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Save Big on Groceries: 12 Money-Saving Tips

Slash your grocery bill with these 12 money saving tips

Prices are going through the roof and the struggle to keep food on the table is real!

Every penny we can save on food costs makes a difference.

If you’re looking for the best cheap shopping tips, here are 12 strategies you need to start using today if you want to slash your grocery bill.

Remember – no savings is too small. If you only save $10 a week that’s $520 in a year. You can do that, right? How about saving even more?

Here’s how to save the most money on groceries:

1. You must plan your meals to save the most money

I know I sound like a broken record, but planning meals is easy and saves an amazing amount of both time and money.

Learn how to do this HERE

2. Reduce the amount of meat and poultry you eat

Depending on your lifestyle, this can be either really easy, or really hard. If you’re used to a “meat and potatoes” diet, you’ll have to adopt some new habits. Think of meat as an ingredient in a dish, rather than making meat the center of a meal. For example compare a pot roast dinner to a pot roast stew loaded with veggies. Use small amounts of meat in meals like casseroles, soups, pasta dishes, and skillet meals. Bulk up recipes with extra veggies. When you do eat meat, choose cheaper cuts as they work well in stews, soups, crock pots and instant pots.

More on that in this post – HERE

How to serve less meat to your “meat and potatoes” family.

3. Replace expensive animal proteins with plant based and other low-cost proteins

To ensure everyone gets enough  protein daily add budget savvy foods high in protein like – peanuts and peanut butter, lentils, peas, eggs, yogurts, cheese, cottage cheese, beans (there are so many kinds of beans!), canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines and more!), protein powders (use these especially if you make overnight oats or smoothies) high-protein grains, (so many choices,  like amaranth, barley, bulgur , buckwheat, oats, quinoa, and brown and wild rice).

Health food high in protein with bean curd, fresh vegetables, legumes, grains, dairy, supplement powders, seeds and nuts. Super foods high in dietary fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Top view.

4. Ditch the bottled water

To keep costs low, this is non-negotiable. If your municipal water source is good, drink tap water. Keep a pitcher in the fridge because cold water tastes better and this eliminates the need to waste water letting it “run cold”.

If your tap water needs improvement, invest in a Brita filtered pitcher for drinking water which uses a coconut-based activated carbon filter to remove chlorine, zinc, copper, mercury, and other undesirable ingredients in tap water.

If you prefer not to use tap water at all, then purchase bulk filtered water; the least expensive source is usually at a station where you fill and haul one-gallon or five-gallon containers yourself.

select focus on middle bottle in a row of water bottles

5. Soda is a no, too

If keeping costs low is important to you, then every dime of your food budget needs to have nutritional value. This means eliminating all surgery, high calorie, and nutritionally void beverages from your list. There is literally nothing go to say about sodas.

I do realize for some people it’s truly an addiction. When someone who consumes an excessive amount of soda or energy drinks quits cold turkey, they may feel lethargic and have food cravings, headaches, and depression. So, reduce them gradually, like cutting back to one a day, then lowering this to one every few days, until you’re soda free.

hand holding soda can pouring a crazy amount of sugar in metaphor of sugar content of a refresh drink isolated on blue background in healthy nutrition, diet and sweet addiction concept

6. Forget about fruit juice and fruit “drinks”

When you consider most fruit juices are sugary, high-calorie, low or no nutritional value beverages, it’s easier to eliminate or greatly reduce them from your grocery list. Before you bristle, look at the nutrition labels and read the ingredient list of most affordable juices.

Consuming sugary juices regularly can have detrimental effects on one’s health due to their high sugar content, contributing to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and various other health complications.

If you absolutely can’t imagine going without your morning orange juice, then reduce the size of your glass, dilute it with water to stretch it, or drink juice  only on weekends.

Grocery store shelf with bottles of Fruity King mini sodas for kids. Orange, strawberry and blueberry artificially flavored beverages.

An affordable substitute for sodas and fruit juices is agua fresca, water infused with sliced fruit, like citrus, watermelon, or cucumber. This can also be made using zest and/or peelings from fruits. Sparkling water or club soda can be used to give it some fizz.

7. Make your own coffee and tea

Buying premium ready-made coffee drinks or bottled iced tea is a huge waste of money and another non-negotiable when keeping costs low. The affordable option is to brew your coffee and tea yourself. If you don’t have a coffee maker, they can usually be found at Goodwill or other secondhand stores. Clean them up and you’re in business. Buy your coffee in bulk and your teabags should be store brand or on sale. Don’t make more coffee than can be consumed while fresh so you eliminate waste. If you have leftover coffee, refrigerate it, and heat it up tomorrow or enjoy it as iced coffee.

What about coffee shops?

