Do you every come across those “I feed my family for $200 a month” articles on Pinterest and instantly have a jealously issue? No judgement. I am totally guilty too. How do those people get their groceries down that much? There is no way. They probably don’t have any kids and eat nothing but processed junk.
If you have been around the frugal block awhile, you already know the core grocery saving tips: Shop your pantry first, meal plan around sales, and make as much as you can from scratch. Maybe you have implemented these tips and saved alot but know your bill has greater potential.
Here are the ultimate factors that goes into shedding those last $20-$40 a week off your bill:
1) Think of food as a necessity to live, not a source of entertainment.
What I mean is, food is food. We need it to provide us with energy and nutrients. That. Is. It. Food doesn’t have to be fancy. If you have a bowl of beans and rice for dinner, hey, that’s food. And it will provide your body what it needs. It doesn’t have to always taste gourmet. It is food. All us super frugal people know this. It’s a mental thing. A mindset. A discipline.
2) Unconventional meals saves money.
There have been times where I have found a big tub of yogurt on sale for $1. Guess what? Add a handful of nuts and some frozen blueberries and call it dinner! These are my kids’ favorite types of dinners. Super easy and dirt cheap. I can easily make my family of 6 a dinner for less than $5. Dinner doesn’t have to be a big slab of meat and 3 sides. It can be whatever you want!
3) Always be on the hunt for a great deal.
Almost all frugal grocery shoppers have a stock pile on food in their freezers and pantry. One of the most important rules is to stock up when prices are at their lowest. It is honestly very hard to write an article about meal planning and grocery shopping because I have a stock pile of random stuff I pick up all the time. So in order to share with you what I bought that week and all the meals I made with that list, would be irrelevant unless I share what I have in my freezer first. Understand? Always have a stock pile.
4) Never spend all your grocery money at once.
No matter how much I allot myself for food, I ALWAYS keep at least a few dollars back. Why? What if I forget something? Or what if I run across a killer deal? I need a cushion of cash to make those impactful purchases.
5) Buy a little less.
Challenge yourself. See how much your family can really get by with. You can always go back later to get more. One time I needed to go to Costco but the week didn’t allow me to make the drive. I bought almost everything at Aldi except the meat (I was planning on purchasing pork-loin). Halfway through the week, I realized I didn’t have the pork-loin that I was planning on cooking. My husband looked at me and said, “Well, do we really need it?” “Well, no not technically as long as you are ok with having eggs the rest of the week as our protein source.” We went the rest of the week just eating vegetarian and saved $18.
6) Keep meals super simple.
I love those 5 ingredient or less recipes. The less ingredients, the less you have to spend. An egg and cheese omelette with a size of steamed broccoli is a perfectly balanced meal. Just keep it simple.
7) Always ask yourself- “What option is the healthiest and the most filling for my money?”
Take a box of raisins for example. I can buy a 6 pack of raisins for a $1 or I can buy a whole cantaloupe for the same amount. Which is going to be a more filling snack? The cantaloupe has more volume with water and fiber to keep my kids fuller longer. The raisins are just a tease. My kids will be begging for more food in 15 minutes.
8) Have a set price maximum for each meal.
In my article How I Feed 6 People Healthy Food for $500 a month! I share that I spend between $7-$12 for dinners. Now, I spend $3-$10. Breakfast is no more than $2 and lunches are no more than $6 for all of us. Keeping in mind these guidelines helps me tremendously while planning meals. I calculate about how much each meal cost before heading to the store. If I find a cheaper alternative, I switch it up, keeping my savings to the maximum.
9) Think of grocery shopping as a job…or a game!
As a stay at home mom of 4 littles, there are not many options for me to work to gain a paycheck. I babysit here and there but I don’t have anything consistently bringing in extra cash. Like anything, the more effort you put into something, the bigger return. Think of grocery shopping as your way to bring in extra money. The more money you save, the more money you get to keep. Wouldn’t you rather use that extra money on other things than just food?
10) Maximize your savings by prepping your meals.
Chicken leg quarters are often on sale for as low as $0.49 per pound. Usually these deals are in 10 pound bags or so. By cooking all of them at once, pulling the chicken from the bones, and freezing the meat (and making bone broth from the bones for future soups, stews and rice) saves you time and money later. Disciplining yourself to meal prepping is an invaluable quality. Commit yourself and be amazed!
These tips are more of a mindset then anything else. But, in essence that’s what frugality is. Always finding a way to save money is a combination of discipline, determination, organization and maybe a little obsession. The more effort you put into it, the greater the reward.
What are your ultimate grocery shopping saving tips?