Save on fresh foods and groceries

fresh foods

Buying fresh foods and other groceries has become a challenge with inflation being as high as it has been. High inflation is challenging for individuals and families as it erodes the value of money and increases the difficulty of affording the items you need.

There are three budget categories that are generally considered “budget busters”: housing, food, and transportation. My household’s food budget is certainly one of my bigger budget line items and I know it’s the same for many. This is why learning how to save money on fresh foods and groceries can have a major impact on your budget’s bottom line.

Here are 14 ways to save money on fresh foods and groceries

Meal Plan

Taking time to plan your meals for the week helps you be efficient and organized.

Plan all your meals for the week in advance. When planning, I consider what we’ll be having for breakfast, lunch (school, work, and at home on the weekends), dinner, and snacks! Whew!

Some folks go so far as to plan for the entire month in one sitting. I will forever be in awe of these people.

Have picky/habitual eaters in your home? Having a go to list of family approved meals will do wonders for your sanity when it comes to meal planning. Personally, I involve the kids in my meal planning. A “Hey, anything in particular you want for dinner/lunch/breakfast/snack this week?” in between Roblox or Fortnite games is a quick way to help me set the menu for the week.

Make a List

Making a list and checking it twice will go a long way to save money on groceries. It will keep you focused and help you avoid temptation buys.

It will also save you from forgetting items and having go back to the store again. And again. (and maybe even again (I may be speaking from personal experience here))

Shop at discount grocers

This could mean Aldi’s is the US or Tesco in the UK. Here in Canada, this means No Frills or Walmart for me.

Discount grocers are a great place to shop for pantry staples and often are huge time savers. I’ve been know to take advantage of the children’s clothing section for socks and underpants while doing my weekly shops.

Check Flyers

Check. Your. Flyers. Whether it’s paper flyers that are delivered to your door weekly, or apps like Flipp, make use of them.

I often meal plan based on weekly sales and sometimes stock up on pantry/freezer staples if I have the room in my budget.

Shop your pantry/freezer

And speaking of your pantry and freezer, try shopping here first before heading out!

Take a peek in your pantry and freezer to see if the are any items you can use for your week’s meal plan.

Or take a peek after you’ve completed your meal plan and are creating your shopping list to ensure you have all you need for the week.

Use coupons

Coupons are a great way to cut costs. Look for them online, on store shelves by the product, or in the mail.

Take advantage of rewards programs

Many stores offer loyalty programs that reward you for purchasing certain products or sometimes just for making a purchase!

I recently earned $15 back on my $150 grocery trip because of a bonus offer and then another $3.60 for purchasing specific featured products. All for simply having signed up to the store’s free program. That’s $18.60 in my pocket that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I’ll take this free money any day of the week!

Avoid processed/packaged foods

Convenience foods are, well, convenient, but that convenience comes at a cost.

Avoid boxed foods whenever possible, or wait to purchase when on sale. I often keep a box of frozen chicken strips or a frozen pizza in my freezer for the nights mom just can’t manage anything else, but these are usually only purchased when on sale.

Buy frozen or dried instead of fresh foods

Not all food has to be fresh. Frozen fruits and vegetables have proven to be just as nutritious (and sometimes even more so) because they’re picked at harvest time and flash frozen so all the nutrients are intact.

Dried beans or legumes versus canned can also be a great saver. They may require advanced preparation (soaking beans overnight), but since we’re meal prepping, this won’t be an issue.

See how it all comes together?!

Buy seasonal

Buying seasonal fruits and vegetables is a great way to save money. Buying summer fruits like peaches in the dead of winter means having to pay a premium. Stick to summer fruits like peaches in the summer, fall fruits like apples in the fall, and stock up on those hearty root veggies in the winter. There are lot of spring options as well. Your stomach will thank you after you’ve given it a hearty winter stew.

Buy bulk or buy bigger

Often buying “family sized” or larger sized items over individually packed products will save you money. Think big block of cheddar versus individually packaged portions. Individually packaged items are convenient, but again this convenience comes at a cost.

Look into local ethnic grocery stores

If you’re in a large urban area, local ethnic grocery stores are a fantastic way to save money on groceries. My family often buys dairy, fruits, vegetables, and seafood at a discount at ethnic stores.

Plus there is the benefit of being exposed to a variety of produce and foods that you may not have otherwise seen! The world is full of delicious food and I for one love to sample it all.

Consider store brand

Store brands are a low cost option and often are just as good as brand name. It may take a bit of experimentation to see if a particular store brand product meets your expectations, but can be a big cost saver.

Don’t shop when you’re hungry (or with kids)

And finally, don’t shop when hungry! You’ll be more inclined to fall to temptation because everything looks delicious when your stomach is growling.

In a similar vein, try going shopping without kids if you’re a parent. You’ll be able to get in and out faster and won’t fall prey to their cute little faces as they beg for a box of fruity snacks.

4 thoughts on “Save on fresh foods and groceries”

  1. Pingback: Spring meal ideas on a budget - Breakthrough Budgeting

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