If you’re trying to save more money this year, looking for ways to save money on groceries is a great place to start. Food costs keep going up and this trend will likely continue into the foreseeable future.
These days, maintaining a healthy diet can really take a toll on your budget. Fresh ingredients and healthy meal alternatives tend to be expensive. So, every bit of money you save while shopping counts. Consider these 6 tips to help you stretch your grocery budget. Your wallet will be glad you did!
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1. Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals a week or month ahead of time means you know exactly what you need to buy when you go shopping. This helps to keep you from picking up things you don’t absolutely need or won’t end up using. Meal planning also helps you avoid expensive take out food or ready-made meals. Making meals ahead of time and having them in your freezer can be a huge time and money saver.
Need some help getting started with meal planning? Check out these helpful meal planning resources:
Freezer Cooking: 10 Tips for Getting Started
$5 Meal Plan
Once A Month Meals
Freezer Meals 101
Freezer Meals for Moms
Real Food Planning Challenge
2. Take Advantage of Coupons and Money Saving Apps
Coupons are a great way to save money at the grocery store. Look for coupons in the newspaper or online that offer deals on food items that you use often. While finding coupons can take a bit of time, it’s well worth the savings. Some stores now offer discount programs rather than coupons, which let you save money after registering for a free account.
Apps like Checkout 51, Zweet and Caddle allow you to get cash back on certain products you purchase while grocery shopping. These savings can really add up, so be sure to download these apps onto your phone and check them whenever you go shopping.
3. Make It Yourself
Many of the things that you commonly buy at the store can easily be made at home. Making your own snack foods such as muffins, cookies or granola bars is quite easy and will save you money. Not only that, but they will likely taste better and be healthier for you than the store-bought versions. Baking your own bread gives you a tasty alternative to buying several loaves of bread every month.
4. Drink More Water
Whether it’s soda, coffee, tea, or juice, beverages represent a costly part of every shopping trip. To combat this, try to drink more water and less of other beverages – your wallet and your health will both benefit!
5. Grow Your Own Food
Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but can be quite expensive at the grocery store. If you have a bit of space in your yard, or even a sunny spot on a balcony, you can easily grow some of your own fruits, vegetables or herbs to help cut your grocery bill down during the growing season. If you’ve got room to grow extra, you can really save money by canning or freezing some of the surplus to eat the rest of the year.
Want to get started growing some of your own vegetables? Check out these handy vegetable gardening resources:
Food to Grow: A simple, no-fail guide to growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs
7 Easy to Grow Vegetables for Gardening Beginners
Simple Ways to Save Money on Gardening
6. Don’t Throw Food Away
Try not to let any of your food go to waste. After all, you paid for it! Make sure that you save all of your leftovers and attempt to eat them before they spoil. Have a plan for leftovers so that they don’t end up in the garbage. Try to find a use for stale or over-ripe food, such as making browned bananas into banana bread or muffins and bruised apples into applesauce.
Shopping smart and stretching your grocery budget is probably simpler than you think. These tips will definitely get you started!