Hi everyone! I’m excited to bring to you a brand new series to the blog called “Dollars & Sense”. I’m going to be sharing tips and ideas for helping you to save your family money. I’m not a money expert, but I do have 4 children who I homeschool and we’ve lived for more than 13 years now on one income. Over the years, I’ve learned a little about saving money and living a frugal (yet very happy!) lifestyle. I’m looking forward to sharing with you some of the things I’ve learned and I hope that you will in turn share with me any tips or ideas that you have learned, as I’m always eager to hear new ideas about saving money!
So here is Tip #1: Easy ways to save money at the grocery store.
I know that every family has their own way of doing things, so these are just ways that our family saves money on buying groceries. Hopefully there will be something here to inspire you…
- We buy most of our food at Aldi. If you have one of these food discount stores in your town, they are awesome! We are able to buy so much more for less than we could at other stores. We love Aldi! (If you don’t have an Aldi close to you, then you may be able to find some other chain of discount grocery stores if you try looking on Google. Save A Lot is another good one.)
- Always shop your pantry/food cabinets/refrigerator/freezer to see what you have on hand before you go. You never know what might be in there that you forgot about! Know before you go!
- Plan ahead and make a list. Plan out your meals for the week and make sure you have everything you need so you don’t have to make any extra trips to the store. I created a master list for our shopping at Aldi and one for Walmart. I print it out each time and highlight the things I intend to buy. I have a small dry erase board on our fridge that I write the menu plan for the week. Having it in writing holds you accountable and that can sometimes help. You can read more about how I do menu planning HERE.
- Make sure you don’t shop on an empty stomach. I always try to plan food shopping trips for right after a big meal. We tend to buy less when we shop right after we’ve eaten.
- We recently went back to monthly food shopping trips for the majority of our food. This takes a lot of planning and practice to get it right. You may be able to start out doing one full week, then move up to shopping for two weeks and keep going as you get used to it. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it helps us not to spend as much by making less trips to the store.
- If you can, clipping coupons can always help. Most people don’t get the newspaper anymore, but here are a few websites that you can print free coupons: Coupons.com , Daily Grocery Coupon.com , Free Coupons.com. Also, some stores you can sign up to receive coupons from them by email and even use e-coupons on your phone at the checkout.
- When we go to Walmart, I always check the marked down items on the bakery rack. They always have items that are half price, like bread and sweets. I usually grab loaves of Italian and French bread for 50¢ each and put them in the freezer until I’m ready to use them. At our Walmart, I typically find this bakery rack in the dairy section near the yogurt. It may be in different places at other locations. I also like to check the meat section for marked down products. Sometimes you can find items there very cheap and put them in the freezer for later.
- Use your calculator and keep track as you go along. Sometimes this is a challenge when you have all the kids along, but it can be really worth it to help you stick with your budget. It also makes you stop and think about where every dollar is going as well as being more aware of what your bill is going to be before you get to the checkout, that way you can put things back if your afraid of going over your budget.
- Buy generic items whenever you can. Everybody has certain foods that they like in specific brands, but for everything else just buy generic. Things like sandwich bags, bread, snacks and many other items you can’t really tell a difference. We all have our own preferences, but this is just one way that we save money.
- Look for sales and stock up on these items, especially if it is something your family uses a lot of.
So there you have 10 ways that my family tries to save money on groceries. I hope that you have found this helpful and maybe a little inspiring to try and find new ways that your family can save money on food!
I would love to hear how your family saves money on food expenses. Please feel free to comment!
PS. This series will be listed under the Resources drop down on home page menu.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”