8. Pay attention to unit prices.
    The price labels on the store shelves should tell you how much the item costs per unit. You might be surprised to find that the bigger bag/box/whatever isn't always the better deal. 
  9. Use the Favado app.
    Use the Favado app to search local sales before you shop. Favado rounds up all of your local stores into one list of current sales. Look for items you always buy and make that the store you do your shopping at this week. 
  10. Stock up during sales.
    If something you frequently buy is on sale, it's okay to stretch the budget a bit to stock up because it's going to pay off on your next trip when you don't have to buy that item for a while. This really comes in handy when you are on a meal rotation like we are!

Start saving on groceries today.

Want to reduce your grocery spending right now? Download the free Ibotta app. I promise you won't regret it!



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