The first rule is to not shop hungry. If you try to grocery shop while you are starving, you'll end up with a bunch of extra foods that you really didn't need.
Shop once a week and create a well thought out store list by including everything you need. This will save you time and gas money later. The less you shop the more you save. How many times have you went to the store for a gallon of milk and spent $30? That's some expensive milk!
Milk will keep longer if you push it to the back of the refrigerator. Buy one more than you think you'll need so you'll definitely have enough and keep them in the back.
Some people like to freeze milk. Personally, I wouldn't recommend this because it seems to change the flavor.
To get milk cheaper, buy it from a pharmacy. It's usually up to 50¢ cheaper.
Buy off generic brand products. The name brand products will always be more expensive unless they are on sale or you have a coupon. Most of the generic brand products are just as good. I have found that oftentimes there's a difference in dairy products, so beware.
Use coupons but make sure the coupon is worth printing. If it's just a few cents off, or you can get a generic brand cheaper don't bother printing it. Ink isn't cheap and neither is your time.
Stock up on things when they are on sale or if you have a coupon, but only do it if you can store it properly. Don't go overboard and buy more than you actually need. Even though you might eventually use it, you are not spending your money wisely.
Plan meals by the store ads and try to match the sales with a coupon and/or rebate apps like Ibotta, SavingStar, and Checkout 51.
If you have veggies or fruits that are about to go bad, put them in the freezer for later. Most veggies and fruits hold up well after being frozen, but I haven't had much luck with onions or tomatoes. If I slice green tomatoes they hold up nicely, but any variety of red tomato won't work.
Every fruit I've ever frozen worked great. I always freeze apples because my family never eats them fast enough. I cut the brown spots off and slice them. Then I cook or fry them. If I don't freeze them, I fix apple sauce, apple butter or fried apple pies. Yummy!
Although it may not be ideal, buy frozen meats instead of fresh meats. This is much cheaper and a lot of times they are individually wrapped so you can get out the exact amount needed. Maybe you could even try canned fish and make a salad or casserole. There's a lot of recipes online.
Use your oldest light bread (not molded or bad--just dried out a little) to make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
Use leftover hot dog buns or hamburger buns for dinner rolls. Spread butter all over them and bake them in the oven for about 6 minutes or toast them and make croutons.
Fix breakfast for dinner a couple of times a month. Breakfast is usually cheaper than dinner. Make homemade biscuits, scrambled egg patties, and sausage patties. Enough to feed a family of four would be about $5 or you could fix a pancake dinner and it would be even cheaper.
Buy individual items for a salad and stay away from the prepackaged bags of salad. They are a lot more expensive and tend to spoil quicker.
Stay away from frozen dinners. You can make them yourself for almost half the price. Plus you can freeze dinners in individual packages for later use.
Stop eating so much junk food! It's not good for you anyway. It's just empty calories and it's expensive.
Grow a garden and plant fruit trees. Home can and freeze what you can't use. You could also sell some at the farmers market.
Keep lettuce longer by cutting away the core end. Wash and dry
the lettuce and put it in an airtight container.
Make your own salad dressing. Just Google how to make salad dressing and you'll find hundreds of recipes.
Start writing your new store list the day after you go shopping. This way you'll have all week to add the things you need to the list. As soon as you run out of something put it on the list.
Only allow yourself to eat out once a month. For a family of four, with two teens, it cost between $40-60 to eat at a fast food restaurant or a sit-down restaurant. I won't even mention how much it costs to eat at a fancy restaurant.
Commit to more home-cooked meals. I had a friend tell me that it's cheaper to eat out than to buy enough groceries for home-cooked meals. Boy, was she wrong!
We totaled the costs and for her family of four to eat out 7 days a week was over $250 plus she still had to buy the necessities like milk, bread, etc... which added another $40-50 each week. That's about $300 a week.
I fix home-cooked meals every day and spend between $140-$180 per week. I know that's a lot, but I feed between 4-7 people everyday. I have teens in and out of my home all the time and I think they have a bottomless pit for a stomach.
Anyway, these are my top 40 tricks of how to save money on groceries. Please don't feel overwhelmed.
If you want to try some of these ideas, that's great, but I recommend that you start small.
Start with one thing and then when you are use to that move on to another idea. Eventually, it will all become second nature to you.
Good luck and happy shopping!
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