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How to save money on groceries (I saved $400 a month on my grocery bill!)

When our family made the decision to strive to be debt-free we immediately started trying to save money. Once we started looking at our budget we realized learning how to save money on groceries was SO importation.

We were spending $800 a month on food from the grocery. This didn’t even count eating out. When I saw that number I was mortified.

I had no idea that we were spending that much. We just bought whatever we wanted, sometimes made dinner, sometimes didn’t. Then we had an insane amount of waste as well.

From there I tackled our problems head on and was able to get our monthly grocery budget down to $400 a month.

That’s right. In ONE month I cut our grocery shopping budget in HALF. So how did this become a reality?

Set a grocery budget

So setting a grocery budget can be difficult if you are not even sure how much you are spending now. It can be even more difficult if you don’t have a budget!

So if you don’t know/have either of these things, check this post out here on how to make a budget.

Once you do know those two things you need to decide what an acceptable number for a grocery budget would be to you. Once you set that divide by the number of weeks in a month and just know that is your top spending number each week.

Meal planning (say it louder for the people in the back!)

You might already know this, but meal planning can save you a RIDICULOUS amount of money each week. Literally this one thing can revolutionize your grocery budget.

Only buying exactly what you are going to use each week and not having any random impulse buys can really change things.

You can find my full post on how to meal plan here.

But here is a quick rundown:

  • Decide how many meals you will be cooking this week.
  • Add only the ingredients you need to your list, plus snacks, breakfasts, lunches.
  • Decide which meal you are going to eat which day
  • Only buy these things at the grocery

Yeah that last one is probably the hardest for me personally.

If you want all the details on exactly how to meal plan and save a ton of money on food you can check out my class Food Budget Overhaul here.

Find all my frugal weekly meal plans here.

Stop being brand loyal (to a point)

Being brand loyal is nature for most of us. Mom always bought Jif peanut butter so of course, I am going to buy that one too. But here is the thing, most things taste just about the same if you get the generic or find another brand on sale.

Now some things you may not be able to budge on. But a generic can of veggies will easily save you $.50 per can if you just buy a different brand!

Decide which things you can change up, and which things that are just too good too pass up for you.

Watch for sales and coupons

Once upon a time I did extreme couponing. I got many things for free, or even got paid to take them out of the store. The things that I got those kinds of deals on were few and far between.

In my opinion couponing that hard is not worth your time. SO what is worth your time?

Checking the sales papers each week (before you meal plan) and checking for corresponding digital or printable coupons you can find.

Those two things are the only money-saving things I actually do. Otherwise, it’s just a strategy game.

Shopping at multiple stores OR finding one store that rocks

So you can go with either way here but you need to be able to follow some guidlines to make them successful.

If you want to shop at multiple stores you have to know exactly what you are getting at each. You need to know where has the cheapest what. THEN you have to have the strength to only get those things and get the heck outta there.

Being in grocery stores for longer amounts of time will lead to temptation. You can see prime examples of that buy the amount of Oreos that I pick up if I go down that aisle.

On the flip side if you want to go to one store it needs to be a killer discount store. So I actually usually only shop at Aldi because it is cheaper on just about everything that you want to buy.

Find a store in your area that just consistently has better deals than the others and stick with it. But make sure to keep an eye out to see if the competition starts beating them out on prices.

Eat less meat

This may be a hard one for some people. But we only buy one meat per week typically. Usually it’s chicken or ground turkey.

Chicken breasts are super cheap and they will go a very long way if you use them right. Ground turkey is cheaper than beef!

The only time I buy other meat is if it goes on sale cheaper than chicken.

We eat a lot of beans and lentils instead of your traditional meat dishes and they are straight up delicious and healthy!

Do no spend weeks

So this might sound daunting but usually about once a month I realize that I have a decent amount of things in the pantry because life has happened and I haven’t followed my meal plans to a T.

This is when I do what I call a no spend week. I make whatever meal plan out of what I have at home and just make it work.

Sometimes I do have to go get a few things from the store because I’m not letting us go without proper nutrition. But the grocery bills on these weeks are usually SUPER low. I’m talking like $20 or less.

This forces you to clean out your pantry and actually eat that food that is left over.

Stock up when you can

After you’ve set your budget and you start getting into the groove of saving money grocery shopping you can try to start stocking up on certain things when they go on sale by a decent amount.

The only caveat here is make sure you aren’t going to overspend by stocking up on these items!

Here are some examples of things I’ve stocked up on in this past:

  • Ham was on sale for $0.89 a pound, so I bought two and froze one!
  • Gluten free pasta was on clearance for $0.49 instead of $2, I grabbed ten.
  • Powdered drink mixture was on sale for $1.50, usually $3, I bought four.

I usually save stocking up for things that are on a deep discount that I know wont be on sale like that again any time soon.

Watch for clearance prices

When you go to the grocery it will almost always have a place that has all the stores clearance items. Things like meat and cold items will be in the same container as they usually are.

ONLY buy clearance items if you are planning on using them. Do not buy them as a just in case.

It’s the equivalent of buying a top for just $5 then letting it sit with the tag on it for months. Yeah, you know I’ve been there.

Meat is something that I will buy on clearance often to fix the same night.

Shopping for groceries on a budget and actually SAVING money on grocery is something you can absolutely do.

Are you ready to jump into saving more money on your groceries? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

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How I grocery shop on a budget! These money saving tips will help you save money at the grocery and cut down on the cost of food overall!