6 ways to save hundreds on your grocery bills

My weekly shopping trip to the grocery store is always hectic. Just getting my two toddlers out the car and keeping track of them in the store seems like a job in itself #amiright?

I've looked into subscribing to meal delivery services but it's just not affordable once the promotional period ends. So, I've tried several different ways to save money on groceries and streamline my grocery shopping experience at the same time. Below are some examples.

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1. Use Cash

One of the easiest ways I've found to save hundreds on my grocery bills is to use cash. I always suggest others try a cash envelope just for their groceries because when you use cash, you can't spend more than what you have on hand. You are more likely to avoid impulse purchases and you have to think ahead to the rest of your month too.

You can also geek out and bring a calculator to the store with you. Add up things as you put them in your basket so there are no surprises at the checkout. The benefit of this is that over time, you'll become more aware of prices and will get a sense of how much your groceries will be at the end of your shopping trip.

2. Use Coupons Or Coupon Apps

If you have the time to clip coupons, it can save you a ton of money at the grocery store. While traditional couponing may take some getting used to, there are many people who are able to save as much as $200 every week.

If you don't want to go through the hassle of couponing the traditional way, you could always try saving money with coupon apps. Apps like Ibotta ($5 for new users!) and Checkout51 make it easy for you to "clip" coupons and save money on the groceries you were going to buy anyway. Ibotta will even deposit rebates in cash via PayPal or Venmo if you follow their instructions. Also, one of my favorite general couponing apps is Coupon Sherpa, and they also have grocery store coupons in addition to coupons for many of your favorite stores.

3. Start Meal Planning

Meal planning can be a great money to save hundreds on your grocery bills. Not only is it fairly easy to do, but it can also save you time in the grocery store as well. Since time is money, less time in the grocery store means more time in your day and week. Plus, as I said, I find the grocery store very stressful since I usually have my twin toddlers with me. If I have a nice, organized list, I can often get in and out of the grocery store quickly, provided a kid doesn't lose a shoe or knock over an entire display of cookies (not like that's happened to me or anything.)

If you aren't a fan of meal planning, you could always try a meal planning service like $5 Meal Plan. Meal planning services are cheaper than meal delivery and take out, and you get to have a shopping list ready to go.

With $5 Meal Plan, you can use their pre-set weekly meal plan or their app to build your own. It's a drag and drop planner that lets you pick meals based on sales at your local grocery store. When I use this service in combination with cash envelopes and shopping at an affordable grocery store like Aldi, I save a lot of money each month.

4. Shop Using Store Ads

If you aren't interested in paying for a meal planning service, you can still mimic their service by planning your shopping trip around store ads. Instead of meal planning based on recipes you want to make that week, instead open up your store ads every weekend and see what's on sale.

For example, if there is ham on sale, you can decide to make a ham. If black beans are on sale, you can make a chili. By being flexible with the meals you make and shopping based on what's on sale, you can spend less without sacrificing quality.

5. Buy In Season

Out of season produce is incredibly expensive, and it can be hard when your kids really love one particular thing. For example, my kids love strawberries, but the truth is that buying strawberries in the middle of December just isn't feasible. I try to get different types of fruits and veggies so they don't expect to get the same food every single week.

Buying in season is also a great option if you want to start helping support your local community. In the spring and summer, heading to the farmers market is a great way to get affordable, fresh produce. Plus, since you're buying directly from the farmer, you can often negotiate on the price. An added benefit is that in season produce just tastes better too.

6. Buy Generic

For the most part, generic products will taste very similar to brand products. If you are easing into trying to save money on your grocery bills, buying generic is a simple switch. The great thing is that this doesn't have to be a permanent change. If you make a switch to generic and don't like it, go back to buying the name brand the following week (but try to find a coupon to go with it to make it less expensive!)

Ultimately, I know how hard it is to save money on groceries. This has been a pain point for my budget for a very long time. I like buying quality groceries for my kids and like to buy organic when it comes to milk and eggs. However, after regularly spending over $1,000/month on food, I knew I had to get serious. Using cash helps me to cut down on impulse purchases, and meal planning services help me to stay organized. I hope that some of the advice above helps you too. I honestly believe that if you can get the grocery category of your budget under control, many other positive money choices will follow.

What are some of the ways that you cut down on grocery costs? Do you have a favorite money saving app for groceries that I didn't mention above?

The post 6 Ways To Save Hundreds On Your Grocery Bills appeared first on Wallet Hacks.

