Everything is expensive these days! Unless you are one of the lucky few for whom money is no object, it’s always nice to save a buck here and there. One place you can do that is at the grocery story. With a little bit of strategy, patience, and a willingness to shop differently, you can save a bundle.
Sometimes you just got to spend money. We always focus on getting the best bang for our buck. Our mindful shopping habits help us to afford our homestead lifestyle so it is quite an important part of our overall strategy. I love sharing what we’ve learned. This article covers eight effective ways to save money on groceries but if you are looking for even more ideas on how to save money you’ll find even more tips and tricks in, How to Stock a Pantry like a Pro and Save Money on Food With These 14 Tips and How To Create A Household Budget, Templates Included.
Have a look at the following tips that can help you shave some dollars off of your grocery bills.
Do big shops, not little ones
Many people go to the store on a weekly basis: some, more than once a week. This is not a good idea. You should try and get in the habit of doing one large shop per month, or even less. If you have to grab bread and milk, that’s one thing. But running to the store all the time builds bad habits. You will never build a good pantry nor achieve savings if you are constantly running to the store. Try and do one big shop per month.
This will encourage you to work with the ingredients that you have and you’ll soon become more adept at making meals from what you have on hand. This approach as the added benefit of saving you time, energy and even gas money.
Buy what’s on sale
A lot of people go to the store and buy everything they need (or want). Smart shoppers do not do this: they go and they buy whatever is on sale, in quantity, if need be. That’s not to say that you only buy things that are on sale, but if you base the bulk of your shop around items that cost less than normal, you’re setting yourself up for savings.
I’ve found myself trying new ingredients and exploring new flavours because I am looking at pricing and quality of ingredients and not just sticking to the stuff I always buy.
Amazingly, there are many products we can order and have shipped to our door for less money than we can drive to the store for. When you add in our time, fuel and other factors often it can save you money to order on-line. Don’t think that the sale price at the store is necessarily the best you can do. Often, whole new worlds of savings are available on-line, if you are willing to look.
Amazon has some great grocery offers that we’ve managed to save quite a bit with. If you can spare and evening to browse through their options you might be pleasantly surprise to see how much you can save. Plus, there’s no need to warm up the vehicle and start running around town. You can do it in your pyjamas.
Amazon Fresh is a program where you can skip the check out line completely and get fresh groceries delivered right to your door (US only). They’ve got loads of coupons, one click re-order and even a local market selling exclusive items from your region. Frankly I wish they offered this here in Canada because I might never have to leave the homestead! At the time of writing this they are offering a free one month trial, after that the monthly subscription is $14.99
In Canada you’ll still find great grocery deals on Amazon and we often take advantage of them. They offer a subscribe and save program where you can save 5% to 15% on eligible purchases plus you get free shipping. You’ll also occasional see an item with a little flag beside it called “add on item”. These items are deeply discounted bonuses that you can add to your shopping cart if you spend over $25 In addition there are also loads of extra subscribe and save coupons for even deeper discounts.
Eat before you go to the store
You’ve probably heard this wisdom before, but it bears repeating. Don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Better yet, go just after having a mini feast! This way, you will not be tempted to buy things that your body is telling you “boy that would taste good, right now!’
Check out the bulk stores
We have a Costco about an hour away from us. They specialize in large quantity items. The trick of course is to never waste what you buy. Although this is impractical for some things, for others, it makes a tonne of sense. The general strategy is to buy large quantities of goods your use regularly. You probably don’t want a hundred pounds of pickles, but salt? Pepper? Flour? Sugar? All of these things can be bought in bulk, and at great savings, if you are willing to deal with the large size. This is often not hard. Large packages can be broken down into small ones. Perishables can be canned. There are many ways to cope with the over-sized products.
Make sure you only buy certain things this way. You can waste a lot of money buying loads of products you don’t end up using, or that go bad because you did not store them properly.
Obviously, you can save a lot of money if you collect coupons. Some people take this to extreme levels, and I have seen reports of people actually being paid to get groceries! That’s at the extreme level, of course, but it gives you an idea of just how radical your savings can be, if you are diligent with coupon use. These days you can use your cell phone for cashing in on coupons so it’s become ultra convenient.
Learn to use poorer cuts of meat
Meat is expensive and can often drive up the grocery bill really quickly. A little bit of skill can go a long way here. Rather than buy the tender pieces of meat, buy the tough old ones, and prepare them properly! If you know how to get the best out of the cheaper cuts, you can eat as well or better as with the prime cuts, for half the prices. Flank steak or chicken thighs, for example, take a backseat to a t-bone and breast right up until you eat a properly prepared flank stead, or chicken thigh. At that point, you might wonder “what was I thinking!?”, as these cheaper cuts are more flavourful, and in expert hands, deliver better results than the more expensive cuts.
Use reward cards
I run all of our purchases through one credit card, on which we get aeroplan points. We have not paid much for travel in decades. If you are not receiving a similar benefit from a credit card, you should! It’s one more way to squeeze some value out of the money you spend (and if you travel, it can save you a pile of money.) If travel is not your thing, there are other cards with other reward such as cash back. Find one, and use it! Just remember to be strict with it and clear your balance every month, or all your savings will get eaten up with interest payments!
There are also various other loyalty rewards cards where you can earn even more rewards. Be sure to look into those programs and check our their websites because some of them have extra offers that the stores don’t advertise.
Saving money at the grocery store is not that hard. It requires patience, flexibility, and a strategic approach. I’d much rather take the time to strategically shop and keep that extra money in our bank account. If you’re willing to expend a little thought and a little energy, you’ll save yourself a pile, and probably have fun doing it. There’s a sense in pride in being able to talk about how much less you’ve spent that month.