5 Easy Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

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grocery cartBottom line is: Food's expensive. Unless you're going to subsist on ramen noodles and 99-cent menu fare, you're going to have to drop some cash. One of the biggest expenses for my family each week is groceries (and, yes, take-out on weekends). Every time I look at the receipt, there's no denying it: It stings. We're trying to save money, and what with "having to eat" and all, it's damn near impossible.

My husband and I talk about how to try to cut our food expenses ad nauseum, but it never seems to work. But this weekend, we sat down and really tried to get to the bottom of things, and we actually figured out how to shave a little off our food bill without sacrificing quality. (I know, this is starting to sound like a commercial.) Seriously, though, our bill was $22 less than normal at the grocery store yesterday. No, not ground-breaking, but it was something. Here's what we came up with:

1. Don't buy produce pre-cut or pre-packaged. Not a new one here, I know, but how easy is it to just reach for the box of lettuce instead of the head? Yesterday, all produce was as produce-y as it gets: Carrots that had to be peeled; peppers that had to be chopped; and romaine that needed shredding. Random bonus: We did all our chopping and cutting while my daughter was taking a nap and had a lovely little chat. Much better than typing away on our computers or zoning out to the TV.

2. Rice, rice, rice. A little rice goes a long way. We bought a bag of rice last week, and we plan on having it as our "side" at least once a week until we run out. That's bang for your buck right there.

3. Use the pastas and grains and whatevers that are already in your cupboard. If you're anything like me, your cupboard is filled with half-empty boxes of pastas, rices, and weird grains that you thought you were definitely going to get into (but didn't -- womp womp). Use them. You probably have side dishes for weeks in there.

4. Breakfast for dinner. Eggs are cheap. And they come in twelves! Once a week, why not do omelets or sunny-side-ups and a side of turkey bacon?

5. Plan every meal. My husband and I always say we're going to do this, and we wind up doing it for, like, two weeks, then it's back to just randomly shopping for food items with no clear menu in mind. Yesterday, we did it. And we're hoping we'll do it again this weekend. Tonight's menu: Veggie fajitas with, you guessed it, a side of rice.

How do you save money at the grocery store?


Image via qmnonic/Flickr



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handy... handy0318

I shop for what's on sale, then plan my menu on that.  Coupon's help too, but I don't go into extreme couponing.  I'm all in on the eggs for supper, only not with a side of turkey bacon, which is about the most horrifying creation on the face of the planet.  But, an omelet with some skim mozzarella and green onion, yum...

Danielle Parks

Price matching at Walmart! I save at least $50.00 a week (sometimes more) and get what I want on top of that. Make a list of what you need, then search the sale ads of your local grocery stores and see if any of those items are on sale. Make the store the sale is from and the price. At check out at Walmart, tell them the sale price of that item and the cashier will ring it up for you. Simple!

BirdCo BirdCo

I bought some basics at the store and I am going to use what I have in the freezer. I should get a number of diners, lunches, and leftovers to re-freeze.

mommy... mommytojack0524

I shop as much as possible at Aldi. Much cheaper.

linzemae linzemae

i make a list and shop for sales.

nonmember avatar Todd Vrancic

We have a basic list of staples that we buy, and we make our list with meals in mind. Works for us. We also use coupons.

mmere... mmeredith

I already do all of these. We also occasionally just eat off left over foods and whatever is in the cabinets til we run low and start back up. In the past 2 weeks I've only had to run to the store to get 2 gallons of milk and a loaf of bread :). We still have enough for another week of food. When we are running low on money or the sales are just not good we do it.

Forev... ForeverInLove

I have no idea how we do it, but somehow, we feed a family of four eating mouths (we have five, but the fifth nurses) on about $200 a month... It's all we can afford.

Jackie Caissie

i love the stores where i live i tend to buy whats on sale buy one get one free and have coupons on top for both items and it makes things even cheaper then bogo.i wait and stock up when its on sale with my coupons because id hate to pay full price on things

nonmember avatar shana

Thanks Danielle for the Walmart tip!  I didn't know they did that, and a superwalmart just opened up by my house.   Basically we try to do all the things we can to cut back (our monthly grocery bill is close to $1200 for the 5 of us) but it is often hard when my hubby and I work around the clock and our girls are at their activities most days of the week.  School lunch contents and healthy snacks account for almost half of that because of the tight restrictions in our schools and dance studio.  Meal planning is something we keep trying to do but mostly we give up because the schedule is just too hectic :)

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