10 Ways To Save On Groceries Now
When I was a young bride, our budget was tight. The one place we could save money was groceries. I had to learn quickly how to budget groceries so we could buy other items for our first apartment. This included much needed basic furniture, especially for my oldest son. When we moved out of state we only brought what could fit in suitcases. So at the very least a mattress set, bed frame and chest of drawers were on our shopping list. Saving on groceries was essential to our budget.
Using these basic tips I was able to buy the bedroom furniture within two months of saving! It was a winning moment for a young mom to purchase in cash a new mattress, bed frame and chest of drawers for her son. This win was all due to making a plan, sticking to a budget, and saving on groceries.
Today I am sharing my top ten ways to save on groceries now.
Save On Groceries By Planning Ahead
Learning to be successful and save on groceries is just like any other goal, planning is essential. Creating a plan for your weekly or even monthly meals is the first step to saving money.
Menu Planning is an essential tool to busy moms. Keeping track of favorite meals, allergies, preferences, budget and the time commitment to recipes is truly work. The pay off can be a savings of hundreds of dollars each year. A huge plus is that you are choosing the best quality food you can afford for your family. Dining out does not give you the opportunity to splurge on organic produce and lean cuts of meat because dining out cost big bucks, especially for organic foods and grass-fed meats.
Organize and Maintain Pantry, Refrigerator, and Freezer
A second huge way to save on groceries is to organize and maintain your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. There are many reasons to do this important task. The most important is you remove outdated food and you know what you have on hand.
Knowing the content of your pantry and refrigerator/ freezer means you can plan meals around items you already have. This is a great way to serve good nutritional meals to your family, even on weeks when the budget is super tight.
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Keep A Simple Price Sheet On Your Top 10 Weekly Purchases
Keep a list of the top 10 or even 20 items you shop for on a weekly and/or monthly basis. For example toilet tissue, cereal, eggs, diapers or milk. Knowing the lowest price you can pay each time you shop is a huge benefit. If you clip coupons, you know exactly where to buy the purchase and get the best price.
Once you have your top 10 weekly purchases down, you can slowly add new items to your price sheet to get the lowest cost on those items as well. Eventually, you will have a price book, that will save you tons of money each year.
Shop At The Optimum Time
Shopping at the optimum time for busy moms is essential to stay on budget. There are many things to consider that will make the shopping experience pleasant as well as making sure you stick to your shopping list.
Busy Mom Tips for Shopping
- Shop when the kids are not tired.
- Shop when the kids are at school before lunchtime. The stores get busy around 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Ask your grocery clerk when the best time to shop, they know their store.
- Shop after supper and have your spouse put the kids to bed.
- If you bring the kiddos make sure you have an activity that can do while seated in the cart. You can also engage younger children by explaining what items are going in the cart and what you might cook with the item. Just keep them engaged. Older kids can help you shop.
- Consider getting a sitter or have your spouse watch the kids for your weekly shopping trip.
- Know the layout of the stores you shop. Browsing can make your grocery bill explode, especially at grocery stores like Target and Walmart that happen to also have huge stores attached. Eek!
Never Shop Hungry ( Never, Ever Shop With Hungry Kids)
Shopping hungry is the best way to break your budget. There, I said it. There are so many triggers in a grocery store that will send you down budget-breaking lane faster than you can say “chicken pot pie”. Just the smells alone can have you dancing to the bakery, piling in fresh baked bread, doughnuts, and cupcakes.
Eating a healthy snack, think toast with avocado, coffee with cream, or an apple with some almond butter. These will make you feel satisfied without a carb or sugar rush, that can send you into a frenzy of needed another carb fix. ( Like apple pie and candy bars)
Make triple sure that if your children are shopping with you that you have a snack ready in your handbag! Busy moms know that the best way to kill a grocery shopping experience is a meltdown or that persistent whining that can occur when a child is tired and hungry.
