There are 33 simples steps you can take to save money on your weekly or monthly grocery bills. Become a savvy grocery shopper and take these steps to reduce your grocery shopping bills.
Nobody wants to spend more than they have to on grocery shopping. Especially when prices seem to increase each time you go to your local supermarket. You still want to keep a balanced meal plan, but at the same time keep the costs down.
What steps can you take before you go grocery shopping
There are several steps you can take to keep grocery costs down. With the help of clever, savvy tactics and a clear plan. Follow these simple steps and see how much you can reduce your grocery bills by.
Set yourself a financial goal, this will keep you motivated to stick to your grocery shopping budget.
Prepare a grocery shopping budget
When you prepare your main household budget, divide your grocery shopping allowance into the number of weeks in the month. This will give you a budget for your weekly grocery shopping.
Check your food cupboards
You should always keep a record of food or be aware of what food is in your cupboards. Before you prepare your shopping list, take a full inventory of stock that you have. Include everything, any flavourings, tins and general stables.
Check your fridge and freezer
Pull everything out of your freezer and fridge. List all of the frozen foods you have and also list and clear all of the perishables you have in your fridge. Throw away any wilted food from you fridge.
If you have any oddments of frozen or fresh vegetables or meats, that cannot be used for a main meal. Bag them and place them in your freezer. They will come in useful for making soup or for padding out other meals at a later date.
Prepare a food plan
Sit down quietly with all of your listed foods. Prepare a food plan, and see how far the food you have in stock, will last.
Make a list of any additional grocery items you will need to purchase in order to turn these stock items into meals.
Ensure that you allow for 3 meals a day, breakfast, lunch and tea.
Purchase a white board
This is ideal for meal planning, keeping a check of food stock you have. Add a section for items that you need to add to your next shopping list.
This will stop you from buying duplicate items and wasting money.
Monitor when your local store reduces their food
Speak to a member of staff, or the manager and find out when they label their reduced food. Try and arrive early to grab those bargains.
This may be a pain, but go to your local supermarket on New Years Eve, as there are always lots of reductions. I have managed to fill my freezer and my mums with meats and fish reductions for under £30. This normally lasts for about 2 months, which is £7.50 per month per household.
Follow your local supermarkets
This is a brilliant way to check out when there are going to be good grocery offers. They will publicise this on twitter, and facebook. Subscribe to their newsletters.
Monitor offers at your local supermarkets
Supermarkets never have the same offer on at the same time. They seem to rotate. For instance Utterly Butterly, will be on offer at Morrisons for several weeks, then Co-op and then Tescos.
Ask friends and family to keep an eye out for certain everyday grocery items you buy.
Download vouchers and check food packaging
Check everywhere for vouchers on only the items you buy on a regular basis. For instance washing powder or conditioners you may use. There are always vouchers available.
Go online and search offers for toiletries, or cleaning products. You will be shocked with what you find.
Follow your favourite food brands online
You will often find vouchers for certain brands. Make sure you follow them on Facebook, twitter or Instagram.
Check out cashback sites
Look at cashback sites such as Topcash or Quidco as they give cashback for certain items. All you have to do is scan your receipt and the money will be paid into your cashback account.
Plus you can earn money by scanning your receipts.
Store Loyalty cards
Remember to use your store loyalty cards, as every point counts. Any vouchers you receive in the post, or printed out at cashpoints, remember to take with you.
Always check the expiry dates on the vouchers. Often there are top up points available if you purchase certain items.
Use your loyalty cards when fueling your car, and earn additional points.
If you do not need to use the points towards your everyday grocery shopping, use them to save for christmas and reduce your food bill.
Should you use online grocery shopping
Is it cheaper to purchase online, often supermarkets will have more cost effective offers available than in store. Or they will have double or triple points available depending on the supermarket.
Not only that you can track your expenditure whilst you are adding grocery items to your shopping cart.
Weigh up the pros and cons, as you do not want to have to spend more money i to receive free delivery. Arrange to click and collect if available.
If you do decide to have a grocery delivery, remember to select the cheapest delivery slot. There is no point in taking advantage of the offers if it costs you over £4 to delivery to your door.
Never grocery shop when you are hungry
Make sure that you never go grocery shopping before meals, as you will buy food on impulse. This addition to your shopping basket may only be for a minimal amount of money, it is an extra expense. Over time these do add up.
This can be hard if you pop to the shops on your way home from work, but if you plan in advance the additional visits to a grocery store after time, will stop.
Try the cash envelope method
After you have prepared your budget, withdraw your grocery shopping money and separate into envelopes for each week. You can only spend the money on grocery shopping, that is in the envelope.
This may be hard to get used to at first, but you will be removing the temptation to spend more if you only have cash in your purse.
If you shop with a debit or credit card there is always the temptation to buy more. This will blow your budget out of the water.
Don’t be loyal to branded grocery items
Stop buying branded foods, test out your local supermarkets own brands. A majority of them taste the same. You don’t need to replace all of your favourite foods at first. Test cheaper brands by selecting 5 items each time you grocery shop.
These are the type of saving you can make with changing from you favourite food brands.
- Baked beans 410g (Morrisons) 32p each – Heinz baked beans 410g 85p each – Saving 48p
- Dishwasher tablets 60 (Morrisons) £5 – Fairy Dishwasher tablets 60 £14 – Saving £9
Just by replacing two items you are saving £9.48. Research the price differences for yourself and see how much you can save.
Save money by shopping at different stores
Many people will purchase all of the grocery items, cleaning products and toiletries from one store. Whether it is due to ease, location or not really wanting to shop around.
Visit your local Poundland store, B&M and purchase your cleaning and toiletry products. You can save so much money by this one simple change in your routine.
