If you need tips on saving money, one of the easiest ways I can advise you to do it is to save money on groceries.
It takes a bit of work to get into the habit of doing it, but once you do get into the habit, and become conscious of what you buy, and what you don’t buy, you will be amazed at how much you can save.
We are a family of 4 plus a large dog, and we could easily spend £500 or more on groceries in a month. But this is a huge chunk of our disposable income and I find that when we buy groceries mindlessly, shoving things in the basket without thinking about how we’re going to use them – it is likely to go to waste anyway.
And if there is one thing I hate, it’s wasted food.
Many years ago, when I first started shopping at Lidl, it was easy to find a parking space and there was never any danger of bumping into somebody with your trolley, because the store was always empty!
But gradually over the years, people realised that these ‘cheaper’ supermarkets weren’t actually that bad.
In fact for certain food, I’m thinking about YOU freshly baked goods 🙂 they are better than our more traditional supermarkets we have such in the UK.
So if you are fed up with spending your hard earned cash at the supermarket, or you simply need to figure out a way to save a bit of your hard earned money, here are 12 ways that you can save money on groceries EVERY month.
# 1. Best Place To Grocery Shop On A Budget
Obviously if you are going to shop at the more expensive supermarkets, you will pay more for your shopping.
You wouldn’t expect to pay the same amount for a handbag at Harvey Nicks as you would at New Look. But this is mostly all comes down to brand and positioning, rather than the quality of the food.
Some of the higher end supermarkets (Waitrose is a perfect example) purposely position themselves at the higher end of the market to attract affluent and middle-class shoppers, but even if you are affluent, why pay more for your shopping simply because of where you shop?
I have friends that refuse to shop at Lidl or Aldi, and guess what? One of them is a single lady and even though lives on her own, her food bill is about the same as ours (for 4 people!).
So if you are serious about bringing down your food bill, that will be tricky if you will not be prepared to shop anywhere other than a higher end supermarket.
Don’t be a snob and give one of the cheaper shops a chance.
This is why I always talk about your money mindset when it comes to saving money.
If you really want to spend less on groceries, you’re going to have to change the way you think, not just the way you act.
A lot of these tips start with encouraging you to change the way you think about money, about food and about the savings that can be made.
#2. Cheaper cost is not necessarily a sign of cheaper quality.
I mentioned this in tip 1 but brand snobbery goes much further than which supermarket you will or won’t shop at. Some people INSIST on buying a certain brand of beans or ketchup.
If you are one of those people, ask yourself WHY? Is it because you’ve grown up with that brand and you haven’t tried any others. Generally when people test other brands without knowing what they are trying, they do NOT always pick the top brand.
Choosing a brand over a non-branded item will mean that you will be paying up to 50% more for your items.
Brands pay a fortune for packaging and advertising and therefore, their items cost more.
Quite often, the unbranded item is just as good, in some cases better, and in ALL cases cheaper. I recently used some Asda own brand dishwasher tablets and they were less than half price of the leading brand, but I absolutely love them.
A brand snob would never even realise this, as they would never have picked up the non-branded item to give it a try – so they stick with what they know and pay more money for their shopping.
Choose a couple of your branded items each week and try something new, you may not like everything you try, but I guarantee you will be surprised at how many things you can swap to non branded items.
Related post: 7 Things I Stopped Buying To Save Money
#3. Beware of the “Special Offers”.
Many people (wrongly) assume that special offers will always save them money.
But it’s not always the case, and if you’re shopping after work when you are tired and hungry, walking around on autopilot, you’re exactly the type of shopper that supermarkets LOVE.
They want you to pick up the “buy one get one half price” offer, even though if you buy one larger size bottle it will actually be cheaper.
Not paying close attention to what you are buying is the biggest cause of our shopping bills to go through the roof.
Just because a supermarket tells you it’s cheaper, it’s not necessarily the case.
The Supermarkets are there to make a profit and will tell you anything if they think it will mean you’ll put it in your trolley.
Trust no one. NO ONE!
#4. Check the cost per size/weight.
Most supermarkets put the cost per ml or cost per kg in the bit below the price. If you squint you may see it, it’s usually very small!
The reason it is very small is that they don’t really want you to be able to do an easy price comparison, they want you to buy the products that they make most profit on, but here in the UK, they have to provide this information by EU law.
Most shoppers ignore this, but this is usually the easiest way to make sure you are getting good value for money.
Related Post: 2 Simple Ways To Start Saving Money Today
#5. The Best Way To Save Money Grocery Shopping – Reduced Stickers.
If you do this properly, it could HALF your monthly shopping bill, but you do need plenty of storage in your freezer. After all, how are you going to eat 15 packs of reduced meat that all go out of date tomorrow if you cannot freeze it?!
Most people that do this, do it by pure luck – if it is there, they will have it.
But most shops have their own special times of reducing produce.
The closer it gets to the sell by deadline, the more reduced it will be, so things tend to be reduced more by the evening than in the morning. If you leave it too late, you’ll miss out on the goodies.
Spend a couple of days going into your local shops to get a feel for when they usually reduce their products.
Just by doing this I have found that our local Co-op is amazing for reduced bargains after 5pm, we have had so many 5p bargains from there! Tesco reduces it’s fruit and veg after 7pm.
Asda reduces it’s bread and fresh produce such as meat, yogurts, ready meals first thing in the morning, but they keep reducing it all day and by the evening if there is anything left, it is usually very cheap.
Buy things that can either be frozen or cooked and then frozen until you need it.
#6. Other options are available.
Is it time to leave the supermarket behind altogether?
