Your food budget doesn’t have to break the bank. Save money on your grocery budget with these 10 simple tips!
Everyone I know is currently looking for ways to save money.
With the costs of everything rising so much lately, our budgets are all stretched tight. There are some things you might not be able to save money on, like gas (if you have to commute) and housing. But your grocery budget is one area where it’s usually possible to shave off expenses and save money.
Here are 10 easy and practical ways for you to save money on your grocery budget.
1. Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat
I’m sure many of us would love to have steak every night, or eat prime rib on a regular basis. But the fact of the matter is, if you need to save money on your grocery budget, you need to choose cheaper cuts of meat.
For chicken, buying bone in, skin on chicken is cheaper. Buying legs and thighs is also cheaper than drumsticks. Buying a whole chicken is usually the cheapest price per pound for chicken. If you need ideas on how to cook a whole chicken, check out our post on 6 ways to Cook a Whole Chicken, which includes recipes for stove top whole chicken, oven roasted whole chicken, Crockpot whole chicken (4 different recipes!), smoked whole chicken, and grilled whole chicken.
Some of the cheapest cuts of beef are ground beef, chuck roast, and London broil. A chuck steak will cost a lot less than a ribeye.
For pork, the cheapest cuts tend to be ham, pork butt or pork shoulder.
When buying cheaper cuts of meat (especially on the beef or pork roasts), you may find that they’re quite a bit tougher than the more expensive cuts. This can be remedied by marinating and cooking low and slow.
2. Buy in Bulk/ During Sales
Another great way to save money on your groceries is to buy in bulk when items are on sale. Certain items tend to go on sale at certain times of year. When produce is in season, it’s cheaper than when it’s off season. I just bought a bunch of strawberries for 98 cents a pound, and I cut the tops out and froze them whole or sliced to use later.
During January, items that are considered “diet” or “healthy” tend to go on sale. This can be a great time of year to buy extra oats.
Right before the Super Bowl, Memorial Day, and 4th of July can be a great time to stock up on chips, condiments, and other snacks you would associate with these events.
Baking items tend to go on sale around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it’s a great time to stock up on those.
The best way to save money buying in bulk is to know your prices. When you see a good price, buy extra. When you see a phenomenal price, stock up. You’ll be spending more money upfront in order to save money in the long term.
3. Ditch Name Brands
Brand loyalty can be a difficult thing to overcome. We all have brands that we prefer. When you need to save on your food budget, you need to get past brand loyalty and buy generic.
Interestingly enough, many generic products are produced in the same facilities as their name brand counterparts.
It’s possible that you’ll be sacrificing quality a little bit if you buy generic brand canned green beans, but it probably won’t be enough to really notice. In fact, I make this Chicken Green Bean Stuffing Casserole using generic green beans, store brand sour cream, and the knock-off box of stuffing, and no one has ever noticed.
4. Cook from Scratch
Processed foods cost more than real food, both in the actual cost in the store as well as the long term cost to our health. Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve got a whole list of 30 minute dinner recipes to make it easier for you.
5. Meal Plan
Along with cooking from scratch, meal planning can really help your grocery budget. When you have a plan for the meals you’ll make this week, you can shop with purpose. No more buying something because it looked good. No more buying produce that rots in your fridge.
By creating a plan, you can shop specifically for the ingredients needed in the recipes you’ll be making. This will save you a lot of money at the grocery store, but it will also lessen the amount of food waste at your house.
6. Repurpose Leftovers
Another great way to lessen food waste is by repurposing and reusing leftovers. The easiest way to do this is to divvy up any leftovers into single portion containers and use them for lunches the following day.
This isn’t always possible, though, so you may have to get creative. I love the challenge of looking in the fridge at my leftovers and trying to come up with a new recipe to use them in.
Just recently I made a delicious recipe that my kids are already begging me to make again. I had a leftover chicken breast and some queso that we’d gotten that none of us loved, so it was just sitting there, not getting eaten. Thus, Queso Chicken Casserole was invented.
Get creative and try new things. There may be an occasional flop, but the more you practice the better you’ll get. If you’re new to cooking, The Flavor Bible is a great reference to get. If you have something in your fridge to use, and you want to know what will go well with it, you can simply look it up in this book and get ideas.
7. Make the Basics Yourself
It might surprise you how easy it can be to make pantry basics yourself, and how cheap they are when you make them.
For instance, right now buying prepared mayonnaise is ridiculously expensive, as the price has jumped considerably. But homemade mayo is SO easy to make, and it only takes a few minutes!
Some other pantry items you can make are:
8. Stop Buying Cereal
Cereal is an expensive breakfast item that really doesn’t fill you up very well. We make our own homemade granola that’s really cheap per serving (especially if you stock up on oats when they’re on sale in January, and stock up on nuts when they’re on sale before Thanksgiving!).
While the price of eggs has gone up drastically, eggs are still quite cheap as a breakfast choice. Even if eggs are $4 per dozen in your area, that’s just 33 cents per egg, making them a low-cost breakfast.
Cooking from scratch comes in handy here again. You can bake up a pan of Breakfast Casserole Bites, a Frittata (like this Tomato and Spinach Frittata or this Sweet Potato Frittata), or a baked oatmeal (like this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal or this Cranberry Orange Baked Oatmeal) and everyone can reheat a serving for breakfast.
9. Make your own snacks
Snack items can really make or break your grocery budget. They tend to cost quite a lot for what they actually are.
When we started making the majority of our snacks, we were shocked by how much money we saved.
Need ideas for snacks you can make yourself? Here are some of our favorites:
Homemade Popsicles: Raspberry Lemonade Popsicles, Very Berry Popsicles, Tropical Yogurt Popsicles, Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles, Pumpkin Spice Latte Popsicles, Mocha Popsicles, and Strawberry Kiwi Popsicles
Cookies: More than 30 Cookie Recipes
Muffins: 20 Muffin Recipes
10. Grow a garden
Obviously, this isn’t an option that’s possible for everyone. However, if it is a possibility for you grow your own food, go for it! Growing a garden doesn’t have to be expensive. Seeds are fairly inexpensive, and if you have gardening friends they’ll probably be more than happy to share a few seeds with you.
If you don’t think you have the room for a garden, get creative! Many people living in apartments are able to grow some veggies in pots on their porch, or on a balcony.
If you have a friend that gardens, ask them if they would consider a trade for some produce in exchange for your sweat labor helping in the garden. Find out if your community has a community garden nearby.
If you’re just getting started gardening, we have articles about how to grow vegetables from seed to table (including recipes to use them in).
In order to lower your grocery budget, you need a budget
This isn’t a tip about how to save money on your grocery budget, but rather a tip for life in general. In order to know if you’re saving money on anything, you really need to have a budget. I know that many people balk at the idea of a budget, but it really will help your money go where you want it to, instead of disappearing each month.
I hope that these 10 Easy Ways to Save Money on your Grocery Budget have been helpful to you! If you have more ideas of ways to save money on your grocery budget, we hope you’ll drop a comment below!
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