If you've noticed the jump in food prices over the past year, you're not alone. In April the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that food prices have risen by as much as 30 percent in some food categories. And just yesterday a major supermarket warned inflation is about to impact more people. In this blog post, we share 15 tips on how to spend less on groceries to help you cut your food costs and still eat well.
15 Tips on How to Spend Less On Groceries
1. Make Use of Inexpensive Sources of Protein
Meat is one of the most expensive food categories in your food budget and a meat heavy diet can cost you. Even if you're not on a high-protein diet, you can use cheaper cuts of meat like ground beef or chicken to make chicken nuggets, spaghetti, tacos, burritos, fried rice, etc.,
You pay more for convenience, so safe yourself even more money by deboning and skinning poultry yourself.
Don't sulk if you can't afford to buy salmon or a premium cut of meat all the time. Just reserve those for special occasions. There are other good sources of protein out there that are cheaper and possibly healthier.
If you take a plant-based diet, there are many low-cost protein sources like eggs, beans, peas, peanut butter, seeds, nuts, tempeh and tofu.
Consider scheduling a no meat day once a week which can save you at least $20 a month.
2. Stop Buying Processed Food
Just because a bag of Cheetos cost less than a bag of apples, it doesn't mean you should go for Cheetos. Often people don't realize that the money they spend on junk food could have been used to buy more nutritious food.
Walking past the processed food isle will save you a lot of money. Not only are carbonated drinks, sugary cereals, potato chips and other snacks unhealthy, they are an added expense you don't need.
3. Watch for Deals and Coupons
Stores offer grocery specials that help you save money on staple food items.
Search for these deals in your local paper or the websites of major retailers to learn what is being offered each week. If you don't receive the paper anymore, you can find numerous coupons to print from sites like Betty Crocker, Pillsbury Bob's Red Mill and Kelloggs.
4. Buy Generic Brands or Private Label
You may prefer a certain brand, but generic or private label products can be up to 50% cheaper and many offer the same quality.
Many stores like Trader Joes offers their own line of products that are manufactured especially for them. There seems to be little difference in taste or quality since they are made following the same quality standards as the national brands. If you don't like them, you can return them, but at least be willing to try them.
5. Buy What's on the Manager's Special
While it's not recommended to buy items you don't need just because they are on sale, you can save money stocking up on certain foods when they are on markdown. If you combine this with utilizing your coupons, you will generate and drastically reduce your grocery bill!
Stores often mark down on Monday's and Tuesdays after the weekend rush is over.
6. Buy Spices and Herbs in Bulk
Spices and herbs have a short shelf life and some can be pricey. In fact, spices at the grocery store will cost you almost double the price. Whenever possible, buy in bulk and store them in a cool, dark place for a longer shelf-life.
Grow your own herbs whenever you can.
7. Eat Produce Grown In Season
Even though we can eat almost any food we want at any time, eating raspberries in December will cost you more. Eating seasonally is not only cheaper, it's healthier!
The more available a food is, and the shorter the distance it has to travel, the less expensive it will be. A great way to get seasonal produce is from farmer's markets or farmers who offer community supported agriculture (CSA).
8. Eat Meals at Home
On average, it will cost you around $4 to ear a meal prepared at home as opposed to $15 for a restaurant meal. Eating out often is not only unhealthy, it is expensive! You can easily spend $100 for a meal of four. Eating out should be an occasional event – not for every meal.
9. Plan Your Meals
When you plan your meals, you won't buy food you don't need. Try eMeals Free for 14 Days. Instead, you will look at the recipes you'll be making, see what's on sale, know what you already have on hand, then buy only what you need. This will limit impulse buys. Better yet, order your groceries online. That gets rid of last minute impulse buys completely.
10. Grow a Kitchen Garden
Growing your own food in an excellent way to save money. It does take some time and attention, but it is rewarding in so many ways. >>Start with these 10 easiest vegetables to grow in your garden.
Gardening can improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
11. Use Kitchen Gadgets to Reduce Food Waste
Consider using certain kitchen gadgets to help you use more of what you buy.
Take a juicer for example. If you stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, but don't always get to consume them before they start to go bad, a juicer can help you salvage everything from apples to spinach before they brown and wilt.
