Happy Wednesday! This year I am joining up with some of my favorite bloggers for a weekly Wednesday Link Up! While the topic for the link up is open, I am going to try to have a theme or monthly topic. This month, I am focusing on Ways to Save Money! One of our biggest expenses in our monthly budget is GROCERIES! With a family of five who all have very different likes and wants when it comes to food, things can get pretty expensive. However, after years of trying different cost cutting measures out, I have learned a few habits and hacks that are effective in saving money! Today, I’ll share 10 Easy Ways for How to Save Money on Groceries!
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Plan your meals and write a grocery list
The number one way to save money on groceries and to stay on budget is to HAVE A PLAN! The worst thing you can do is head to the grocery store and not have a list. Trust me, I have been there and even though I know better, I still forget on occasion.
Every weekend, I come up with our week’s dinner plan. I look through my cookbooks, browse Pinterest and brainstorm some of my family’s favorite meals. Most weeks, I stick to our weekly dinner themes. I’ve talked about our themes a lot on the blog because the system really works!
What’s nice when you have a plan and you follow a weekly theme, is that you can be flexible. There are times we have tacos on a Monday instead of our usual Tuesday due to time constraints or what kind of meal we are hungry for! Since we have everything we need for all the meals for the week, we can adjust as needed!
Once I have my meals planned out, I write a list of everything I need at the store. I also keep a running list throughout the week of any items we run out of. Most weeks I use Instacart (more on that in a moment), so I am able to start a grocery list and then order when I am ready.
Keep your meals simple
Speaking of meal planning, I have learned over the years that, while I have young kids at home, I do not need to make complicated recipes! Back when it was just my husband and I, I would find fun recipes but they would require expensive spices or other ingredients! I’d buy the item for one recipe and then never use it again!
There are times that nice and fancy meals are fun (like if my husband and I decide to have a nice date night in), but on most nights, our family is just as happy with a simple and wholesome meal!
Our favorite meals include:
Pasta and Meatballs
Tacos (Turkey or Chicken)
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Stir Fry
Chicken Noodle Soup
Salmon with a side of Veggies and Potatoes
Make Your Own Chipolte Bowls
BBQ Chicken in the Crock Pot
Breakfast for Dinner
Shop your refrigerator and pantry first
There are times my refrigerator or freezer gets so full I don’t even know what all is inside of it! These times, I realize I need to use up the food we already have before buying new things. So when I notice we have a full fridge or pantry, I really examine what we have and what I can make with what is available.
It’s fun to get creative and make up new recipes with what you already have. Get the kids involved if it is one of those clean out the fridge days and come up with fun (or funny) recipes the food available.
Don’t waste food
This goes hand in hand with the previous tip, but saving (and not throwing away) money on grocery means not wasting food! When I start to see produce go bad and I know we can’t use it up in time, I will throw it in a Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer. Specifically, I will put bananas and berries in the freezer as these are perfect for smoothies!
Make from scratch when possible
This tip might seem the most intimidating but there are so many things you can make from scratch that end up being way less expensive, healthier and tastier than their store bought counterparts!
There are times we make recipes from this list than others but some of our favorite things to make from scratch include:
Taco Seasoning A lot healthier and cheaper than the taco seasoning packets at the store!! Make a big batch and store in a mason jar!
Hummus So much cheaper than store bought and you can have fun making variations!
Waffles and Pancakes We freeze the leftovers for easy weekday breakfasts.
Muffins (our favorite is pumpkin chocolate chip) Also great for weekday breakfasts and snacks
Cookies Homemade cookies are always better!!
Peanut Butter Having a good blender (like the Vitamix) is key for making PB
The easiest bread recipe that does not require a bread machine is HERE!
Tips on How to Save Money on Groceries: Avoid prepackaged Snacks
The convenience of prepacked snacks is SO TEMPTING especially when you have kids who pack their own lunches! But, I always feel like it is such a waste when we have gone through an entire box of prepackaged snacks in a matter of a couple days. Can you relate?! Besides granola and protein bars, I avoid prepackaged snacks. I’d rather buy a big bag of pretzels or Goldfish and divide up the bag myself into snack size servings.
