10 Easy Ways To Save Money On Groceries

If you listed out your monthly expenses, food, in particular groceries, would probably be a big chunk of what you spend. I keep a monthly budget so I know it’s a decent amount of change that I'm spending each month on groceries. So I can only imagine how much families with kids spend.

By doing some research I found that I could save a couple of hundred a year on groceries if I did it right. Yes, you read right. Save a couple of hundred dollars a year.

Five Ways To Save Money On Groceries | A Relaxed Gal

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It does take some work and discipline but I found it all worth it as I’ve been able to get more for my money thereby saving more money over time.

Here's how I do it.


1. Set a budget

This was key for me to save some money when I grocery shopped. By having a budget I had a limit on what I could spend each week on groceries. That made me work harder to find creative ways to lower my grocery bill and stretch my budget. I even had some months where I had a few dollars left over in my grocery budget at the end of the month.

Some things I’ve done over the years that have helped me stay within my grocery budget are
  • Make a list and stick to it
  • Eat before I go to the store. I had been skeptical about this but it does work
  • Order groceries for pickup or delivery. Doing this I’m able to see how much my groceries are totaling as I’m shopping and I can easily make adjustments. Plus, I don’t have to go into the store and be tempted to impulse shop
  • Pay cash
 

 

2. Shop sales

This is probably the easiest way to save though on its own it's probably not going to save you the most money. You can find out about grocery sales by
  •  Downloading apps for your local grocery stores and looking through the circular every week
  •  Going old school and looking through the circulars you receive in the mail
  •  Follow bloggers like Southern Savers who post the best grocery sales each week


When I look for sales I'm not looking for sales that are for a small percentage off. I'm looking for serious sales such as buy 1 get 1 or buy 2 get 3. I typically see these types of sales for boxed or frozen items. You rarely, if ever, see them for produce or dairy products.


3. Use coupons

Like sales, coupons on their own aren't always a huge money saver. The best ways to save money with coupons are to combine the coupons with a sale and/or take advantage of the grocery store's double or triple coupon policy.

In today's digital age there are several options for getting coupons that don't require clipping or cutting them out like mom or grandma used to do. My favorite coupon apps are:

Coupons.com

On the coupons.com app you select the offers you want and then you scan your receipt after purchasing the item. Another option is to link your reward account for the stores you shop at and then you don’t have to scan receipts. Coupons.com then deposits the coupon amount to your account and you can cash out once you hit the payout amount.
This is an app where you select your grocery store and then the products you'd like to save on and they are added to a list in the app. Once you've bought the products you scan the UPC for the products and scan the receipt. Within a day or sometimes less the savings amount is added to your account. You can cash out once you've amassed $10.

The great thing about this is you have the option to save on generic/store brand products or brand name products. The downside here is stores aren't able to double the coupons for you.

I share more about Ibotta in How To Use Ibotta To Save Money On Groceries


This works similarly to Ibotta. After downloading the app and creating an account you go through and select the offers you want. There are offers for groceries, beauty, health, home supplies and more.

After you make a purchase you scan your receipt and the UPC of the product if needed. After a day or so you'll get a notification if the scan was approved and the cash back will be credited to your account. You can cash out after you hit $20.

The grocery store’s app

A lot of times if you have an account with the grocery stores you like to shop at you can get access to store coupons and discounts.


4. Sale and coupon stacking

This is the biggest money saver and how I have saved a couple of hundred on groceries a year. Here's how this works. Say the grocery store has a buy 1 get 1 free sale which basically means I get two for the price of one. Well, I have two coupons for that product and use both, getting even more off!

Here's an example from one of my past grocery shopping trips:
Buy 1 cereal, get 1 free = $3.50
Use one $0.50 coupon that's doubled
Use one $0.50 coupon that's doubled
Final cost $1.50 for 2 boxes of cereal ($2.50 if coupons aren't doubled)


5. Shop discount grocery stores 

While I use sales and coupons regularly I do a lot of grocery shopping at discount stores like Aldi and Walmart. I've found that at discount stores I can save quite a bit on produce, frozen foods, and boxed items.