If you have a bread machine, you can package up baggies of all the dry ingredients needed to make various types of bread. Put a label on them and store them in the pantry.
A vacuum sealer is another gadget that can prevent food waster by slowing the growth of bacteria and mold to extend the life of your groceries.
12. Use Ice Cube Trays
You can use ice cube trays to save herbs, spices, homemade bone broth, chicken stock, lemon juice, coffee, pesto, tomato paste, etc.,
Just fill the trays with whatever food you want to freeze, After 1 – 2 hours, pop the cubes out of the tray and into a freezer bag. Make sure to get all the air out of the bag and put them in the freezer for future use.
13. Use a Rewards Credit Card
If you have a credit card with rewards and you're not using it, you are missing out on money. Some cards even have a 100,000k point sign-on bonus. That's about $1,000 when translated to what you would spend in cash.
14. Shop at Club Discount Stores
Buying in bulk at a warehouse club can help you save big bucks only if you can avoid impulse buys. Warehouse clubs are set up to encourage you to spend more than you intended in the form of impulse buys, so keep that in mind. Only buy staples like extra virgin olive oil, nuts, peanut butter, oatmeal, dried pasta and fruit, etc., to save money.
Also, splitting your purchases or even membership fee with another family member or friend can save you money. It can be difficult to eat ten pounds of meat before the freezer burn sets in. But if you split the purchase with someone else, you can avoid throwing out used food.
15. Grocery Shop Online
As of 2019, online shopping surpassed shopping in physical stores. Besides saving you time, online shopping can save you money. The ability to quickly compare products and prices makes it easy to save money.
One of the best online membership markets is Thrive Market. They offer members wholesale prices by cutting off the middleman to save you 25-50% off retail and when you spend more than $49, shipping is free.
Here are all our favorite products to stock from Thrive Market:
Cooking & Easy Dinner Ingredients
Olive Oil | Thrive Market Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar | Thrive Market Organic Balsamic
Chopped Garlic | Emperor’s Kitchen Organic Chopped Garlic
Chicken Broth | Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth
Pasta Sauce | Thrive Market Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
Beans | Thrive Market Organic Black Beans
Diced Tomatoes | Thrive Market Organic Diced Tomatoes
Wild Albacore Tuna | Safe Catch Canned Wild Tuna
Pesto | Kitchen Love Basil Pesto Sauce
Rice Pilaf | Near East Rice Pilaf Mix Original
Capers | Thrive Market Organic Capers
Enchilada Sauce | Hatch Chile Company Medium Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (also great for chilaquiles!)
Mac & Cheese | Annie’s Classic Mac & Cheese
Meat & Seafood Boxes | The best chicken I've ever tasted!
Ketchup | Thrive Market Organic Ketchup
Mustard | Thrive Market Organic Yellow Mustard
Mayo | Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo
Hot Sauce | Cholula Hot Sauce
Spices, Seasoning & Salt | Bay Leaves, Salt Grinder, Pepper Grinder, Garlic Powder, and more!
Snack Mix | Thrive Market Paleo Snack Mix in Savory flavor
Crackers | Simple Mills Rosemary & Sea Salt Almond Flour Crackers, Thrive Market Organic Cassava Crackers
Tortilla Chips | Late July Jalapeno Lime Chips
Salsa | Thrive Market Medium Salsa
Microwave Popcorn | Sprinkle with Garlic Gold Parmesan Nuggets
Cheesy Puffs | Annie’s Organic Cheddar Cheesy Puffs
Cheese Crisps | Cello Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps
Olives | Thrive Market Organic Greek Olive Mix
Beef Jerky | Thrive Market Organic Beef Jerky Original
Flour | Thrive Market Organic All-Purpose Flour
Chocolate Chips | Thrive Market Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
Yeast | Red Star Active Dry Yeast
Baking Soda & Baking Powder, Vanilla Extract, Powdered Sugar, Brown Sugar
Maple Syrup | Thrive Market Organic Maple Syrup
Granola | Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Granola
Coffee | Thrive Market Organic Breakfast Blend
Almond Milk | Pacific Foods Organic Almond Beverage 4-Pack