Besides your mortgage, your grocery bill may be your next largest expense. Of course, you usually can’t alter your mortgage payment, but with some planning and strategizing, you can alter the amount you spend at the grocery store and save on groceries.
A few months ago, I wrote about the techniques we’re using to keep our grocery bill low for our family of 5 (spending approximately $500 to $600 per month even with food intolerances to gluten, dairy, and corn). We’ve learned a few more strategies to lower our grocery bill that I thought I’d share with you, especially since it seems like the price of grocery is on the rise again.
Stop by the grocery store whenever you’re driving by. I know the “experts” say to go in the grocery store as little as possible. Many of them recommend shopping just every two weeks or once a month. However, if you’re a disciplined shopper, I recommend stopping by the store every time you drive by. Why? I only buy eggs on clearance for .99 a dozen. I also buy organic chicken when it is close to its sell by date and marked down by 50% or more. If I stop by the store whenever I drive by (every couple of days, usually), I have a better chance of finding these deals. If nothing is on clearance, I simply leave empty-handed. I don’t buy eggs or meat if they’re not on sale, or ideally, on clearance.
Don’t just take sandwiches for lunch. My husband packs his lunch every day. However, he never packs a sandwich. Instead, whenever I see clearance chicken fajita meat, sausage, or other meats, I buy those. He cooks something up on Sunday, like three sausages I found on clearance, and then he brings some every day along with a grain, veggies, and a fruit or two. His flexibility and willingness to move beyond sandwiches and my bargain shopping skills mean he saves a lot when packing his lunch.
Consider having a separate meat budget. I just learned about this technique, and I plan to start utilizing it. Say you have $500 a month for groceries. The idea is that you set aside a certain amount, maybe $50 or $100 a month, solely for meat. The rest you spend on your other groceries. If you’re able to save up $500 or $600 in the meat fund, you might buy a ¼ side of beef, which you’ll likely get at a much cheaper price than at the grocery store. Then, you eat that meat and start saving again for your next bulk purchase of meat. Eventually, you’ll have a deep freezer full of healthy, lower cost meat direct from the farmer.
Slowly buy in bulk. I have consciously started buying in bulk to lower our grocery costs. I’ve had to do this slowly because we don’t have a lot of wiggle room in the budget. Gluten free oats cost $2 a pound, and that’s when they’re on sale! Instead, I bought a 50 pound bag of gluten free oats for $61. That is $1.22 a pound, which is cheaper than I could ever buy them at the store. Then, I bought a 25 pound bag of pinto beans for $12.50, or .50 a pound, which is again cheaper than the rock bottom price I can get at the store. Just remember when buying in bulk not to buy items you really don’t want to use or won’t be able to finish before they get stale.
What are your favorite techniques to lower your grocery bill?