Today I will be talking about smart grocery shopping tips.

Whether you’re budgeting newbie or pro, one of the hardest categories to budget is food. Unlike other fixed expenses (like Sky or cable), you can’t easily compare prices to see if you are spending too much.

Yet it’s a category that obviously can’t be overlooked. Here’s a compilation of hacks and tricks to help reduce your grocery bill and making grocery shopping on a budget easy.



Why would you want to save money on groceries?

For most people, food is the second largest expense every month. You have to have it to live. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on it.

Most people think that you have to buy cheap, processed foods to save money on groceries. But it is quite the opposite. Fresh (even frozen) foods and foods in bulk can save you quite a chunk of change.

The more money you save on groceries (and eating out), the more money you will have to save for other things. Like that big project around the house that’s been waiting to be finished, or a nice family vacation, or you can stash that cash in an investment account and earn money.

Read on for ways to help your wallet and save money on groceries.


Smart grocery shopping tips

These 15 tips for saving money on groceries are subtle and simple changes you can make, which can really add up to big savings over the course of a month.

By implementing these it’s likely that you’ll hardly feel the pinch at all!


Make a grocery list and stick to it

Creating a grocery list is going to be a crucial step in you saving money on food each month. There is nothing worse for your budget than when you walk into a grocery store without a list.

Without the guidance of a grocery list, you might remember everything you needed but, I bet you come out with a bunch of stuff you don’t need.

When you create a list, you can see what you need and avoid the things you don’t. Next time you go grocery shopping, make a list and stick to it. I think you’ll be surprised at how big of a difference it will make.


Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry

I’m guilty of doing this from time to time, and my budget suffers every time I do. It turns out that when you go to the grocery store hungry, everything looks delicious.

You end up buying things you don’t need because your brain tells you it looks good.


Make sure you eat a snack before you go grocery shopping. Your stomach and your budget will thank you after.

If you absolutely have to go shopping while you’re hungry, make sure you have a grocery list and stick to it!


Shop during the sales

One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to shop for grocery items when they are on sale. Buying toiletries during grocery store sales can save you a huge chunk of money.

These items are generally overused at home and can be expensive. Besides, kitchen items like cooking oil, spices, cereals and other things that can be used over a few weeks should be bought on store sales to save you some extra amount.

Always make it a point to prepare a list of grocery items you need before you step out for shopping and use an expense tracker to keep a track of your grocery spending.



Buy in bulk

One budget grocery shopping trick to consider is buying certain items in bulk.

Analyse a few of your recent meal plans. Do you see a few recurring meals that appear often in your meal plan?

Consider purchasing some of the non-perishable items for these meals in bulk. In this way, you can end up saving hundreds of pounds/dollars on your groceries!

Some common items that can be bought in bulk include rice, canned foods such as sardines, vegetables, tuna, etc.

Buying in bulk is perfect because the unit price of each item is way less (sometimes less than half of the usual price!) than if you purchase one or two cans per week.


Also, bulk buy your meat

Personally, I tend to buy meat when I see it reduced in the supermarket but I know others aren’t always able to get there in the evenings when there are bargains to be had.

One of the best ways to stock up on meat for less is using a company like Muscle Foods. Muscle Foods  started out being aimed at those on high protein diet – but the prices are so good that many families have started ordering from them too.

It’s always worth comparing with supermarket prices to make sure you really are getting the best deal, but generally speaking, they have some fantastic deals. Just make sure there’s plenty of room in your freezer!


Use leftover to prepare next meal

Using leftover food can easily save you a lot of time and money. Food that doesn’t make enough servings can easily be reused for your next meal instead of getting wasted.


I sometimes make some extra rice just so I can use it as leftover for my next meal. You can also create new meals out of leftover chicken, bread and boiled rice.

You’ll be surprised to know that leftovers can sometimes provide for an entire meal of yours, if done effectively.

Top tip:

Supercooks is a website that helps you re-create recipes from leftovers.

