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The grocery bill is one of the largest item in a monthly family budget, after the mortgage.
You may be short on cash or just organizing your spending, taking a look at your food budget is one big step to save money.
Did you know you can still eat healthy food, fruits and vegetables on a small food budget? All you need is to do a little bit of planning.
Start this process with a goal of saving a small amount, but keep thinking big.
Once you create the habit of saving any amount, it will be easier to move to bigger savings.
First, I’m going to show you what the average groceries spending is for a household of 1, 2,3 and 4 people. This way you can get an idea.
Second, I’m going to present simple ways to save a lot of money on your groceries, including my preferred strategy for saving on food.
Last, I will show you where to get help, if you’re still struggling to buy food on a small budget.
Who can benefit from these grocery saving tips?
Beginners – Moms, college students, single person households who are beginners to budgeting money and need a bit of help.
1.Create a groceries budget to save
In order to be able to save money on food spending you need a baseline or a budget to control that spending.
You can set up a budget based on your past spending habits. If you haven’t been tracking this, you can use these Free spending printables to start.
The Department of Agriculture has the cost of food in the chart below. You can see how much a person spends for food under different plans, weekly and monthly.
For example, a child 9-11 years old spends $36.30 on the Thrifty weekly plan. You can add up each member of your family to come up with a total food spending budget.
A family of 4 under the Thrifty plan spends around $600-650 a month on groceries.
This can vary depending on where you shop, the food items you buy and where you live. So, how you shop determines the amount of money you can spend or save on groceries.
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2.Make a list of meals and food your family enjoy
We all have our favorite and basic food and ingredients. Write them down, keeping in mind how much money you’re working with.
Stick to basic and staple items, but also make room for some treats.
3. See what you have in your refrigerator and pantry
Use what you have around the house. Find recipes you can use to create meals with these pantry items.
4. Find few ingredients meal recipes and save money
This is my favorite way to save money and time on food. I look up few ingredients recipes with the food staples my family enjoy.
There are so many great recipes online for few ingredients meals.
- Prepare recipes of 4 ingredients or less. Doing a quick search, you’ll find food websites like, Allrecipes.com, livingonadime.com, $5dollardinners.com. These food sites offer great budget recipes ideas for few ingredients cooking.
- Cook fast and easy recipes with few ingredients.
- Prepare few ingredients crockpot recipes, instant pot meals and few ingredients chicken recipes.
Find ethnic food recipes to save on groceries. Here are three examples of tasty recipes requiring few ingredients that comes from different ethnic groups.
- Italian pantry essentials
- Mexican food pantry staples
- Greek pantry essentials
Search those and you’ll get lunch and dinner ideas that will save you money on ingredients.
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5.Plan your meals ahead of time
Planning your meals in advance will save you on total cost, while you get nutritious food. Here is how.
Make sure to cook meals that add proteins, meats, carbohydrates, legumes and fruits. Whatever your family’s basics food preferences are.
Shop for sales in your supermarket or online.
Try to plan your meals for three days, then for a whole week and last for an entire month.
6. Find out the best supermarkets and local markets to buy groceries on a budget
Everywhere you live there are always budget, mid-priced and upscale food stores. Find out about the budget friendly food markets in your area.
Some of the most popular supermarkets and stores for the budget minded include these;
Walmart, Aldi, Cotsco, Target are some of the large stores where you can save groceries by buying store brands or food items on sale.
You may even find organic and natural food items here too.
Buy the store brand when possible.
Find local markets for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Avoid the convenience stores for large groceries purchases, these are usually more expensive.
7. Check out online grocery shopping websites
Compare your large-priced items to prices online to save on groceries.
Online food markets like, AmazonFresh, Instacart and FreshDirect may offer sales. Do watch out for food delivery fees.
8.Get into a groceries reward or loyalty program
Many of the large food stores offer loyalty and reward cards to motivate shoppers to stick with them.
These programs are mostly free to join. Some of the perks may include, special prices for members, points accumulation and gas discounts.
9. Make a grocery shopping list every time
Making a groceries shopping list makes sense since you spent a lot of time creating a budget, planning your meals, looking for the best places to shop on a budget.
The list helps you to stick to your shopping plans.
10. Shop in bulk quantity for basic and most used food items
Buy what you know your family will consume for the next one or two months in bulk.
When you buy in bulk food that last long, you’ll be saving on unit price which in the long term will save you money.
Food and household items that are better to buy in bulk include; rice, cooking oil, pasta, toilet paper often used condiments.
Cook in bulk also. Cooking and freezing meals for a few days saves you time and money in ingredients and condiments.
Meals that are ideal candidates for freezing includes, beans, meats, chillis, casseroles.
11. Get food assistance as a last resort
You should try to create a budget, do meal planning and find best food prices to save on groceries.
However, sometimes you may still be short due to special circumstances like, the loss of a job or other high priced expenditures in your household.
Ask for food assistance if you need to. There are many food assistance programs at the State, local and community levels.
These include; financial assistance for food, food banks and community pantries.
Here is a resource with 100+ programs for hardships and emergency situations.
Final thoughts on easy ways to save money on groceries
There are many ways to save money on your monthly groceries. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying every single strategy at once.
Start small with one or two strategies first. Then add more ways to save as you get conformable with each one.
Three of the quickest ways to save on groceries are these. Making quick and easy meals requiring few ingredients, cooking in large quantities and joining reward programs.
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