For most ordinary folks like you and me, we buy most of our stuff at supermarkets.
But the thing is you may not be getting your best deals at supermarkets. These places give you the convenience of a one-stop shop, but can cost you more in grocery bills!
Let’s take a look at what we can do to cut our grocery bills in half or at least make it much more affordable. This will of course be a boon to your finances – you’ll save more money and reach your financial goals sooner.
#1. Fruits and vegs
Did you know that buying fresh produce from a supermarket may not always be the best move?
Unless they’re heavily discounted, the usual prices at supermarkets are not among the lowest.
Unless you frequent Aldi or farmers’ markets – these places have lower prices on fruits and vegetables.
On the whole, Aldi has the best prices on groceries. So, even if you need to drive farther to an Aldi store, you’re likely to find that what you pay more for in gas money is more than offset by the big savings when shopping at Aldi.
By the way, just to keep the record straight, I’m not at all paid by Aldi to say good things about them 🙂
#2. Be Brave
If you find that you’ve exceeded your budget at the checkout, don’t feel embarrassed to put something or lots of things back, even if the checkout operator has already scanned it.
Ask to have the less important items taken off.
Not overspending is more important than saving face!
Most people are more concerned about their own matters and therefore are unlikely to notice or bother about your reducing the items you buy!
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#3. Use a crock pot
Buy cheaper cuts of meat. Use a cost-effective crock pot and serve yummy food – cheaper and tougher cuts of meat often get nicely soft after spending 6 to 8 hours of slow cooking. We have two crock pots! A medium one and a large one. They’ve saved us so much time, money and effort in the long run!
#4. Look for Cheaper Alternatives
Remember to check the prices of similar items in different parts of the supermarket.
You may be paying more for items that are on special displays – usually at strategic corners of aisles and/or at convenient eye level. Don’t pay more. Opt for other brands that are of similar quality, but cost a lot cheaper.
#5. Special Shopping Days
You can also try to do your shopping on special promotion days.
During certain days of the week, my supermarket has more discounted groceries. So I time my visits to coincide with Wacky Wednesdays, Thrifty Thursdays, or Frugal Fridays.
I’m prepared to put up with minor inconveniences like congestion in the car parks, as throngs of shoppers descend on the supermarket on special sale days.
#6. Use a pressure cooker
This appliance worked wonders for this young couple who achieved F. I. R. E when they were only 30.
From our observation, they lived simply and frugally, buying super cheap cuts of frozen meat and using their pressure cooker all the time to churn out their dishes!
Want to follow in their footsteps and save lots of money? Buy a pressure cooker!
Save money by doing something similar 🙂
#7. Use coupons
Look for discount coupons for your groceries. Visit websites like Grocerycouponnetwork, Coupons and Couponmom to harvest discount coupons to save on your groceries. You may like to read more how to use coupons to multiply your savings. This post has coupon saving ways you can use.
#8. Stick to Your Shopping List
Always have a shopping list as it helps you to stay focused. If you know what to buy before you go to the supermarket, you will be more likely to stick to your list.
At the top of your shopping list, you can put in this reminder: ‘Buy only these things‘.
Practice buying just the groceries that are on your shopping list.
You’ll soon get used to this and form a frugal habit that allows you to choose NOT to buy other groceries that are tempting you as you shop. You save your precious time as well.
#9. Meal Planning
I know we’re all busy. I get how you feel.
Like you, I am very frustrated with buying things I don’t need…When you plan your meals, you are more likely to stick to what you need to buy.
Decide what meals to cook every night and make a list of ingredients. This way you will not get side tracked into buying unnecessary food items.
As for me, I’ve decided not to use vanilla essence in my baking. It’s no longer on my shopping list.
If you need help with your menu planning, give $5 meal plan a go. Each meal is carefully planned so it’s only around $2 per person. You can start with a 14-day trial and you can cancel it anytime with no questions asked.
#10. Plan your route
Get to know the layout of your supermarket well. This way you can then head straight for the departments where you know you’ll find your grocery items on your list.
Then you’ll only grab the things you need, instead of wandering the whole place and increasing the risk of buying things not on your shopping list.
