Are you looking for ways to save money on groceries without couponing?
Well, you’re in the right place. In this post, I’m going to be sharing my eight very practical tips to save money on groceries.
You may have seen a lot of frugal tips to save money on groceries that have suggested taking a lot of extreme measures, but I’m very practical.
I’m going to share some realistic things that I do to save money on groceries.So if you’re a mom who doesn’t have time for extreme couponing or the space to buy in bulk, keep reading.
I believe that saving money on groceries every month doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are my eight very practical tips to help you save.
1. Only buy what you need
The first thing that you can do to save money on groceries is to only buy what you need.
I grew up in an era of the deep freezer. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, they are freezers that you can use to store large amounts of food.
Growing up, that’s what we did. We would buy massive amounts of food to store in the deep freezer so that we would have it throughout the year.
The problem was that we ended up wasting a lot of food. In fact, a lot of that food got frostbitten and didn’t get eaten.
We would go through the freezer a couple of times a year and take everything out, clean it, sanitize it, and throw out food. So that was a complete waste of money.
As I got older and began living on my own, I lived in apartments and a deep freezer wasn’t even an option. So I really learned how to only buy the things that I needed within that week or two weeks time frame.
Now that we have a home we don’t even have space for a deep freezer so we continued the habit of only purchasing the items that we need for that week and a little bit beyond that.
So if you want to save money and you also want to avoid wasting food, only buy what you need. Don’t get beyond what you need within the week or two weeks time frame. This will help save money on your groceries by not wasting food.
2. Meal plan
In order for you to know exactly what you need to buy, you need to have a plan. So I definitely encourage you to meal plan.
This is something that we absolutely live. We actually have a menu planner that I keep on our refrigerator and every Thursday I will go in and write down the plan for the week.
You can always go to sites like Pinterest to find recipes that can help you plan your meals for the week. Another great idea is to go to websites like HelloFresh or other meal preparation sites to see what their menus are for the week.
You don’t have to buy their meal packages, but you can get an idea of what you can cook and the ingredients that are necessary. From there, you can plan out your meals and therefore plan out your grocery list.
How to Create a Meal Plan
After listing out the meals, I’ll list out the coinciding ingredients in the Reminders app (for iPhone). This app allows you to create lists that you can also share.
My husband and I share a list called Groceries. We can both add and remove items from the list. In fact, as we shop, we simply mark the item as complete on the list so that we know that it’s been picked up.
Each week, we’re able to go into the grocery store knowing exactly what we need to purchase. This helps us maintain our grocery budget—as long as we stick to the list.
3. Meal prep
Once you have a meal plan, the third tip that I recommend is to meal prep.
Meal prepping is when you prepare and store your food in advance of the week. All you have to do is reheat it if necessary, and you don’t have to worry about cooking meals that day that night. Everything is already done for you.
This really helps because you don’t have to think about your meals, you save a lot of time, and you also aren’t going out and spending more money on fast food because your meal isn’t ready. So I definitely encourage you to meal prep so that you can not only save time, but you can save money because you already have your food ready.
With meal prepping, you aren’t wasting more money on buying additional groceries or additional fast food.
it’s just overall a lot healthier for you when you meal prep and you are more conscious about what you are eating and what you’re putting in your body.
So my third tip after you plan your meals is to meal prep. Go ahead and get the food ready so that you save time and then you also save money because you’re not using ingredients or anything else that you don’t need for that meal.
Meal Prepping Tips
When meal prepping, choose a day where you have a few hours to prep and store your meals for the week. This is likely a Saturday morning or Sunday evening.
Though it may cost a bit more, you can purchase prepared meals at your local grocery store. I personally enjoy the precut fruit that I know I’ll eat immediately. Otherwise, you can always purchase frozen or prep it yourself at a lower cost.
This is what my fridge looks like after meal prepping for the week.
MY FAVORITE MEAL PREPPING TOOLS
There are a few things that make meal prepping a lot cleaner and easier. Here are a few tools/products that I recommend for meal prepping.
