The grocery bill is the most constant expense of our daily lives. It is also something that we cannot take lightly if we care about our health and well-being. However, that does not mean that you cannot cut your grocery bills with some smart tricks and tips. With enough diligence and motivation, you can even cut as much as 50% of your grocery bill just by following the advice below.
1. Prepare your meals at home.
Nothing has a greater impact on reducing your monthly bills than the decision to eat your meals at home. At a fraction of the cost of eating out, you can enjoy delicious and healthy dishes by cooking at home. Plus you don’t have to tip anyone and you save money on gas by staying in.
2. Always make shopping lists.
Entering a grocery store with no idea in mind about what you’re going to get will damage your budget severely. The most efficient way to go shopping for groceries is to make a list of all the ingredients you need and stick to it. Without a list, you may forget important items and buy instead things that you don’t need. Before putting ingredients on your list, make sure you don’t have them already at home.
3. Plan your weekly menu.
A shopping list is even more efficient when you plan beforehand your meals for the entire week in such a way as to make sure that you can use the same ingredient in multiple dishes. Throwing away unused ingredients because they are perishable is not good for your budget. Besides being perishable, meat and vegetables should be consumed fresh.
4. Collect coupons.
Coupon clipping is the most obvious way to save money on your grocery bill and yet not many people get around to actually do it. You will find coupons in your local newspapers, but you can also pick up flyers from your favorite store. Usually, stores have daily special offers for specific products and they mark all throughout the store the additional items on sale. It is difficult to say no to a “buy one, get one free” deal.
5. Eat leftovers.
A benefit of cooking at home is the leftovers. A home-cooked meal can last you a couple of days and it is surely a way to save both money and time. For example, if you make a meal that lasts you for the next three days you can add up the ingredients and divide the cost by three to have an idea of how cheap are your daily meals. Casseroles have their good purpose in our kitchen for sure.
6. Use only what you have.
We are tempted to head out to the store whenever we want to cook something, but a good way to save money is to resist this temptation. Instead, look in your fridge and pantry as there is a good chance to find there enough staples for a few meals. Dry pantry goods and frozen goods are great money savers when you prepare your meals for the week. Keep your fridge and pantry organized and you will avoid waste and unnecessary expenses.
7. Grow your own food.
There is hardly a greater way make your grocery bill minuscule other than growing your own vegetables and herbs. While it takes a bit of work, it is rewarding to see that you can provide fresh and nutritious food to your family, at very little costs at all. Although not everyone has access to a garden, many herbs and even small vegetables such as tomatoes can grow directly in your kitchen, if you can find a sunny spot for them. You can also put a few containers on your porch, where you can either plant directly seeds or move some small, established plants which can be bought cheaply. Just a small seasonal production can help a lot with your bills.
8. Buy in bulk or frozen.
All the non-perishable items, such as nuts, grains, and other dry goods, are cheaper when bought in bulk because it saves on the cost of packaging. You can even buy spices in bulk. Bigger packages are most of the time cheaper. Similarly, frozen produce is also cheaper. Some fruits and vegetables are frozen shortly after they’re picked which ensures the preservation of all nutrients and flavors.
9. Buy locally available vegetables and fruits.
According to the simple rules of the market, produce in season is cheaper because it is harvested locally, and the abundance makes supply exceed demand. You will get the chance to experience a diverse culinary experience all year round while still managing to cut down costs on groceries. By buying and freezing your favorite produce you will avoid paying exorbitant amounts when they are out of season.
10. Buy whole foods.
It takes a bit more work to chop and shred your vegetables and fruits when you get home, but keep in mind that whole food is notably fresher and cheaper than processed packages. You will keep your expenses lower and get the benefit of enjoying only real, healthy food instead of prepared alternatives that offer less value at a greater cost.
11. Cut meat from your diet.
It is not necessary to become a vegetarian, but cutting meat from your diet at least a few days a week can save you a lot of money. Meat is the most expensive thing on your grocery bill and many vegetables provide a healthy and cheap alternative, still giving your body all the needed nutrients. Vegetarian cuisine has grown a lot during the past years and there are many delicious recipes that replace meat with less expensive ingredients, such as beans or tofu.
12. Try to buy on sale as much as possible.
If you buy the items on sale each week you can organize your meals around them and by doing so every week, you won’t have to pay full price for most of the things on your shopping list. Usually, fruits and vegetables are on sale when they’re in season, so you will still eat healthy, with the benefit of not paying too much.
13. Don’t overindulge.
While food is not an area where we should go frugal and put our well-being to risk, overindulgence is not good for your health nor for your budget. Besides a treat or two per week, it is best to stay within a set budget and avoid rare or exotic items. The same goes for beverages. By replacing sodas, bottled teas, or energizing drinks with home-made juice, smoothies, tea, and water you can offer your body a long-awaited detox and keep more money in your wallet.