People often ask me, “How can I save money when grocery shopping?” At one point a few years ago, I was feeding our family of 5 (at the time) on $140/month (yes, a MONTH!) so I'm a bit of an expert when it comes to saving money at the grocery store without compromising nutritional value. This is probably the question that I get asked most often as a mom and as a blogger.
I do several things that add up to big savings, but my best tip is this: I don't go down the aisles.
There are 3 exceptions to this rule. I will dash down the cereal aisle to grab rolled oats. I will dash into an aisle to grab bottled water and I will dash down the aisle to grab peanut butter and herbal tea (which at my grocery store are stored next to each other for some reason).
How Does this Help Save Money When Grocery Shopping?
If you look closely at the layout of your grocery store, the healthiest whole foods are usually kept along the perimeter of the store. Here you will find foods in their most basic form. When you venture down an aisle, that is where you will generally find convenience foods. In the aisles you are paying for packaging and unhealthy ingredients you probably don't want in your food anyway.
I go to the produce section first because that is what I want to form the basis of my family's diet. I fill my cart with all kinds of fresh fruit and vegetables and something amazing happens. There is no room left in my cart for the unhealthier (more expensive) items!
As I mentioned, that $140 figure came from a few years ago when we were a family of 5. Now we are a family of 7. If I go to the right stores (usually ethnic stores) I can usually fill my shopping cart with enough produce for all of us for under $50 and that will last us a week.
Of course, there are other staple items in our diet. I buy honey, dry beans, rice, oats, quinoa and other grains in bulk and we always have gluten free flour on hand. But when you add it all up, I'm still paying less than most people spend to feed a family half the size of ours.
Do You Want to Become a Grocery Shopping Guru, Too?
(This blog uses affiliate links. You can read my complete disclosure here.)
Tiffany at DontWasteTheCrumbs.com is teaching a course called Grocery Budget Bootcamp. It's all about making big savings at the grocery store while still eating healthy, delicious food! Even though I'm really good at saving money at the grocery store, I'm still taking the course and learning a lot! (I'm also having my kids take it with me so they can learn this important life-skill!)
In Grocery Budget Bootcamp, Tiffany teaches how to:
- Apply the 80/20 rule to grocery shopping
- Prioritize real food goals and balance quality with cost
- Create a grocery budget that works for your income and family
- Identify and change shopping habits that are costing too much money
- Save up to 40% by minimizing food waste (Her simple strategy teaches you how!)
- Make a Meal Plan that Works (the easy way!)
- Eliminate multiple trips to the grocery store (which end up costing extra)
- Outsmart the grocery store by shopping smarter and faster
- Use each store's secrets to your advantage and safe $$$
- Instantly recognize a good deal and know you're getting the best price in town
- Learn what items should be bought in bulk and what shouldn't
- Learn how properly putting away groceries can save time and money
- Learn when cooking from scratch saves you money (and when it doesn't)
- How to include homemade items into a routine that works
- Take all that you've learned and create your own personal grocery shopping plan!