Easy Ways To Save Money On Groceries
Finding new ways to save money each month can start to feel like a challenge when you’re feeding more than one person or putting extra money aside for upcoming travel or big purchases. Americans spend more money on food than on almost everything else, and if you’re finding it difficult to cut back on spending, your grocery budget should be the first place you look.
While you may already have a trim and tight grocery budget, there are always small tweaks that can be made to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. If you begin each month and week with a clear budget, satisfying meal plan and a clear commitment to staying within your budget, you’ll notice savings right away.
Making small changes like eating one meatless meal a week, shopping only with cash or choosing generic over name brand can instantly impact your grocery bill. We’ve gathered up several of our tried and true ways to save money on groceries, so you can satisfy both your appetite and your bank account with ease.
Planning & Preparation
It’s fairly difficult to save money on food if you don’t first make a budget and plan your meals. If you shop weekly, you’ll want to have a weekly budget and weekly meal plan that corresponds directly to that budget. Bring a calculator with you to the store when you shop, to make sure that you’ve properly budgeted, and shop generic brands, sales and store coupon prices to help you reach your goal each week. If you stick to both your budget and your meal prep plan, you can’t go wrong.
If you know you have a tendency to overspend by way of your debit or credit card, just don’t bring it with you when you shop. Take out cash in the precise amount you’ve budgeted for the week, and you won’t be able to overspend or impulse buy. If you get into a habit of spending only what you have with you, it’ll help you to stick to your goals and save big time.
Meat is expensive, and while we know meat-lovers can’t stop eating it entirely, you can quickly save cash by choosing to go meatless for even one or two nights a week. If taco night is a family favorite, switch from beef tacos to black bean tacos, or prepare lasagna or spaghetti with a meat-free pesto or red sauce. If you plan ahead, you can cut up to $20 a week off your grocery bill just by cutting back on meat consumption!
Watch Your Waste
Plan your meals so that you can use last night’s leftovers as today’s lunch or, better yet, as part of tonight’s dinner. For example, leftover pasta noodles can be tossed into a light vinaigrette, chopped onions, peppers and sundried tomatoes, and become a light and zesty side dish for the next day’s chicken dinner. Be creative and avoid throwing out leftovers, and you’ll waste less food and save money while you’re at it.
Cook and Freeze
One of the easiest ways to keep your food budget in check is to prep your meals in advance and freeze them for use on the go. Take two hours on the weekend to prep, cook and freeze dinners for the week, breakfasts on the go or snacks and lunches, and you’ll find that you do less stopping for snacks on the road or eating out in a bind. Prepare foods that can be eaten over the course of 2 days, so that you get the most bang for your buck, and don’t be afraid to practice your casserole skills, as they can help feed a family for weeks at a time.