Looking for some creative ways to cut your grocery bill? Here are 18 strategies from my followers that you might not have thought of doing:
Creative Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill
I recently asked my followers to share some of their best creative ideas for cutting their grocery bill. Here are a few of my favorites that were submitted…
(Psst! Have more creative ideas to cut your grocery bill? Please leave a comment on this post and let us know!)
1. Can you make it yourself?
“Make homemade items instead of buying them in the store. Example: homemade taco seasoning. You probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Use less meat and more veggies in your recipes. You don’t have to use all the meat that comes in the package.
“Make homemade laundry detergent (for coloreds and darks). It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment just long enough to help you save money now. Almost anything you get at the store you can make at home. Think outside the box.” -Christine
2. Pretend you’re Ma Ingalls!
“I always pretend our family is Little House on the Prairie and it’s a day’s horse ride into town to get groceries. So, once I have purchased groceries, I don’t go back to the store. I get clever about what I can make with what I have. Kind of my own version of Chopped.” -Kathleen
3. Order groceries online.
“One thing that helps us save money is to order groceries online. I can closely watch what is being spent.
Yes, that means I may give up my 25-cent-off coupon, but if I’m saving $5 because I bought something on an impulse, then I still see it as saving.
Or, I’ll order online and then shop my coupons in store. Saving money is hard, you always need to be watching, always counting, always scouring for the best deal. It’s a job all in itself. But when it pays off…boy does that feel great!” -Jessica
4. Cash is king!
“If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it! We spend $100/week on food and toiletries for our family of 6. It’s hard but doable. The reality is, if you only have $150, you’ll only spend $150. Maybe working a zero-based budget will help you succeed more?!” -Alicia
5. Stretch your chicken.
“I buy big packs of chicken breast and can use 1 pack for 3 meals. I separate the chicken tenders from the breast and cut those into cubes for casseroles. Then, I place those pieces and seasonings/marinades in labeled freezer bags and freeze them.
The breasts, I fillet, turning one portion into two. These I season/marinade and place in bags or parchment lined tins and freeze — it just depends on how I plan to cook them.” -Jessica
Pro Tip: Check out this post on How to Stretch One Package of Chicken to Make 4 Dinners.
6. Have a Waste Not, Want Not Day.
“Take a look at what’s leftover at the end of the week from your most recent shopping trip. What meal(s) can you make out if it? Or snacks, treats, etc.? Every so often I have a “Waste Not Want Not Day” and I use up every odd/leftover food items I can find. Be creative.” -Helen
7. Stop using so much!
“Rethink how you use some items. Using too much laundry soap? Only use the bare minimum. And sometimes hand wash small batches! Shampoo? Wash your hair every 2nd or 3rd day, rather than every day.” -Sue
Pro tip: Read my post on How I Only Wash My Hair Once a Week.
8. Think in terms of cost per meal.
“I try to break it down by cost per meal. Most meals (dinners) I make regularly can be done for under $10-12 for my family of 5… $4 or less worth of meat, a couple bucks in veggies, a couple bucks in carbs.
“I try to keep snacks under $0.30/each, at most $0.50, so I’ll break down the cost per item or estimate the number of snacks I can get from one box and divide.
“It really helps to see exactly what your meals are costing you, if the ingredients you use in your average dinner costs $25 to buy, you either need to reevaluate your menus or reevaluate your budget.” -Jessica
9. Use a store gift card & shop with a calculator.
“A tip to avoid going over on groceries is IF you shop at stores like Safeway (Vons) or QFC (Kroger) that offer gift cards for purchase… load up a gift card each week for the dollar amount you have planned. Only use that gift card (as best you can) for grocery shopping.
“If your card doesn’t have enough to cover it at checkout, it’ll really make you have to think twice when you have to pull out your debit card to cover the difference.
“Also, shop with a calculator in hand. I’ve done that so many times during tight payday periods. Then you can re-evaluate what’s most important in your cart before you get to checkout.” -Helen
10. Shop Dollar General for OTC medicines.
“I’ve recently been introduced to Dollar General brand of OTC meds. They actually seem to work better than most of the name brands.” -Alice
11. Simplify your meals.
“Simplify your meals. Some nights we don’t do the traditional meat, starch, veggie. We hardly ever have a bread/roll or even dessert. We might have just a casserole or just spaghetti alone with no sides.” -Allison
12. Shop at CVS.
“CVS is the best for personal care items. Although their regular prices are high, their deals can’t be beat.
One day recently, I walked out with 2 bottles of L’Oreal shampoo, 2 Pantene hairsprays, and 1 shaving cream for $0.53. I used the coupons at the kiosk, with manufacturer’s coupons on sale items. When I get an overabundance, I share with my daughter or donate to one of the local shelters.” -Kathy
13. Make your own convenience items.
“Making cleaning products with vinegar, baking soda, ammonia provides lots of savings. Also, we stopped using paper towels years ago. (You can even cut up old t-shirts for hand towels. I keep them in a basket by the sink.)
“Make convenience items from scratch. Or find homemade solutions for expensive items.
“When I had kids at home, I made lots of muffins, baked oatmeal, homemade frozen hot pockets, and frozen burritos. Hillbilly Housewife had a great basic muffin recipe and I made it with whatever I had for add-ins.
“Eating breakfast for supper saves lots and having things like pancakes, biscuits and gravy, or eggs and toast. Cooking once to re-use leftovers saves a lot also. Taco meat becomes chili, baked chicken becomes soup.” -Gina
14. Cut down on what you buy.
“You can still go broke chasing a good deal! Former coupon instructor here. You can up the amount of your budget OR you can cut down on what you buy.
“Perhaps one week a month (or a quarter), do a spending fast and don’t shop. Use what’s in the pantry, and eat what’s in the fridge/freezer.” -Amanda
15. Use Walmart Grocery Pickup.
“Walmart Online grocery pickup has been great for me lately. You can see exactly what you’re spending before you get to checkout and you are only buying what you need for the week/two weeks versus buying things that you see that jump into your cart.
“I still have to supplement with trips here and there to our local grocery store, but knowing I can purchase the bulk of it for very low prices and control what I’m spending WHILE I spend it, has been a great thing for me.” -Susan
Pro tip: Did you know you can earn United Airline Miles by using Walmart Grocery Pickup?
16. Use bar soap instead of liquid soap.
“Bar soap is also a fraction of the price of liquid, one $2 bar of Dove lasts more than a month compared to a $6 bottle of liquid for 2 weeks!” -Marge
17. Try the Envelope System.
“I highly recommend the envelope system. Put your grocery money for the week envelope and only spend that amount (you might need to leave your credit/debit cards at home until you get the hang of shopping with a set amount of cash).” -Kathy
18. Check out FOOD Rescue Organization.
“Have you ever heard of a FOOD rescue organization? Google that for your zip code and see if there are any nearby. I have an active one near me in Baltimore and I go to their giveaways a few times per week My family are BIG veggie eaters. This easily saves me $75 per week.” -Kirsten
Have you tried any of these ideas? Did they work for you? What other creative ideas do you have for cutting your grocery bill?