Unless you work for Google (or any other company who feeds you day and night), groceries are a natural way of life. With grocery shopping comes the grocery bill. We want to slash your grocery bill! If you aren’t careful or fail to properly plan, you could be spending a lot more than you need to on groceries. More importantly, if you don’t actually eat the food you buy, you could be throwing that money down the drain!
Meal prepping is a highly praised activity. It allows you to plan your meals ahead of time – which makes for a much smoother grocery store trip. Meal prepping also allows you to make your meals ahead of time – which makes for a much smoother week! Meal prepping is a must-do if you want to keep your grocery bill light and down to the bare necessities.
Once you start planning and prepping your meals ahead of time, you’ll be able to shop the grocery store like a pro! The CGS Team is sharing 5 tips to help you slash that grocery bill down and put more money in your pocket.
#1 Eat Less Meat
One of the easiest ways to slash your grocery bill and keep more money in your pocket is to eat less meat. That doesn’t mean you have to cut meat out of your diet completely, but cutting back on the intake will save you money.
Since you are planning and prepping for your meals ahead of time, research recipes that don’t require meat. There are plenty of delicious vegetarian dishes out there to make. We featured a tasty Vegetarian Tikka Masala recipe in the past.
If skimping on the meat isn’t an option for you, buy it in bulk and frozen. Bulk grocery stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and others always have large bags of frozen chicken that can keep you covered for weeks. Frozen chicken tastes just as good as fresh chicken, as long as you are seasoning properly!
#2 Stock Up During Sales
When a good sale at your grocery store comes around, take advantage and stock up! We love this piece of advice of Ruth from Living Well Spending Less: “In order to only ever buy an item at its lowest price, you must buy enough of it while it is on sale to last until it goes on sale again. This is key.
Most items go on sale every 6-8 weeks, which means you need to buy enough to last your family that long. If you buy only a weeks worth, you will be forced to pay more the next time you need it because you didn’t buy enough.”
When ingredients that you consistently use go on sale, make sure you stock up enough to last you until the next sale. You may be wondering how “stocking up” can slash your grocery bill, and that’s a valid thought. Since you are only stocking up during the sales, you are buying more items for less money in the long run.
As your pantry and refrigerator starts to accumulate necessary ingredients, you won’t need to purchase as much on future grocery store visits.
#3 Designate 1 Day a Week for Groceries
This should not be a hard task, especially if you are planning your meals ahead of time. Once you research recipes and think about what you (and your family) will eat throughout the week, make a list and head to the store. If you can get everything you need on that one visit, you know your grocery budget for the week will not be exceeded.
If you tend to break up your grocery store visits to more than one trip a week, you may be spending more money and getting items you don’t need. We’ve all forgotten an ingredient once or twice in our lives and had to head back to the store.
If that happens to you, make sure you only go back for that ingredient. Don’t get sucked into thinking you need more than what you originally intended to buy. Keep your grocery trips limited saves you time and money in the long run.
#4 Shop by the Season
Who doesn’t love fresh fruits and vegetables? If your meals require fresh ingredients, plan your meals around the seasons. Each month features different fruits and vegetables that harvest more than any other month. If you stay up to date on what fruits and vegetables are in season, you can automatically keep your grocery bill low. You were already going to buy these items anyway, so why not buy them when they are at their best price?
Check out the Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables Month-by-Month guide from The Balance and start shopping by the season. You can also give farmer’s markets a try. They are a great way to get the freshest produce. However, certain rules apply! Read our 5 Tips for Hitting the Farmer’s Market for some guidelines to follow.
#5 Join Your Store’s Rewards Program
Nowadays, most grocery stores offer some form of rewards points or cash back offers for frequent shoppers. Savings may come in the form of additional discounts on a variety of foods, accumulated points for every dollar spent which can be used for coupons and discounts, or accumulated savings on gas.
If you aren’t sure what your favorite grocery store offers from a rewards program perspective, don’t be afraid to ask. Taking advantage of additional savings is worth inquiring about!
Related: 8 Ways to Save on Groceries
Since food is a part of our daily lives, it only makes sense to shop strategically! Do you have any tips for saving money at the grocery store? Can you recommend any apps or coupon websites for other CGS readers? Share your tips and tricks by leaving a comment below!