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How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

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Reducing your grocery bill is one of the fastest ways to free up extra money in your budget for the month! I’m going to explain how to cut your grocery bill in half using 5 strategies that have saved me thousands each year on a small income. 

The best part is that you don’t have to download a million “cash – back” apps or clip 100 coupons per trip to the grocery store. Enjoy!

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1. Use a meal planner or notebook

 

In this world of tech and apps, a notebook may sound outdated but trust me it is my favorite menu and meal prep tool! I use this free printable meal planner I created.

 

Not only can I organize my thoughts way better on paper, but I also have the advantage of (mostly) not buying things I don’t need. Trust me, every SINGLE time I go to the store without a list or a plan, I am going to end up with items I don’t really need. They say never go to the grocery store hungry…obviously everything seems good when you’re hungry so you will get more than enough. Well, the same could be said of going grocery shopping without a list!

 

Plan out your meals first. We always make 4 – 5 dinner meals, leaving 2 -3 nights where we either eat leftovers or take-out. It really depends on your family and lifestyle. For example, if you are a stay at home mom with two small children, then you probably want to fix 6 or 7 meals a week. You’re likely not gonna wanna load the kids up and take them out to eat every night! The freedom to make your lunch every day ain’t gonna happen either. Making 6-7 meals means you have leftovers for the week or even when you just “can’t even.”

 

If you have older kids, you most likely won’t have enough for leftovers depending on the number of servings per recipe. OR, you might be a busy family with older kids going to this and that activity. If that’s the case then you realistically need to factor in 3 – 4 take out nights! Another option is to make larger batches of something and eat leftovers during the week. You can buy a large bag of green beans or potatoes and have the same side item for several meals.

Once you have your meals planned out you can then start on your list. If I am working with recipes that I know by heart, I order my list by aisle (produce, meat, snacks, etc.) to save time.

 

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Plan your meals by the Weekly Ad

 

 

To me, shopping by weekly ad is just like shopping retail sales. You buy what’s on sale! You will almost always have some type of pantry item on sale whether it be cereal, soup, or pasta. If I have wiggle room in my budget I usually stock up on these items when they are cheap. The best part is, most of them don’t go to waste so you can forget about them and not feel bad or wasteful.

 

 

 

Meat is the most expensive item that I shop by sale price. If boneless skinless chicken is on sale for $1.69/lb then you can bet I will incorporate it into 3 – 4 meals that week. You can always buy something in bulk and divide it, especially if it is a better price than buying seperate 1lb. Containers. Food scale? Who needs it?..I often just eyeball what a pound is, but hey I’m a rebel :)..

 

 

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The freezer is your friend

Did you know you can freeze literally almost anything??? I have used this trick with Milk a lot when it goes on sale for .99 cents a gallon. Yes, you heard that correct. I have gotten GALLONS of milk before at ALDI for $0.99!!  Pro -tip though, leave room for it to expand in the freezer. Also, you MUST use it within a week of unfreezing. But if you’re like us, we can easily go through a gallon of milk a week every week.

 

So go ahead and freeze that chicken you meant to cook but something came up! If you are not sure then here is a good rule of thumb: You can freeze most anything that does not have a high water content (think lettuce, rice, etc.). If you are still not sure, google it :).

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Consider a meal plan or subscription service

 

I know what you’re thinking! No way, those are too expensive, too complicated, too whatever!

 

When I got my first teaching job I was living with my Mom. We both were busy ALL the time. Meal Prep and those things were such a waste of time, food AND MONEY! A friend referred us to Blue Apron and BOOM, we were hooked. We made beautiful meals 3 nights a week, we were challenged in a good way by trying new flavors, and we weren’t wasting food or money

Plus every Friday when our box came it was like mini Christmas! Lol. Who doesn’t like getting packages? 🙂

 

Most meal prep services are completely tailored to your tastes, there are no leftover ingredients and waste, and they take 30 minutes or less to make.

They are especially helpful if you’re trying to stay healthy but don’t have the time for planning and prep. Blue Apron and Factor are my two favorites and they almost always have a deal for new subscribers!

 

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Shop Seasonal Produce

 

Similar to shopping the weekly grocery ad, you can also shop seasonal produce to maximize savings.

 

To cut your grocery bill in half, I recommend incorporating meals that include seasonal produce such as berries during summer season, and squash in the fall.

 

Often times you can get frozen fruits and veggies for cheaper than fresh, especially when that produce (such as blueberries) are not in season.  Most people don’t know that frozen produce is actually BETTER for you nutrient wise than  fresh. This is because frozen produce is flash frozen to preserve all nutrients whereas fresh produce loses nutrients each day it sits on a shelf.

 

 

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