Home MoneyBudget How to Slash Your Grocery Bill by 50%

How to Slash Your Grocery Bill by 50%

by Diane

I’m on a mission to seriously reduce my spending at the grocery store. In the last few months I’ve managed to reduce spending on all our general grocery costs by over 50%. In November I spent $670 and in April I spent just under $330.

This is how I slashed my grocery bill by 50%

frugal food - save money on groceries


1. Shop the sales

The aim of the game is to never pay full price for your regular purchases. Always keep your eyes open for sales and special deals. If you’re lucky enough to have access to coupons, use them whenever you can to buy items you normally buy. There’s no point stocking up on something just because you have a coupon and it’s dirt cheap, if you’ll never use it.

Creating a price book is invaluable for making sure you always pay the lowest possible price. It’s also a great way to track when your regular purchases go on sale. For some lines it might be once every three months, others might go one sale every 6 – 8 weeks. If it’s on sale and you can afford it, buy enough to last until they go on sale again.

2. Stockpile

If you make sure you buy sufficient of the ‘on sale’ item to last until it’s on sale again, you’ll naturally start building a stockpile. There are a few items that I buy up big when they are on a special deal (cat food, toiletries and laundry items) and add to my stockpile. In general though, most of the grocery lines I buy are either store brand items (plain flour, unsalted butter, tomato paste) or products that very rarely go on sale (un-homogenised organic milk). I find there’s very little variation in the price I pay from one week to the next so the growth of my stockpile is more deliberate: buying extra of a couple of items each time I shop.

I always add greater value to having ingredients in my pantry rather than products. Ingredients are flexible, you can take flour, sugar, butter and milk, throw in a few flavourings and have a huge range of desserts, if all you have is boxed brownie mix, that’s all you’ll get. Not that I have anything against brownies!

So, when you’re adding to your stockpile, think about the ways in which the item can be used and if that’s the best choice you can make.

3. Spend less on meat

Spending less on meat can mean adding a few vegetarian meals to the menu plan or choosing to use cheaper cuts of meat or a combination of these ideas.

Vegetarian meals don’t need to be all tofu or beans and rice, either. There are many options available, including meat free versions of family favorites. The vegetarian favorite in my home is vegetarian lasagna which is a simple ratatouille style vegetable stew layered with lasagna sheets then topped with a basic white sauce (roux) and grated cheese and baked. No odd or expensive ingredients, tasty and easy to make.

The really cheap cuts of beef are best cooked long and slow and lend themselves to hearty stews or chili con carne. These types of dishes are easy to bulk up with vegetables and beans (if you like them), too.

4. Change the way you meal plan

If you’re looking to slash your food budget, turn off the TV! The worst thing you can do to your food budget is watch cooking shows. If you’re slashing your budget, you’re going to need to keep your meal plan simple: wholesome dishes made with simple (cheap and nutritious) ingredients that are filling and everyone loves. Choose eight to ten evening meals and stick them on a rotation cycle. Using that number of meals means you’ll avoid Tuesday’s becoming tuna casserole night, unless of course, that suits you.

slash your grocery bill how to save on food

The other advantage with a short rotation cycle is that you’ll get really good at preparing each meal quickly, plus shopping will be quicker and, ultimately cheaper. Sure, you’ll sacrifice some degree of variety but, if you add a little creativity you can turn beef stew into individual beef and vegetable pies using home made flaky pastry (flour, butter, a little salt and water) or turn that chili con carne into baked burritos with home made wheat tortillas (flour, oil, water).

Slash your grocery bill

There it is… Four simple and relatively painless steps to show you how to save heaps on your grocery bill. If you’re looking for ways to find extra money for debt repayment or to save for something special, take a close look at your grocery bill – I’m sure you’ll find ways of slashing it, too.

Slash all your bills by grabbing a download of the Massive Money Saving Checklist here.

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Can you slash more from your grocery bill?

Do you stockpile, use a price book or shop with coupons? Do you have any tips to share?

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Jaime February 13, 2016 - 7:04 am

Great article! Know and love all of these methods and they are critical to keeping our grocery budget low!

My tips on meat would be:

– Google local butcher shops in your area and check out their prices; We have one a 25 minute drive away that has outstanding prices IF you buy 10 lbs at a time. Like this week 10 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts is $15.90 or $1.59 lb – other weeks it’s been more like $1.29 lb.

I make a trip every 4-6 months and buy all of our meat there – freezing it for when needed. We are very lucky to have a place like this near us of course. We heard about it through word of mouth, but you never know what you might find until you look! Ask around too!

– Chat up the people behind the meat counter at your grocery store; they can tell you if they do mark downs at certain times, etc. Hey – maybe they know a good local butcher shop – lol!