I also like to make trail mix packets with the kids’ favorite snacks. These snack bags are something the kids can easily help with!
Bulk does not always mean cheaper
Likewise, buying in bulk does not always provide a savings! When I buy huge quantities of something, like Goldfish or animal crackers, either one of two things happens. My kids eat up the huge box in matter of days (just as quicker as the smaller size boxes) OR they get tired of the snack in two days and we are then stuck with a HUGE box of something no one wants to eat!
Smaller size boxes are a good way to manage snack intake! When our smaller size bags of chips and pretzels are eaten up for the week, the kids get creative and also are more willing to eat fruit, veggies and other healthy snack options!
I mentioned earlier that I have been using Instacart. I can honestly say that using this grocery delivery service is saving my family money. Why? Because I am guaranteed to stick to my list and I don’t buy unnecessary items (that I would notice if I was AT the store). I have heard great things about curb side pick up services and now even Amazon has a delivery service. Prime members can try out Amazon Fresh for free!
The few times since I have started using Instacart, that I have gone to the store, I inevitably buy things that were not on my list! Prior to Instacart, I would go to the store a few times a week, whenever I needed a few things. However, now, I have gotten so used to NOT going to the store, that I find that I am now willing to wait until our next order for whatever we need.
No delivery service is perfect and there have been occasions that my order has not been perfect or I didn’t like the produce I was given. But Instacart is extremely responsive and will credit your account immediately for any item that you are not fully satisfied. The few little glitches I have experienced are well worth it for all the positives from this service!!
You can use my referral code for $10 off your first delivery!
How to Save Money on Groceries: Grocery Apps
Have you heard of Ibotta or Fetch? Both of these are free grocery shopping reward phone apps. You earn money and rewards for purchasing items at the grocery store. Actually, you can use both app when you make purchases for many online retailers (clothing, home and more!)
Each of these apps works a little different.
With Ibotta, you can earn cash back for purchasing specific grocery items that are being featured. You find the items on the app you are planning to buy and then after you make your purchase, you scan your receipt. The app automatically applies the cash rebate to your account! There are even cash rebates for just simply uploading your receipt (not buying any specific products). There is a $20 introductory reward when you download the app after you have made 10 qualifying receipt uploads.
To use Ibotta for online purchases, you first go to the Ibotta app and then go to the retailer you want through the app (so that your purchase gets counted!)
Once you have earned $20, you will receive a reward check. There are often bonus rewards going on and you can link up with your friends and earn additional bonuses! You really have nothing to lose with using this app. You just have to remember to scan your receipts!!
If you use my Ibotta referral code, you will get a $10 credit to your account. My referral code is: nythdeh
Also, be sure to link your grocery loyalty card to your account and then you don’t even have to scan your receipt! The rewards are automatically applied!
The Fetch Rewards app works a little different than Ibatta. You earn reward points to use to receive gift cards like Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond and much more!
It is very easy to accrue points in Fetch Rewards. All you have to do is scan your receipt and you get 250 or 500 points. You can get a $5 Amazon gift card for 5000 points. So after scanning 10 grocery recipes you can get a gift card. Honestly, I find that I like Fetch a little better because of how easy it is to earn rewards. If you scan 4-5 receipts a week, you have the potential to earn $1.50-$2 a week and that is not including any specific products you purchase for even more points. Just by scanning receipts each week, you could earn around $100 a year!
My Referral code: A8FXT and you will get 2000 points for using it (equivalent to $2 of a gift card!)
Do I use every single one of these tips every single day? Of course there are times that I can’t keep up with everything and we rely more on convenience. But, when I start making too many trips to the grocery store or I am completely disorganized on our dinners for the week, I reign things back in and rely on these money saving habits!
What are some of your favorite ways to save on groceries?
Time for a link party! Blogging friends, share your post below and meet your hosts!