Other discount types of grocery stores are salvage or outlet stores. Now these aren’t as bad as you may be thinking. These types of stores are basically the Ross and TJ Maxx for groceries.

The food these types of stores sell are usually
  • Overstock that grocery stores sell because they have more product than they sell
  • Damaged goods meaning they aren’t in perfect condition like dented cans or weird-looking veggies


6. Buy store brands/generics 

If couponing isn't your thing then buying the store or generic brand could be the way to go. I've found that many times the generic brand is just as good or better than the brand name product. Plus, the generic brand can save you several dollars per product which can add up over time.

Here's a good example. Tostitos at Walmart cost $3.98. The Walmart Great Value store brand costs $1.98. That's a $2 savings for a bag of chips! If you buy multiple store brand products imagine how much you can save during one shopping trip.



7. Shopped my pantry

Instead of grocery shopping every week I would challenge myself to shop twice a month and the other two weeks I would use up everything in my fridge, freezer, and pantry. I did have to be creative to make some of the items work together but it saved some money in the long run.


8. Eat less meat

I'm not a big meat eater as we didn't eat meat every day growing up because my dad ate vegetarian back then. Meat is one of the more expensive portions of your food bill. Eating less meat overall can help bring down your grocery costs because you're buying less of it.

For a few days during the week, I would have meatless meals such as a salad or meatless chili and incorporate proteins from other foods.



9. Meal plan

Meal planning is when you plan out your meals over a period of time. This can be for the week, the month, or if you’re ambitious the quarter.

Meal planning helps with saving money on groceries because
  • You tend to grocery shop less. If you meal plan taking into account food already in your house you have fewer items on your shopping.
  • You throw less food away because you’re only buying what you need and will be using soon.
  • You buy less at the store because you’re working off a set grocery list

10. Buy in bulk

Depending on what you’re buying and from where buying in bulk can help you save some money. I’ve only found this to be a money saver when I’m buying pantry items, toiletries, and cleaning supplies.

Buying perishable items in bulk typically costs more than saving money because most of the time it goes bad before you can use it all. The one exception for this may be meat. I’ve heard from several people who have bought meat in bulk and froze it, saving a few hundred dollars a year.

Do some cost comparisons before you go the route of buying in bulk.


How do you save money on groceries?



17 Comments

  1. Great tips! Couponing is something i want to get into

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  2. I just downloaded ibotta maybe 3 weeks ago. I like it because it's so easy to use. Here's my referral if you don't mind being on the same team: ayjyqa (i think that's how it works right? I don't actually have a team, haha)

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    1. Thanks for reading. I looked up to see how we can be on the same Ibotta team and it looks like we'd have to be Facebook friends.

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  3. I shop at Aldi pretty exclusively. It has saved us $150 per month.

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    1. Wow, that's great! What are your favorite products to buy at Aldi?

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  4. These are really great tips! I love shopping at Aldi, and the Ibotta app is excellent.

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    1. I love Aldi too! So much so that I turned one of my friends onto it and she introduced it to her mom. Now they are both Aldi fans!

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  5. Great tips! I love going to discount stores like Aldi. We save a ton of money there!

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    1. They are so great! Have you tried Lidl? I've heard it's similar to Aldi.

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  6. Such great tips!! I alway struggle going over my grocery budget 🙊

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    1. It can be a struggle. Hopefully these tips will be helpful.

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  7. I use some of the aps as well. Purchasing store brands is my main way to save money at the grocery store.

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  8. I definitely buy a lot of store brand products to save some money. Most of the time I don't notice much of a difference in taste!

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    1. Same here! I also buy store brands for other things like toilet paper, paper towels and even some cleaning products.

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  9. These are great! I love shopping store brands. There are so many now that I love, and actually seek out :)

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    1. I do too. For the most part, I usually don't see a difference between the store and names brands. And in some instances I've found the store brand to be the better product!

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