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Have you had to increase your budget lately due to your grocery bill going up? Butter, eggs, sausage, and bacon are all items I’ve noticed that have taken a big increase at the grocery store the last several times I’ve grocery shopped. If you are like me, you are trying to keep your budget in tact, while trying to buy healthy food!
I’ve compiled 26 smart ways to save on groceries when you’re barely making ends meet!
- Have a small snack before going grocery shopping! I’m amazed at how much extra stuff I throw into the cart when I’m hungry because “it looks good!” To stay on track fill up your tummy before heading out with a banana and you can avoid those “hunger purchases”.
- Have your list in your purse and ready to go. I don’t know how many times I’ve made a list only to leave it at home on the counter. Learn from my mistakes and once it’s made, put it inside your purse! (It’s also great to include a pen or two so you can cross the items off your list!)
- Once you get to the store, stick to your list! This will keep you from those impulse items!
- Stock up on items when they’re on sale. When you look at the ads and come across a great deal, stock up on enough items to make it through to the next sale. Remember not to buy too much of anything that will expire though or it won’t end up being a good deal if you have to throw it away. The typical store advertising cycle is 6-8 weeks. If you know you will be making spaghetti once a week and you use one, 16 ounce package each week, you should buy at least 6 packages. However, if it is an item like mustard and you go through one bottle a year, buying 6 would be silly and most likely some would go to waste.
- Take your calculator and keep a running total as you shop. I have found that if I round up to the nearest dollar it keeps me within budget and if I do find some of those great deals I will know how much more I can buy!
- Don’t be afraid to put back some of your items at the last minute if you go over your limit. I’d rather put some back than struggle with money later on!
- Price match at stores that allow it. Not only do you save on your groceries but you can save on gas by going to one place.
- Check the price per unit. Buying the biggest item isn’t always the cheapest. (This is especially true if your store doubles coupons! Sometimes the small items with a doubled coupon are almost free!)
- Take advantage of double coupons. Double coupons combined with a sale make very reasonable groceries!
- Shop loss leaders. Loss leaders are the REALLY great sales that stores have to get you into the stores. Just don’t buy the other items that are way overpriced or you won’t be saving any money!
- Pay for your groceries with cash. It’s easy to stick to the budget when you leave the plastic at home or in the wallet. If you know you have $100 cash, spending $102 isn’t going to work!
- While you are shopping check the end caps for clearance items. Many times you can use a coupon on these and they will be very reasonable. One of my favorite local grocery stores has 2 or 3 shopping carts with marked down items and I can almost always find something that our family can use.
- While you are shopping look above and below you on the shelves. Usually the most expensive items are at eye level.
- Always take your coupons with you. You never know what is going to be on those clearance end caps or in store specials!
- Meal plan using groceries you already have in your pantry combined with groceries on sale. You will save a lot!
- When you are really struggling financially, use up what is in your pantry. It may be breakfast for supper, but that is one meal that you probably have all the ingredients for in your home. This also works for pasta, frozen pizzas and sandwiches!
- Take advantage of apps such as Checkout 51, Shopkick, and Ibotta. These will save money by giving you cash back on purchases.
- Create a price book. By doing so you will know if you are actually saving money with a sale or if it’s just advertising that isn’t a good deal!
- Find out what day your store marks down meat, dairy items, etc. Most of the time it is marked down because the “use by” date is coming up. You can either cook those foods right away or freeze them for later use.
- Look at items such as cheese or fresh veggies. Can you save money by doing the work yourself? I always thought that by shredding my own cheese I would be saving money. Lately, I have found some really good deals on shredded cheese that were far cheaper than buying it and shredding it myself.
- Be creative with substitutions. Did you know you can substitute applesauce for oil when making a cake? Applesauce is cheaper than oil which will save you money. You can also save by buying a whole chicken and using up the parts than by purchasing the parts separately.
- Pay attention when you are checking out. Watch the prices as the cashier scans the product! I have found many times that the price was wrong and by correcting it, I saved money.
- If you can, shop alone. This is a rule that I would love to do, but honestly does not work in my season of life very well. I have found that when I shop with the younger kids, I do tend to spend more money than when I’m alone. I am more efficient and can concentrate more clearly when I’m alone (plus no one is sneaking items into the cart when I’m not looking!) However, now that the older ones are maturing, I feel it’s important to teach them these tricks as well so when they are out of the house, they aren’t wasting their own hard-earned money!
- Watch for buy one get one half off sales. This can reduce what you would normally be paying by 50%. However, sometimes the stores mark up the items when they do these sales so you really aren’t saving anything. Once again, this is when the price book comes in handy!
- Make your meals and snacks from scratch. It is usually cheaper to make from scratch than to buy mixes!
- Find out who has a garden and ask if they will share produce with you! My garden always produces more than we can eat of certain items and I’m happy to share the extras!
What are your favorite grocery saving tips?
Have you enjoyed what you read here today? Do you have friends or other women you know that could benefit from this resource? If so, please do me a favor! I have included the links below to share with other intentional women! They’ll be glad you did!