If you have a local market, it is probably much cheaper to buy your fruit and veg from there. It will not only be as cheap or cheaper, but there will be less waste (no plastic containers) and the produce will be local and much younger.
Did you know that fruit and veg in our supermarkets are up to a year old by the time we buy them? Yuk!
We have a local market which has a couple of options for fruit and veg, one of them is organic and even that is still (mostly) cheaper than our supermarket.
#7. Buy cheaper cuts of meat and use a slow cooker.
If you work full time and don’t own a slow cooker, I cannot explain the joy of coming home to a full prepared meal.
The house smells delicious as soon as you walk through the door and it’s all ready for you to put out on your plate.
Because it is being cooked over a longer period of time, you can buy the cheaper cuts of meat, without having to worry about them being too tough or chewy.
You can buy a slow cooker for just a few pounds (remember to shop around and see if you can get a voucher code for money off).
#8. Always Be Prepared When Grocery Shopping On A Budget.
If you want to know how to save money on groceries, there is one rule that you simply must stick to: Make a meal plan, take a list and stick to it!
This is the best way that I have found that I can control what we spend at the shops, we only buy what we need.
Don’t deviate from the list and buy things you don’t need, unless they fall within your plan of buying reduced (yellow sticker items), I’m always up for that!
But some people buy weeks’ worth of fresh food every week and then throw more than half of it away because they don’t use it in time. It’s so wasteful.
If I gave you the equivalent in money and told you to put it in the bin, would you do it?
Think about that every time you trash a load of food from your fridge. If you think you are not going to use something, stick it in the freezer!
And while we are on the subject…
#9. Ignore ‘Best Before’ dates on Fruit and Veg!
Why do people go off a Best Before date for an apple?
Firstly, that apple has been in storage for up to A YEAR before it even hits the supermarket shelf.
Secondly, the best before date is for the supermarkets, to show them when they can sell the products to ensure that you are getting it as ‘fresh’ (HA!) as possible, it’s not aimed at the end user, so that we don’t eat it a day after it goes out of date and die a horrible death known as Goneoffappleitus. 🙂
If it looks, feels and smells OK, it’s fine.
Eat the damn apple, you will survive.
If in doubt, chop and freeze fruit and veg until you are ready to use them.
Use by dates are different, things like live yogurt shouldn’t be eaten out of date. But use your common sense.
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#10. Stay away from the shops!
ALL of the money that you spend on food each month, should come under ‘grocery shopping bill’ but we conveniently forget all of those little trips to the shops to top our weekly shop.
It all counts.
Go through your bank statement and add up all of the money that you have spent on your main shop and at your little local store.
Then add in all of the lunches or drinks that you have bought during the week when you are out of the house or at work.
When I did this, I was shocked at how much those ‘extras’ were costing me.
At one point I was going into our local shop 3 or 4 times a week, and at £4 – £9 a time, this was adding up very quickly!
If you do a big monthly or fortnightly shop for your main shopping items, and then aim to go into the shops/market just once a week for your fresh stuff, your bill will come down considerably.
It’s very easy to get into a habit that costs you money, take a step back and add up those extras and you will soon stop.
#11. Use your leftovers.
This comes under meal planning and it is a great way to save money on your food bills.
We’ve cover this a little in other points, but it absolutely amazes me how many people do not cook from scratch and use their leftovers for meals the next day for work.
It’s much cheaper (and healthier) than ready meals, and you don’t have to cook meals that have you slaving over an oven for hours.
I do this at least 3 or 4 times a week.
If I am making a ‘one pot’ meal such as a stew, I add in extra veg or potatoes to bulk it out and make sure that there is at least 1 extra portion – I then use this for my lunch the next day.
If there are 2 or more extra portions, I put them into containers and freeze them.
This is great for when you are running late and you need to grab some lunch for work quickly, or if you are busy after work and need a ‘ready meal’.
It saves SO much money over the long term.
Plus, I would much rather be eating a delicious home cooked meal for lunch, than a dry, shop-bought overpriced sandwich!
If you’re not convinced you would know what to do with leftovers or reduced sticker food, try this blog for recipe ideas on a CRAZY low budget (I’m talking recipes for pence rather than pounds!). Reduced Grub
#12. Convenience foods are definitely not convenient on your pocket.
This one is obvious, but I’m going to mention it anyway because we are lazy.
We have apparently lost the art of chopping up vegetables ourselves, we now have to buy them pre-chopped and packed in cellophane or plastic packages that cannot be recycled and will be here long after we have gone, all in the name of convenience.
You can buy things like ‘ready made oats’ which I guess is more convenient if you are eating breakfast at work, but you can easily make them yourself (just add cinnamon or honey to your oats + milk and BOOM, saved yourself a tidy sum over the period of a year!).
The prize for the most ridiculous convenience food that I’ve ever seen is a frozen jacket potato (not sure if they have them anywhere other the UK, but trust me they are real!).
It is the same as a normal jacket potato, you still have to cook it either in the microwave or the oven, but they have cut the top of the potato and added a bit of butter.
The cost is £2 (for 4 very small ones).
But you can buy 4 x normal sized jacket potatoes, and add a small amount of butter yourself, for less than half that cost! Need I say more?
If you are serious about saving money on your shopping bills, you should avoid ‘convenience foods’ like the plague, unless it is has a yellow ‘reduced’ sticker on and is a bargain ?
I hope these ideas have shown that you can easily save month on your groceries, with a little but of effort.
It can be done.
Once you get into the habit, it becomes second nature very quickly and you will love the challenge of finding a bargain and cutting costs, whilst still enjoying delicious food!
Do you have a tip to save money on groceries? Leave a comment and let me know!
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