Save money on groceries with these frugal ideas from the Frugal Grandma
The average family spends more than $4,000 a year on groceries and spends nearly $2,700 a year eating out. Combined, food amounts to the third biggest budget expense after housing and transportation. Being frugal at the grocery store can save you a lot of money and have you eating healthier in the process.
We looked at a few ways to save almost $1,400 a year in eating out with our 20 money saving tips to save $7,500 a year. I wanted to add a few more frugal ideas on how to save money at the grocery store.
How the Stores Keep you from Saving Money on Groceries
There is a specific strategy in the way all grocery stores are laid out. The milk, eggs, and items most people will buy on a weekly basis are in the back. You will need to pass through rows and rows of impulse buys and temptations to get there.
All the stuff you probably don’t need like candy, magazines and kids toys are sold at the counters. The grocery store knows that if you wait in line long enough, you’ll eventually buy something you don’t need and heaven forbid your toddler see a cool toy he wants. You’re not leaving the store without that plastic squirt gun.
Besides all this, the food companies don’t make it any easier. They spend millions on packaging and in-store marketing to draw your attention to the most expensive items.
It’s time to save money on groceries!
But you can save money on groceries with a little help from your Frugal Grandma. All it takes is a little planning and ideas as fresh as the produce department!
First, eat a good meal before you go grocery shopping. Shopping on a full stomach means you won’t be tempted by the empty calories in those frosting-covered sugar bombs and chocolate-covered regret-me-laters.
What are you going to prepare for the family´s meals next week? One of my favorite budgeting websites includes a frugal recipe list which will help you plan out your meals. Make sure you plan for large meals so you can bag the left-overs for lunches. After you have decided on the meals, look in your cupboards so you can make a list of what you will need from the store.
Once you get to the store, stick to the list. Resisting the impulse purchases, will save you money at the check-out. Try to go to the store no more than once a week. Impulse buys can add another $10 or more to your grocery budget every time you go to the store so less time in the store means more money saved on groceries.
As for coupons, decide if the discount is really worth buying the brand name. I buy mostly cheapo store brands anyway which are much cheaper than the brands. If I can use a coupon to buy the brand name for the same price, I might take the time to clip. Make sure your grocery store will honor competitor coupons so you don’t have to drive around and waste gas.
Save money on groceries while eating at home
Try eating only at home for one month, and that includes no take-out or pizza delivery. I know cooking every single meal at home doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. One method I use is to make double batches of everything. Freeze one meal and serve the other.
If you eat out for lunch or find yourself visiting the vending machine, cutting back can save a bunch of money. Try cutting back gradually at first, only eating out once a week.
After a month of doing this, you’ll find that you really didn’t miss eating out that much anyway. You’ll have saved money on groceries, formed great spending habits and will be eating healthier!
Save money on groceries, even when you´re too tired to cook
The crock pot is your new best friend for saving money on groceries without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Figure out when you’ll be busy at work and might not feel like cooking up a meal. Check out some of the great crock pot recipes on Food.com and just throw everything together before you leave for work. Voila! When you get home, all you have to do is serve it out.
It’s ok to splurge once a month, eating out at your favorite inexpensive restaurant. Just be careful that you don’t spend all the extra money you saved on groceries over the rest of the month.
Like we talked about last week, for an easy and fun frugal lifestyle, you need to have visual goals for your saving. Think back to your goals when you’re trying to save money on groceries. It will make getting started so much easier and after a while it will be second nature.
Next week we’ll talk about the saving money on cleaning products and other things from the store. Thanks for reading. If you like this article, please share it with your friends on Facebook and other sites. Frugal Grandma
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.