A week ago in one of the many Facebook groups am a part of, someone asked how much people spent per week on a four-person household (two kids and two adults). Shockingly, the majority of the women SAID they spend $100-150 per week including pet food!! Gasp! When I say the majority, I went through a hundred comments and can only remember maybe 5-10 people saying they spent more per week. When I went grocery shopping this past Sunday, I was being very conscious and paying attention to what I was picking up because it’s effortless for me to spend $60-70 on food for just myself so thinking about how some people feed four people for $100 per week, I was curious! Admittedly, I am picky about what I like and where I shop; I don’t mind spending more on organic produce and paying more for top brands vs generic. Sometimes the generic brands just don’t taste the same! However, being conscious and watching what I was picking up, this week, I only spent $45 on food for myself at Wegmans, yes, Wegmans! I am pretty proud of myself this week.
Are you spending too much on your weekly food trip? With a few changes to the way you shop, you could reduce your grocery bill by as much as a quarter. Here are eight tricks that could be worth adopting next time you go shopping for groceries.
Plan out your meals
Planning your meals ahead can help you to save a lot of money. This is very important! Sometimes, I’ll shop and figure out meals as I shop. By creating a meal plan in advance for each day of the week, you can ensure that you buy only what you need when shopping. Create a Pinterest board to save future meals. Remember that you may be able to use certain ingredients for multiple meals, as well as being able to reuse leftovers (leftovers of all kinds can be turned into soups, casseroles, curries, and stews to save money). Try to stick to your meal plan and resist getting takeout or going out to a restaurant instead. That doesn’t mean you can’t still dine out or order takeout – make sure that you’ve scheduled these meals ahead.
A lot of people shop one supermarket (Me!) for all their food and drinks. It ’s convenient to do this, but shopping around could save you money. Certain items are likely to be cheaper in a different store. For example, some stores may offer cheaper fresh foods, while others may have a better range of affordable frozen foods. There could even be items that you can buy online for a more reasonable price than in the stores such as wine. Pet food may also be cheaper online. The trick with shopping around is to find stores that are somewhat close to one another; otherwise, you’ll be burning your savings in gas.
Eat less meat
Meat is expensive and will raise your grocery bill. While specific cuts of meat can be cheaper than others, the most effective way to save money on meats is to cut down on them. Consider trying a few vegetarian meals throughout the week. If you’re too much of a meat-lover to do this, consider having smaller portions of meat and filling out your meals with other sources of protein such as beans, lentils, tofu, and eggs.
Buy generic brand foods
You’ll pay more for branded sauces, cereals and spreads – consider trying generic brand versions of these foods. As stated above, some of them may not be as good quality; however, there are likely to be some generic brand foods that are just as tasty. Consider reserving branded foods as a treat.
Check the Clearance section
Most grocery stores have a clearance section or aisle. The foods in these sections are discounted usually because they are on their sell-by date or because the package is damaged. There’s generally nothing wrong with the quality of the product’s taste, making these foods well worth buying, just cook the food within 1-2 days and you’ll be fine!
Buy in bulk
Buying foods in bulk is also a good strategy for saving money. You’ll get more for your money by buying a large pack of pasta as opposed to buying multiple small boxes of pasta containing the same amount. The same goes for rice, milk, egg cartons, water, spreads, sugar, coffee, and toiletries! Obviously, you need to be confident that you’re going to be able to consume that amount of food before it expires – if you rarely ever have eggs, it may not be worth buying a large pack of eggs.
Embrace loyalty programs
Most stores have loyalty programs of some kind to encourage customers to come back. These often allow you to collect points which can be used in the future to get money off your shopping or my favorite, money off gas!
Don’t always fall for the promotions
Some deals will genuinely save you money, but others are there to encourage you to buy things you wouldn’t have otherwise bought. If there’s a 3 for 2 offer on bacon, consider whether you’re really going to get through that amount of bacon before it expires (unless you plan to freeze it.) As for discounts on luxury brand foods, make sure that the price of a basic brand version isn’t still lower.
How do you save on groceries?This post may contain affiliate links.