Every year one of my New Year’s Resolutions or Goals is to bring my grocery budget down or at least keep it in check. After reviewing our 2013 expenses with my husband, we calculated that I was able to cut back on average $60 a month from our previous year’s grocery expenses.
Before I had my son my friends referred to me as the coupon queen. I would go into the grocery store with my gigantic coupon notebook in the seat, take my time shopping all the deals, hand the cashier at least 50 coupons and leave with a receipt 5 feet long. Now I go into the grocery store with a toddler in tow and coupons are just out of the question.
If you are looking for ways to save on your groceries each month this year, here are a few ways you can do that without using a single coupon!!
1. Meal Plan- This is one of the biggest ways I save money (and time) each month. Every Sunday afternoon I sit down and plan our dinners for each night. I survey my pantry, fridge and freezer and try to pick meals that I already have some of the ingredients on hand. Meal Planning helps us eat more meals at home and saves me from making last minute grocery trips, which tend to be expensive.
2. Know Your Price Points- It’s important to know how much the items you like to buy cost. Different stores have different regular prices for items. I have found that almost everything is cheaper at Wal-Mart. When you know what the average price for your items are you’ll have a better idea of when you are scoring a good deal when they go on sale. Once you see what the average sale price is, you’ll know when it’s a good time to stock up.
3. Stock Up on Sales & Buy in Season- When your favorite items go on sale, stock up!! Of course don’t overstock on things that expire quickly because you aren’t saving any money if you have to throw things out. They will go on sale again and you’ll have another chance to stock up. Sales come and go in cycles. Also, only buy fruits and veggies when they are in season. Out of season produce doesn’t go on sale and you pay way more for it than when you would when it’s in season.
4. Buy off Brands- Off brand items are always cheaper than name brand. I will admit however, there are a few off brand things that I just don’t like. Off brand windex leaves streeks, off brand cokes just don’t taste right, and off brand ice cream isn’t bad but it just doesn’t compare to Blue Bell. For the most part though, I can’t tell the difference between name brand and off brand things. Just give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised that you can’t tell the difference either and it’s a great way to save!
5. Wal-Mart Price Match- Do you know about Wal-Mart’s Price Match Policy? It’s amazing. Basically all you have to do is look at your weekly grocery ads and if is better at any grocery store, Wal-Mart will match it. For example, if strawberries are on sale for $1.25 at Alberston’s and Baked Lays are on sale for $2.00 at Kroger, you can get them both for the sale price in the same trip at Wal-Mart. This will save you time and money since you only have to stop at one store instead of multiples stores to catch all the sales. Some Wal-Marts require you to show the cashier the ad to verify the price but at my local Wal-Mart I just tell them the sale price. Before I go grocery shopping I always look through the grocery ads and type up a note in my iPhone of all the sales I’m interested in. When I check out I just scroll through the note in my phone to tell the cashier the sale price.
6. Buy in Bulk at Sam’s (sometimes)- I have a membership to Sam’s but I honestly don’t use it for much. Another reason it’s important to know your price points is because sometimes it’s not actually cheaper to buy in bulk at Sam’s. Sometimes it’s cheapest to just stock up at the grocery store when it goes on a good sale. I have found there are certain things I do stock up on at Sam’s in bulk because it is a better deal. Some of the things I buy at Sam’s are dishwasher soap pods, diapers, goldfish, and frozen meals for my husband’s lunches.
7. Buy the Basics at Aldi- If my weekly grocery shopping trip isn’t at Wal-Mart it’s usually at Aldi. I like to shop at Aldi to stock up on my basics. Their prices just can’t be beat. Some of the things I always get at Aldi are milk, eggs, sugar, flour,butter, sour cream, cheese, cream soups, broth, and cans of anything……beans, tomatoes, vegetables etc. Their prices on cans are even cheaper than store brand prices at a grocery store. The downside to Aldi is that they don’t have everything so sometimes I do have to make an extra shopping trip to another grocery store or Wal-Mart.
8. Don’t overcook- If you have a small family of three like I do, half your recipes so you don’t have leftovers. If the package of pork chops has four and you know you’ll only eat two, just cook two and freeze the others for another day. We are not fans of leftovers, so ours always go in the trash. Throwing away leftovers is just like throwing some of your grocery budget money in the trash.
9. Freeze Leftovers- If you do happen to overcook, just freeze the leftovers. I’m much more likely to eat leftover chili frozen a month later than eating chili two or even three days in a row just so it won’t go to waste. So many meals freeze great! Plus it’s so nice to just be able to pull a pan out of the freezer and have dinner already prepared.
10. Follow deal sites- A great way to learn how to save even more money on groceries (and anything and everything for that matter) is by following deal sites. Two of my favorites sites are Hip2Save and MyDallasMommy.