Back when there were seven of us in the house, our grocery bill — as you can imagine — was pretty high. I would use coupons and create my weekly menu from that week’s sales. Although that helped keep the cost down, I still spent an average of $800.00 a month on groceries.
Something had to give, so I began looking at more ways to reduce my monthly grocery bill.
Adding Meat Bundles to a Frugal Grocery Budget Equals Big Savings
I kept hearing how buying meat in bulk could save families quite a bit of money, so when I started looking for ways to reduce our family’s grocery bill, this was the first thing I looked into.
I contacted local grocery stores to see if they had bulk meat package deals, and if they did, I asked their prices and wrote them down. Unfortunately, in my area, there were only a few places that sold their meat in bundles, but after comparing prices with the few places I had to choose from, the winner was Sam’s IGA, which was about 25 miles from my home, an additional 12 miles from where I usually grocery shop, so the savings made it well worth the few extra miles. Unfortunately, they closed.
In addition to the savings, the quality of IGA’s meat was much better than my local Kroger’s meat. For instance, I hate buying my chicken for fried chicken at Kroger, because the breasts are so big! However, IGA’s chicken breasts were the normal size that I remember seeing as a kid growing up.
Planning Is Necessary for Any Frugal Grocery Budget
Every week, usually the evening before I go grocery shopping, I write out a menu for the week. I create my menu based on what I already have in my pantry and deep freeze, what’s on sale and what I have coupons for.
As you’re writing out your menu, consider using leftovers from the previous nights’ suppers for lunches. This helps you save even more money when your menu includes three daily meals and snacks for a large family.
To be totally honest with you, I don’t use near as many coupons as you may, because, in my area, I’ve discovered that even with most coupons, I can get the store brand products cheaper without the coupon, and that includes coupons I have for things that are on sale.
I do, however, use some coupons to save on the store brand products. Since I have a Kroger Plus card and free online Kroger account, Kroger tracks what I buy most, and based on my purchase history with them, they’re always sending me coupons by snail mail and adding digital coupons to my online account. All I have to do to get the digital coupons is log in to my account and load the coupons I want to my Kroger card. Because I buy mostly store brand products, the majority of the coupons Kroger offers me are for the store brands I buy most. It’s rare to get coupons for generic brands, but Kroger offers them, and I love this!
As you’re planning your menu, brainstorm to see what you could fix with the things you have in your pantry and freezer, what’s on sale as well as the products you have coupons for. Personally, I love using Recipe Land when planning the menu for my frugal grocery budget. There I can enter the ingredients I want to use, and then it gives me recipes that use those ingredients. I can even find recipes that use venison, squirrel and rabbit!
Create your grocery list from your menu. Check your pantry, fridge and freezer for ingredients that you already have, and mark those off your grocery list.
Another thing to keep in mind as your writing out your menu is rice, beans, pasta, turkey and pork are usually always cheap, which makes them great for frugal grocery budgets. The internet is filled with budget-friendly recipes that use these ingredients. Also, once again, you can use Recipe Land to look for recipes by ingredients.
Using Rebate Apps Puts Cash Back in Your Pocket
As with coupons, I don’t use the cashback rebate apps often since I mostly buy generic brands, but if you buy any name brand products, these apps help you save money, and in some cases you can end up with nearly-free or free products by combining discounts with other coupons. You won’t save instantly at checkout, though. Instead, in most cases, you take a picture of your receipt and submit it. Then once you reach the minimum amount, the company gives you cash back in gift cards, and some offer cash through Paypal.
The good thing about a lot of these cashback rebate apps is you can buy the product from any store. Also, some of them do occasionally have rebate offers for generic brands. The app that I use regularly has a good selection of offers for generic brands, and it is Ibotta ($20.00 minimum to cash out). If you sign up for Ibotta through my link, you will receive a $10.00 welcome bonus.
Cooking From Scratch & Canning Helps You Maintain Your Frugal Grocery Budget
It’s true, canning and making things from scratch does take more time, but the money you’ll save by doing this extra work really does make it all worth it. Not to mention homemade food is healthier than most prepacked foods.
Now that I’ve shared with you what I did to create the frugal grocery budget that saved me over $300.00, I’d love to hear any additional tips you may have for saving money in the grocery store. Tips I’ve not mentioned, of course. In fact, if I really like your tip(s), I just may update this article and include what you share. And I will be sure to give you credit for anything you share, which would include a link to a money-saving website or blog that you have, so when you comment with your tip(s) be sure to include the URL to your site or blog, just in case.