10 Ways to Shrink Your Grocery Bill
I love hearing testimonials about how our meal plans are saving you money.
"We are into week 4 and my family is doing really well! We've saved a ton of money and my eczema is clearing up which is a mega bonus!" - Lou S.
"I always save money with these plans. This week - including all my household supplies like laundry detergent, paper goods and dog food my total was only $97" - Jeanie R.
"We use the family plan for my family of 3. For almost all organic I usually spend about $100 a week" - Kelly D.
That was one of my big goals with the meal plans. I want to make eating healthy easy, delicious *and* super affordable.
If you don't have a well stocked pantry to start with, your first week might be a little bit higher since you'll have to buy a lot of bulk items like spices.
Once you have these items on hand, however, your grocery bill will even out. You'll start seeing real savings. By week 3 you'll be surprised how little you need to buy at the store -- so much is already on hand!
There are other ways you can scrimp and save, too!
1. Buy frozen. Frozen fruits and vegetables tend to be cheaper than fresh. At my Kroger, you can get 10 bags of frozen veggies for $10 (mix and match!). You can easily shave $20-40 off your bill by choosing frozen. Added bonus? Frozen vegetables are already chopped!
2. Buy Dry Beans. You can usually buy a bag of dry beans (that will last for several meals) for the cost of 1 can of beans. Canned beans are easier, but cooking dry beans from scratch can easily shave $10-20 off your bill. Cook up a big batch and freeze off portions for the months ahead. 1 can of beans is usually 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups beans. How to Cook Beans
3. Buy in Bulk. Buying in bulk is always cheaper. A 10lb bag of rice is a better deal than a 1lb bag of rice. A bag of onions or a bag of potatoes is way cheaper than just buying 1 or 2 potatoes, 2 or 3 onions. Grab the bulk bags! Bulk stores like Costco can also have some amazing deals. For example, my friend picked up a 5lb bag of quinoa for $5. A little box of quinoa can run you $3.99 at the store. Buying in bulk will save you $100s in the long run.
4. Shop Around. Bargains can lurk in places you'd never suspect. I find my local Target has some of the best prices on produce. I have also found certain items, like spices, are actually cheaper at Whole Foods Market compared to the supermarket. I've even found soy milk at the local dollar store! For a $1! I also love shopping at ethnic grocery stores in my area. The Indian supermarkets and Asian markets have unbeatable deals! I stock up every few months. Also know that "bargain" grocery stores are not always a "bargain" for everything. I've been to places like Cost4Less and Trader Joe's and noticed some items are way overpriced.
5. Go for "On Sale." Substitute in "on sale" fruits and vegetables. This is easiest with the snacks and desserts on the meal plans since they're listed separately, but substitutions can also work in recipes. For example, if asparagus is on sale, use that instead of green beans. If butternut is on sale, try using that instead of sweet potatoes, and so on. Bonus: The meal plans are seasonally minded so what's on sale should be consistent with your shopping list.
6. Make broth. Making broth is an easy way to get a second life out of your kitchen scraps and it'll save you tons of money! I love cooking with broth but at $3 a carton, that can add up. I shaved $10-15 off my grocery bill each week by making my own vegetable broth. You can make a huge batch and freeze portions off for later. (My recipe)
7. Buy generic. Every bargain shoppers hidden secret! Whenever possible, buy generic, especially if you're at a health food store or big retailer like Target or Walmart. Store brands are often $1 cheaper or more!
8. Shop online. My favorite website is bulkfoods.com. It's a no frills website but their prices are fantastic. You can also check out vitacost and amazon prime. I used to feel weird buying 6 bottles of hot sauce at a time until I realized how much money I saved that way.
9. Garden Grown. Growing your own herbs and vegetables is a great way to save money. There are some start-up costs but they recoup quickly. I had a little garden a few years ago and it fed me at least one meal a day all summer long. Plus you can't beat the taste of home grown! I saved oodles of cash not having to buy lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and herbs each week. You can have a garden in pots if you live in an apartment.
10. Bulk Bins. It's almost always cheaper to buy dry ingredients like dry beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, flours, etc. from the bulk bin. I started shaving $15-25 from my grocery bill by using the bulk bin. I also like that I could buy just the amount I need. If you're new to the meal plans and don't have a well stocked pantry, utilize bulk bins to help reduce "start up" costs. (But remember dry bulk foods are an investment that pay themselves back!)
11. (Bonus!) Friend the Pharmacy. Many pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid have incentive programs or give you cash back to spend in the store. You don't have to buy pills, either. It works on anything: shampoo, feminine hygiene products, tooth paste, trash bags, etc. When I lived in a small town, CVS was the only option for many items I needed. After a few weeks I'd accumulated so much store credit my next three purchases were entirely free!
Tip from a user:
"I think it seems like more because I am making one big trip for everything instead of a bunch of little trips here and there. I have kept all my grocery receipts, added them up and it is WAY more than doing the one stop trip for HH plans. Plus, I have started from basically nothing...no stock of spices, dried grains, etc. Since I have put out money to build that stock, my future shopping trip bills are going to go down. I hope this helps some who are just starting out with
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