Reducing Grocery Bills – 14 Ways to Cut Costs
I have to eat. You have to eat. Your children need to eat. All that eating costs a whole lot of money if we aren’t careful so reducing grocery bills is a must. We have all gone into the grocery store for a loaf of bread and some milk and came out with four bags of who knows what. Before we know it, we have spent our monthly food budget in one day.
So how can we prevent this from continually happening? If you’re asking yourself for tips on reducing grocery bills, here are some easy ways to save money on groceries while keeping within your budget.
#1. Use a List
There is nothing more helpful than making a shopping list to help you stay under budget. The trick is to stick to the list.
I have an ongoing list on my fridge so that as soon as I notice I have run out of something, I add it to the list. This ensures that I remember to buy what I need. It also prevents me from having to make those last-minute stops at the grocery store.
#2. Round up Your Grocery Store Estimates
Keep track of the price of each item you purchase. However, there is no need to be calculating the exact cost of the item but instead, round up each item.
For example, if something is $3.45, write it down as $4.00. This way, you will be sure to have enough money as you go through the checkout lane. It will still give you a general idea of what to expect as the final bill.
#3. Buy Only What You Need
It is often tempting to buy something when it is marked four for $5 but think logically. Do you really need four loaves of bread when it is just you and your partner? Or will that bread mold before you eat it?
Check with your store, often you can purchase just one and still receive the discounted price and essentially reducing grocery bills every month.
#4. Necessary VS Unnecessary Purchases
It is kind of boring to only buy what is absolutely necessary and we all deserve a little treat here and there. However, it is important to remain within your budget and meet your needs.
Place the unnecessary items at the end of the conveyor belt. Tell the cashier that when you reach a certain amount you would like to be informed. This way, you can make a decision about what can or cannot be bought that day without the embarrassment of insufficient funds.
#5. Plan Meals Ahead of Time
Make a conscious effort to plan meals for the week. As mentioned previously, take stock of what you already have on hand but also factor in what is on sale by looking at the flyers. (I do not get actual flyers in my mailbox anymore but use the online version – redflagdeals.com).
If items are on sale, purchase multiple quantities of the item if possible.
#6. Use The Foods You Already Have
If you are like me, my cupboard is filled with random foods that need to be eaten. There is no need to go out to buy additional food when your shelves are full.
Take an inventory of what you have already purchased and start getting creative. There are several websites out there (for instance, cooks.com) where you can punch in the ingredients you have on hand and it will give you a recipe.
#7. Freeze and Store
We all have incredibly busy lives and at the end of the day, cooking a meal is not a priority. Ummmm, but your family still needs to eat something.
When you have time, cook larger meals and freeze the leftovers. Then all you have to do it heat it up and BAM! Supper is served!
One little tip I have recently discovered is to freeze cooked rice in plastic freezer bags. It reheats wonderfully and is great for fried rice or even a delicious coconut rice pudding.
#8. Can You Grow Your Own?
The price of fresh produce is incredibly dependent on the climate where it is grown. Living in a climate that is covered in snow probably 6 months of the year forces me to purchase most of my produce that is grown in another country.
However, recently I have decided to capitalize on the knowledge of my mother and grandmother and grow a little garden of my own.
Even if you do not have a large space, you will be surprised at what will grow in a pot on your balcony.
I am currently growing cherry tomatoes, green onions, and some leafy lettuce. Mmmmm, a great addition to my evening supper! (Psssst, green onions do not even need dirt. They will grow in a glass of water on your windowsill!)
#9. Try Meatless Mondays
I was born and raised on the prairies. That means you ate meat at almost every meal. However, after re-evaluating my budget, I realized that having meat all of the time was not feasible if I was serious about reducing my grocery bills.
I started to explore the internet and many of my friends from other countries exposed me to different meatless dishes. I was astounded by the health benefits of the garbanzo bean (also known as chickpea) recipes. Chickpea taco salads quickly became one of my favorites.
Not only am I saving money by going meatless, but it is also improving my health.
#10. Eat Leftovers
Leftovers for lunch is one of the best ways to save tons of money. Think about the math. If you spent $10 per day (and that is quite conservative I’d say!) on lunch for 20 days, that is $200 in a month, $2400 in a year! Think of all the things you could be doing with that money you’d be saving.
#11. Buy Generic
Generic. No Name. Store Brand. Whatever you want to call it, the quality is almost always the same as a name brand item. Often the store’s generic brand is made in the exact same facility as a top brand but sold at a cheaper price.
#12. Buy Meat on Sale
Meat is one of the top budget breakers on your grocery bills. Use your store’s flyers and meal plan around the meat that is on sale. This may mean buying a cheaper cut of meat like a blade steak and learning how to cook it properly.
I throw mine in my slow cooker with some onions, garlic, spices, and chopped tomatoes. Cooking it slow and low makes it fall off the bone tender.
#13. Shop Online
Create a list of what you need and order everything online. Many stores will deliver for a nominal fee or even better yet, go pick up the groceries yourself.
A great app I discovered recently that saves money on groceries is Flashfood. It can be utilized in Canada to save extraordinary amounts of money on food that would otherwise be thrown away as it nears its expiry date.
The grocery store will deliver the items to your car and sometimes even help you actually load them.
It is incredibly convenient but prevents those impulse buys while wandering around the actual store.
#14. Leave The Compulsive Shoppers at Home
You created the list. You meal planned for the week. You scoured the grocery store flyers. So, if possible, go grocery shopping on your own.
This allows you to stick to your plan and budget without some little fingers or your junk food-loving teen dropping unnecessary items in your cart.
Food. It is a necessary part of life and can eat up a large portion of your monthly budget. But follow some of these helpful hints on your next trip to the grocery store and you surely will be astounded at the money you can save!
Reducing your grocery bills isn’t about going without what you want but enabling you to free up money to do other things.
Do you have any helpful hints you want to share? Leave us a comment below!
Thanks for reading!