If you're a mom like me, the grocery store is your second home. You walk in with a list of items to buy and an idea of what's going into each meal you'll be preparing this week. But it doesn't take long for that plan to go awry when you get distracted by some new product on the shelf or see a sale that didn't line up with your plan. The result? Your weekly budget gets demolished before you even know what happened! Here are seven easy ways to save money at the grocery store and help stretch out your family's food budget!
So I've put together 7 simple ways to save money on groceries, so next time you find yourself staring at the cashier wondering how much everything costs, things will be easier on your wallet without having to skimp on quality food for your family.
Plan meals ahead of time to save money
Planning your meals ahead of time can help you save money by not having to buy food on the go. It also makes it easier for you to know what you will be eating and therefore have more control over the nutrients that you are putting in your body.
It is important that when planning your meals, you keep in mind your schedule and allow for some flexibility. I know my husband doesn't do breakfast & I typically just do a smoothie/protein shake for breakfast. So breakfast is typically something the kids can make themselves easily before getting started with school.
I'll do a lot to avoid turning on the oven in the Iowa heat, but don't want to risk hitting a drive-thru or ordering dinner & blowing my budget. Lunches and dinners in the summer are typically a combo of slow cooker, air fryer/Foodi oven, and no-cook recipes. By planning out easy recipes that won't heat up the house, I'm able to stick to the menu better.
For more on meal planning, check out these Clever Meal Planning Solutions to help you save time & money!
Create a shopping list and stick to it to save money
With the rise of online shopping, people are buying everything from groceries to clothes without having to leave their homes. This is great for convenience and saving time but it can lead to impulse purchases and higher bills.
By creating a menu and shopping list, I'm able to reduce impulse buys. If you have a partner that is willing, having them glance at the menu to make sure a craving didn't sneak itself into the list. If you aren't doing last-minute shopping, you can take your time & glance at the cart after a couple of hours and then placing the order.
When shopping in-store, I typically do my list in advance using Plan to Eat, Out Of Milk, or write it out, sorted by section at the store. I have a small budget for impulse buys or unadvertised sale items, but once that is spent, it doesn't go into the cart if it isn't on the list.
Go to local farmer's markets to buy in-season fresh produce to save money
Seasonal produce is always cheaper and more abundant than non-seasonal. Produce that is in season can vary depending on where you live, for example, if you live in Florida then citrus fruits will likely be cheaper and more abundant, while the northeast of the country or Canada could have different types which would be available to them as well!
Farmer's markets are your best bet for fresh produce in-season that tastes great! Seasonality has a significant effect on the price of produce. The food is less fresh and it can taste bland because most grocery stores get out-of-season or imported imports from all over the world such as Mexico, China, India etc.
Whenever possible, I recommend hitting the farmer's market before the grocery store for your produce. When you do head to the store, try to go for in-season produce. Bookmark this seasonal produce guide to help you plan out meals and snacks!
You can also use Imperfect Foods and Misfits Market to buy food that doesn't look perfect or has a packaging mistake, often as a big discount! By using my Imperfect Foods link, you get $20 off each of your first 4 orders. With this Misfits Market link, you'll get $10 off your first order.
Get a membership for wholesale stores like Costco or Sam's Club
Do you have a Costco or Sam's Club membership? If not, look into it! Warehouse shopping stores are for those who want to save money on their groceries and household items! You might even be able to buy in bulk which would cut down the cost of your purchases by more than half the price per item. Plus, these warehouse club memberships come with perks like free food samples that make grocery shopping fun again – what could be better than that?!
It can be really easy to overspend in a store like this though, so make sure you stick to a list and set a budget. At Sam's Club, we use the Scan and Go option in the app. It really helps me stick to my budget and helps curb impulse buys as I watch my total creep up.
Not a Sam's Club member? Join with my link and get a $20 e-gift card!
Use a grocery store rebate app
Apps like Ibotta, Checkout51, Receipt Hog, and Dosh are perfect for those that want to save money and don't mind spending a couple of minutes after each shopping trip. Each one has slightly different requirements and rewards, but overall they are very similar.
Basic Overall Process
- Download the app
- Pick the deals you want
- Scan your receipt
- Get points in your account
- Redeem points for cash or a gift card
Some have options for adding your debit/credit cards and getting back a % of your purchase, getting cashback when an item goes on sale, and printable/digital coupons to save at the time of purchase.
Looking for more ways to save? Check out these 20 Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards!
Use sales and coupons
Sign up for your favorite stores' newsletters. Check the newsletter for any exclusive deals, sign up for any rewards programs they offer, add digital coupons to your store card, and use any store coupons (along with a manufacturer coupon when you can) to save more!
Use cash instead of credit cards so you can't overspend
A credit card is a huge convenience. You can use it for purchases and don't have to take cash out of an ATM or wait in line at the store, but they come with some drawbacks as well, such as fees you might not know about ahead of time, and it is so easy to swipe a card for a higher amount than you had budgeted.
When you use cash, you have to stick to however much cash you have out. By pulling out only your budgeted grocery amount, you force yourself to stick to it!
I hope these tips have helped you learn a new way to save money on groceries! You may not need to do all of them, but at least one or two should help you get more for your dollar and make the grocery shopping experience a little less stressful!
Leave a comment and let me know if you need more info on finding ways to save with cash back apps, coupons, seasonal produce, buying in bulk, or anything else that could come up while doing your weekly food shop!
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