How to Save Money on Groceries

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One month I really wanted to go into super-saver mode and temporarily cut my expenses as much as possible. Earlier this year I had a lot of extra expenses like moving, a deposit and pet fee for my new apartment, a new computer, etc, so I’ve been a bit over budget all year because of those extra things.

So one month, I decided to buckle down and spend way less than normal to help offset that. Here’s how I stuck to a $75 grocery budget this month.

How I Spent Only $75 on Groceries This Month

Save Money on Groceries | How I Stuck to a $75 Grocery Budget This Month

One area I found I could save money in was my grocery budget. I usually budget $200 a month for groceries and stick to it, but this month I spent only $75 on groceries! First, you should know that who this budget covers. That’s for one person with a roommate and a couple cats between us. This $75 grocery budget only covers groceries for me. My roommate buys her own groceries, and the food and litter for my cat is about $10-20 a month from my miscellaneous budget. So the $75 is strictly for food.

There were a few things I did to keep my budget low. (Although to some of you out there, this could sound like a lot of money for food if you’re used to feeding a whole family on my normal budget :)).

I only had two grocery trips this month. The first one was actually through a grocery delivery app called Instacart. This was my first time ever using it, but I was feeling kind of sick and needed to buy food, so I had it delivered with Instacart. Since it was my first delivery, there were no delivery fees except for slightly marked up food costs. For the most part, the food is regularly priced with maybe an extra 50 cents or so added on. Some products are marked up more, but it’s still reasonable if you can’t get out to the store.  You can get a free $10 to Instacart with my link here.

[Also See: How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Groceries This Month]

Although using a grocery delivery service sounds like it would cost you a lot of money, it actually helped me save money and stick to just $50 for that trip because I could ONLY buy things that were necessary and on my list. Since I wasn’t going into an actual store, I didn’t have to worry about falling prey to the temptation of PF Chang’s frozen beef and broccoli dinners and bags of sour gummy worms in the candy aisle that I can eat in one sitting. 😉

I bought a couple boxes of pasta, a few bags of snack type things, cheese, rice, coffee, coffee creamer, tofu, and a few other things. They actually delivered it in about 30 minutes from the time I submitted my order! I was pretty impressed.

The next trip was actually going to the grocery store and spending about $25. I only went because I was running out of some things. I bought some fruit and vegetables this time and uhhh, more coffee creamer. I could probably save a lot of money if I didn’t use so much coffee creamer. 😉

[See Also: 8 Easy Ways to Save Money and Free Budgeting Printables]

There were also a few things I DIDN’T buy at all this month. For one, meat or seafood. I’m not strictly a vegetarian (although I was for 6 years), but I don’t buy or eat a lot of meat in general because it saves money, the environment, and my body. 😃 (Maybe it offsets all the coffee creamer haha!). I do eat chicken from time to time, but not a lot.

I also didn’t buy any prepared or prepackaged food. I’m usually guilty of buying a lot of frozen dinner bags of things, but those are pretty pricey per serving and you can spend a lot less by making your own pasta and rice dishes and adding sauces. I’m not much of a cook, but sometimes I make quesadillas or enchiladas in my microwave and instead of buying, for example, Amy’s enchiladas, I can just use a couple corn tortillas, store-bought enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese and it’s really cheap and tasty. You could easily add meat to these kinds of things if you wanted, too.

My restaurant / eating out budget is separate (although it also clocked in at around $75 this month) and if you make your own coffee at home, you can save a lot too.

How I Save Money on Groceries without Coupons

Here’s a secret: I don’t usually use coupons. Nope, I just don’t think they’re a good ROI for the time it takes to deal with them. Plus I wanted to use this coupon app one time (a few, actually) but you had to physically print the coupons, and I don’t have a printer and don’t want to deal with the hassle of all that.  Here’s how I save money without coupons.

How I Save Money Without Coupons

How I Save Money without Coupons

So instead, I do something that still saves me at least $5 on every grocery shopping trip. And no, it’s not those annoying rebate apps that ask for your receipt info, birthday, address, and mother’s maiden name so they can stalk you (just kidding). Ok, some of those money saving apps can actually save you a decent amount of money, but generally it’s more hassle than it’s worth to save 50 cents on something.

So here what my favorite way to save money is: it’s the free store rewards cards. I shop mostly at three stores: QFC, Safeway, and Walgreen’s. Walgreen’s gives you mostly points that you can turn into coupons, but the first two are grocery stores that give you literal dollars off items just for signing up and using their card (rewards card, not credit card).

Grocery Store Rewards Cards

I went on a couple trips to QFC without the card and realized I was paying so much more for things that I finally signed up for it, and on my next trip I spent maybe $40 on groceries and saved $5. That’s a big percentage! And it takes no effort. That’s the best kind of savings. 🙂 And on my last trip to Safeway, they gave me a free coupon for $1.25 off my next coffee creamer! (And it’s already printed out). How great is that??

So go on and sign up for rewards cards for all the stores you frequent!

