Want to save money on food? Maybe your grocery budget is tight or you’re looking to free up funds for a savings goal. Either way, you CAN save money on food through planning and shopping smarter. Because, even though groceries are an essential expense, you get to decide just how much to spend.
That means groceries are a great thing to tweak when you want to save some cash.
If you’re like me though, as much as you want to save money, you don’t want to have to eat junk food to do it. A lot of money saving food advice suggests using coupons, but coupons are often only good if you’re buying a lot of prepackaged stuff, and I try to stay away from that—when I’m not on a sugar binge…
So, I’ve had to get creative!
And, these are the easiest, healthiest, and most effective ways I’ve found to save money on groceries:
4 Things I Quit to Save $175/Month on Food (While Still Eating Healthy)
1. I Quit Thinking Meat is the Only Source of Protein
One of the biggest expenses in any omnivore’s meal is meat. So, it follows that one of the best ways to save money is to eat less meat or to cut it out completely.
Now, if you live with a steak lover, ditching meat altogether is really hard but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut back. I quit thinking I had to have meat with every meal – or even every day for that matter. Because, you can get health protein through other (cheaper) sources.
There are so many delicious meals that feature beans as the main protein. By branching out you might just discover a new favorite meal.
Let’s look at how much you can actually save by substituting beans for the meat in your meal.
Let’s say you decide to eat black beans. If you buy dried black beans (I’m looking at Blue Menu brand from Superstore) and cook them yourself, the protein for one meal for a family of 4 will cost you approximately $0.91. You heard me right—NINETY-ONE CENTS! That’s pretty hard to beat.
On the other hand, feeding a family of 4 chicken for 1 meal costs about $5.00 (if we’re being reeeeeeally conservative).
That means that if you cut your meat consumption, and substitute beans for meat every other day, you’ll save around $61/month.
2. I Quit Thinking Cheese is Neccesary for (Almost) Every Meal
Cheese is another expensive item that drives that grocery bill up—I should know, I’m addicted to the stuff. But it’s not too difficult to get used to going without it, and your bank account will thank you.
Here’s how you can save big by cutting back:
At my Real Canadian Superstorea (340 g) bag of Nacho Cheese is $5.97 (or $5.00 on sale). If a family of 4 eats cheese like me, they’ll probably go through at least 3 of those bags a month. So guess what? By cutting out cheese you could save $17.91 a month. Not a huge amount of money, but every cent matters!
If you can’t cut cheese out completely, do what I do and quit certain cheese buying habits. Limit yourself to only a few meals per month that call for cheese and only eat the fancy snack cheeses for occasional treats. And, save money through buying the cheaper store brand blocks of cheese and shredding them yourself!! (I know it’s a hassle, but the money saved is worth the inconvenience!!)
Even if you’re only saving $10/month through this method, it’s still $10!
3. I Quit Cooking Small Meals
Batch cooking saves me money in a couple ways. For one thing it stops me from wasting food. All too often, I’ll use half a zuchinni in a meal and let the other half rot in the fridge.
But, if I batch cook a large meal (double or triple the recipe) with that zuchinni, then I use the whole thing and freeze the leftovers! Obviously, it’s a big waste of money to throw away food, and batch cooking stops me from doing that!
Another way batch cooking saves me money is by helping me eat out less. Let me explain: so, a few times a month (or maybe way more…) I feel too lazy to make dinner. When that happens, one of two scenarios play out:
1. I go to my freezer and get a frozen meal, pre-made by me.
2. I order a pizza. Delivery. Cuz I’m too lazy to drive to the pizza place.
So if a large delivery pizza costs me $25, and if I get lazy twice a month (and let’s be real, it’s usually more) that starts to add up.
By batch cooking, I cut down on my take-out pizza consumption and easily save $50 a month.
Don’t have a pizza addiction like me? You can personalize my methods by looking at your food spending and cutting out a couple guilty pleasures. It could save you big-time!
4. I (Mostly) Quit Going Into The Store For Groceries
Have you ever tried online grocery shopping? If not, take my advice and start. It’s. Life. Changing. Here’s why:
If you have trouble sticking to your grocery list when you shop, online grocery shopping will save you money.
When I shop in-store, I generally pick up a chocolate bar and a bag of chips on the way out. I lack will power so I end up wasting money on impulse buys. But, if I’m not actually in the store I don’t do that.
When I shop online I just buy what I need, it’s well thought out, and I shop less frequently throughout the week as well.
Shopping in-store means I waste a minimum of $12.00 a week on junk food and impulse buys. Over the course of a month that’s $48.00. If I pay a weekly online shopping fee of $3.00, I’m saving $36.00 a month!
These Techniques to Save Money on Food Can Add Up Big Time!
Total Savings if You Quit 4 Unnecessary Grocery Habits: $175/month OR $2100/year
While each of these numbers might seem insignificant on its own, using all these tips could save you over $175 a month. That’s $2100 a year!
But, if doing all of these things feels overwhelming, you can start small. For example, start by shopping online, and cut back on meat later. Though you won’t save as much, small savings will still add up.
Still looking for more ways to save on groceries? Let us know if you have more questions in the comments below.