Be savvy about when and where you shop. If you have to drive a long distance to these stores, you do need to think about fuel or other forms of transport and parking costs. There is no point in changing stores, if it is going to cost you more to actually drive there.
Bulk buy meats
Check out the meat offers, but make sure that it does work out cheaper. Consider how many meals you can make out of the meat selections. Normally you can buy 3 differents types of meats for under £10 from your local supermarket.
This may include mince, sausages, stewing meat, pork chops or chicken. Divide these into bags before you freeze. You do not want to waste food if you have to defrost a whole pack of sausages, but throw them away as you have not used them quick enough.
Buy from local butchers
Visit your local butchers. Don’t be worried if you are not sure how much meat you will receive for certain weights and cost. They will guide and show you if you ask.
I was very nervous at first, as I needed to to see the quantity of weight I was buying to understand then the number of meals that I could make out of that selection.
Butchers do amazing meat deals, the meat is better quality. Plus you are supporting your local butchers, which are gradually disappearing due to supermarket competition.
Bulk buy vegetables
Wonky vegetables are half the price of your normal vegetables. Bulk buy, prep and freeze. It does take time, but it will save you money.
Depending on your meal plan, you may find the prep work will reduce the time during the evenings when you are preparing your family meals.
Try cooking in bulk
If you do not like cooking, this may feel a bit of a chore. Don’t view it that way. Think of it as time saving and giving you time during the week to chill out a bit by not spend your evening prepping and cooking meals.
Either on a Saturday or Sunday, allocate a morning to bulk cook. Separate into freezer containers, don’t forget to date and label.
Cook from scratch
Purchase a basic cookbook or look online for recipes and learn how to create those amazing meals. This will help reduce your grocery shopping bills by a quarter. No more convenience food shopping.
Example of this is pizza. For the price of purchasing a premade pizza you can buy the items to make from scratch and freeze. I make mini pizzas as they are easier to freeze, plus you do not feel like you have to eat everything if you make a large pizza.
Search online for budget food recipes
You don’t need to spend a fortune on finding recipes or books. Search online for different ideas and ways you can reduce the cost of each meal. Pinterest is amazing for those handy recipes.
Resize you meal portions
Not only will this help with controlling the amount of food you eat, this will help you to reduce your grocery budget. Overeating is not healthy, but it will also help as the high priced items, such as meat or cheese will last longer.
Freeze all leftovers
This is my downfall, as I often cook way too much. Mainly vegetables, and meats. Prior to freezing chicken or joints of meat, I cut the chicken into strips, and quarter the joints of meat if possible.
If there are still left overs I freeze them, they can be added to meals such as soup, and stew pots.
Add additional food padding ingredients
Buy lentils or oats and added these to mince meat, stew pots or event soups. These will help to make the meal go further.
Grow your own vegetables
If you have spare space in your garden, you can grow simple foods. Such as tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, runner beans. Do some research online and decide what you want to grow.
These simple items can be grown in plant pots, so you do not need that massive big garden.
Shop for only what you need
We are all guilty of adding those extra items to our shopping basket. Especially if you have children with you, as they will always ask you for something. Either to make the ease of shopping, or because you just want to treat your children, we will buy. Even depending on how we are feeling at the time of shopping, we may want to treat ourselves.
When you start to see the benefits of reducing your grocery shopping, this will help you to stop adding those extra items. Explain to your children before shopping that you are only purchasing what is on the list. I do this with my son, and thankfully he understands that I will not add any additional items.
Never leave home without your shopping list
This for me is one of the main parts of reducing your grocery shopping costs. How many times have we sat down and made a list of what we need to buy, then left the list on the kitchen tables. I have done this many times.
Make sure you take your list with you, and tick off the items as you place them in your basket or trolley. Do not deviate from you shopping list, otherwise you have wasted your time and you will not be able to reduce your grocery shopping.
Add your shopping after you have completed your shopping list
This may seem odd, but as I am creating my shopping list, I not the costs of each grocery item. This allows me to track how much I am spending before I actually shop.
Whilst I am shopping I will use this to double check the prices of the items I am buying. You will be amazed over a period of time how grocery items have gradually increased in price, without you even realising.
Set targets and see if you can beat them
Armed with your shopping list, see if you can reduce your cost of shopping more. My son and myself will see if we can each find a cheaper alternative. We have turned this into a game, it keeps him occupied whilst shopping and not asking for more than what is on the shopping list.
All you need is paper, pen and a calculator
This is all you need to succeed in reducing your grocery shopping costs. You do not need to buy special online budget calculators, or download spreadsheets. Everything can be completed with these simple things.
Take your pen and calculator with you whilst your shopping. The pen to tick off items and a calculator to add your shopping costs, as you are walking around the store.
Being aware of the costs of your shopping basket before you arrive at the till. You will not have any unexpected surprises when it comes to paying. Plus if you are using the envelope system, you will not feel nervous when you arrive at the till to pay.
A majority of people do not like to do grocery shopping, but we love to clothes or gadget shop. I am the same. I used to gasp at the cost of shopping and question myself how I had spent so much money on food.
Especially when I arrived home and viewed what I had purchased. At the time it felt that I had purchased lots, but really there was not a lot. Plus I would have to go to the grocery store by the end of the week, as I had not thought out my food plan in advance.
It can be daunting at first but even if you reduce your grocery shopping budget in stages it does help. It is important that all of your family are involved in reducing your grocery shopping. Otherwise, it will feel that you are having to cope on your own. Especially if your are doing this to clear debt or save for a holiday.
Explain to your family why and how you want to achieve family goals. For instance reducing debt or saving for a holiday. Try to show them in pounds, as this will motivate everybody to work with you.
Remember, simple steps can save you money.