Your budget is tight and you’re surviving on one income so you want to save money and lower your grocery bill.
At the same time, you don’t have time to coupon or can’t find coupons for the things you buy. Couponing isn’t the only way to lower your grocery bill, although it was a big trend the past few years.
Besides, you can’t just focus on things that are on sale or have coupons and then they magically turn into dinner. At least, I wish that was the case.
You have to have a plan. You have to think ahead. You have to change the way you shop.
That little bit of planning will make a difference in less food being wasted (which is like throwing dollar bills in trash) and more meals on the table. And that’s what we really want, right?
Here are 10 simple ways to lower your grocery bill without coupons.
1. Pay attention to what’s in season and on sale.
Take a look at the fruits and vegetables in season now because they will be at its peak flavor, very fresh, and on sale. Plan to include these in your meals. Check my Grocery Sales Cycle for what’s on sale now.
2. Create a meal plan.
A meal plan is simply what you’re going to make for the week. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Always check your schedule for the coming week for sports activities, special dinners, and birthday parties so that you can plan accordingly. Check my post Meal Planning 101 to get started.
3. Do a quick check of what’s in your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Always do a quick check before you leave for the grocery store. When I forget this, I end up with 2 or 3 of the same thing that I won’t use for awhile. And that is often a waste of money and an unnecessary expense to your grocery bill.
4. Include snacks, treats, and coffee or tea.
You think that you can get by without snacks but when you have kids, you will have a mutiny on your hands in the form of a meltdown at the worst possible time.
I have learned to have snacks on hand for my 5 year old daughter for the afterschool ride home and for after ballet. Believe me, when I forgot I always regretted my oversight.
Also, does your family like to buy treats when you’re out? If that’s the case, it’s always cheaper to make the treat at home or buy it from the grocery store, like ice cream.
And don’t forget the coffee or tea. I like to have chai on hand so I can get my morning fix without frequenting the coffee shop. These little purchases add up when you buy them elsewhere.
5. Make a grocery list.
Do you make your grocery list then leave it conveniently at home? Don’t worry, that is something I have done a lot as well. If that’s you, then make your list on your phone.
If my husband is doing the grocery shopping, I will make my grocery list in my notes app and then text it to him.
6. Stick to your grocery list but leave room for deals.
Are you the type who can’t help snatching up a good deal or a new food item? This happens to me when I see something new at Trader Joe’s.
Then make room in your budget by setting aside $5 – $10 for those impromptu purchases. It’s ok to splurge on something new you want to try. After all, it’s your money and you can enjoy it however you want.
7. Compare prices on nonperishable favorites online.
There are several things that I can find cheaper online vs. at the grocery store – baby formula, my favorite gluten-free pizza mix, and face cream.
I like to check Amazon and Vitacost. With Amazon, most items are sold in bulk so you have to buy 6-8 of something. But for baby formula, they sell the larger can in 1 container so that works out.
At Vitacost, I like to get my face cream, eye cream, and night cream because it’s like $10 less than the store. Also, they have discounts on a lot of gluten-free products, food allergy friendly foods, and health items. Get $5 off your first order at Vitacost with my referral code.
8. Look into a grocery delivery service.
With Google Express (a delivery service), I can check the prices of several stores at once, like Costco, Target, and Whole Foods.
Can I tell you a secret? I hate going into Costco even though I live 5 minutes away from two stores. It’s hard to go there with a baby in tow and I always end up spending more than I want to.
So now I order my toilet paper, paper towels, and cooking oil from Google Express so that I stay on target. And they get delivered conveniently by the next day. Delivery times may vary by your location.
Get $10 off your first purchase from Google Express with my referral code.
9. Learn to make your restaurant favorites at home.
I no longer buy certain foods at restaurants as I have learned to make them at home. The biggest thing for me was steak. I used to spend $23 on steak dinner for take out! I never thought I could make this at home but I found it to be so easy that I never order steak out.
Other things that I make at home are gluten-free pizza (my daughter prefers my pizza vs. ones from a pizza place), cashew nut chicken, chicken tinola (Filipino dish), and BBQ chicken wings in the Instant Pot.
10. Plan ahead.
There are so many times that I have regretted not planning ahead for, like the time we went to a museum for a birthday party without bringing lunch and spent $35 on cold food! The place didn’t serve hot food or have a microwave! With a little planning, we could have dropped by Trader Joe’s and gotten $5 salads, drinks, and snacks.
Sometimes you can’t plan ahead or forget. But after that experience, I try to think more ahead and have snacks or meals ready.
When you take the time to plan meals ahead, look at what’s in season and on sale, and check your pantry for what you already have, you can lower your grocery bill without using coupons. Plus, when you shop in terms of “meals” not just what’s on sale, you will end up using up what you buy and end up with less waste.