I’m not even going to talk about the waste of money that buying coffee shops or even convenience stores create.

Okay, I can’t stand it! I’ll talk! If a person spends only $2 a day on coffee on typical work week of 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year – that’s $500 a year! Just break that habit and make your stupid coffee at home!

kettle pouring boiling water into a cup in morning sunlight

8. Think of milk as a food, not a beverage

Limit milk consumption to one glass with a meal, then switch to water. Or offer milk as a snack. Don’t use fresh milk for baking or cooking purposes, use dry milk, or canned evaporated milk instead.

Glass jug and glass with milk on a wooden rustic background

9. But what about snacks, treats and sweets

To ensure everyone gets sufficient calories and nutrition, healthy snacking is important. However, processed bags of chips, packages of crackers, cookies, candies, and other treats are a huge unnecessary expense that doesn’t offer much, if any, actual nutrition.

When the kiddies are hungry and you’ve been in the habit of opening a “bag of something that turns their fingers orange” and plopping it down in front them, this must stop. This. Must. Stop.

You’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save and how much better your kids will feel.

Some ideas for budget healthy snacks are;

fresh fruit, sliced fruit with peanut butter, frozen fruit, sliced cheese, applesauce, carrot sticks, celery with peanut butter, peanut butter toast, homemade oven baked potato chips, sweet potato chips, popcorn made from kernels cooked in the microwave or oil or an air popper, oatmeal, homemade granola bars, oatmeal cookies, homemade muffins, cupcakes, sheet cakes, bar cookies, refried beans as a dip for veggies or made into little burritos with cheese and tortillas, quesadillas, hard boiled eggs, deviled eggs. I could go on and on but I believe you get the idea. 

10. Reduce or eliminate pre-packaged, prepared or convenience meals

Sorry to all the busy people out there but you simply can’t pay for convenience and still be frugal. Please remember those of us who cook from scratch are just as busy as you are but we make saving money and health a priority. If you’re not used to cooking, you’ll need to learn a few simple recipes and buy ingredients to prepare them. Some easy recipes to begin with are soups, pasta dishes, casseroles, crockpot meals, salads, rice and beans and stir-frys.

Grocery store Stouffers lasagna frozen dinners display

11. Purchase ingredients in small quantities in the bulk bins section

The bulk section is very helpful to keep weekly costs low because you buy only what you need in the immediate future. This means that rather than investing in, say, a whole bottle of Cajun spice, or bottled extra light olive oil, or five pounds of whole wheat flour, you can buy only what you need for your recipes for that week. This allows you to have variety while keeping costs minimal. Also, the bulk section is usually the best price per pound, but not always, so check and compare your prices per unit.

Bulk section in a Whole Foods store in South San Francisco bay area

12. Make breakfast and lunches at home

A highly nutritious breakfast is important for good health and sets the tone for your whole day. This means your body needs protein and healthy carbs to function and that’s what breakfast is about.

The first thing to stop buying is sugary cereals. While I acknowledge it’s an “easy” breakfast, cereals are nothing but processed carbohydrates, a lot of added sugar, and no actual nutrition. This will leave you feeling hungrier throughout the day and craving more sugary carbs. If you must eat cereal, aim for low sugar and lots of fiber and watch portion size. Or serve cereal only on weekends.

Close-up of couple having breakfast at home. Man is preparing eggs and bacon in frying pan.

Affordable breakfast ideas are;

yogurt with a little cereal for crunch, scrambled eggs with veggies, fruit with whole grain toast, oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit. The least expensive, most healthful breakfast is (drumroll please . . .) overnight oats with dried fruit.

Same thing goes for lunch, except lots of people buy lunch every day without a second thought.

If you eliminate the $10 dollar lunches at work:

($10 x 5 days a week = $50. Thus $50 a week for 50 weeks a year = $2500/year)

And replace them with a $3 lunch from home:

($3 x 5 days a week =$15. And $15 weekly for 50 weeks a year = $750/year)

You’ll save $1750 a year!

Affordable lunch ideas – Soups, sandwiches, especially peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, salads, and leftovers!

delicious and healthy lunch with paper bag

Now that you have these 12 strategies for drastically reducing food costs, you can start putting them into practice right away.

Remember, every penny counts, so don’t be discouraged if the savings seem small at first. Over time, those small savings can add up to significant amounts.

By planning your meals, reducing meat and poultry consumption, replacing animal proteins with plant-based and low-cost proteins, ditching bottled water and soda, and making your coffee and tea at home, you will save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year.

These strategies are not only good for your wallet but also your health and the environment. So, start taking action today and see the difference it can make in your life!

Set of fresh organic groceries in fabric eco-friendly reusable bags, viewed from above on grey background. Environmental shopping banner concept

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