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.

Use the Ibotta app. After you finish grocery shopping, you scan your receipt and your groceries to get instant rebates and cash back. Click here to get $10 in cash when you sign up!

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:)

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What are some of your grocery shopping tips?