Grocery shopping is a necessary expense. I used to go grocery shopping a few times a week after work and was spending too much money! Each trip to the grocery store would always cost more than I initially planned on spending.
For the past couple months I have made a conscious effort to reduce my trips to the grocery store to once a week. This has forced me to plan my grocery trips better and be shop smarter. This was really difficult for me as the grocery store is only a block from my apartment and it is so easy to stop in and grab something.
By reducing my weekly grocery shopping trips to once a week, I can't even begin to tell you how much money I am saving! I used to walk into the grocery store to buy 1 or 2 items, but would also walk out with a snack, dog treats and a bottle of wine 😉
Here are tips to save money on groceries
Look at the flyer for your local grocery stores – I do this online once a week. I typically check out 2 flyers plus the monthly flyer from Trader Joes. It helps me create a list and brainstorm for items to buy.
Make a price list – I do this in my head, but you can easily write down product prices in a journal or notepad. I have running numbers in my head of how much items should typically cost and can spot when something has gone down in price. I never buy when the price is high. Awesome right?!
Buy in bulk when the price is right – This is similar to making a price list. When I see a favorite product of mine go on sale (I'm looking at you Annie's Mac and Cheese) I will purchase a few at a time. I know it will take about a month or so for the items to rotate on sale again and I'd rather have a couple extra in my pantry. Which ironically leads to my next tip –
Eat all your groceries and don't stockpile like crazy – Maybe because I cook for one most of the time, but my fridge normally looks half empty and my cabinets are not full. Of course I have a few extra items in the pantry that roll over each week, but there is no way I could survive on a month or two of groceries from my freezer or pantry. I feel like this is debatable and can see both sides on this one. What do you do?
Shop in the discounted section – there is small section in the meat section of my grocery store that slashes prices on food the is set to expire in the next couple days. I am always shocked how many people are checking this section out! I have seen prices slashed up to 50% off the regular price.
Sign up for the rewards card – Since moving to Seattle, the local grocery stores all have free rewards cards to save money on groceries. Then I signed up on the grocery store's website to view my rewards card. Now I get store coupons in the mail from time to time, such as $5 off $20 grocery purchase as well as other loyalty coupons.
Sign up for digital coupons through Just 4 U and similar websites. It takes me about 5 minutes to go through all the coupons and click on coupons to add to my rewards cards. These digital coupons save me an additional 20% off the store price and are not normally advertised in the store.
Now, before I started doing this, I was that person who never bought anything that offered a coupon. But some of these coupons are great and are for all parts of the grocery store, including household and personal items, not just the pre-processed junk food.
Check out food blogs and recipe websites for ideas. I am a minimal cook, so I like to look for simple meals. I can't handle a ton of ingredients, nor do I want to have to buy every herb and spice at the store- this gets so expensive.
Get out the crockpot to save money and make multiple meals at once. I love the crockpot because it is super easy and effortless. I've made chili, soups, pot roast & tons more in the crockpot. It is easy to buy a handful of inexpensive items at the grocery store and have meals for days!
Shop with a budget in mind – I go into the grocery store with a limit on what I am spending. I am so focused on my grocery list that I now list the anticipated price next to the item I plan on purchasing! If I am purchasing something like meat or fish, I will give myself a maximum limit for the item so I don't blow my budget. I can pretty much add up my grocery list and know what the total will be once I get to the checkout lane. I am so weird!
Related post: My $50 Grocery Budget
Look for Friday Deals – a couple of my local grocery stores have amazing Friday deals each week. I occasionally like to scoop up a freshly made Rotisserie Chicken that is always $5 on Fridays. I will shred the entire chicken and put it to use in various meals, including giving the dark meat to my dogs as a food topper in their meals:)
What are some of your grocery shopping tips?