If you’re looking for ways to save money on groceries, look no further. These tips will help you slash your grocery budget without making any big changes. So whether you have a large family or are just trying to watch your spending, these tips will help.
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Being a stay-at-home mom has not always offered me a way of contributing to our family finances. However, I discovered early on that I could make a huge impact on our finances by saving money, even if I didn’t earn any. Of the major budget categories, groceries is the largest category that we can control. I discovered years ago that saving money on groceries is one of the largest ways I can impact my family budget.
7 Ways to Save BIG Money on Groceries
Shop Your Pantry
How does the pantry get full of random items? How do we have bits and pieces of recipes but not all of the ingredients for a full recipe? Who knows?! It just happens, or at least it does at my house. When the pantry is full, that is where my shopping begins. I keep a pantry inventory (download a free printable pantry inventory sheet at the bottom of this post), that tells me what items I have on hand, and I begin building my menu plan based on those items. Having a few of the ingredients for each meal, saves money.
Everyone know that meatless meals usually cost less. Planning one to two meatless meals each week can significantly reduce your grocery budget. If you can keep those meals simple, like my Southern Pinto Beans, then you eat really inexpensively one night, save the leftovers in large airtight container or storage bag, and turn them into our Family Favorite Chili the next night. Visit my Recipes Page for more meatless meals your family will love.
Our entire monthly budget, not just the grocery portion is usually blown completely when I don’t have a plan for dinner. We typically end up ordering pizza at the last minute. However, when I have a list of easy to prepare, “go-to meals” that everyone one will eat, and I keep the ingredients for those stocked in the pantry, the midweek pizza crisis is usually avoided. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Hot Bean and Cheese Dip with tortilla chips.
- Black Beans and Rice Wrap Filling
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
Let me confess early; this is the method I struggle with most. It is so easy to just “drop by the store” and pick up just one thing. That never really happens. I cannot recall a single time I went to the grocery store and came out with only one item. That said, I try to shop bi weekly.
Yes, there are things to consider, like fresh produce and milk. Those are the reasons I have never been able to accomplish shopping only once a month. However, I have made bi-weekly work with just a few minor adjustments.
Another service that has kept me out of the grocery stores is the order pick up service provided by WalMart and Kroger. I often submit my order online then ask my husband to stop by and pick it up, or I pick it up myself between stops for our children. Either way, if we don’t have to go in the store, we cannot make any impulse purchases.
Keep a Price Book
A price book is simply a list of all of the typical items on your grocery list and the price of each item at each store where you typically shop. A price book can prevent “purchase paralysis” when you see a sale. You can easily check the price of an item across the various stores to see if you are really getting a good deal.
Negotiate with Your Family
Our families preferences play a large role in our grocery shopping habits. Getting them on board for saving money by convincing them to eat meatless once or twice a week or pack lunches can save not only money, but our sanity as a mom.
When you are negotiating with your family to decrease your grocery budget, try these tactics:
- Explain what you are trying to do and how much groceries cost.
- Demonstrate how much money can be saved by eating one meatless meal.
- Give a cost comparison between a fast food meal, a restaurant meal, and a home cooked meal.
- Show how the money saved on one meal can add up over a year or a month.
Planning your family menu ahead for the week or even two weeks will probably be the most impactful thing you can do to decrease your grocery budget. Knowing what you will eat each day before you go to the grocery store allows you to purchase only what you need, it decreases your trips to the store, and it allow you to shop your pantry.
Once a Month Cooking
Cooking ahead eliminates much of the time consuming work that cooking from scratch takes on a daily basis. I have been once a month cooking (or actually once every six weeks) for over ten years now, and it has saved me more time and money than I can count.