How to Reduce Grocery Bill And Keep Eating Healthy?
11 Min Read
If it seems like your food bill goes out of control and takes up most of your budget, it’s probably not your wild imagination. Apparently, it’s not even the fault for inessential grocery spending you imperceptibly make in a grocery store. Food prices have jumped more than 10% over the last few years. So even if you buy the same groceries every time, you probably still feel like you’re paying more than you used to before.
If sometimes it feels like your shopping list is against you, don’t worry. Some great shopping habits can help you lower your grocery bills at least in half without reducing the quality of food. So, let’s take a closer look at grocery shopping tips.
What Is an Average Grocery Budget per Household?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics for 2023, an average family spends about 10.3% of its income on groceries. Thus, the regular household cost of food on the thrifty plan is about $940, but going up to $1,500 per month when it comes to the liberal plan.
This gap is typically caused by the quality of groceries, insane prices, and sometimes the lack of budgeting too. And, unfortunately, prices keep shooting up extremely. Thus, we need to find out how we can save on grocery bill without compromising our eating habits.
Wonder how to reduce grocery bills by half or even more? It seems too good to be true, but it’s possible! Here are 15 smart ways to cut grocery bill.
15 Ways to Do Grocery Shopping Without Putting a Dent in Your Wallet
1. Make a Grocery Shopping Plan
Meal planning for the entire week can help you save significant money on your groceries. When you buy food without having a meal plan, you’re more likely to spend extra money on unnecessary items. Plan your week’s meals and make a shopping list in accordance with it before each grocery trip.
Also, review the food in the fridge before making a shopping list. Sometimes it can help your cut costs even more. It may seem you have run out of groceries while the food you need is pushed deep into the fridge shelf. So, you will spend more money and be forced to get rid of some food when it expires.
ResearchersTrusted Source shows that an average household throws away about 30% of the food they buy. Thus, review the food first and try to find some simple recipes to use the groceries you’ve already had. It may also be a good excuse for meal prep and saving money on takeout or dining out.
2. Search for Sales
Many people already use printable coupons and are looking for sale prices for food from a grocery list. If you’re not one of them, it’s never too late to start. Most grocery stores offer weekly sale flyers that can help you get the best deals and shop wisely.
There’s nothing difficult about checking your shopping list against discount coupons and flyers once a week. You may be pleasantly surprised with how much money you can save by just being provident.
Although many people think coupons are only for unhealthy processed food, it’s a half-truth. You can also find sales for healthy options, like milk, cheese, coffee, and tea, or even fruits and vegetables.
If you prefer online shopping, check out whether there are some virtual coupons you can add up to your order. Moreover, many websites and apps allow you to filter products by what’s on sale. Also, if you’re a regular of one store nearby, ensure you’re signed up for their rewards points.
However, avoid taking too much extra food because it’s at the lowest price. First, shop around to determine what’s on sale, and put the essentials into your grocery list then.
3. Use Rewards Cards
Most grocery stores offer free discount cards, also called rewards cards. They allow you to access sale prices or additional discounts when you shop in the corresponding store. Often, you won’t get a special price until you have a rewards card, so you’d better get several issued by the stores you visit most often.
Moreover, some rewards cards provide a point system that depends on the monthly amount you’ve spent in the store. Thus, you can withdraw the points you get when you buy something in the store and make your grocery bill lower.
4. Keep Track of Expiration Dates
Check the expired dates of the groceries you buy at the store to ensure you fill your shopping cart with fresh produce. Then, control it again at home to determine what groceries you need to use first and put them closer to the edge of the fridge shelf. Paying attention to dates can help save you money and avoid throwing away food.
Moreover, the dates that you see on food packages often represent quality standards that may have nothing in common with safety. Of course, if your food turns rancid, you have to get rid of it. But some products can be used even if they have already expired.
For example, bread, eggs, pasta, some dairy products, such as cottage cheese or sealed yogurt and milk, as well as peanut butter, can be used up to a few weeks after the expiration date. Provided they were stored in the fridge, of course.
5. Buy in Bulk
This tip may be really useful for big families. It can also help you reduce the number of your shopping trips, especially if you have a car. Of course, buying more short-lived groceries, such as fresh fruits, meat, or other perishable foods, is not an intelligent decision.
Try to buy only what can be stored in bulk for a long time. These may be any pantry staples, such as pasta, sauces, frozen vegetables, granola, canned tomatoes, rice, and more processed foods. It can help you save money on groceries in the long run, especially if they are on sale or at great prices. Also, consider stocking up on non-perishable items, like toilet paper or paper towels.
Even if you live alone or just don’t have to cook for a family of four, you may find that buying some staple items in bulk comes with significant benefits. If you’re not a member of a warehouse store club or don’t have enough space to store extra food at home, just buy larger sizes at a unit price. It’s also a great way to save money and get great deals.
Check out your grocery store offers at unit prices to cut your grocery budget.
6. Buy Your Groceries Online
Online grocery shopping is a great way to cut your grocery bill and save money. First, you won’t fall for a trick of product placements or be distracted by tasty aromas. You can filter sales and shop for the best price easily or simply search for the groceries from your list. It’s also a key to saving time, as you won’t have to visit a grocery store in person.
Also, shopping online gives you enough time to determine whether or not you really need the food you have put in your cart. Besides, it will help you avoid unpleasant surprises at checkout. When we shop at an offline grocery store, we often don’t calculate the total cost of the products in our cart. Online shopping will help you see at a glance what the final cost of the selected products is.
7. Compare Prices
Knowing where to get the best price can help you organize your shopping trips and save money on groceries. Try to shop in different stores instead of visiting the one next to your house.
