Do you know how much money you spend on groceries each month? Would you guess it’s your third-highest expense? If not, it is for about 90% of Americans.
If you think about it, groceries might be your third-highest expense too.
If you don’t know how much you spend, I recommend taking the time to check. Review how much you’ve spent over the last three months. The number will probably surprise you and not in a good way.
It’s so important to understand how much you’re spending on groceries because if you don’t, it’s easy to keep spending as you do. And most likely, it’s more than you have to.
Why I Started Saving On Groceries
I didn’t think I was spending a lot on groceries until one day, I thought it would be a good idea to simply track after going to the grocery store. After tracking for three months, I realized I was spending approximately $300-$400 each month on groceries. Way too much for one person!
Keep in mind I thought I wasn’t spending “that much” but I never actually took the time to check. After seeing how much money I was actually spending, I decided to give myself a $50/week budget. Because I had given myself that budget, that’s how much I was spending.
Then, I watched a YouTube video about a mom who had a $35/week grocery budget for her and each of her kids. So I thought, why am I spending $50 a week? I changed it to $35/week.
With that said, it’s important to realize that there is no set amount you should be spending a month. However, if you are spending about $50/week per person, you can spend less and have more than enough food.
How To Save Money On Groceries
There are so many things you can do to reduce your grocery bill but if you want to keep it simple AND still save a lot of money. Follow the five steps below to always save money on groceries.
step #1 – set a budget
The first step and most important step is to set a budget. If you chose to follow only one out of the five steps, follow this one!
You are always guaranteed to save money on groceries when you have a budget.
It’s important to set a grocery budget because if you don’t, it can get out of hand quickly. Remember when I didn’t have a grocery budget and thought I wasn’t spending “a lot of money” on groceries? When I actually checked, I was spending $300-$400 a month on groceries.
I recommend you start with a low budget first. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get high quality, healthy, and organic groceries. Many people think you do, but you don’t.
Also, when you start with a low budget, you become very resourceful. You buy only what you need and don’t waste your money on food you don’t need.
Now that I have a budget, a $35/week grocery budget, I seem to have more food in my pantry and freezer then when I didn’t.
Give it a try and get creative!
If you haven’t gone through the process of putting together a budget, read, 5 Easy Steps To Budgeting Success.
step #2 – use what you already have
Before you go grocery shopping and start thinking about what you are going to buy. See what you already have.
Create a list of what’s already in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Prioritize what’s expiring soon. What meals can you make with the food you already have?
If you’ve already spent the money to buy these groceries. Why spend more? The last thing you want to do is throw away spoiled or expired food. It’s like throwing away cash.
If you already have chicken, plan to eat a chicken salad sandwich, chicken fajitas, or a grilled chicken caesar salad for the week.
We tend to forget about what we already have and start the process backward. You think about what you want to eat and then make a list. Don’t do that 🙂
Remember to prioritize what you already have and I know you will save money on groceries!
step #3 – plan & make a list
So you have a budget, you know what you already have, now it’s time to plan and make a list.
Plan and make a list, in that order 🙂
Plan the meals that you want to eat for the next week or month. However, you prefer to plan and then list the ingredients that you need.
I can’t stress enough how important planning is. Planning will ensure many things but most importantly, it will ensure you save money. You won’t buy groceries you don’t need or have to throw away because they’ve expired.
I didn’t plan because I guess I was a little lazy but I also didn’t realize that it could save me money.
Planning is what has helped me constantly stay within my $35/week budget. Planning has also ensured that I always have something to eat.
Do you ever find yourself going grocery shopping and then by the third or even second day, don’t know what to make? I’ve been there so many times.
So what happens next? You get take-out or go grocery shopping again. You can fix all this by planning.
step #4 – buy in bulk & Sale
Buy in bulk because it will almost always save you money. For items that you use all the time like; sugar, pasta, rice, salt, flour, pasta, cheese, oatmeal, etc. definitively buy these items in bulk.
Also, take advantage of sales. When you see something you buy all the time is on sale, don’t just buy what you need for the week or month. Stock up! Buy enough for the next few months or even year depending on what’s on sale.
Meat, cheese, fruit, frozen vegetables, and meals will last a very long time in the freezer. If produce is on sale, stock up, use it to make a few dinners and freeze the meals.
As far as knowing when sales are happening. I get a weekly email from my grocery store for that weeks’ sales. I usually skim the email and then make a note of what to stock up on.
If you don’t get a weekly email or don’t have time to check. Just take the time to walk the aisles and see what’s on sales. Sales items usually have a big sales tag you can’t miss!
step #5 – don’t go hungry
I know you’ve heard this before but probably still do it.
Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!
Let’s say you add an additional $20 snack to your cart because it just looked so good. You go grocery shopping once a week, how much does that add up to in one year? $960, almost $1,000.
$20 here and there doesn’t seem like a lot but it adds up quickly.
When you go hungry, you tend to buy more than you need to. Everything looks good and more than a few items are added to your cart. It’s just so easy to pick up extra snacks when you’re hungry so try your best to go after a big meal.
If you can’t go after lunch or dinner, keep a snack in your purse or maybe even pick up a drink at a drive-through nearby!
Remember that the goal is to save money on groceries so always try to do your best.
How To Save Money Summary
If you’re serious about saving money, follow these 5 simple steps and save hundreds every year.
Step #1 – Set A Budget
Step #2 – Use What You Have
Step #3 – Plan And Make A List
Step #4 – Buy In Bulk
Step #5 – Don’t Go Hungry
I used to spend about $350 a month on groceries but when I started following these steps, I was spending only $140 a month. I saved a total of $2,250 in one year! Guys, that’s a lot of money by simply following these steps.
These steps are great because they are simple, realistic, and easy to follow. I know that if you follow these steps, you will save money.
Let me know how it goes and remember to complete all 5 steps to save as much money as you can!