Just list out the ingredients and let SuperCooks tell you what to cook! Never again will you have to stare at those leftovers in the fridge and wonder what to do with it.



Pay with cash

Avoid carrying your credit cards to the store and pay only with cash. This is what a lot of people call the cash envelope method. This method includes setting money aside in an envelope every month for different spending such as food, gas, clothes, etc. So, you will pay your expenses with the cash that is inside the envelope.

By only spending what is in the envelope for that particular expense such as groceries then, you will stick to your budget and it will force you to save money immediately.

Believe it or not this method works and it would save you a good amount of money. This is because you don’t have another except paying with cash rather than credit cards.

Related post:

Want to find out more about the cash envelope system? Then see our post below:



Cashback sites

Cashback sites are way of earning money while you spend money on shopping.

Some good sites are Topcashback, Quidco and Boom25.

The cashback site will earn a percentage for referring you to the retailer through their website, and you take a cut of the profits.

It’s an easy way to earn some extra money while making a purchase you were planning to make anyway.

Here’s my posts with all the details of exactly how Quidco, Topcashback and BOOM25 work.


Buy seasonal produce

Seasonal produce is cheaper than produce that is out of season period. This is because most of the time seasonal produce is grown locally and they are in abundance.


Besides, the cost of shipping for seasonal produce is not as much as the produce that is out of season. So, when you see a sale on seasonal produce buy it and use it in your meals.

If you still have some produce that is not being used you can always preserve, freeze, and use it for later in other meals. This would be a great advantage and serious savings on your grocery bill.


Try generic brands

Usually, generic brands are cheaper compared to products with a well-known name. You can save money on your groceries by just buying the store generic brand.

Sometimes, you will find generic brands 20% to 30 % cheaper compared to name-brand products. For instance, Costco sells their signature store brand products for around 20% less than other brands.

Try to check out the product’s label and you will notice that most of the time the ingredients are the same and even better with less amount of chemicals! I’ve been using Aldi’s own products for a while, and they’re amazing and very cheap too!


Plastic grocery bags

Instead of wasting money when we go grocery shopping, we decided to purchase reusable shopping bags that we now bring with us when we go shopping.

These reusable shopping bags aren’t only good for saving money at the grocery store, they’re also great to just have at home.

If you’re going away, you can use them to pack clothes, toiletries, games, and snacks in as well. The reusable shopping bags I use have many more purposes than simply being used at the grocery store, so you can bet they have more than paid for themselves many times over.


Use vouchers and deals

Honey is a great website for finding vouchers from thousands of retailers online.

I have saved money when making purchases on clothes through Honey on several occasions.

Also, Latest Deals is great website for bargains and deals.

While saving money you also earn points though the above sites, which can them be redeemed into a giftcard of your choice.

These sites are no brainer!



Stick to real processed food

Avoid the meals with pre-packaged pasta, sauce and spices just add a pound of meat. It really doesn’t take any longer to open a bag of pasta, a can of tomatoes or spaghetti sauce, chop an onion and some garlic while the meat is browning.

You save money and the environment by avoiding all that packaging. Stick as much as possible to things your great-grandmother would recognize and if you read the ingredients and it sounds like a chemical it probably is.

Pass on the chemicals and get something closer to real food saving money and eating healthier.


Get to know the markdown schedule

Take some time to talk to the employees! They will let you know when meat will be marked down.

You can get a heads up for the best time to raid the clearance rack for produce! I know that at my local store Wednesdays at 5pm is when they mark down meat.


Reduce your number of shopping trips.

One of the best things you can do to save money on groceries is to shop less oftenThe less often you’re in the store, the less often you’re tempted to buy more than you intended.

And the best way to do that is to start planning your meals and to shop for what you can online (more on that below).



Smart grocery shopping tips – Final thought

Budgeting your food and grocery expenses doesn’t have to be really hard and complicated as long as you know what options are available to you. You can keep your expenses to a minimum & keep more money when you try the options mentioned above.

Let me know what you think. What options have you already tried or willing to try? Which of these do you think will help you keep more?

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