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My reasons for saving money on groceries have changed over the years. At first in our early years of marriage I wanted to spend as little as possible so that we could use what I saved to pay down debts. Now with our debts paid, we can spend a bit more but I still set a realistic budget that fits within our means.
I have also learned so much about good nutrition since my mom’s battle with cancer that took her life several years ago, that my goal is now to squeeze in as many whole foods as possible as well as buying the dirty dozen organic and much of our dairy products. Still no matter what your grocery budget goal is these 10 thrifty ways people save money on groceries can help you reach it.
Here are 10 Ways I keep our grocery budget low
1. I plan a simple menu
How does menu planning save you money? It makes aware of what you already have on hand so that you don’t go out and buy more than you need. It helps you eat out less since you have a weeks worth of dinner ideas at your finger tips and all the ingredients to make them.
Menu planning can seem like a drag to most people. I know it did me until I set a timer one week and figured out that it takes me under 10 minutes to go through what sales bought items I already have on hand and figure out what meals I could make with them and what ingredients I will need to buy to round out the meals.
2. I use my bread machine
Currently I don’t make our bread (see a tip further on as to why) but I still use my bread machine as often as a few times a week baking up dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, pretzel bits, pizza dough, bread sticks and more.
3. I use free sources of coupons
There are coupons out there available for whole and organic foods. My biggest source for them in my town is my Mperks membership for Meijer . Each week I load up my account with coupons for items on my list. Another source is to Google you favorite grocery products and see if they have websites that may contain printable coupons. There are a few good coupon apps out there too (I don’t have a smartphone so I cannot use these).
Update I have discovered since writing this that you can access most coupon apps using a tablet and I do also own a smartphone now. Here are the apps I have found that include deals for every day items like bread, milk, eggs and such….
- Berry Cart (organic & gluten free foods)
- Checkout 51
- Shopkick (a way to earn money as you shop)
- Receipt Hog
- Yaarlo (use code VICTORIA424 to earn a bonus when you sign up for Yaarlo
4. Junk mail
You could be surprised what you could find in that stack of flyers in your mail box. A few months ago I found a $5 off $25 purchase coupon for Aldi in a stack of what just looked like trash offers. I have also found high value toothpaste coupons which combined with sales has led to free toothpaste.
5. Discount bread store
About a year ago I discovered a discount bread store that stocks the 100% whole grain bread my family eats for significantly less than the stores carry it for and even less than I can bake it for so we made the switch. The store is a bit of a drive for us but it is in a city that we visit a few times a year for various events so when we go we buy 2 to 3 months worth and fill our freezer.
6. Foaming soap dispenser
We include all our personal products as well as household cleaners in our grocery budget. One way I have found to cut down our soap consumption is foaming soap dispensers for our hand soap, dish soap and body wash. I estimate this trick saves us over $300 a year. ( I don’t recommend it for shampoo, I tried and it just did not clean as well)
7. Marked down meat
We don’t eat a lot of meat but when we do it is normally bought from the markdown section. This saves our family and additional 20% off. Sale meat goes into the markdown pile more often than people would think making the prices very low.
8. keep a price book
My price book comes out of the wood work about once a year as I do an annual check up to see if I can beat my current best price for items. The price book helps me find where to find the best price on items that don’t normally go on sale, as well as what is a good sale, and what items are cheaper at the warehouse store.
I find if I spend about 30 minutes each week for a month updating it, I am good to go for another year. Ideally for maximum savings I would carry it and update it all year, but that has yet to happen.
9. Shop more than just the grocery store or warehouse store
I find deals on groceries that can’t be beat by my grocery store at Big Lots all the time. I especially love their 20% off nights for buzz club members as well as the special $5 off $15 purchase coupons the send members in the mail now and again. These make the deals go from good to amazing.
I have friends in other towns that rave about their local scratch and dent grocery stores, or their dollar store food finds. Every town differs as to what deals are available the key is to get out there and look around.
10. Switch to homemade cleaners
Vinegar and baking soda make up the bulk of the homemade cleaner recipes you can find on Pinterest (follow my Homemade Cleaning Products board if you want some ideas). These cleaners cost just pennies and work as well as the commercial brands.
Want more great tips on how to cut the cost of your grocery bill? Check out my favorite book on how to save money on groceries without relying heavily on coupons.
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