According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost of groceries NOT including takeout and restaurant meals are:
- 1 person $251 a month
- 2 people $553 a month
- 3 people $722 a month
- 4 people $892 a month
- 5 people $1060 a month
- 6 people $1230 a month
That’s a big chunk of change!
Your grocery budget could increase fast, from takeout, snacks, etc. But there are ways to spend less on food and still eat healthily!
Here are ways to save money on groceries without coupons.
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Plan your meals ahead of time and make a shopping list before going to the grocery store. This way you’re more likely to buy the exact items you need and that also prevents impulsive buying. I often plan for recipes that use the same ingredients so there’s less trip to the grocery store. Less shopping, save more!
Freeze your foods
Freezing your fresh food before it goes bad saves your money as well as helps the environment. I usually chop and freeze vegetables and meats to save time on weekday cooking. Frozen vegetables and meats are great in soups and stir-fries.
Buy store brands
Typically, store brands like Costco’s Kirkland and Kroger’s Simple Truth are cheaper than the brand names. For example, Costco’s store brand Kirkland Signature Coffee K-Cup is $39.99 for 120 counts. It’s like 30 cents for a cup of coffee. On the other hand, TULLY’S Coffee K-Cup is $53.96 for 96 counts which comes to 56 cents for a cup of coffee. Small things add up to make a big difference.
Cook in bulk
Cooking in bulk has completely changed my grocery shopping routine and saved money and time. I cook a lot of dishes on weekend based on what’s on sale this week and freeze them all. During the week, I simply take those meals out of the freezer and heat them up to prepare for dinner. Cook in bulk also cut eat out expenses.
Use small pantry
I personally think using a small pantry is a good idea to prevent overstock. If you can’t use a small pantry, write it down everything you have in your pantry once in a while. Consider making a meal out of what’s in the pantry or fridge and eliminate your trip to the grocery store. Again, less shopping, save more!
“Don’t feel like you need to buy something just because you’re out of it. Raid your pantry and fridge for substitutes first. Make your meal plans around what you already have.” — Carla A.
Shop fresh vegetables or fruits in season
Some fruits and vegetables grow easily or difficult to produce in some seasons. Therefore, peak season vegetables and fruits taste good and also cheap!
Here is list of some peak seasons for fruits and vegetables:
Eye-level items are traps
Did you know that the most expensive items on the grocery shelves tend to be right at your eye level? It’s one of the marketing strategies! Grocery stores want you to buy the most expensive items. When you go to the grocery store, look up and down. The more affordable items could be higher or lower shelves.
Use a small shopping cart at the grocery store
The same logic as “use the small pantry.” Use a small shopping cart at the grocery store, so you won’t buy too much.
Use cashback app
I don’t use coupons but I use a grocery rebate app called Ibotta. (It’s free to sign up) The average Ibotta user earns $150 a year on groceries, online purchases, and delivery. I’ve tried multiple grocery rebate apps and by far Ibotta is real money. (some cashback app only give you points and you need unrealistic points to cash out, that’s not real money)
Don’t buy more than you need
A great sale is not always a good discount if you end up throwing away half of what you bought routinely. It’s obvious that “wasting” is not good for your wallet and environment. Some food gets bad so quickly even if it’s unopened. Overbuying is expensive more than you think.
Use store loyalty programs
Many stores ask you to make a loyalty card to take advantage of sale prices. These store loyalty programs are free to sign up. Some programs give you discounts on gas for using your loyalty card.
Here are some examples:
- Kroger – discount on groceries and fuel
- Walgreen – discounts based on the points you accumulate
- Albertson – earn points and redeem these points for free groceries and for gas discounts
Don’t shop hungry
When you are hungry, you’ll be more likely to make an impulse purchase especially snacks. Foods look like diamonds when you are starving! (everything so shiny, you want it all, dangerous to shop)
Explore new stores
Explore new grocery stores sometimes! You’ll find better deals, discounts or foods. You can also compare the prices if you can go to multiple grocery stores. It can help your budgeting.
Rice is a reasonably priced grain and it stores well for a long time. And also, you can easily freeze cooked rice and it usually good for a week. (freeze rice shortly after it has been cooked is a must) Frozen rice can save money and time!
The best way to save money is to not waste it! I hope these tips help you to save some money on grocery spending.