- Ziplock Bags – These come in handy when you’re portioning out things like snacks or need to store items that will need to be cooked later. I prefer the store brand, but you can choose whatever works for you.
- Glass storage containers – After working with a health coach, I tossed my plastic Tupperware. Not only do they stain and deteriorate easily, but they aren’t good for your health. Glass is a durable option that makes prepping and clean up easy. Here’s the set that I purchased.
- Vegetable spiralizer – I use this tool to spiralize my veggies and it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools that I’d recommend. It literally takes a few minutes and you have homemade hashbrowns, coleslaw, or whatever else your taste buds desire. We received this one as a wedding gift.
- Food processor – Having a food processor is a must-have for chopping up food like salsa or guacamole. It’s also great for dicing things like onions. I recommend this particular one because it can do multiple things—including smoothies.
4. To take advantage of BOGO sales
My fourth tip is to take advantage of BOGO or buy one get one sales.
This is what I use on items that I know I’m going to consume during that week, or items that are non perishable that we want to keep in storage.
Now, I do recommend only buying what you need, but there are some items that you can keep in storage. Things like rice, flour, and pasta are things that don’t necessarily expire. You can keep those on hand. When there are BOGO sales, I like to take advantage of it so that we can always have those non perishable items in the pantry.
I usually also take advantage of this on bagged salads for my weekly lunch prep. When they are BOGO, I’m able to get my lunch for the week for half the price.
Take advantage of BOGO sales where it makes sense. Don’t get excess of things that you don’t need.
The other great thing about BOGO sales is that you don’t have to get both items. A lot of times BOGO sales allow you to get one item for half the price. So if you don’t need multiple of something just get one for 50% off. That’s another way that you can save money on your groceries.
5. Tailor your menu around sales
The fifth tip that you can use is to tailor your menu around sales.
So if you grab the weekly sales newspaper from your local grocery store, or if you go online to see what sales they’re having, you could essentially plan your meal around the sales that are happening.
This is a great way that you can save money on your groceries because you are literally only eating things that are on sale. This goes into the whole meal planning thing, so check out the weekly sales page for your grocery store or go online to see what sales are happening and plan your meals around that.
6. Check your pantry before shopping
My sixth tip is to always check your pantry before you go shopping.
I have gotten bitten by this so many times that now I make it a point to go in the pantry, the refrigerator, and the cabinets before I put it on our grocery list.
Make sure you do an inventory of what you already have so that you aren’t wasting money on things that you already have. See what you already have, what ingredients you already have for your meals that you’ve planned so that you aren’t buying extra food or extra groceries that you don’t need.
7. Eat leftovers
Tip number seven is to make enough food for more than one meal. This is essentially saying eat leftovers.
This is something that we practice in my home. When I make a meal plan, I plan to have at least one of the meals cover two days. For example, if I make spaghetti, I will plan for it to be a two day meal. That way, we can just buy one pack of meat that goes into spaghetti and a box of noodles so that it can last for more than one day.
Doing this which allows you to save more money on groceries and it also saves time. Instead of having to cook a completely new meal, you can just warm up the previous night’s leftovers.
So when you’re thinking about your meal plan and thinking about those things that you could cook, consider some meals that can last more than one day. It literally will not kill you to eat leftovers.
Now, obviously I know some foods aren’t good on the second day, but where you can, find an opportunity to make food items that will last for more than one day. This will save you a little bit more money on your groceries.
8. Use cashback apps
My eighth tip is to use cashback apps.
Now I know you’re wondering how to use cashback apps on groceries. Well, there are apps that allow you to scan your grocery receipt to receive cashback or other rewards, like gift cards.
Once I get the receipt from the grocery store, I literally just scan it into my apps. They look to see what items match whatever promos they have going on with the app and if there is a promo on an item that I purchased, I get cashback for that. In some cases, you’ll even get credit for just scanning your receipt.
In the case of these apps, you’re not necessarily saving up front but ultimately, you are saving money because you’re getting cash back or you’re getting a free gift card or some kind of incentive.
