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Giveaway: Four Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Save Money on Groceries

I often write about ways to save money and stretch budgets. These money-saving tips can be applied to many areas in life including one that applies to almost everyone – groceries. I’ve written about it before, but there are many ways to save money on groceries and maximize your grocery budget. Few things help more than an influx of cash to pad that grocery budget; so, how does an extra $100 for your grocery budget sound? It sounds pretty awesome to me, which is why I am teaming up with other bloggers to giveaway $100 in Paypal cash or Amazon gift cards. The giveaway runs from now until December 15,th so participate for your chance to win $100!

Avoid Pre-packaged Foods   

We live in a society that’s always looking for the added convenience. You see it from drive-thru restaurants and dry cleaners, to smart phone apps that help you prioritize your day. The grocery store is no different. A simple stroll down the grocery store aisles bears this reality out when you see all of the prepackaged foods. They might help in a pinch, but are they really healthy for you and will they really help you save money on groceries? The simple answer to both of those questions is no. I know it might require more time to prepare your own meals, but they are generally healthier and cheaper. What better way to be healthy and be frugal than by making your own meals? Not only do you feel better about what you’re eating, but it also allows you to save money.

Save Money on Groceries By Paying With Cash

I’ve written about our cash budget before, but the grocery store is where we really feel the benefit of it. By using cash we’re forced to be more discerning about our purchases, which results in us getting only what we need (for the most part). There’s a psychological component to handing over that hard earned cash and it aids us in our attempt to stick to our grocery budget. I know it might take some getting used to, but using cash can really help you save money on groceries.

Don’t Let Loss Leaders Eat Up Your Grocery Budget

Many people know what a loss leader is. It’s what stores will use to get you in their establishment. I love buying milk when it’s $2 per gallon, but don’t get tempted by other items that are priced higher. That purchasing discipline prevents me from busting my grocery budget. If you don’t want to drive all over town to take advantage of all the possible deals (which would probably cost you more in gas than you’d save on groceries) look for a grocery store that will match competitors’ deals. That way you can still save money on groceries and do so wisely.

Eat Leftovers

I know that leftovers are not popular; I am not a huge fan of them myself. But, this is quite possibly one of the best ways to save money on groceries. It’s simple math really. You’re using as much of your food as possible which results in you needing to buy less at the grocery store. Take leftovers for lunch the next day or spruce them up by adding a side dish over the next few days and you instantly stretch your grocery budget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

What are some of your favorite ways to save money on groceries? What would you do with an extra $100? At this time of the year, I know there are many things it could go towards.

 

Photo courtesy of: Murat Cokal

 

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to U.S. News & World Report, Personal Capital, Daily Finance and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

44 Comments

  • What! You don’t like left overs? I love them! I would likely be half the man I am today without them…

    The way I try to control my grocery spend is by sticking to a list which I prepare prior to going shopping. Everyone once in a while I will deviate away from it, but even then it’s only for things that are on special and non -perishable.

  • All good tips! There are a million ways to save groceries if you make an effort. Thanks for the fiveaway!

  • Excited to be participating in a giveaway with you! I like your tips. I essentially focused on couponing since that is the main way I have saved money on groceries this year.

  • Michelle says:

    We are horrible with leftovers. We almost always just pack it away in the fridge and then it seems to disappear in there and we never touch it again.

  • I’m a HUGE fan of leftovers for lunch. It beats the hell out of sandwiches and is so easy to organize in the morning. Besides, throwing away left overs is like throwing money into the garbage.

  • Pauline says:

    It does hurt to pay cash! And you can annoy everyone in queue asking the cashier to remove items if you didn’t bring enough money :)

    • John says:

      Lol! We used to run into that all the time as well. Having that cash though really does make you think if you want the items you selected.

  • The no pre-packaged food is definitely a big one, and we try to avoid this whenever we can.. It saves money, and it tastes so much better to have everything home made!

  • Eating leftovers is huge. Learning to cook for just 2, after the kids left home, was hard but I’m getting better at it.

    • John says:

      It can be Marie. I can imagine that is adjustment to be made. My Mom still cooks like she’s preparing a meal for the Russian army. So, it’s nice when she visits because we get plenty of leftovers out of it. :)

  • My favorite way is to make a list and stick to it… now I need to follow my own advice again.

  • Nice tips John and I am happy to be in this giveaway with you. I like your tips and they are very similar to mine. Great minds think alike!

  • WorkSaveLive says:

    We really love winter and save a lot of money on groceries as we make a lot of chili and soups, which allows us to have leftovers (not to mention it’s really cheap to make the initial meal). We’ll have leftovers for dinners and even pack them in our lunches. We’re big on making our own meals as well and avoiding packaged foods. It’s really gross to look at all of the ingredients in packaged foods and to see how much salt they add to those things. Yuck!

