Skip to main content

How to Trim the Fat Off your Grocery Bill

Published September 27, 2019

3 minute read

Joshua Williams

By Joshua Williams

Are soul-shattering grocery bills cleaving away the lion’s share of your social budget? Are you stumped by the mountains of rotting produce in your fridge that you never got around to eating? Do you find yourself, amid the eerie linoleum and buzzing neon of the local grocer, geographically, financially, and emotionally adrift?

Here are a few tips for saving big bucks on your monthly food bill.

Plan Your Meals

Investing some time before your weekly grocery excursion can cut your bill by up to 50 percent; provided you stick to your list.

Impulsive buying will be your most incorrigible adversary. Bite the bullet and glance through the weekly coupon packets that clutter up the newspaper. If a deal catches your eye, throw it on your weekly meal calendar.

Accustom Yourself to the Lame Idea of a “Meal Calendar”

It’s not that bad.  Honestly, take a piece of loose-leaf paper, draw up a rudimentary seven by three chart, and have at it.

Give yourself some variety, but try to plan so that you can utilize leftovers. Having an open block or two for “foraging” will ensure that your food is being put to good use. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to throw away.

To illustrate:

BREAKFAST

Monday – Bagel & cream cheese, banana

Tuesday – Cinnamon Toast Crunch, blueberries

Wednesday – Bagel & Cream Cheese, banana

Thursday – Cinnamon Toast Crunch, blueberries

Friday – Bagel & cream cheese, banana

Saturday – Denver Omelet

Sunday – Out to Brunch!

Once your calendar’s organized, it’ll be easy to buy only the items which appear that week. You won’t need assorted English muffins, Eggo products, and deluxe imported sausages on a weekly basis.

Don’t be afraid to alternate your meals from week to week. Eat seasonal fruits and cereals/grains that are on sale to maximize your savings.

Track Your Spending

Save receipts and calculate your monthly food budget. Scratch off toiletries and miscellaneous purchases for the most accurate total.

Consciously noting your spending will not only force you to be more accountable, but it will give you a solid understanding of how much you ought to be spending.

Shop at Grocery Stores

Sounds intuitive perhaps, but remember that convenience stores are out to get you! Honestly, snack items at convenience stores can be marked up as much as 60 percent from their equivalents at the grocery store.

If you need a last-minute coffee or Diet Coke, try to get in the habit of paying in cash. Bringing in only as much as you need so you’re not tempted to buy that gorgeous chocolate chip muffin for $3.99.

Don’t Shop Hungry

You’ll end up impulsively buying items you don’t need. Going shopping after work, when you’re tired , and starving and dour is never ideal.

Try to make the outing enjoyable. Go with your roommate or your spouse. Make fun of the people who look really out of sorts.

Just Say No to Pre-Packaged Meals

They’re appreciably more expensive and nowhere near as satisfying as consuming your own handiwork. Comparable dishes can generally be made with basic ingredients at only a fraction of the cost.

Don’t Be Bashful About Buying Generic

Sooner or later, you’ll identify which items have indistinguishable generic aliases and which items do not. When the generic version is just as good, don’t think twice. You’ll save big.

Grocery Shopping Cart Full of Money

the_burtons / Getty Images

Joshua Williams

Contributor

Joshua is a freelance writer with years of experience blogging about business and finance, and a whole host of other things too. When he's not writing, he enjoys camping with his dog, a golden retriever named Oakley.

Explore Save Money

Woman at Farmers' Market Save Money

How To Save Money Shopping At The Farmers’ Market

Buying from a road-side produce stand or a locals farmer’s market is an amazing experience. They are some of the best options for getting fresh (and often organic) fruit, vegetables, meats, and other products, while still supporting local farmers. Farmers’ Markets are certainly a better choice for fresh, high-quality, in-season produce. The prices there are […]

Read More about How To Save Money Shopping At The Farmers’ Market

7 minute read

Calculating social security Save Money

The Ultimate Guide To Calculating Social Security Benefits

If you are like most Americans, you have been paying into Social Security your entire working life. It’s typically done through payroll or self-employment taxes. It’s possible that you (and your employer) have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the decades. Now, as retirement creeps closer, you might be wondering how much of those […]

Read More about The Ultimate Guide To Calculating Social Security Benefits

7 minute read

Cash in savings bonds Save Money

How to Cash in Savings Bonds: Everything You Need to Know

Savings bonds continue to be a popular investment among Americans. They are viewed as a safe, stable and low-risk investment vehicle. Typically, savings bonds are issued by the U.S. Treasury. That backing from the U.S. government makes them among the most secure investments in the world. Savings bonds are technically a form of federal government […]

Read More about How to Cash in Savings Bonds: Everything You Need to Know

6 minute read

Electric and Gas-Powered Car Fueling Up Save Money

Electric Car vs Gas Costs: Which Truly Saves You The Most Money?

There’s no doubt that the future of driving is electric. In fact, Morgan Stanley predicts that 72% of all car sales will be electric by the year 2040. Almost every major automaker has already invested billions of dollars into expanding their electric vehicle lineups. Within 20 years, it will probably be next to impossible to […]

Read More about Electric Car vs Gas Costs: Which Truly Saves You The Most Money?

9 minute read

See All In Save Money

More from WalletGenius

stock market crash Investing

Moves To Make If You’re Worried About a Stock Market Crash

We wouldn’t blame you for being worried about a potential stock market crash right now. The Delta variant of COVID-19 is currently ripping through the United States (and other parts of the world). Chinese real estate behemoth Evergrande is tanking, threatening to take portfolios around the world with it. Then there’s the issue of the […]

Read More about Moves To Make If You’re Worried About a Stock Market Crash

6 minute read