How To Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half
When you look at your monthly spending, are you blown away by how much went to food?! Me too! Have you seen the extreme couponing shows that buy $100 worth of groceries for $2?! Me too!
But who has time for all that couponing? Not me! And I don’t the time or the patience for making multiple trips schlepping two kids to various stores to maximize the savings.
Before you start feeding your family Beanie Weenies (anyone else eat cut up hot dogs in baked beans as a kid?) here are a some tips to help cut your grocery bill in half.
This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy here.
Shop the sales!
Check out the weekly ad for your favorite grocery store. Here in South Florida, Publix is my go-to. Publix sale prices are often better than Walmart’s “everyday low price”. Stock up on the Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) items that you know your family will use. Paper items like plates, napkins, tissues, and toilet paper have a forever shelf life so they won’t go bad and need to be thrown out. Laundry detergent is another item that is a BOGO frequently and there will always be dirty clothes that need washed! Eventually, almost everything goes on sale. So if you don’t have to have it, wait it out.
Eat at home
Pizza night is such a fun family bonding experience! Grab the dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings from the grocery store and everyone gets to make their own pizza at home! You will end up spending less money than buying pies from your local pizza joint. There are also so many copy cat recipes online for your favorite menu items at restaurants. Get your kids in the kitchen! It encourages them to explore their cooking creativity and saves you money!
Don’t be brand specific
If you are flexible in the brands you buy, your dollar will stretch much farther at the grocery store. And when brand name items aren’t on sale, the store brand items are very comparable and much cheaper.
Make friends with your freezer
When meat is on super sale, that is the time to stock up! Don’t forget the freezer bags!
Spaghetti is one of those foods that is even better the second night! Also, making bigger batches of food and freezing them for later not only saves money but time, too! Even if you just make enough for lunch the next day, that’s one less meal to plan, make, and buy.
Generally, different items go on sale every 6-8 weeks so buy enough to get your family through until the next sale. If you don’t buy enough, you will be forced to buy that item at full price when you run out.
This might seem backwards to buy MORE than you normally would instead of less. However, because you are shopping the sales and buying items that you know your family will use or eat, your grocery bill will go down. You will end up shopping from your own pantry, rather than having to run to the grocery store for one or two items.
It will take 6-8 weeks to stockpile your pantry, and realistically that long to really see a big decrease in your overall grocery bill. I made a special section in my laundry room to hold extra items that I don’t have room for in my kitchen.
Don’t go to the grocery store for just a few items
More often than not, you will end up buying extra things that you don’t even need. And definitely never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry!
Know the sales
Just because an item is “on sale” doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. 2/$5 isn’t a big sale when the original price is $2.65. (That’s a $0.30 savings if you’re doing the math.) Ideally, you should be looking for sales of 30-50% off the regular price.
I have a hard time getting my husband to understand this! He will come home with so many things that were “on sale”. For that reason, I usually do the majority of the grocery shopping! As a mom of two baby girls, sometimes going to the grocery store alone seems like a vacation!
Crock Pot Meals
Not only does it save you time cooking, but a crock pot can take cheaper, tougher meats and turn them into yummy tender goodness! Walk in the house after a long day at work and smell a delicious dinner that’s ready for you and your family to eat!
The Crock Pot is also an easy way to make extra meals to freeze for later. This is the crock pot I have and it’s just awesome! It has a timer to set for while you’re out of the house and high, low, and warm settings. Plus the lid seals tight for transporting to a potluck or family get together!
Eat less meat
There are so many recipes on Pinterest for meatless dinners! And when you do buy meat, make sure it’s on sale! Never pay full price for meat.
Eating less meat is hard for my family, but we make a meatless chili and all kinds of soups that call for less meat than your average dinner. You can also make these in your crock pot! Win/win! Here is a crock pot recipe for potato soup! This recipe made so many meals for us and my kids love soup!
Plant an herb garden
A whole potted plant costs almost the same as a small package of already cut herbs. But you will get so many more meals out of a potted plant than you will an individual package! Don’t forget to water them and observe their sunlight needs!
Stick to the Clean 15
We eat mostly organic food in our house. But it can get expensive! In order to stretch the budget and get more food for the money, I will buy some conventional fruits and veggies from the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 list. Avocado, pineapple, onions, asparagus, and mangos are all on the list of foods that are sprayed with less pesticides and are safer to eat in the conventional, non-organic version. Corn is on the list, but corn is often planted with genetically modified seeds (GMOs) and I try to avoid those. There are frozen versions that are reasonable and taste just as good! See the full list of the Clean 15 here.
Plan your meals from the sale ads
Find what meats are on sale that week (and stock up if they are BOGO) and base your menu around that. Instead of winging it and running to the store every night, you will save time (and money by preventing impulse purchases) by planing ahead and also pulling things out of your stockpiled pantry.
If you haven’t heard of Ibotta, you’re missing out big time!
It’s basically a coupon app. Every time I go to the grocery store, I open the app and see if any items I bought are on the list of rebates. Almost every time there is a $0.25 coupon for buying any item, but many times items I’ve purchased are on the list.
Some things are generic items such as “any brand of bread” or “any brand of fruit”, and others are brand specific. If you have time, you can create your grocery list by looking at the Ibotta app first, but too often I forget to look before hand and since I’m shopping the sale ad, those are usually better deals.
It’s a quick process and every little bit adds up. Once you reach $20, they will automatically deposit the money to your bank account. Sign up for free with this link and receive a $10 welcome bonus!
I often find great deals on diapers, baby wipes, and other household items on Amazon. There is nothing like ordering something and it arriving at your door step in two days without ever having to leave the house.
You can subscribe and save for an additional 5-15% off and it will ship automatically at the frequency you prefer. If you end up not needing the item as soon as you thought, you can easily change the delivery date.
Also, Amazon has awesome customer service! I just bought 12 lightbulbs for $12 and two of them arrived broken. I called to have replacements sent and instead they credited me $6! And you never have to wait on hold. Tell them online that you need to speak to customer service and they call you immediately.
Find other benefits to Amazon Prime here.
If you have the time and patience to stop at more than one store, it could save you quite a bit of money. Trader Joe’s has a huge selection of organic fruits and veggies, fresh and frozen that are often much cheaper than my grocery store.
Ebates is my favorite money saving app. When shopping online, you can save even more money!
Ebates gives you cash back to almost every online retailer that you can think of. It’s FREE and it’s so easy! Sign up here and get $10 just for signing up! Every quarter you will receive a “Big Fat Check” in the mail as cash back from your online purchases!
Read this post to learn more about how to save money with Ebates!
If you use the tips above, you will notice a dramatic decrease in your grocery bill, but using coupons can help even more. I don’t recommend going out and buying 20 Sunday papers just for the coupons. After all, the Sunday paper is $2 each! That’s not realistic to only save a couple of dollars.
We get the Sunday paper (one copy) and generally it’s hit or miss if items I typically use or go on sale are in the coupon books. Also, look through your mail on Wednesdays as there is usually a Money Saver coupon book in there. My grocery store also has digital coupons which are free to access. I simply sign into their website and click coupons for items that I use. Then, at check out, I enter my phone number and it automatically applies the coupons to correlating purchases. Super simple!
I hope these tips help you lower your grocery bill! After all, the average family spends 10% of their income on food! That is just crazy! But we all have to eat! Comment below with your money-saving tips!