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Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Updated on December 10, 2016
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Sadie Holloway writes about enjoying the good life while living on a modest income. She loves finding creative ways to save money.

There are many ways to save money on groceries, but not every strategy will work for your family's tastes and nutritional needs. These frugal food shopping tips can help you buy affordable, good quality food that your family will enjoy.

Try these smart shopping tips if you're on a tight budget.

1. Ask yourself why you want to save money on groceries. (Hint: 'Just because' isn't the right answer.) Cutting back on grocery expenses is easier when you know why you want to save money.

Write down your reason for saving money on groceries. It’s much easier to cut costs at the supermarket, week after week, if you stay focused on why you want to reduce your household food budget. For example,

  • Do you want to cut back on the amount of food you throw out each month? Then learning how to properly store and preserve food will help you save money on groceries.
  • Do you want to be able to buy more food for less money? Buying in bulk and/or choosing generic brands over pricier national brands might work for you.
  • Do you want to be able to buy better quality food? Avoid frivolous spending on unhealthy junk food to stretch your budget. Then put the money you towards bumping up your budget so you can afford healthier -- but more expensive -- food items such as locally grown, organic produce.

Junk food such as chips and packaged snacks may appear cheaper, but what will that cheap food cost you in terms of better health and wellness?
Junk food such as chips and packaged snacks may appear cheaper, but what will that cheap food cost you in terms of better health and wellness?

What's your motivation for trying to save money on groceries?

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Bonus money-saving tip: Buy only what you can carry in a hand basket. You're less likely to make impulse purchases and fill up your hand basket with stuff you don't need if you have to lug it around the store. So instead of pushing a cart with lots of room in it, use the store baskets. If you fill it up and need to buy heavy or bulky items like laundry soap and toilet paper, go find a cart to put those items in at the end of your shopping trip.

2. Figure out how saving money on your groceries will help you achieve your goals. Then commit those savings to that specific goal. For example, if you want to save money on groceries so that you can save money for a vacation, then keep track of your savings each week and put those funds aside. If you don’t track the money you saved on your groceries, those dollars and cents will just end up getting spent on other stuff that doesn’t help you reach your goals. Monitoring the amount of money you save is getting easier and easier these days. Many stores will actually calculate your savings for you and print it at the bottom of your receipt. You’d be surprised at how quickly a few dollars here and there can add.

3. Set money goals that suit your lifestyle. Don't push yourself into making budget cuts that you can't possibly live with.

If you want to get good at saving money, be realistic about what you're willing to do slash your food budget. Are you willing to clip coupons? Do you have the time to seek out the best deals from store to store, clip your coupons, stay on top of the expiry dates and then stand your ground at the cash register to make sure your coupons are honored fairly? If you're a super organized person who enjoys a good challenge, then coupon clipping can save you money on your groceries over the long run. Here are some other questions to ask yourself before planning your grocery shopping:

  • Do you have the storage space to buy food in bulk? If you buy in bulk, will your family be able to eat it before it goes bad?
  • Do you have the time to prepare meals ahead of time? Or does spending a weekend making frozen casseroles sound unappetizing?
  • How much time do you have to plan your meals each week? Are you already starved for time? Then find a budget strategy that will work for you. (Couponing takes time so perhaps buying in bulk would work better for your household schedule.)

If you don’t like the idea of spending a weekend canning fruit and making your own jam, then don’t force yourself to do it. Focus on the money saving tips and tricks that you enjoy doing. Otherwise you won’t be able to successfully implement any useful money saving strategies, and you may end up accidentally spending more money!

If you want to teach your kids a few lessons on frugal grocery shopping, consider offering them a small bonus in their allowance for 'helping' you clip coupons or prepare shopping lists that result in savings they can see and feel.
If you want to teach your kids a few lessons on frugal grocery shopping, consider offering them a small bonus in their allowance for 'helping' you clip coupons or prepare shopping lists that result in savings they can see and feel.

Bonus money-saving tip: Food waste is a big problem and can cut into your food budget. Be sure to store meal leftovers in glass food containers with seal-tight lids. Then make sure the containers are placed on shelves near the front of your refrigerator. If you can see the food you're more likely to eat it sooner. If you store leftover food in plastic containers, even the frosted ones, that block your view of that tasty chili from last night, you might forget it's there. (What a shame!)

4. Join a savings support group. Knowing that you are not the only one who needs to save money can boost your motivation to reach your savings goals.

Another effective, and fun, way to save money at the grocery store is to recruit a shopping buddy or join a social club for thrifty women. Go online and see if there are any clubs or meetings for women who want to support each other in making smart financial decisions. By joining such a group, you’ll meet other like-minded women and get to learn fun insider tips and tricks. Plus, knowing that there are other people out there that want to save money on their food budgets will keep you from worrying that you're being cheap. Saving money is in! Wasteful spending is out!

5. Be patient while you learn how to cut back on the cost of food shopping. The best way to save money over the long term is to start slowly and work your way up by adopting one to two money-saving habits. Don't try to cut costs in 10 different ways, all in the same month. Once you have mastered the art of clipping coupons, perhaps you may want to learn how to can your own fruit and make jams and jellies.

What do you think of these tips for cutting costs at the supermarket? Do you have any shopping strategies of your own? Please let me know in the comments!

You can also vote in the poll about how much families are spending on food each month.

(Photos: Pixabay.com)

How much does your family spend on groceries each month?

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© 2015 Sadie Holloway

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  • GratisfactionUK profile image

    Gratisfaction UK 2 years ago from United Kingdom

    Great article! We are working on something similar to help people in the UK who are increasingly being forced to rely upon food banks. Thanks for the inspiration!