If you are wondering how to save money on groceries, you are not alone. My readers often comment on how hard it can be to stay on budget when grocery shopping.
I am also always open to new ideas on how to spend less on food because grocery prices here in Toronto are just insane. When our friends and relatives come to visit from Europe or the United States, they are absolutely shocked by how expensive everything is.
This is the second post in my Grocery Shopping on a Budget series. The first post called 6 Budget-Friendly Low Glycemic Foods You Should Try was published a few months ago and has been quite popular ever since.
Today, I would like to continue discussing this subject and talk a bit more about things you can do to cut down your grocery bill.
How to Save Money on Groceries – 10 Easy Steps:
1. Cook at home. When you cook at home, you are in control of what you put on your plate. Homemade meals are much more affordable than prepackaged foods, take-out, or restaurant meals. Learn how to cook and your wallet will thank you.
2. Plan your meals and shop with a list. You are much more likely to spend extra money on grocery items you don’t really need if you shop without a grocery list. Make a plan, stick to it and you will stay on budget. Use a handy app such as Big Oven to manage your grocery lists and keep track of the recipes you want to try.
3. Use up leftovers. Put the leftovers into glass containers and take them to work or school for a healthy homemade lunch. Freeze the rest. Frozen leftovers make great meals when you don’t have time to cook.
4. Know what’s in your pantry and your fridge. This seems kind of obvious, but how many times did you forget that you had an item in your pantry and bought it again? I know I do it a lot. Just check what’s in your fridge before going grocery shopping.
5. Don’t buy any soft drinks and juices. Gone are the days when we believed that store-bought juices were a good source of vitamins. Now we know that juices are not so healthy as we have thought.
If your family can’t quite live without them yet, try to teach them to dilute juices with water to save money as well as cut on the amount of sugar they consume.
6. Shop in bulk but only buy items you know you are going to use before the expiration date.
7. Don’t buy large quantities. So, now you are probably thinking I am nuts. I just told you to buy in bulk and now I am telling you not to buy a lot. What I mean is – don’t buy a large quantity of an item you only need a little bit of or you are not sure you are going to use or like.
8. Grow your own food. If you have an opportunity to grow food you can significantly reduce your grocery bill and have much better quality food. Even if you don’t have a backyard you can start growing your own herbs on the balcony or window sill.
9. Buy seasonal local produce. Seasonal fruits and veggies are much healthier and local produce is even better because it hadn’t been transported for days before making it to the store shelf. This means it’s fresher and more nutritious. It will also stay fresh longer in your fridge.
10. Don’t buy just because it’s on sale. I know we all love deals. But when it comes to groceries, don’t be fooled. Foods on sale might not be as fresh and can go bad before you get a chance to use them.
Use your judgment and keep checking your shopping list. If you were planning to buy this or a similar item, or this is something you know for sure you are going to use, then go ahead and buy it. If it’s just something random, but the sale price is calling your name, then it’s probably better to pass.