Working on a monthly budget? Learn some ways to cut your grocery bill in half so you can spend that money elsewhere.
Out of all of your expenses, your grocery budget is probably the most flexible. That's why it's usually the first line I recommend you reduce on your monthly budget.
There are so many things you can do to lower your grocery budget! When you do, you can either put that money into savings, use it to pay off debt, or move it to another category (like saving for a vacation).
Give these tips a try, and see if you can cut your grocery bill in half.
5 tips to cut your grocery bill
When I first started MoneywiseMoms back in 2008, it was a coupons/deals blog. Every week, I would match up coupons to what was on sale at Safeway, Giant, and CVS and let moms know the best deals. It was how I paid for three kids in diapers at the same time!
Now that couponing is over its heyday, there are still plenty of ways to reduce your grocery bill. These are strategies I use every week and every month to keep feeding my family of five.
Meal plan around what’s on sale and what you already have
If you want to cut your grocery bill in half, it’s not enough to merely create a meal plan. You need to meal plan around what you already have at home and what’s on sale.
Before I make a meal plan, I look through my pantry and freezer. If something needs to be used up, I plan a meal or two around it.
Try to create at least two to three meals using just items in your home. Once you’ve exhausted this list, start looking at what’s on sale and use that to fill in your meal plan.
Match your sale prices with coupons
If you are still using coupons, be smart about using them effectively. You won’t cut your grocery bill in half by merely buying a few things with coupons.
You need to match the sales with coupons to get the most savings. If you don’t have time to go through an entire ad and match your coupons, find a coupon blog that has your store and look for their weekly ad matchups.
I like to flip through the coupon inserts along with the sales inserts for CVS and Target to see where I can match up and save on toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo, and TP.
Skip convenience foods
It might be nice not to have to chop carrots or lettuce for dinner, but the cost to do it yourself far outweighs the time savings. You may be shocked to find these small tasks only take a few minutes anyway. Or do what I do and make your kids do the chopping!
Skip convenience foods and items whenever possible. If you need to look through the frozen food section for dinner inspiration go ahead. Just make sure you leave with an idea and not the frozen dinner.
Trade time for money by learning to make your own frozen foods. We make waffles ourselves rather than buy the expensive packaged ones.
Try once a month meal planning
Shopping once a month might sound like a massive undertaking, however planning your meals for a whole month will allow you the opportunity to grab bulk items you may have otherwise passed on. This is especially helpful with dried goods and condiments too.
Personally, I have not been able to shop only once a month. I do use a monthly meal plan and that step saves me time and stress.
Buying in bulk can be tricky. It's not a savings if you don't use all the product before it goes bad. Be sure you have meals planned to use fresh meat, dairy and produce. Plan some to cook ahead and freeze some meals if needed.
Don’t be afraid to substitute
Once you are meal planning and cooking at home, you will probably have a night where you need to make a substitution. Be flexible! Often, I will use frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones even if a recipe calls for them. Small changes like that, added up over time, help your budget a lot.
In general, if you run out of an ingredient, try to find something else you have on hand to make it work. My husband always says, “I'll run to the store!” but I would rather not spend more money. We just substitute when we can. Not only does that save money, but it saves time and keeps us from impulse shopping while we're at the grocery store AGAIN.
Grocery money might seem like a non-negotiable expense. However, there is no reason to pay full price for your groceries. With these tips, you’ll easily be able to cut your grocery bill in half!