How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
With a family of five, we could spend over a thousand dollars on groceries a month without blinking an eye. I am always looking for ways to our budget and food is a big money sucker in our family. The grocery bill was first on the list to get trimmed. For awhile we thought that clipping coupons was the only solution to making a dent in saving on groceries. The only problem with this strategy is that I am terrible at clipping coupons and so it was saving me about $5-10 a week. Yes, this adds up for the month each trip, but I was looking for more savings. We have been working on trimming for over a year and now we typically save anywhere from $300-500 a month and have cut our grocery bill in half.
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Go to the Dollar Store
I need to credit my husband because one day he decided to go to the dollar store before heading to the regular grocery store and it saved us over a $100 dollars that week! We have been utilizing this strategy now for over a year and we typically still save approximately $50 dollars a week on groceries (about $200 a month for us!). It takes some trial and error to find what is good, but once you do it the savings are pure gold! For example, we found most chips aren’t worth the savings at the dollar store because of the size of the bags, but tortilla chips are worth it. Another example is generic disinfectant wipes at the dollar store were too poor in quality for us to switch from the original Lysol wipes.
Check Sales with Online Grocery System
We have a few local grocery stores in our area and we are always in a debate to where the best sales are for our weekly grocery shopping. We have started using Grocery Gadget Shopping and it has helped tremendously with finding the sales. The app syncs with others in your house so everyone can add to the lists and it lets you compare shopping prices.
We combine this strategy with also going to the actual grocery store online site like Peapod for Stop and Shop. We check for different produce (should I buy apples or oranges?), meats (pork chops or a pork roast?), and our different sides (yellow rice or baked potatoes?). Then if I can get free delivery from codes and other deals I will hit submit and the food comes to us or I will print/write down and go grocery shopping ready to save! Typically this extra step saves me at least $25 dollars each week ($100 dollars a month!) and so it is worth it for us as a family. Now I don’t typically click submit when using Peapod unless I can get free delivery (there are coupon codes online, they give a 30-60 day free trial for new members and for first-time users you get 25 dollars off your first Peapod delivery!).
Typically these two extra steps save me at least $25-$40 dollars each week (over $100 dollars a month!) and so it is worth it for us as a family.
Meal Planning for your Lifestyle
There are so many different ways to meal plan and I have tried services and apps to help with meal planning. I was finding I was spending more on food and also not able to stick to meal planning regularly to make an impact. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong until I realized that I was not taking our lifestyle into consideration when meal planning. We were over-planning and buying too much food to eat in a week and in the end throwing away food that went bad. Our lifestyle is quick and easy meals so we can all eat dinner together. This can be difficult at times because our kids want to eat dinner as soon as we walk into the door. Even thirty-minute meals can take too long for us at times with crying toddlers are at our feet.
So now we meal plan simpler and smarter with 3 main dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and rotate those for the entire week. This strategy has taken away 12 meals I do not have to plan for each week, cuts down on the food we have to throw out at the end of the week, and keeps the budget in check. We have been saving around $25-$40 per week (at least another $100 a month!) on this new strategy and now I am sold on simple meal planning!
Eat Less Meat
The weeks that we plan to eat less meat we find a direct correlation with our grocery bill being lower. Meat can be extremely expensive. Now we try to incorporate less meat in our diets for health reasons, but also for our wallets. Typical non-meat meals include lentils, beans, eggs, Greek yogurt, and avocados. Some weeks we eat more meat and others we eat less as this depends on the price of the meat. This typically saves us around $10 dollars each week ($50 dollars a month!) by eating one less meal with meat.
To be honest this was probably our hardest switch as a family as we typically have meat in every lunch and dinner. Now that we are a few months into this strategy we have built some staple non-meat meals into our rotation that we truly love and fill us up.
Overall, we see a savings of $300-500 dollars a month (up to 6k a year!) utilizing these strategies on a weekly basis. We still clip coupons, use the savings cards from our local grocery store, collect coins for Big Y, and use the Amazon Subscribe and Save deals on our big purchase items like diapers and wipes. These savings are on a smaller scale, but worth mentioning because they still help us reach our goal of saving $500 a month on groceries. Take one of these strategies and try it for a month and see if you notice a difference in your grocery bill. Please share your tips on saving at the grocery store as well as I am always looking to save more in this area of our budget!