Saving money at the grocery store is something that most families are striving towards. Yet, few people have the discipline to walk down the snack isle and not put 47 things in their cart. At our house, we have been working hard to save money on food in order to spend more in other areas of our life. We have come up with a system to spend $50 a week on food for 2 people (and a baby but he doesn't eat enough to make a dent yet). For most people, that may seem like an impossible budget, but we eat healthy and are never starving.
Keep reading for 20 tips to make this possible.
1. Shop weekly rather than bi-weekly or monthly
For most people, if there is food in the house, they eat it. When your selection of food on hand is smaller, you are less likely to blow through your store of food. Doing smaller weekly shops rather than a few large trips will help your food last longer.
2. Cut out juice and other flavored drinks
Both of these will carve through your food budget. If you don't like water, try gatorade powder or another water additive. You will get more for your money.
3. Find a discount grocery store like Aldi
I LOVE shopping at Aldi. They cut out all of the froo-froo involved with shopping, and break things down to the bare bones. I love their incredible savings.
4. Bring your own bags
Most stores will give you money back in exchange for bringing your own bags. At Target you get 2 cents for every bag that you bring. That may not sound like a lot, but if you do it regularly, it is money that you can use elsewhere.
5. Only buy the store's brand of cereal
Most cereal's have two choices- The Name Brand (Cherrios) and the Store Brand (Toasted O's). You usually can't tell the difference between the two, but the price is noticeable.
6. Do a few Iron Chef days
This is my favorite way to save money! 4 days a month, we do something called Iron Chef in our house. On those days when there seems to be NOTHING in the refrigerator, we wait one extra day before grocery shopping. Instead, we make a creative meal out of any food we can find! Make pizzas with ground chicken as the base or come up with a fun new soup creation. It is a good way to eat foods that you have sitting neglected, and to keep unused produce from spoiling.
7. Find the furthest expiration date on milk
If you push the milk at the front of the shelf out of the way, you can usually find the jugs with an expiration date further into the future. This will help make sure that your milk doesn't spoil before being used up. Also, did you know that most Organic milk lasts almost a month longer than regular milk? It can be worth the extra dollar if you find yourself throwing out a ton of milk.
8. Don't buy more fruit or vegetables that you can eat before going bad
Buying in bulk isn't always smart if you can't eat that much. I would rather make a 2nd grocery trip then throw away food that rotted.
9. Buy loose leaf tea and unground coffee
These are usually cheaper then the more convenient versions. You can buy a coffee grinder or loose tea steepers for cheep on Amazon. How cute are these little animal ones!
* I received these for free in exchange for my review, but I would never advertise something that I don't use myself
10. Only buy the discounted meat
Most stores will add a special discount sticker to their meat as it reaches its sell by date to help it sell quicker. I always look for the discounted meat first. If I was planning to by steak but only chicken is discounted, it will be a chicken week at my house.
11. Don't buy anything frozen
More convenient? Usually. Cheeper? Hardly ever.
12. Only pick two snack item for each week
Since you are only shopping once a week, you don't need to stock up on snacks. We pick two snack item a week, and if it runs out, we get creative with making snacks out of what is in the house. Subsequently, try dividing snacks into smaller snacking bags. This will keep you from eating a whole bag of cheese-itz at one setting. I use these cute little cloth bags from Amazon or mini zip-lock bags to divide up snacks.
13. Only used big box stores like Costco or Sam's Club for select items
Although they seem economical, big box stores aren't always a good deal. I use Costco occasionally but only because I have a family card from my parents. It wouldn't save any money if I paid the membership fees. When you only have two people eating, we usually can't eat Costco sized food packagings before they go bad or stale. Make sure to really compare prices before shopping at these types of stores.
14. Bring a water bottle to the store with you and eat before shopping
If you are full, you will be less likely to put unnecessary items in your cart.
15. Buy cheese in blocks and grate it yourself
90% of the time, blocked cheese will be cheaper and you will get more cheese for the money than buying it pre-grated.
16. Buy non perishables like peanut butter, and canned vegetables in bulk when on sale
If you see items like PB, Mac and Cheese, canned vegetables, or other items that won't go bad for years on sale, stock up.
17. When buying specialty bread items, freeze half
If you buy something like Bagels or Rolls that you aren't going to eat every day, freeze have of the package. You can easily defrost bread, and you won't have to worry about it molding if you don't eat it quickly enough.
18. Package meat in separate bags
It is usually cheaper to buy meat in larger packaging. Walmart has a package of large chicken breasts that holds 10 breasts. I am never going to need 10 chicken breasts for one meal. However, if I freeze the entire package, I will have to defrost it and cook it all at one time. Before freezing, separate the meat into meal sized ziplock bags. For ground beef, I wrap smaller portions in plastic wrap before freezing.
19. Buy condiments in large containers
Items such as ketchup and mustard rarely go bad. Those are smarter to buy in large containers. Also consider buying the store's brand.
20. Go in with a budget and a calculator
Before shopping set a budget for you trip. Have your calculator out and record each item (accounting for tax) before putting it into your card. As you reach your budget limit, start making cuts from your cart to make room for the necessities.
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I am 25 years old with a 2 year old son and a wicked handsome husband living in Birmingham, Alabama.