Read through tips on how to save money grocery shopping and learn how I spend $100 a week for my family of six. Also check out my shopping list printable at the bottom of the post.
Before blogging, I used to coupon. I also grew up on the lower end of the middle-class shopping at thrift stores and eating dried banana chips. So both these experiences combined have to lead to the mentality of frugal grocery shopping. And because of this I consistently spend around $100 for our meals for the week. This sometimes includes eating out. But one of my tricks is our family doesn’t eat out much. My husband packs his lunches and I eat leftovers often. I’ve included how our family does this with some tips below even without using coupons. That being said I’ve included a small section of the post to couponing for those interested.
These tips take a little time such as meal planning, but overall not much. I work part time, have loads of kids, and don’t have time for lots of prep. I do, however, want to say that sometimes some of these tips are not realistic for every family, especially if you eat organic or have special meal restrictions. And even if you spend more than me, just adding a few tips can help cut down your existing budget. Don’t stress, start small. Really this post isn’t about spending $100 on groceries, but how to save a little money where you can if you want to.
Read through below an example of a meal plan for a week along with tips and tricks that can help you save money while grocery shopping and enjoy the process a little more. you can also print off my shopping list printout below.
Grocery Shopping Tips
- Meal plan so you know exactly what you will need for the week. This is huge for me and makes a big difference and saves me time so I only have to shop once a week.
- Use ingredients you already have, especially items that need to be used such as produce. When you meal plan be sure to look in your fridge and pantry and see what you already have. Using up ingredients you have already will help you save money.
- Buy from your list. And try really hard to stick to it. If you struggle with this several grocery stores including Walmart, Smiths, and Macey’s lets you order your groceries online so you won’t even have to step inside the store.
- Pay attention to price tags. Shop off-brands or items on sale. This does not mean you should buy everything that is on sale. Remember stick to your list. The only exception to this tip is if you find another meal on sale that would cost less than a meal you had planned and do not already have ingredients for.
- Shop when you have energy. Shopping is draining. If you go when you’re exhausted you’re more likely to take longer, hate shopping, and impulse buy.
- Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Just like #5, if you go when hungry your changes of impulse buying go way up! Which means you’ll suddenly buy 10 more items you hadn’t plan.
- Sales are not always the best deal. Just because an ad or price tag says sale doesn’t mean it is the best deal. Often the “Buy 10” or “Case Lot” sales are not great deals. They are usually ok deals or pretty average. So don’t feel you are missing on great deals when these come around.
- Plan leftover night or eat for lunches. Use up leftovers! I know it doesn’t always taste the same. But it helps not waste food and save money. Plus it gives you a break one night from cooking.
- Buy less convenience food. One example is shredding your own cheese. Cut your own apples and put in Ziploc bags. Make your own lemonade with a drink mix.
- Consider freezer meals. I have friends who make freezer meals once a week or longer and this saves them time in the long run by prepping all their meals one day. This also can help make sure on nights when you don’t feel like cooking you have a backup meal.
- Have a backup quick meal. This goes with #10. Some nights you might have something come up, need a quick meal, or just plain not feel like cooking. To save money have a simple meal as a backup. This usually includes a pan of lasagna, Paninis, or soup and bread.
- Buy self serve items. At many grocery stores you can buy your nuts, sweets, cereal, dried fruits, and grains at a self serve area. Not always, but often these items can be less expensive then if you buy them off the shelf. Some stores that do this in Utah are Smiths and Winco.
- Buy produce in season. Most of the time produce in season will be at it’s best price. This is because it is more available then so the price lowers. Makes sense, right? So we usually don’t eat berries unless its summer. And if we really want them we will usually buy them frozen.
- Have simple meals occasionally. Every night doesn’t have to be a big meal, especially if you are trying to keep it budget friendly. This means some nights we have soup and bread with canned fruit.
- Use a calculator to make sure you are getting the best deal. The best way to know if you’re getting a great deal is to calculate it! Especially if different brands sell in different sizes you can look at the price tag or due some simple math.
- Buy larger quantities if you can. Bulk is sometimes cheaper. This is not always true to use #15 and make sure for the size you’re getting the best deal.
- Order groceries. Like I mentioned in #1, if you hate grocery shopping, have lots of kids, are an impulse buyer, ordering groceries can be amazing! I personally do it and love it! Some of the perks are
How to Use Couponing
There are different ways to coupon. The most common in my experience is pairing sale items with coupons. Where do you get coupons? You can get them in your newspaper, mailers, or online such as through redplum.com or coupons.com. And you will want to either follow blogs to let you know about local deals at your grocery store or the maake sure to get ads from the newspaper.
One really good tip for couponing and general grocery shopping is to only buy things you will use. Just because its a good deal, doesn’t mean you should buy it. If you have lots of time and want to get into a hobby couponing may be right for you. It does take time to do it. But if you do it correctly you will save money and occasionally get some free stuff! You can read through a beginners guide to couponing here. Also I would highly recommend following some couponing blogs. Here is a list to some of my favorites:
Free Printable Meal Planner
- Click the file you would like to print.
- Once the larger version has opened, right-click the image.
- Click the “save file” option.
- Open the file on your computer under the file you saved it as, and click”print”.
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