5 Best Apps to save on Groceries
Here are some apps that you can download and use to get cashback on your groceries
This app is most known for its strong grocery store partners. Ibotta partners with over 1,500 stores that you can select from when using the app to make a purchase. They even carry regional grocery stores like Ingles, Bi-Lo, and Food Lion.
You will receive a set amount of cash back for items that have deals within the app. For instance, you may be $1.00 back for purchasing a specific sports drink. Once you scan your receipt, it will identify these matches and credit the cashback to your account.
You can also link the app to your loyalty accounts for different stores. So instead of scanning your receipt, it can track your purchases through those accounts.
The app currently has a $20 threshold to transfer your funds to your PayPal, but you’ll find that it’s not too hard to get to that amount.
Check out this indepth post on how ibotta works to learn how you can start using this app to save.
Fetch Rewards is another app that you can use to earn from your grocery purchases. Although this app doesn’t offer cashback, you can accumulate points to go toward gift cards to places like Amazon and Target.
This is a great way to also save money on gifts. If you accumulate enough points, your can exchange for a gift card that can be used to help save money for Christmas.
Formerly Ebates, Rakuten is another popular cashback app that you can use on groceries. Though it’s grocery partnerships aren’t as vast as Ibotta, it’s still an app worth using. You can receive a percentage of your purchase amount back for orders made through the app.
I’ve personally earned over $500 using this app. Learn how to maximize your earnings on Rakuten in this post.
Much like Ibota, Checkout 51 allows you to upload your purchase receipt to earn cashback on deals. Find deals in the app, add them to your account, and scan your receipts once you’re done shopping. That app will match the deals and give you credit for your purchases.
SavingStar is another app that works like Ibotta. With this app, you will link your store loyalty card. Then, you’ll find deals within the app that apply to items that you plan to shop for. After shopping, you’ll scan your receipt and get cash back.
The great thing is that you can use all of these apps in tandem with each other. That means you can earn cash back from all apps! So each time you shop, don’t forget to scan your receipts within these apps.
9. Purchase store brand
The simplest way to save money on groceries is to ditch the name brand food. Instead, opt for store brand items that cost a fraction of the price.
In many cases, I’ve found that I enjoy the store brand version of items much more, if not as much, as the name brand version. They usually have the same ingredients or are very close.
If it doesn’t make a significant difference in your recipe, go for the store brand and save a few coins.
10. Shop the Farmer’s Market
As a child, I loved going to the farmer’s market with my mom. Although we grew up in the country with fields of fruit and vegetables, it was always nice to find other local items.
If you don’t live in a rural area, there are still opportunities to buy local food. Most cities have a pop-up farmer’s markets that you can find.
Nonetheless, this is a great option for buying food directly from the farm and eliminating the middleman prices.
If you’re adventurous, consider growing some of your own produce. You don’t even have to have a garden to grow food. I was able to save a few bucks by growing my own basil plant and using it in my dishes.
11. Buy Frozen over Fresh
A large portion of wasted money on groceries is food going bad. There’s always that fruit that you didn’t eat in time that’s bringing in flies and wasting your money.
You can avoid wasting food by purchasing frozen foods instead. Though fresh foods are always optimal, frozen is the next best alternative. You can purchase frozen vegetables and even fruit that you can continue freezing until you’re actually ready to consume it.
I recommend frozen over canned foods because it is a much healthier alternative. By reading the labels, you’ll find that canned food contains many chemicals and additives that can be harmful to your health.
Avoid it altogether and get frozen produce which is simply frozen with nothing added.
Final Thoughts on How To Save Money On Groceries Every Month
Those are my eight tips for ways that you can save money on your groceries. It is possible to save without having to do any extreme couponing or bulk purchases.
These are the frugal living tips that I use. It’s nothing that’s out of reach or extreme. I don’t believe any of that. I believe in having practical tips that you can apply to your life that aren’t an inconvenience. So I hope that these tips were useful to you.