Stick To Your List
The sole purpose of creating a meal plan is to save money. The only way to make that plan successful is to write your grocery list adding items you need to create the meals on your plan and toiletries and things if you include this on your grocery list. Write the list, stick to the list. The moment you choose to venture off into grazing for goods is the moment your budget is spent and you are dipping into your savings goal.
If this is a real pain point for you, shop as usual this week. Create your list and go about your business at your favorite store. Once you finish shopping, before you enter the checkout, take a long hard look at your basket. Count how many items are extra. Even if each item is just one dollar and you have 20 extra items, that is still 20% more of a 100 dollar grocery budget.
Careful, Your Could Double Your Bill
If the items are expensive, then you could end up doubling your bill! This is especially true when you shop at superstores that have all those wonderful things that busy moms love to linger over. ( Thinking Target and their awesome home decor items or Walmart and the Pioneer Woman brand)
This habit is not going to help you save on groceries.
If you feel that it is too distracting to shop at these stores, then consider shopping some place that limits you to groceries. You might put away some of your savings for a mini-shopping trip to one of the wonderful stores and buy that new blue lamp with the gorgeous lampshade that you ( I might have been thinking of me) crushed on at Target.
Consider Purchasing Generic/Store Brands
If you notice that the price of items seems high when compared to generic/store brands. If you are concerned about taste or quality, then buy one of the bargain brands and try it. I have found that my ultra picky teen cannot differentiate between a high-end steak sauce and a generic brand. Steak sauce is his ketchup so we buy it every month. This can be as much as two-dollar savings on our budget! It’s the little choices like this that can add up to substantial savings at the end of each month.
Choosing generic/store brands when appropriate can help you save on groceries.
Check For Unit Prices To Save On Groceries
When bulk items became popular I historically just grabbed the supersize thinking it would be cheaper in the long haul. After the bulk item craze became the norm the prices started fluctuating. Now, you really need to check the unit price and compare. Check the price tag on the shelf at the grocery and compare size, quantity, and price. This is another area where you can compare your generic brands vs name brands.
Many times time the bulk brand is cheaper but not always! Shop smart and save on groceries by checking those tags.
Don’t Over Buy Produce
How many times have you opened the produce drawer in the refrigerator to discover some wilted, creepy lettuce and sad little limp carrots? Overbuying produce is a waste of money. When you stick to your meal plan and keep the refrigerator organized you can minimize fruit and vegetable waste.
However, at the grocery, it is so easy to overbuy produce because we know it is good for our family. Our heart is in the right place!
Stick to your plan! Save on groceries by only buying the fruits and vegetables you need. If you run out of lettuce or apples, you can easily pop by the store for a couple during the week. However, you cannot save on groceries at all because once it is spoiled your money is wasted.
Scan Your Own Groceries or Check Your Receipt
Finally, let’s make sure all our hard work to save one groceries is rung up properly at the grocery store! You can do this by scanning your own items at self-checkout, watching the clerk scan the groceries, or by carefully checking your receipt before you leave the store. I prefer to watch the scanner and check the receipt when I buy weekly groceries.
- This is really the best option when you have kids waiting (patiently) in your cart.
- However, scanning your own items gives you the power to make sure those prices ring correctly!
- Sometimes your coupons will not get counted. Other times sales are not entered correctly into the grocery stores system and the clerk can accidentally double scan.
Taking care to make sure you get the sale price, the coupon counted, and only paying for items you purchased are a must!
Let’s Wrap This Up and Start To Save On Groceries
I hope you have found at least one tip that will help you start to save on groceries today. I know making the practice of planning, finding my top 10 purchases, and sticking to my list has been the best ways to save money on groceries each week.
Busy moms truly want to help their family by serving healthy meals, minding their household budget, saving when they can, and learning to do all these things while raising their kids. It is not easy! Saving on groceries is a wonderful way to help your family thrive.
What tips do you have to save on groceries?