    • John says:

      We do the same thing as well Jason, in fact we did last night. We have a good sized deep freeze in the garage so it’s nice to put the rest in the freezer and just pull it out when we need a quick meal. I agree, most of those packaged foods are just full of crap. We try and stay away from it as much as possible.

  • Mackenzie says:

    We definitely eat leftovers in my household! There are certain meals I make purposely with the intention of having leftovers, such as lasagna.

  • I am trying hard to avoid convenience foods and snacks. I can actually cook better than I though when you get down to it. Following a recipe isn’t rocket science, although putting flour instead of powdered sugar can really ruin a dessert! I can’t imagine having to feed 5 people. Three is hard enough.

    • John says:

      We try to avoid them as well, which can be difficult with three little ones as they want those types of things. I imagine flour instead of powdered sugar would make for a surprise. :) Feeding five can get a bit nutty at times, it’s amazing that they all get fed everyday. 😉

  • Veronica Hill says:

    About leftovers: I’m amazed at how many people won’t take their restaurant food home as leftovers. I have a friend who will never take leftovers home for some reason. Later that evening he gets hungry and starts looking for food… instead of eating great leftovers he makes some canned food or something. What the heck is wrong with leftovers? Haha. Thanks for the tips John.

    • John says:

      I feel the same way Veronica. My wife often does not finish her whole meal when we go out. We bring it home and it’s another lunch for her. It’s a great way to stretch what you spent even further.

  • Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy says:

    We do home-made whenever possible: soups, stews, pizza, tomato sauce, even honeyed wine. By whipping up our own tasty and nutritious meals, we have the luxury and flexibility to invest in more quality ingredients without straining our budget. And dinner leftovers most definitely are kept for lunches! My lunch today in fact is a homemade veggie pizza on whole wheat crust. Nom Nom. :)

    • John says:

      Honeyed wine? That sounds pretty darn good. :) We have found the same thing, that it allows us to get what we want. We love cooking ethnic meals, so it’s nice to be able to allow that within our grocery budget.

  • Kyle James says:

    Good points. Only one I would disagree with are the loss leaders. For my wife and I those provide amazing savings, especially on non-perishable goods at the grocery store. The end caps are a great place for savings – sure I guess you can overdo by buying stuff not on your list, but overall we save a lot of $$ on the items highly discounted,

  • We are big fans of leftovers too. We freeze them in portions and then eat them later in the month. This way we get variety in flavour and nutrition.

  • This is such a huge topic for me as most people who follow me know as we are trying to control our spending by posting our grocery shop and budget in our weekly Grocery Game Challenge. The one thing that we do is stick to the list. The minute we deviate from the list we have some explaining to do or we have to spend less the following week so we don’t go over budget. Great contest you all put together. Mr.CBB

    • John says:

      We’re the same way Mr. CBB. We have a print out of basically anything we normally get at the store and write down on it what we need on that trip. Using that along with our cash budget really helps us stretch our grocery budget further.

  • Hmm the paying with cash tip, I mean I guess it could go both ways really. If you are easily tempted to buy lots of stuff at the grocery store, then a cash budget is good, but I prefer getting points using my credit card instead.

    • John says:

      It can go both ways. As long as you can afford it, then I am fine with either. I was speaking more to the point that psychologically it can be more painful to part with cash and thus help you stay to your budget.

  • Justin@TheFrugalPath says:

    Writing a list and sticking to it can be one of the most important ways to save your grocery budget. Knowing what you want and need can save you a ton of money on impulse buys.

    • John says:

      I would agree Justin. We have a master list that we have copies of we use for each trip. It has pretty much everything we buy on a regular basis and can notate what we need, it’s very helpful to keeping us on track.

  • AverageJoe says:

    I’m lucky working from home. I use leftovers for the next day’s lunch!

  • Jason Clayton | frugal habits says:

    Eating leftovers is a big deal for me and my family. Many times my leftovers will sit in the fridge until something is growing on them (nasty I know..). If I was more efficient with eating leftovers, I know we would save money on our monthly budget.

    One great way to save money is to plan on using leftovers (or make meals that will feed you for 2 nights, etc)

    • John says:

      We’re the same way Jason. I’d say we eat roughly 90% of our leftovers. They can be good for lunches as well as freezing for a later dinner. We do still get the science experiment from time to time with green fur growing on it though.

  • Jerry says:

    Great point about the loss leaders. Impulse buys account for up to 20 percent of the purchases in our lives(depending on which study you read). It is best to shop after you have eaten and with a list. Paying with cash definitely makes what you are spending more ”real” than simply swiping a card.

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