How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
Are you looking to cut expenses in your monthly budget? One of the easiest places to start is with your grocery bill. Learn the 4 tricks Domestic CEO uses to save money on her groceries each month. (Don't worry, you won't have to live on potatoes and ramen).
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If you find yourself cash-strapped at the end of each month, wondering where your money has gone, it's time to make a change.
But where to start? One of the best and easiest places to start is on your grocery bill because there’s often a lot of money that can be saved with very few changes to your family’s eating habits. Whether you need to adjust your household’s monthly budget, or you just want to make sure you aren’t spending more money than is necessary on your groceries each month, this episode is for you.
Today, I’m going to give you my top 4 tips on how to save money on groceries. These are tips I used in my own home to cut my weekly grocery bill by over 30%. If you follow them, I will guarantee that you will see more money in your wallet at the end of each month.
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Tip #1: Track Price Tags
The first tip any frugalista will give on how to save on groceries is to start tracking prices. Grocery stores have all kinds of tricks they use to make you think you're getting the best deal in town. But how do you know if you are really getting a deal?
Here's an example: This week I saw that grapes were on sale at our neighborhood store for $1.99 per pound. That “special” was front and center on the store’s weekly circular. So why wasn’t I excited to go get a bunch of grapes for our home? Because they were on sale, at the same store, for $0.69 per pound last week. Yep, their new amazing sale price this week is almost 3 times the cost they were last week. Please forgive me for not getting excited about paying triple for the same thing.
Stores do this all the time. They put fancy yellow or red tags on items, put them in the weekly circulars, and set up bright displays all in an effort to make shoppers think they need to buy now. While watching the circulars, tags, and end caps can help you save on groceries, it only works if you know what a good price is for a given item. By tracking prices on the items you use most for about 12 weeks, you can start to see the cycles in which grocery stores run their sales. Some people use a binder to manually write down the prices of their favorite items each week, others use apps that do the work for you. I follow a slightly simpler method: I only remember the rock bottom prices on things and stock up when I see that rock bottom price again.
Tip #2: Buy When It’s Cheap, Not When You Need It
The next tip on how to save on groceries is to use your new knowledge of prices to buy items when they are cheap, not when you need them. If you know that you can get butter for less than $2 a pound, why would you want to buy it when it’s $4.50 per pound? Butter freezes, so when it drops below $2 a pound, buy a few packages and store them in your freezer until you need new sticks in your fridge. This goes across the board with any items that aren’t perishable. Cheese, milk, and meats are all able to be frozen, so if you have the freezer space, stock up when the items are truly on sale.
If you want to start small or your freezer can't handle that kind of volume, only stock up on items that your family uses on a regular basis, and get enough to last just a few weeks. Grocery store sales usually run in 6-week cycles. That means that 6 weeks from now, the item will be on sale again. Buy enough at the super low price to get you through just 6 weeks, then repeat when it’s on sale again. Because you know what the best, rock bottom price is for that item, you can feel confident that you're getting the best deal around!
See also: 5 Tips to Make Meal Planning Easier
Tip #3: Use Coupons Responsibly
If you want to take the “buy when it’s cheap” method to a whole new level, start clipping coupons. When you combine a sale price at a store with a coupon, that’s where the real magic happens. Let’s say that your local grocery store’s normal price on packages of shredded cheese is $4.29 per package. Then let’s say the cheese goes on sale for 2 for $4, that’s already a great deal. But what if you have a coupon for $1 off 2 packages? You are now able to get packages of cheese for $1.50, or 65% off the normal price.
If your store values all manufacturer coupons at $1 or offers double or triple coupons, that gives you the opportunity to get some items for free. How?