– Compare costs of the same item in pre-packaged to the meat counter. Meijer boneless skinless chicken breasts are $1.89 lb every week BUT you have to get them from the meat case, not pre-packaged. Cracks me up when I see the same thing “on sale” for $2.29 lb but you can just grab a package from the case and go.

Diane February 15, 2016 - 12:22 pm

Great tips! I’m *always* on the look out for marked down meat. I’d love to buy bulk meat but I don’t have the freezer space… yet. 🙂

Sandra hall January 2, 2016 - 12:26 am

I love to price match. Several stores in my area will match my lowest
price found. All I have to do is show the ad or tell them which store has
a cheaper price. This is really helpful with fruits, veggies and meats.
Great article! Thanks!

Diane January 2, 2016 - 9:53 am

Thanks Sandra. Great suggestion.

britt November 6, 2015 - 3:54 pm

Menu planning is a big cost saver and going with store brands. Buying fruits and veggies in season. Buy frozen if you’re unsure if it’ll get eaten in a week. I price match a lot between sales and grocery stores. I dont drive across town to get one or two items though, but if i happen to be in the area I will stop. Produce is usually cheaper at a discount grocery store then nonperishables at like Walmart or Dollar Tree. Aldi is a good cheap store if you have one in your area.

Diane November 7, 2015 - 7:26 am

That’s a great point about frozen veggies. Fresh is best, but not if they just end up as expensive compost.

I love Aldi! 🙂

Zahra July 9, 2015 - 3:54 pm

Awesome tips. I sometimes stockpile when it’s on special and then share (both product and cost) with a friend so I don’t really end up with 5 or 10 bags of onions or flour. And I shop at the market rather than shopping centers for fresh produce. It saves me a few dollars on every product.

Diane July 9, 2015 - 4:01 pm

Thank you! Sharing the cost and the product is a great idea – especially if a big outlay is required. Everyone wins.

Dorothy Posey May 16, 2015 - 3:24 am

I have one dinner meal with all left overs for the last 3 days even if its 1 cup of green beans I warm every thing up and have a buffet on counter and let everyone pick what they want everyone is happy.

Diane May 16, 2015 - 7:15 am

That is a great idea, I bet it’s a fun meal, too.

Shari from GoodFoodWeek May 13, 2015 - 5:02 pm

I am terrible at saving money on food.

Diane May 16, 2015 - 7:43 am

You should have seen my grocery bill when I was working full-time and running a busy side hustle! It would have been enough for a household of 10. It’s a process… 🙂

Jason@Islands of Investing May 12, 2015 - 8:10 pm

Great work cutting your groceries down to only $330 Diane! I’m sure there’s plenty of fat in our grocery budget, as we tend to just cook the meals that we want to cook without considering whats on sale etc. I definitely stock up on some of the essentials like toilet paper, cat food etc though!

Diane May 16, 2015 - 7:46 am

Ha ha ha… there’s no peace if you run out of cat food!

I’m focused because I’d rather feed my mortgage than Woolies bottom line. 🙂

Amy May 12, 2015 - 9:33 am

I was so glad to see that last tip! I have a very boring recipe collection right now- all cheap, easy meals packed full of veg and a little meat or chicken. I also meal plan for bulk buys- I know my mince will last 4 meals and a bag of chicken thighs will do two, so I incorporate that into my planning.

Diane May 12, 2015 - 3:58 pm

I think keeping it simple is crucial, especially in the beginning.

kay ~ lifestylevoices.com May 12, 2015 - 7:24 am

I love coupons, but Florida doesn’t double, so that’s a real bummer. But I still use them! I also like to get to the local Winn-Dixie around 7 am when they put the red discount stickers on the meat. I bought a pound of Perdue ground chicken the other day for $1 because the sell by date was the next day (it’s regularly $3.99). Mostly, I get meat at 40% – 60% off by shopping early. I love your tips! 🙂

Diane May 12, 2015 - 8:12 am

I’m always on the lookout for marked down meat. It can make a big difference to the month’s total spend.

We don’t have coupons at all. 🙁

Saving Sanely May 11, 2015 - 10:05 pm

My best tip is to learn what days big ticket items are marked down. There’s usually something everyday, but at my store, they mark a bunch of meat and dairy products down on Fridays. This saves me a bunch of money by checking the managers specials before shopping the sales! Great tips here otherwise!

Diane May 12, 2015 - 6:37 am

I’ve tracked meat mark downs at my local stores and there’s no discernible schedule – unfortunately. I always look for markdowns, though.

Holly@ClubThrifty May 11, 2015 - 10:04 pm

The fact that we don’t eat meat helps us save as long as we don’t spend extra money on fancy specialty groceries!
Our grocery budget is $600 per month and we usually stick with it.

Diane May 12, 2015 - 6:32 am

Specialty groceries are a budget killer for sure. I bought Marmite this week and it was $4.30 for a 250gm (9oz) jar!!! It’s on the special occasion list now. 🙂


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