You may also like to have some fun with this supermarket quiz and see if you can escape their traps!
#11. Shop online
Some supermarkets offer an online shopping service.
They shop for you and this way you won’t be exposed to tempting offers and overspend.
You can pick up your shopping or choose to have your groceries delivered to your door, which can cost more but saves you valuable time.
#12. Empty stomach?
You’ve probably experienced this before. Shop on an empty stomach and before long, your trolley will be filled with unnecessary food like freshly baked items you don’t need.
Hunger makes you buy more food! So don’t shop when hungry. At least have a snack first, because you will have greater control.
Related post: Reduce food waste
#13. Never Pay More for Premium Brands
It doesn’t mean that a more costly item is better quality. Usually the more attractive the packaging, the more expensive the item.
Pay more for premium brands only if you have tried the cheaper generic brands and found the pricier brands really of better quality and taste.
Haven’t tried other generic or less known brands yet?
Try them soon.
Recently, I bought an unknown brand of butter cookies that was on offer at a great price.
They tasted just as good as the costlier premium cookies from Denmark. And their ingredients are similar, not at all inferior.
#14. Price per unit
Always check the price per unit. I’d rather buy a 625-gram packet of organic blueberries priced at $11, rather than another brand priced at $9.30 for 450 grams.
Check out the price per unit of nuts and raisins in the bulk bin section compared to those that are commercially pre-packaged. Often bulk buys save you money.
#15. Time of the Day
The time of day that you shop makes a huge difference to your grocery bill. For example, I discovered that bread items tend to be discounted close to the end of the day. Huge bargains can be got.
Another discovery was made when I popped into the supermarket very early in the morning.
I found ready made sandwiches selling at very low prices, as they had been made the previous day. But they were fine as they stayed refrigerated.
#16. Buy 3 for the price of 2
When you really need them and they don’t expire, grab them. That’s what I do. On a periodic basis, I’ll check out items like organic shampoo and organic body wash.
What about perishables?
You need to ask yourself whether you really need 3 packets bananas, for instance.
#17. Supermarket coupons, loyalty cards and cash back rebates
You can check the prices of items before you go to the supermarket.Take full advantage of all these, including cashback reward sites.
I always make full use of my loyalty cards. For example, I have store loyalty cards that give discounts before checking out my items.
#18. Frozen Food
I’ve lost countless times when frozen vegetables have come to my rescue at a lower cost.
Frozen peas and frozen mixed vegetable mix are good options if you’re looking for cheap vegetables in winter. You don’t have to worry about the loss of nutrients as it’s marginal.
#19. Buy in season
Try to buy vegetables and fruits when they’re in season. For example, cherries, strawberries and tomatoes are much cheaper in summer, whereas pumpkins and squash are cheaper options in winter.
#20. Check Your Pantry First
How many times have you bought items that you think you’ve run out of? This is true of stuff you don’t use often.
It’s happened to me several times 🙁
Yes, I have a shopping list. But the strangest part is I think I might have missed that particular item in my list, so I buy it just in case. My ‘just-in-case’ buys have caused me to have an oversupply of jalapenos as they’re not eaten regularly.
#21. Recipes, recipes and more recipes
Must you always have a recipe?
If a produce is in season, chances are it’s usually cheaper.
Buy and create a special dish of your own. A 21- year- old came up with his own dish of broccoli, chickpeas, spiralized carrots, marinated tofu, corn and peas. No recipe for him! Extra yummy, healthy and tasty.
#22. Personal mini-mart
Set up your very own personal mini – mart at home.
Stock up cans of food you use heavily when they’re on special. Just open your pantry door instead of heading to a nearby store. This saves you money, time and fuel.
#23. Two Shopping Lists
No, it’s not a typo. Why have two?
My first shopping list is the usual.
I have a second shopping list where it’s a permanent list.
Every once in a while, when I’ve more time at my supermarket, I’ll check out our usual personal care items.
For example, during my recent periodic round, I discovered our supermarket has brought in a new range of organic body wash that’s way cheaper than our usual.
