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To save money on your groceries depends on how you shop on a weekly basis and what you choose to include on your shopping list. Groceries are a great place to start when you’re trying to save money in your budget.
But, with hidden costs in the form of convenience, sometimes it’s hard to let go of some of the items that you feel are saving you time.
There is a way to have a balance, so that you can save money on groceries and still have great quality ingredients that aren’t hard to prepare yourself.
Here are 10 Easy Ways to Save Money on groceries
1- Avoid Bagged Salads
When we started living a healthier lifestyle, the type of groceries we leaned toward were salads and greens. And bagged salads were a Godsend at the beginning.
It helped me easily whip up a salad without having to gather a bunch of ingredients and measure things out. Everything was ready and portioned out in the bag.
But, I’m always looking for ways to save on groceries. So, I started comparing prices on items I buy regularly to see where I could cut costs and save money. I found that buying the individual ingredients actually costs less, since a little goes a long way.
So, now I’m able to make 5x more salad for a fraction of the cost.
And the great thing is, I get to choose exactly what I want to add and how much. Having better choices definitely trumps convenience here.
2- Marinate Your Own Meat
I’ve found that buying marinated meat is more expensive, and to be honest, I’m always a bit uneasy with the shelf life of the marinated meat.
By marinating the meat myself, I can save money on groceries and make sure that the food I serve my family is up to my standards.
With pre-marinated meat, you can really taste that amazing flavor throughout the meat, and I wanted the same effect. So, I started marinating the meat overnight or even a couple of days and it made a huge difference in flavor.
Preparing your own marinade takes less than 5 minutes and helps you save more on groceries. Remember, every penny saved adds up.
3- Don’t Buy Pre-cut Produce
I’ve always purchased whole ingredients to save on groceries. When you do the math, you’ll find that you’ll get more of the item and you’ll pay less overall.
My mom taught me this trick and I never felt a need to change it. Cutting your own fruits and vegetables taking take that long and actually preserves your groceries until you’re ready to eat them.
If you want to have pre-cut vegetables on hand for busy nights, a tip is to chop or dice them up when you bring them home and just store them in the fridge or freezer. They’ll be ready for you when you need them without having to spend more money for the convenience.
By just chopping my fruits and vegetables myself, I save a lot of money on groceries, about 30 dollars per week, or 120 dollars per month.
I told you, savings add up quickly when you’re strategic about how you shop for your groceries.
4- Skip the Meal Helpers
When I was a new cook, buying groceries was a challenge. I never knew what ingredients I needed to make a meal. So, buying meal packs like Rice-A-Roni and Hamburger Helper really saved the day.
And now there’s Pinterest and YouTube, so it’s much easier to make tasty dishes without relying on these meal helpers.
For just one box of hamburger helper, usually $1.99 per box, I could get a 2-pound bag of rice or 2 lbs of pasta. This amount of rice or pasta can easily make 3-4 meals that would feed my family of 4, since I have to add my own ground beef anyway.
So, I could feed my family 4x more for the same price of buying just one Hamburger Helper.
I’ve also become a huge fan of batch cooking. It’s simple, saves me time during the week, and I save a lot of money on groceries.
Meal helpers do offer some convenience with pre-portioned ingredients, but it’s really no more convenient than making a meal from scratch. So, it’s not worth the added cost.
5- make Your Own Individually packaged snacks
A family-sized bag of chips costs about $4-$5, which can fill least 20 sandwich bag portions. The individual packs cost at least $10 for the same quantity, so save 50% just by bagging it yourself.
6- Avoid Pre-made meals
Being a full-time working mom, my groceries always included Lean Cuisines and salad bowls to take to work. I justified the expense because I was saving money from buying lunch at work.
But, pre-made meals are much more expensive than if you made a big meal and packed up the leftovers. You’re still taking a great lunch, for less than one lean cuisine, which are at least $2 each when they’re on sale.
Eating leftovers instead cuts the cost by at least half.
7- Convenience Foods Cost More
Batch cooking has really eliminated this necessity from my shopping trips. I’m able to make a bunch of breakfast sandwiches (and even homemade hot pockets) for a lot less money.
Storing them is easy, just use a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.
Making our own gives us the chance to customize the fillings as well, so we’re eating something we really enjoy.
8- Skip the Cakes/Sweet Breads
Cakes at the grocery store always seem like a cheap deal.
But, making a cake at home costs less than one dollar and there are super simple versions that make it really easy for a beginner baker.
It also makes your house smell amazing.
Skip the grocery cakes, they’re not that tasty and they’re more expensive than if you made them at home.
Here’s my favorite super easy brownie recipe that uses basic ingredients and costs pennies to make at home.
9- Homemade Broth is best
Broth is SO easy to make. You don’t need any additional groceries to make it either. It literally uses leftover meat, chicken bones and vegetable scraps you were going to throw away anyways.
You just throw them all in a pot and fill it with water, add some seasoning and let it simmer for an hour or two. And magically, you have broth!
I store mine in freezer bags in my freezer for whenever I need it. But, you can also store in a recycled pasta jar in the fridge. It lasts forever.
Super easy and incredibly inexpensive.
10- Slice/shred cheese yourself
Shredded cheese is easy to do at home, especially if you have a food processor. I buy most of my cheese in blocks from Costco to get the best price.
Then, I just use my food processor to shred it and store in freezer bags in my freezer. It makes a ton of shredded cheese for a fraction of the cost.
The added benefit is that it doesn’t contain potato starch, which is the additive in the store bought shredded cheese.
There’s an added cost to Convenience
When you save money on groceries, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend a ton of time in the kitchen to make up for it.
Actually, the extra few minutes you spend can save you hundreds of dollars per month on your grocery budget, which makes it worthwhile.
Learning to process your groceries yourself and getting back to basics means that you get to save money and enjoy good quality food.
What tip(s) in this post were surprising and which ones are you going to use on your next grocery shopping trip?