March 18, 2018

5 Tips to Help Cut Your Grocery Budget

When I first started staying at home the biggest area of our budget that needed some major rehab was the grocery bill. We were spending $700/month on groceries to feed our little family of 3! The first thing you need to know about me is that I cook. Every night. Real food for 3 people. So figuring out how to cut my grocery budget while still cooking real meals was something that I have spent a lot of time researching and comparing. I was able to take our grocery bill from $700 down to $400/month or roughly $100/week. Here is how I did it-
1. Change where you shop
If you are shopping at a traditional grocery store (think: HyVee, Price Chopper, Giant Eagle) stop immediately. Grocery chains have one of the highest markups in the industry because they can't offset their costs elsewhere in the store. Places like Target don't make any money on things like milk and bananas because they can offset it by selling you a sweater while you're there. My favorite places to shop for groceries are Aldi, Target and Sams Club. Aldi has the lowest prices I've ever seen. Their stores are highly efficient, you have to provide your own shopping bags, and you have to "rent" your cart which means tons of savings. I sat down with my receipts from Aldi, Target and Sams Club and compared every item. Aldi won 8 out of 10 times. Target's Market Pantry line came in a close second (their milk is the cheapest by $.27 in our area). Sam's Club only won when it came to things that I buy a lot of but more on that later.

2. Buy Private Label
I usually always buy private labels when I grocery shop because it's (almost) always cheaper and it's the exact same product. I'll let you in on a secret: they use the exact same factories as the national brands. This is true across apparel, food, paper products, etc. Stores create their own labels because they're able to cut out the middle man which in turn cuts their costs. This makes their margins higher while providing you with savings. My favorite private label brands are Aldi (most of their store is private label) and Target's Market Pantry and Archer Farms lines. The only time I don't buy private label is when there isn't a substitute (i.e., Larabars) or if I've tried it and the quality wasn't the same (i.e., Aldi napkins, they have one choice, and they are super scratchy).

3. Meal Plan
I used to walk into the grocery store and "let the store tell me what I needed." Aka, I walked in without a plan and walked out having spent nearly $200. I started being a diligent meal planner once Lela started eating real food. So, every Saturday, I open up the notes section on my phone, plan what we're eating for the week and make my grocery list. It helps keep me on track while I'm in the store if I know what I need when I walk in.

4. Use Your Apps and Check for Sales
After I've made my meal plan for the week I open the apps that I told you about (post here) and decide where to shop that week. There are some things that I always buy name brand like Stonyfield Organic Yogurt for Lela, Larabars, Kind bars and Cheerios. When those things are on my list, I always check Ibotta for a rebate. After I've checked Ibotta, I open the Target app and scan their ad to see if anything is on sale. I always feel like I hit the holy grail when something is on sale AND has an Ibotta or Cartwheel. When it comes to Larabars and Kind bars, I always wait until they are on sale or have a cartwheel before I buy them at Target. If they aren't on sale and I HAVE to buy them, I buy them at Sam's Club which is the equivalent of them being on sale at Target.

5. Buy in Bulk (when it makes sense)
I just recently started shopping at Sam's Club. I could never understand why someone would need to buy 1,000 plastic cups (I still don't, that's a lot of cups) BUT, Austin's mom gave us a free membership, so I wanted to see what Sam's Club was all about. When it comes to things that we eat a lot of like Cheerios, spinach, and chicken I buy them exclusively from Sam's Club. The single biggest savings on our grocery bill has been because I buy these 3 things at Sam's. I buy the giant thing of chicken for $12 and portion it out at home. There are usually 8 breasts, so its enough for roughly 4 meals and comes out to be $3/meal. My biggest tip for buying in bulk is to make sure that it's something you will really use and use all of. I buy the 32 oz tub of Spinach which is a ton of spinach, but it never goes to waste. If I can't finish the entire container before it goes bad, I stick the remainder in my Magic Bullet with a little water, blend it and freeze it in an ice tray. You can pop a cube out and add it to pasta sauce, smoothies, etc.

Cheers!
Mandy

2 comments:

  1. Love this! Grocery budget is always tricky, followed by eating out. Why must we love good food so much!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!! It’s such a hard balance between eating well and not breaking the bank!

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