Shop around, compare diverse offers, and start keeping a price book to note how much your frequently purchased foods cost in various stores. It will also help you realize the price is definitely attractive when you see some specials. While one store may have the best prices for some staple products, another may offer discounts on meat or ready-to-cook food.
Don’t limit yourself to just one store to access more specials and sales.
8. Leave Your Kids at Home
Kids often ruin our plans by adding more and more not-in-the-list items to the cart. If your children want everything at once when they are in the store and tend to burst into tears if you refuse to buy a box of cookies, you’d better leave them at home. It will help you stick to your product list and avoid hassles.
9. Buy Meat Occasionally
Meatless meals are typically cheaper than those that contain meat. Meat and seafood are one of the most expensive products on our plates. To reduce your grocery bill, try to buy it only on sales or substitute expensive meat with a cheaper one. For example, you can buy chicken thighs instead of pork or try a meatless meal, like a veggie burger or salad.
Choosing cheaper cuts of meat can help you see some smart savings too. You can use ground meats for your meals or ask your butcher for a piece of advice.
10. Consider Store Brands
Sometimes store brands have questionable quality, but you can still find some good items at reasonable prices. Store brand produce tends to be cheaper than commercial foods as all the goods are produced and packaged by the store.
Thus, you can quickly see the difference and reduce your grocery budget without changing your eating habits. Of course, not all items can be produced by the store. But you can find some items from your grocery list with a store-brand version.
11. Visit Farmers’ Markets at The Right Time
Farmer markets don’t bare the exact costs of substantial retail chains, so sometimes you can get a great discount if you shop there. However, farmer’s markets allow you to buy organic foods of excellent quality, so they are more likely to be pretty expensive.
But here’s a tip that can help you go with a lower cost. Try to visit farmer’s markets at the end of the day to score some great deals. Often, farmers don’t want to take home the food they don’t sell during the day, so they may offer a better price at closing time.
12. Sign up for Your Grocery Store’s Newsletter
Many stores have email newsletters containing additional discounts and specials. Sign up for several newsletters to make sure you don’t miss some good offers. Another great thing about newsletters is that they are smartly based on your shopping habits and regular pick-ups. Thus, you will be first to know about all the topical offers and access sales on items you need.
13. Bring Your Own Bag
It all started simple and small. Instead, little things can help you save money over time. Although you can save about 30-40 cents on bags per shopping trip, savings are savings. Moreover, some stores can even give you an additional discount for bringing your reusable bags. Thus, you can not only save more money but also contribute to the protection of the environment.
14. Pick Produce Wisely
Start making smart choices while being in a grocery store. Love smoothie for breakfast but want to reduce its cost? Try using frozen berries instead of fresh ones. Do you buy vegetables for soup? Use onion instead of shallot. These sensible choices will help you lower the cost of your bill and won’t affect the taste of your food.
15. Learn How to Cook
Cooking may be fun if you know how to do it properly. Also, it’s an excellent way to save money on takeouts and dining out. You can cook dinner for a family of four for the same price as a meal in a restaurant for one. You can learn how to prepare creative meals you used to order or even improve the recipe by changing it in accordance with your taste.
How to Save Money on Visiting Grocery Stores – 5 More Useful Tips
1. Pay with Cash
Using cash is another non-obvious way to save money on groceries. When you see how much money is in your wallet, you will spend less than using a credit or debit card. Also, the cash envelope budgeting system can help you switch to cash and avoid overspending. Get envelopes where you will put the amount for a specific monthly expense item.
2. Prepare The Portion You Can Consume at One Meal
Avoid leftovers to reduce the amount of food you throw away each week. Prepare small portions you can eat at once. Don’t mess up leftovers with cooking for the week. If you prepare more not to waste your time cooking every day, it’s a good idea that works.
3. Don’t Go Grocery Shopping When You’re Hungry
It’s the most common mistake of all grocery overspenders. Strolling the grocery store fasting may lead to an impressive grocery bill. You’re more likely to buy unnecessary and probably unhealthy products. Visit the store with a full stomach to make it easiest to stick to your shopping list.
4. Pack Your Lunch
Pack your lunch box and bring it with you to work every day. It will be much cheaper than eating out and help you save money and stay full until the evening.
5. Use Upcycling Delivery Apps
Upcycling apps allow you to access leftovers from farms, food producers, or even restaurants at a better price. It’s also a way to reduce food waste.
“Food upcycling delivery apps act as matchmakers between the farms, food producers, and mostly at-home shoppers. Grocery stores, restaurants, and wholesalers can tap these sites to unload excess, all at consumer savings.”
– Rachel Koning Beals, MarketWatch news editor.
Eating well may not cost you an arm and a leg if you use some brilliant tips and are a responsible consumer. There are many ways to stick to a thrifty grocery budget, even without changing your eating habits.
Try to plan your meal, cook at home, and make shopping lists for each grocery trip. Also, pay attention to sales and discounts and avoid shopping when you’re fasting. Avoid leaving leftovers and using all the food you buy, or make blanks and store them in the freezer. All these tips will help you reduce your grocery bills and keep eating healthy.
How to Cut Grocery Bill by 90 Percent?
Actually, you can use all the tips above at once to achieve such savings. However, it may be hard to cut your grocery costs that much without affecting your food quality. Try to find a middle ground, and don’t forget to put the price on your health.
What Is an Average Grocery Store Budget?
On average, Americans spend $940 to $1,500 per month on food for a family of four. The exact sum depends on your eating habits and your budget.
Can I Save Money on Groceries Without Changing My Eating Habits?
Sure, you can! Making smart shopping choices doesn’t mean you need to give up your favorite foods. Sometimes it’s enough to compare prices in different stores to shop wisely.
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