#24. Know Your Shops Well
Over the years, we’ve noted which shops in our town are cheaper for meats, fish, general items and organic foods.
For example, we’ll only purchase certain organic foods from a particular shop as we know it offers the cheapest deals. However, I avoid buying their personal care products like organic shampoos as they cost way higher than my usual supermarket.
Another smaller no frills shop offers fresh meat items that are also cheaper than our usual supermarket.
Make sure you know prices well and you’ll save heaps.
Keep it simple.
We don’t need to go overboard with meal preparation all the time.
When you vary your meals that need more effort with very simple ones, I bet your family will appreciate your efforts more. How do I know? This has been tried and tested on my son.
#26. Seasoning is power
When you buy pre-seasoned foods like chicken drums, you pay more for the seasoning and labor. Buy plain ones and season them to your taste. Besides, they’re much healthier as you can control the quality and quantity of seasonings, salt and sugar.
#27. DIY is gold
Don’t buy pre-cut veges, fruits, pre-sliced meats and grated cheese as they cost more.
Again, you save when you DIY.
#28. Ready meals
Avoid buying ready meals like TV dinners and pizzas. They’re costly and unhealthy.
#29. Be Game Enough
It doesn’t pay to be loyal. Try new brands that are cheaper. You’ll never know. They may be cheaper and tastier.
#30. Deli meats
Don’t buy branded pre-packaged deli meats like ham and chorizos.
They cost more and you’ve to dispose of more packaging. Choose from the supermarket deli counters and save money on essentially the same deli foods.
#31. Never buy from convenience stores and gas stations
The groceries tend to be pricey because they are charging you for the convenience! Avoid their costly groceries.
#32. Buy from Asian stores and markets
Why not explore your city for Chinatown or other Asian enclaves? Groceries are often way cheaper in these areas, as I’ve happily discovered. That’s why you see so many Asian customers in these places 🙂
#33. Reduce your visits
You’ll be less tempted to buy other unnecessary stuff. If you usually go grocery shopping twice a week, cut down to one visit. You’ll save travelling time and gas as well.
#34. Use by date
Look out for grocery items and produce that are near their use-by date. They’re usually heavily discounted. Buy more and freeze for future. You can also cook them and freeze for future consumption.
#35. Buy less meat
Buy less meat and more vegetables instead. Meats costs are usually double that of vegetables. Not only do you save but you’re eating healthier too.
#36. Stretch your dollar
Throw in beans and vegetables to stretch your ground or sliced meat. This is a good long-term money-saving idea and a healthier choice for the whole family.
#37. Use loyalty cards
Use loyalty cards to save on your grocery spending. But know that you always need to avoid buying unneeded items to maximize your savings.
If you know of a cheaper supermarket, it may pay to frequent it, rather than going to a pricier supermarket that has a loyalty card discount. It’s good to do your math!
#38. Just before the checkout
As you proceed towards the checkout, look through the items in your trolley and double check that the items are what you really need, not want.
#39. Use smaller trolleys
Discourage your natural instinct to fill up your trolley. Less space will discourage you from piling more groceries and spending more.
#40. Know the fridge and freezer life of different foods
For example, mince cannot be frozen for as long as pieces of meat. www.australianbeef.com.au has this advice:
-“Freeze mince you don’t intend to use for 2-3 months.
-Flatten butcher-bought mince so it freezes and thaws evenly.
-Cook mince as soon as possible after defrosting.
-Only thaw mince in the microwave if you’re cooking it immediately.
-Always cook thawed mince before refreezing”.
Steaks can be safely frozen for up to 6 months. Check out the Food Safety website for info on how long you can store a range of foods. Knowing this will cut your grocery bill as you avoid food spoilage and wastage.
#41. Eat less!
The food portions of most Americans are simply too large.
Look into whether you and your family are actually overeating. If you are, it is healthier to eat less (and exercise more). Eating less means less groceries are needed, therefore saving you big bucks 🙂
20 More Tips to cut your grocery bills in half
With these handy tips, you’ll be on your way to cutting your grocery bill in half or even less!
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