Looking for ways to do grocery shopping on a budget?
I feel you! Groceries can be really expensive, so how do we buy good, nutritious ingredients without breaking the bank?
The good news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to eat well. You can buy fresh produce and prepare delicious meals at home, even on a tight budget.
With these 10 tips, you’ll get more bang for your buck and have a happy, well-fed family.
Here’s how to grocery shop on a budget.
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10 Best Tips For Grocery Shopping On A Budget
1. Go grocery shopping only once a week
Avoid multiple grocery runs! Each time we go shopping, depending on our mood, there’s a chance something we don’t really need makes its way into our shopping cart.
After a tiring day at work, you’re probably hungry and more likely to toss junk food like chocolates and potato chips into the cart to snack on later while watching Netflix!
So plan ahead and buy everything you need for the week in one trip.
Always make sure to do a quick check of all your pantry staples and toiletries before you go shopping. If anything needs to be replenished, add it to your shopping list.
The last thing you want is to suddenly realize that you’ve run out of cooking oil, and have to dash to the store mid-week.
2. Buy produce that is in season or on sale
When it comes to creating a grocery list, focus on jotting down the pantry staples you need like rice, pasta, milk, seasoning, and toiletries.
For fresh produce and meat, on the other hand, the best way to get your money’s worth is to be flexible.
When it comes to grocery shopping on a budget, it’s important to buy whatever is in season or on sale. Opt for items that are cheaper or marked down that week.
Instead of planning your meals and shopping for produce to make specific recipes, try to build your meals around the items that are on sale that week.
If you go shopping fixed on the idea of topping your morning oats with berries, then you’ll likely get berries even if they’re not the most cost-effective choice.
Bananas and apples are on sale? Perfect! You can enjoy slices of bananas or stewed apples on your oats instead for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re not sure how to cook with a certain vegetable, use an app like Side Chef to look up recipes and build your weekly meal plan after shopping.
Do the same for meat. Look at what’s on sale that week.
If chicken thighs are on sale, buy a little extra and freeze it for the weeks to come. Indulge in more expensive treats like seafood and lamb when they go on sale.
3. Opt for cheaper protein options
Meat can be expensive, and they’re not always on sale. You can either stock up and freeze meats when they’re on sale, or opt for cheaper protein options like canned tuna and frozen fish.
Canned tuna often gets a bad reputation, but it’s an excellent, cost-effective source of protein! Check out these 31 recipes using canned tuna for some inspiration.
4. Enjoy meatless meals once or twice a week
A pound of veg (that’s in season or on sale) is likely to be cheaper than a pound of meat anywhere in the world!
So one way to cut down on your grocery bill is to enjoy meatless days once or twice a week.
Substitute your meat with plant-based protein options such as tofu and lentils. If you miss the meat, opt for mushrooms that have a nice meaty, umami flavor.
Here are some plant-based dinner ideas for you:
5. Opt for aromatics and spices to flavor your food instead of bottled sauces
Bottled sauces like teriyaki or BBQ marinade sauce tend to be expensive, and they often need to be replenished frequently.
Instead, you could just use a handful of spices, aromatics, and herbs to flavor your meals. Spices and dried herbs have a long shelf life and a little goes a long way, so you don’t have to replenish it as often.
For example, instead of buying a bottle of teriyaki marinade sauce, you can make your own at home by combining soy sauce, brown sugar, chilies, garlic, and salt.
Here are some spices, herbs, and aromatics that are great to have in the kitchen:
Spices. Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, fennel, turmeric, and curry powder are great for Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Dried herbs. Oregano and thyme are great for Western dishes.
Aromatics. Shallots, garlic, ginger, and chilies don’t last as long, but they can be used for virtually any dish to add flavor and heat.
6. Identify things that you can make at home for a fraction of the cost
Sometimes, it’s just cheaper to make certain things at home! When you buy it at the store, you end up paying extra for the packaging, branding, and added labor.
Here are a few things you can make at home to save money:
And the best part is, you’re in control. You can add as much or as little sugar as you want.
There are so many cleaning solutions in the market now.
One for kitchen counters, one for windows, one for the shower, and the list keeps going! All these products start to add up.
Making your own DIY cleaning solutions at home can reduce your grocery bill significantly! Here are some ideas you can try:
All-purpose cleaning solution. Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water, plus some lemon rind for a citrusy scent. You can use this to clean tables, windows, and kitchen tiles.
Kitchen cleaner. Make a paste with baking soda and water. Use it to wipe down your kitchen sink and stove to get rid of any grime.
Avoid buying frozen or pre-packaged meals. They can cost a pretty penny! Instead, cook quick and easy meals at home, or cook big batches that you can reheat over a few days.
7. Compare prices across different stores
Of course, it’s not really practical to run from one store to the next to buy your weekly groceries.
But for non-perishables that you might buy once a month, it’s worthwhile to compare prices online and shop at the stores that offer the best deals when you’re grocery shopping on a budget.
Sign up for newsletters from a few of your local stores to get updates on the latest promotions.
Also, follow their social media accounts to learn about any good deals or giveaways.
8. Make use of cash back and coupons
Why pay full price when you can enjoy cash back or discounts? Here are a few ways to cut down on your grocery expenses:
Opt for a credit card that offers cash back on groceries.
Use apps such as Ibotta to get cash back.
Ask your cashier about the store loyalty card. As a loyalty cardholder, you may receive in-store coupons via mail or e-mail.
Do a quick search online to see if there are any coupons available for your local store before you shop.
9. Buy store-brand products
People often avoid store-brand products because they are deemed inferior in quality, but this isn’t always the case!
They can be good, budget-friendly alternatives to pricey name-brand products, so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Non-perishables such as paper towels and dishwashing liquid are a good place to start.
For food items like cereal, compare the ingredients and food labels with name-brand products to get something similar for a cheaper price.
10. Buy what you need
Buying in bulk might be cheaper in terms of cost per unit, but if you don’t end up using all of what you buy, it’s still a waste!
When you’re grocery shopping on a budget, it’s worth buying non-perishables that you use regularly like toiletries and detergent in bulk for a cheaper price.
But when it comes to perishable items, buying in bulk may not always be the best choice. If you have a small family, buying produce in bulk can ultimately result in waste.
Buying bigger bags of produce to save money and letting them rot away in the fridge is completely counter-productive!
Who says shopping for fresh produce and eating well has to be an expensive affair? With these money-saving tips, you can buy fresh ingredients and eat well on a budget.
Opting for budget-friendly options and keeping a lookout for good deals can make all the difference. So shop smart and save money!