How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Groceries

Here’s a trick I use once in a while to literally save hundreds of dollars on groceries. Now, this isn’t something you can use every single month, but from time to time it’s a great way to save a lot of money. This would also be perfect for implementing during a no-spend month in case you wanted to put extra money into savings or paying down debt.

One Simple Trick to Save Hundreds on Groceries

So, here’s the trick.

Use up all the groceries in your house before you go out and buy more food.

Yep, it’s simple, but it’s something most people don’t and won’t do. 😃 Before I hear any exceptions, there are things that you might need to selectively go out and buy when you use them up before you use up EVERYTHING (daily staples like coffee, bread or pasta, etc). But if you do go to the store, don’t be tempted to add anything extra to your cart that you don’t really need. Just the core replacements. This month, for example, I’ve only spent $50 on groceries total and don’t really plan on spending much more and that was ONLY to buy replacements for things that I use almost daily and completely ran out of.

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Making coffee every day, for example, is something I do to save money instead of buying it from a place like Starbucks, so getting more coffee and coffee creamer when I ran out was important. I also bought a couple boxes of pasta and rice because those are things I eat almost every day.

[Related: Make Fancy Coffee Drinks at Home for Cheap]

However, I’ve also run out of many other things this month, like chocolate, candy, granola bars, and snacks. 😔 While that’s sad for my taste buds, I’m not going to go out and buy new stuff because 1. it’s not healthy and it’s not a “necessary” food item, and 2. I can eat other things in the mean time.

The benefit of not buying new food until you use up all your old food is that you finally use up things you forgot about! It also helps prevent food waste by eating things before they go bad. Just the other day I discovered a big bag of potatoes in the back of my cabinets, and I started making baked potatoes for dinner a few times. Yep, a baked potato as my entree for dinner. It’s actually very tasty, and if you eat the skin there’s lots of vitamins in it. 😃 Sometimes you have to get creative with your meals when you’re trying to save money on groceries.

Pssst… If you’re interested in saving time and getting groceries delivered to your door, you can get a free trial of AmazonFresh grocery delivery with my link!

I also used up a pound of strawberries that probably would have started to go bad if I weren’t doing this “challenge” because I usually don’t eat them quickly enough. I also uncovered and used up some frozen rice noodles in the back of my freezer and this morning used up my eggs that I rarely eat but would have eventually gone bad.

It’s kind of fun to get creative with the limitations of only eating or cooking with what’s already in your fridge and pantry, and it helps you save a ton of money! Keep going for at least a whole month, or until you eat everything haha. Try it. 🙂

P.S. You can also save money by getting cash back for free on things you buy through Ebates!

One Easy Trick to Save Money on Grocery Shopping

Do you struggle with spending too much money on groceries each week or month? Do you get tempted by all the tasty new foods you see in the store and make impulse purchases? Here is one easy trick to save money on grocery shopping without any effort!

One Easy Trick to Save Money on Groceries with No Effort

The trick to saving money on grocery shopping with NO effort is to eat before you go to the store. Preferably not just a tiny snack, but an actual meal so you feel reasonably full.

When you’re hungry, pretty much everything at the grocery store looks delicious and you end up buying more than you need without even realizing it. But if you’ve ever gone into a grocery store after a huge meal at a restaurant or after Thanksgiving, for example, then you probably didn’t find the food all that appealing and stuck to only what you needed on your list. (Which is another easy tip to save money on groceries – simply making a list before you walk in the store).

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Well, that’s it! Why try to fight with self control and willpower when you can work with it? If you’re full from eating a regular meal, you won’t be tempted by all the mouth-watering donuts and baked goods at the front of the store or want to go down the candy isle. 😉

Psstt.. to save time on meal prep, consider checking out Blue Apron or Freshly for ready-to-cook ingredients or premade meals!

The Best $2 Jarred Pasta Sauce for Making Lazy Pasta at Home

Since I discovered that my local QFC (and Safeway I think) doesn’t carry Bertolli vodka sauce (which used to be my favorite ever!), I went on a mission to find an alternative. Here’s what I came up with as the best jarred pasta sauce for only $2 for those hungry people on a budget.

Best Jarred Pasta Sauce

What I discovered (and I didn’t test those $8+ really fancy pasta sauces) is that Classico Pasta Sauce is actually very delicious and only $2! I like this even better than the Bertolli and much better than some other vodka sauces I’ve tried, including from Trader Joe’s. It’s nice and smooth with no visible vegetables. 😉

The Classico Vodka sauce is delicious, as is the new Tomato Cream sauce. If you’re not super into cooking but you want to at least pretend to cook by pouring the best jarred sauce over your pasta, this is a great option. (Confession: I actually cook my pasta in one of these pasta cookers in the microwave teehee). 🙂

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Finally, I did a little trick called “not buying new food until you eat everything you already have.” 🙂 I did have to get replacements for some things, as you can see, but for the most part, I ate what I already had in my pantry, fridge, and freezer. You can seriously save so much money just by “shopping” your own pantry instead of looking at all the shiny new food at the store. There’s probably a few things lying in the back of your cabinets or freezer that could be used up. 😃 Eat those leftovers!

Good luck!

P.S. You can also save money by getting cash back for free on things you buy through Ebates!

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