We all know how hard it is to save money on essentials. Between your rent or mortgage, utility bills, and your grocery money, you might not have anything left over to go into your savings or rainy day fund. Even for one person, the average American spends up to $345 per month on groceries! We want to teach you how to cut your grocery bill in half (or at least cut it down) with a few tips and tricks. Not every tip will apply to every person, but there’s something here for everyone.
Before your next shopping trip, keep these tips in mind to keep your grocery bills low and still eat healthily.
Track Your Spending
The first step towards lowering your grocery bill is tracking how much you already spend. This means that on your first trip, you should try to buy your groceries as you usually do.
When you bring your food home, take a look at your receipt. Divide it into categories of “I needed this” and “I wanted this” and figure out how much money you spent on both.
You’ll be surprised at how much you spend on things you didn’t need, and even how much you’ve spent on ingredients for meals. That brings us to our next step.
Make a Budget
Now that you know how much you spend, it’s time to lower that number. Set a specific amount in your head and aim not to go over it no matter what. When you plan your meals (in the next step) you’ll keep that number in mind.
Each week, allocate an amount of money that you’re willing to spend on wants and an amount that you’re willing to spend on needs. We suggest an 80% to 20% ratio.
Once you’re out of need, even if you go under-budget, try not to spend more than that 20% on wants.
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning is the easiest way to lower your grocery budget. It isn’t easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will change the way you cook and shop.
Plan around items that are versatile. This means that pasta, rice, lentils, and anything else that can be bought for an affordable price in large amounts should be prioritized. For example, you can plan for three days of meals with rice as a side instead of making it once.
You want to plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and try to get an idea of what snacks will be. We love the idea of making one day per week a “leftovers” day to make sure that you haven’t wasted anything before your next grocery trip.
Planning ahead not only saves you money. It also saves you time and stress.
List Everything You Need
Once you have your meal plans in place, list all of the things that you need for these meals and snacks. Organize them by what general location they’re in at the grocery store. This will help you avoid distractions, and it will make your grocery trip quick and painless.
Check online to get a general idea of what each item will cost. Be flexible and willing to change things if necessary.
When you have a list it’s so much easier to stay on track!
Buy Store-Brand Items
There’s a strange stigma against buying store-brand products, but why? These products are cheaper than the name-brand ones, and the quality is often the same.
For staples, there’s no reason not to buy store-brand. No one will notice the difference between your store-brand frozen vegetables and rice and the name-brand ones.
Some items, like cereals, have store-brand options that are sometimes better than their name-brand alternatives! Test out different products and see what you prefer.
Join Free Membership Programs
This is another important must-do when it comes to saving money.
Most grocery stores offer some sort of membership savings program. With this program, you input an email address or phone number and they’ll send you coupons or online deals that are specific to your shopping habits. Some of them also only offer sales to members!
Specific coupons are great because they use what you’ve already bought to determine what you’ll get a discount on next week. This means that you might save money on your staples.
After you sign up, shop around at all of the places where you have a membership card. Sometimes the Kroger ad deals will be the best, while other times you may have more success with Albertsons or another shop.
Most people don’t consider doing their grocery shopping online, but anyone with a family or a busy schedule should keep this option in mind. It isn’t just for saving time, though. It will also help you save money.
When you shop online, you see the costs add up in real-time. You don’t have to do any mental math to figure out if you’re going over-budget. It simplifies the entire process.
You also don’t have to risk being tempted by snacks. When you’re in the grocery store, hungry between meals, it’s easy to wander into the snack aisle and leave with something that you didn’t plan for. Occasional treats are okay, but if you do that every week the costs will add up.
The grocery store worker who puts together your shopping bags for you won’t add in extra snacks.
That’s How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
Learning how to cut your grocery bill in half (or at least make it lower) is important for anyone trying to save money or make ends meet. If you’re careful with your shopping and you start writing everything down, you’ll find that saving money gets easier with every shopping trip.
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