If your average grocery bill leaves you with sticker shock, you’re not alone. After taking the time to add up all your expenses, you might be surprised to find that groceries are your second most significant expense after a home mortgage.
If you don’t have a home mortgage (congrats and a gold star if you have paid it off), then your average grocery bill is probably your single most significant expense.
With this kind of outlay, a focus on spending here could result in substantial savings. So it makes sense to look at your grocery spending and explore how you might get it under control.
Cut Your Average Grocery Bill in Half
Create A Budget for Your Groceries
First, start tracking how much you spend on groceries over a few weeks. Once you have that information, you can look at creating a grocery budget. The trick here is to count that as your high water mark, so to speak, and not go over it.
Once you have your budget defined, start cutting it back. Try starting with something simple, like $20 a month. Keep doing this for a few months, increasing the deduction as you see fit.
See how low you can go without feeling like you are depriving anyone. You might be surprised how much money you can save.
Maintain A Grocery Price Book
Start a list of the items you regularly buy along with their cost. You can use this list to check an advertised deal quickly, and you would be surprised how many times a deal isn’t one.
You can also use your price book to help determine where to buy your kitchen staples best.
A quick trip to explore a new store will tell you if you can save money on the things you tend to buy. You will probably find that no single store has the best deals, so you will need to determine if the expense and time of the extra trip are worth the savings.
A grocery price book is also a great tool to have handy when you browse weekly flyers. You can easily shop the offerings and determine where it is best to shop for needed staples this week.
What sounds like a great flyer sale might not be so great after you take into account the actual items you buy and their regular prices.
You can do a grocery price book one of three ways:
- Creating one in a notebook where you write everything down
- Digitally, using a spreadsheet, or
- Using a mobile app
Put Frugal Meals To Use
Not every meal needs to be a dining experience. You can find some that have limited required ingredients (and overall costs) but still have a great taste while being healthy.
You may even discover that a simple substitution in a favorite recipe brings down the price.
Making meals that last can be frugal as well. Consider making a crockpot full of soup or chili. These type of dishes will keep in the fridge well and warms up quickly in the microwave or on the stove, making it cost-effective and convenient.
There are also a lot of recipes that make use of leftovers in creative ways. Doing this is another way to stretch your grocery dollar by turning leftovers no one will eat into a new and original dish.
Eating more frugally a few days of the month could have a significant impact on your monthly average grocery bill.
Planning meals ahead of time is a great way to save on your grocery bill. Meal planning saves money because you are buying only what you need for the meals for the whole week and making the meals all on one day.
It also saves on waste, which is a money-saver in and of itself.
Freezer Meals for Moms by Alice Seuffert is a great resource for planning ahead meals, Click here to view more details.
Stick To A List
One great technique to avoid spending too much at a grocery store is to make a list before you go and try to stick to it.
I’ve seen those extra items, such as those fancy loaves of bread and bakery desserts, add a considerable amount to the grocery bottom line. It’s okay to indulge occasionally on an impulse item, but you don’t want to make a habit out of it. Your grocery bill and your health will thank you for it.
One thing you can do to help in sticking to a list is to use a grocery pickup service. It’s hard to overspend when you don’t even step into the grocery store itself.
Don’t Go To The Grocery Store Hungry
One of the best ways to save on your average grocery bill is also one of the simplest ones – don’t go grocery shopping hungry.
When you are full, you’ll find it much easier to stick to your shopping list. Suddenly the baked goods area is not full of treats that you have been depriving yourself of all this time.
In fact, you may find that you save time while shopping since you aren’t as interested in browsing all the selections.
Since groceries are one of your significant expenses…
It makes sense to keep the spending for them under control. The potential for saving here can be pretty substantial over a few month’s time.
The good news is that money saved is directly available for other uses, such as getting out of debt or building an emergency fund. It’s good to know that action taken here can help get you to where you want to be on down the personal financial road.