Grocery bill is one of the biggest monthly expenses after rent. But there is a way around it. You’d be surprised to see how much money you can save on groceries if you shop smart. And if you think you are paying too much for groceries then read along. In this post, we share our top tips by which we cut our grocery bill in half and how you can too:
1. Meal Plan:
This is one thing that will make the biggest difference. Meal planning saves you so much time and money, but only if you do it right. But Meal planning and doing it right is no joke, really. However, you get better with time and here are our tips that will help you excel at meal planning:
- Ask your family members: Meal planning for a family with kids can be challenging, especially if your kids are picky eaters. So it’s better to ask them to give suggestions for what they want to eat that particular week. When done as a family activity, it is quite fun.
- See what you already have: So often we end up wasting food, because we don’t plan properly and a lot of food items expire. That’s why it is important when you are planning your meals, to check what you already have in the pantry and your fridge. We love looking at the available ingredients and then thinking of meal ideas from those ingredients. It saves a lot of money too.
2. SHOP seasonal produce:
One of the best tips we have for saving on your grocery bill is to shop local. And by this we mean buy ingredients that are grown in your region.
These fruits and veggies are generally cheaper and better quality too. Because you get the produce when it is fresh as it has not been in storage for days. We save hundreds of dollars every year just because we buy fruits and veggies that are in season and are locally grown near our house.
3. buy in bulk:
Buying in bulk is one of the best tips to save money on your grocery bill. When you buy in bulk you get a better price and a better deal. Of course you can’t buy everything in bulk, but try to buy in bulk whatever you can.
Stock up on things that are not perishable and things that you usually put in freezer and that have longer expiry dates. And it is even better when you buy these items on sale. Because you will end up saving quite a lot.
4.Limit the number of trips to grocery store:
Do you ever go to the grocery store to buy one thing and come back with 10? Yeah, that’s not doing your wallet any good. Try limiting your trips to the grocery store so that you don’t buy things that you don’t need.
We only do the majority of grocery shopping once a month, instead of weekly. We just buy the fresh produce twice a week and that’s because it is really convenient for us. But cutting down the number of trips to the grocery store to just one a month has been so good for our wallets.
5.Stick to the list:
if you are one of those people who can not limit their number of visits to the grocery store, then try this one. Make a shopping list before you go and try sticking to that list.
This is where the meal planning tip also comes in handy. Because you already have a meal plan, sticking to your list becomes even easier.
6.Never go to grocery store on an empty stomach:
This is one of those tips that sound like they won’t work, but they really do. Try having your meal and then going to the grocery store.
Having a full stomach will make it easier for you to stick to your shopping list and not give into unhealthy cravings. And hence makes it better for making healthy choices and also for the budget.
7. Do not pay for convenience:
You know those things like cut vegetables, ready salads cost a lot more than if you bought the ingredients separately.And that’s because you are paying for the convenience.
So whenever possible, buy the fresh produce separately instead. In general, if a small bowl of ready mix salad costs you about $3, you could make 3-4 such bowls if you bought the ingredients separately.
8. Try making some items at home:
This one of another favourite tip and for two reasons. One is, when you are making something from scratch, you know exactly what is going in that. And you can generally avoid added sugar by making things at home. If you read the labels closely, added sugar is everywhere.
And second because home-made items taste so much better than store bought items. We make our own salad dressings and almond butter now. That way it tastes better and fresh, costs a lot less and there is no added sugar. It’s a win-win-win. In fact, here are 15 things in general, that we stopped buying to save money.
9. Try the store’s brand:
For most of the things, the prices of store’s own brand are cheaper than other brands. And it is worth buying those products. Of course you can’t make this choice for all the items and specially not for items like spices and spice mixes etc. But you can try these store brand for things like pulses, legumes and grains etc.
And in some grocery stores there is even loose product which is not branded and you often get really good rates for these too. They are cheaper because the cost of packaging and branding isn’t included in the price. And it is good for the environment too.
10. Try different stores:
Having a general idea of what the prices are for different things at different stores is great. That way you can decide where to buy what from.
If you have no idea which stores around you are cheaper, try buying your monthly groceries from one store for 2-3 months and then from other store for 2-3 months. This way you will be able to compare prices and then finally settle on one that is more economical for you.
11. Shop local:
Buying fresh produce from small local vendors is usually cheaper than buying from supermarkets. Try hitting up your local farmer’s market to get the best deals on fruits and veggies and to get the fresh produce.
And of you live somewhere like India, you can generally haggle on the prices too. So have a general idea of what different fruits and vegetables cost and don’t pay more than that price.
12. Grow your own veggies/herbs:
Consider starting a kitchen garden and growing your own vegetables and herbs. Kitchen gardens don’t need a lot of space and can be started in a pot too. Start with fresh herbs that are really easy to grow like cilantro, mint and basil etc.
You can even grow veggies and fruits like zucchini, mushrooms, strawberries etc. and salad greens. That way you chop these veggies fresh from your garden when you need them and nothing goes to waste too.
13. Consider buying smaller packs for some items:
I know, I know, this is the exact opposite of buying in bulk advice. But if you have some items that usually go to waste and that you don’t often use before their expiration date, maybe it’s time to consider buying smaller packs. That way you are not wasting any food or the money.
14. Freeze veggies:
If there are some fruits or veggies that you know you won’t be able to use before they go bad, freeze them. I usually chop these veggies up and store them in airtight containers in the freezer. And these veggies can later be used to soups, stems and curries.
Fruits can be stored in the freezer as well. And the frozen fruits make for the creamiest smoothies, which is our go to breakfast when we don’t have the time.
15. Stick to the basics:
Let’s be honest, the “exotic” fruits and veggies that are imported from all over the world, don’t taste half as good as your locally grown produce. And we often buy them just for the sake of it.
Yellow and red bell peppers cost thrice as much as the green bell peppers. Make smart choices and you will be able to save quite a lot.
16. Consider going vegetarian:
Meats often cost a lot as compared to veggies and these costs add up if you consume meat very often. Consider going vegetarian if that’s possible for you, or maybe try to cut down your meat consumption by limiting it for a few days a week.
17. Start a monthly freezer swap with friends:
Start a monthly freezer meal swap with your group of friends. Let’s say there are 4 of you. Each one of you make 4 of one dish. And then swap these with each other. This way you each end up with 4 different dishes. And it’s cheaper too. because making 4 of the same meal is cheaper than making 4 different meals on your own. This one works great for melas that can be frozen like lasagne etc.
There you go, all the ways in which you could cut your grocery bill in half. Did we miss any tips? and which ones do you use already? let us know in the comments below! 🙂