5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Did you know that food costs represent the third largest expense of a household’s monthly budget. The average monthly food cost at home for a family of 4 per week for families with kids under 5 is $204, and for families of four with kids 6 and over is $244 per week, or $12,688 a year. There are some simple ways to reduce this expense and pay less for groceries every year. Follow these tips and you will see your grocery bills decline over time.
If it comes in a box, can or bag, never pay full price for the item at the grocery store
- All packaged products in the grocery store go on sale at least once in a six to eight week sale cycle. Be sure to shop the sales and stock up when prices are at their all time low. You will need to learn and remember pricing to know if it’s a good deal, or use the uGrocery app to see how the sale price compares across your local stores. Use the sale flyers and grocery store digital apps with the digital flyers to see all the advertised sales.
Make a list and plan your meals around your list and sale items
- I’m always amazed at shoppers who randomly walk around the grocery store without a list, adding items to their cart because they look good on the shelf. If you spend 5 minutes creating a grocery list based on sales at your local stores, you will easily save 20-30% on groceries every week. Also, spend another 5 minutes to plan your meals for the week based on the sale items you plan to buy. I don’t actually plan breakfast and lunch as that is mostly the same for us everyday, but I do take the time to jot down five dinners I plan to make based on meat and produce sales at my local store. These 10 minutes are the most valuable time you can spend each week to save money on groceries. Rather than browsing through cookbooks and magazines for recipes you want to make tonight based on the photos, save the recipes until the meat and produce ingredients are on sale.
Use coupons and stock up when items are 40-50% off the base price
- Coupons are really easy to use and the savings can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. Coupons are free money issued by manufacturers to get you to buy their products. Coupons can be clipped from the Sunday newspaper, printed from the internet, or downloaded to the grocery store digital apps. Either way you choose to coupon, make to sure to spend 5 minutes a week to print, load or clip your coupons and use them when you shop.
- If you use coupons on top of sale prices, you are maximizing your total savings potential. When you see that you are saving more than 60% on an item with a sale and coupon, be sure to stock up on that item because it will be six to eight weeks before you will see that super low price again. If your store doubles manufacturer coupons, be sure to take advantage of that because that is again free money.
- See how I saved 73% on Honey Nut Cheerios with a sale and coupon deal here.
Keep your pantry and freezer stocked with great deals and shop your pantry weekly
- When pasta goes on sale for under $1.00, don’t just buy one box of pasta, buy 6 boxes. Think about how many times you will make pasta over the next six weeks and buy that many boxes to get you through the sale cycle when the price will be low again. Pasta, canned foods, rice and other pantry staples don’t expire. I am not recommending you hoard food, simply that you buy enough so that you never have to pay full price for anything.
- Meat and seafood freezes really well, so when you see a beef roast for $3.99 or less, pick up a couple and throw them in the freezer. Then, once a week make a meal entirely from your pantry and freezer. This will save you time, save you trips to the store and save you money because you won’t be paying full price for that roast when it’s not on sale, you’ll use the one from the freezer.
Compare Prices and Shop Around
- To maximize your grocery savings, you may have to switch stores once and a while. Always shop at the store that has the lowest total prices for your personal shopping list. How? Use the uGrocery app to create your shopping list based on advertised and unadvertised sales, compare prices, and use the Find Lowest Bill feature to see the winning store based on the total estimated bill of your list. If you shop the store that has the most sales and lowest total estimated bill for your list, you will save hundreds of dollars a year. You can also discover coupons you can stack on top of sales for additional savings in the app.
- Prices vary week to week across the stores, so this is the ONLY way to know the best prices and the best place to shop.
If you save just $10 a week on groceries by using these methods, that translates to $500 of real money saved in one year.