How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
We used to spend wayyy too much money on eating out and to-go food. I would always tell myself that I need to get my sh*t together and start cooking…. the next day. We ended up spending a ton of money on food.
Once food delivery app came into the picture, it got even worse. With a few clicks, you get your favorite restaurant food delivered right to your door… for an extra charge of course.
Our food expenses quickly added up.
I figured it was time to really buckle down and fix this problem.
Of course we still get to go food and dine out occasionally but it’s done with intensions and not just with a its-getting-late-and-im-hungry-so-lets-get-delivery mentality.
With trial and error, I’ve learned different ways to not only cook more but also save money while shopping for groceries.
Before heading to the store:
These are the things you should do before heading to the grocery store.
1. Make a budget
Before you do anything else, make sure you make a budget. Decide how much you want to spend on food every month will help you set a budget for the week.
2. Take inventory
The worst is to find out you have duplicates of ingredients because you forgot to check the fridge or pantry before heading to the store.
It’s useful to keep a list of perishable ingredients you already have on your phone so you can always refer to it while creating your shopping list.
3. Check out the weekly ads
You should definitely check out the weekly ads from your local grocery stores. If you don’t receive them in the mail, you can look them up online. I always check out the online weekly ad for Whole Foods, Safeway, etc. before I meal plan for the week.
Check to see what’s on sale before planning your menus so it gives you an idea what type of ingredients to include.
4. Look for coupons
I go on coupons.com to look for printable coupons before heading to the store. You can also check out the flyers for any coupons available.
5. Meal plan
Now you have a list of ingredients you already have and what’s on sale at the market. It’s time to meal plan using this information.
If I see avocados and chicken are on sale this week, I will go on Pinterest and search “avocado chicken recipes” to see what I want to cook.
6. Write down your shopping list
Don’t just memorize it. Have you ever entered a store and thought to yourself “What am I here for again?”
All the products in the store can be really distracting so you must have a game plan! Write your shopping list on a piece of paper or the notes app on your phone. This will make sticking to the list so much easier!
7. Shop less frequently
I used to go to the market every two days but I realized the less the better.
The less often you shop in the store, the less likely you will buy something on impulse.
8. Swap out meat with vegetarian ingredients
Meat tends to be more expensive than vegetarian so try to eat meatless one or two days of the week.
9. Meal prep
A great way to save money on grocery is to prep your meals in advance. Planning your meal and cook them in bulk will help you use up all the ingredients. I like to do this on Wednesdays and Sundays and meal prep at least for the next 3 days.
10. Freeze your meal
If you want to save even more time and money, consider freezing your prepped meals. This way you can meal prep once a week and have meals ready for you all week. Buy grocery in bulk, prep and cook them all on a Sunday. Freeze the meals and heat them up during the week.
11. Don’t go to the grocery when you’re hungry
Eat a small snack before heading to the grocery store. If you shop while you’re hungry, it’s more likely that you will put random snacks in your cart.
12. Download grocery store cash back apps
Download the app Ibotta to save some money while shopping for food! All you have to do is to download the app, sign up for an account, upload pictures of your receipts to get money back.
What to do at the store:
Now that you’ve done your prep work, what should you pay attention to while you’re shopping? Here is some useful tips to save even more money at the store.
13. Buy in bulk
Many grocery stores offer dry food in bulk such as nuts, legume, and coffee beans. When you buy in bulk in a grocery store, you’re charged by the weight rather than individual packages.
Buying in bulk often helps you to save money and is a more sustainable alternative to foods that come in single-used plastic packaging.
14. Know when to buy organic
Did you know you don’t need to buy everything organic? It will help you save money to buy organic produce only when it makes a difference. Check out these lists of food to learn what kind of produce you should buy organic.
15. Buy generic brands
Sometimes generic store brands are just as good as name brand items. They are more affordable than name brands and might have the exact ingredients. Try out different brands to see which ones you prefer.
Frozen fruit and vegetables
Canned beans and vegetables:
16. Always check the unit price
I used to think the bigger the size the cheaper, which is so not true! Make sure you check the unit price that can be found on the price tags at the store.
17. Grow your own herb garden
If you’re someone that includes a lot of herb in your dishes, then definitely consider starting your own herb garden. They’re easy to DIY and you can save money on never buying herb again.
You can even make your own dried herb with the fresh herb that you’re growing.