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51 PHOTOS
50 everyday expenses you need to stop spending money on
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50 everyday expenses you need to stop spending money on
ATM fees

"Take a bit of extra time to withdraw money from your bank's ATM and save on the cost to withdraw your own cash or if your bank has a mobile app, use it to find an in-network ATM near you."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Lottery tickets

"According to the Powerball, the odds hitting the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.00, and CNN cites that Americans spent $70.15 billion in 2014. Let's save our hard-earned money."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Coffee

"A daily cup of joe adds up if you purchase it at places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. Save by brewing at home."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Credit card interest

"Maintaining a balance on your card usually you to pay interest each month. Try to pay off your credit card balance in full each month or send more than the minimum payment. As always, use your credit cards responsibly."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Kids meals when dining out

"When you do dine out and if you have kids with you, be sure to take advantage of 'kids eat free' specials. Most restaurants have specific days of the week when they offer free kids meals."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Gas station food and snacks

"Although it may be convenient, prices are always marked up when compared to other stores. So take the time to shop for food in advance at your grocery store and pack emergency snacks in your car."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Pumping premium gas

"Some vehicles may not require premium gas, which is the most costly of the gasoline grades. Stop trying to be fancy, check the owner's manual, and save."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Banking fees

"Don't pay to manage your money at a bank. Find banks that offer free banking or bank online for free like CapitalOne 360. Earn $25 when you open a free checking or high-yield savings account."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Change-counting machines

"Many of us like to keep our loose change in a jar and let it collect over time. Once it's full, don't pay machines to count it for you, go to your bank to deposit your savings or have it exchange for cash."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Wasting gas due to low tire pressure

"You may not know this, but having low tire pressure affects your mileage significantly. Save gas and money by improving your gas mileage by simply checking your tire pressure and maintaining it at the proper level."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Single car washing

"Many car wash places offer a flat monthly rate for unlimited washes, so check with your local car wash to find out if they offer a monthly rate and cash in on a clean car. Or, you can get a discount when you pump your gas."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Bottled water

"Unless you live in an area where potable water isn't safe, don't waste your money on bottled water. Often times, it's simply bottled tap water. Buy a reusable water bottle or invest in a quality water filter, and save (plus you'll reduce plastic waste)."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Cigarettes

"It's a tough addiction to beat, but it is a very expensive to purchase cigarettes daily. Aside from causing deadly health effects, according to Time, smoking can cost you $1 to $2 million in a lifetime. Make an effort to better your health and wallet."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Gift bags and wrapping

"Reuse bags from previous occasions if they are still in good condition. We started doing this last year and no longer have to run out and by $3+ gift bags when we go to events or parties."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Plastic bags fees

"For those living in an area where stores charge for plastic bags (*cough cough Chicago*), bring your own reusable one. Those cents add up!"

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Utility bill payment fees

"Skip the line at the currency exchange or grocery store and pay online using checking account or debit card. Some companies charge to use a debit card, so schedule e-check payment, which is typically free."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Travel size toiletries

"For the frequent traveler, you should buy empty travel containers and refill with shampoo, lotion, etc. as needed."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Paper

"Unless you're a student, you probably don't really need to buy a lot of paper – reuse already printed pages and use both sides."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Magazine and newspaper subscriptions

"Save money and paper by keeping up with free online news services."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Paying for premium streaming music services

"In the digital age of music, don't pay for premium services. Streaming companies like SoundCloud and Spotify allow you to listen to music for free."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Buying books

"If you'd like to truly own a book, then save on the paper and extra cost by purchasing the digital version, or go to your local library and check them out for free."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Library late fees

"Remember to return all materials on time. It'll save you money and allow for other library patrons to enjoy the material in a timely manner. If you do have library fees, wait for a month when they accept canned goods as a payment method (usually around the holidays)." 

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Brand new video games

"Skip the early release and commotion of having the latest video game. Save major bucks by purchasing a used version of the game online or at stores like Game Stop."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

In-app purchases

"Gaming apps are meant to entertain, and while most of them are free, don't fall for the "purchase bonus lives" trap. In-game purchases add up."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Greeting cards

"Take some time to make your own personal cards or send an eCard and skip on the expense."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

New phone chargers

"If you forget your charger and your phone needs to be charged, some time you'll be inclined to purchase a new one, but it can be costly or even poor quality. Always keep your charger handy, look for a charging station where you're at, or simply ask to borrow one."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Expiration dates

"Sometimes, expiration dates may not reflect the true shelf life of a product. Don't waste food (and money) by throwing out a product which may still be fine to consume. Check out Eat By Date and see for yourself the true shelf life of your groceries."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Stuff on your birthday

"When you're heading out and can't or don't want to drive, consider calling Uber or Lyft instead of calling a cab so you can save money on the ride. You can use my linkto get $20 off your first Uber ride."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Batteries

"Save on disposable batteries and purchase rechargeable ones. They can last up to two to three years."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Pens

"Many offices, banks, insurance companies, etc, give them away for free. Save them and skip on the purchase."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Insurance

"Be sure to get the best rate for your individual needs, whether it is car, health, home or life insurance."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Garbage bags

"If your area doesn't charge for using plastic bags, reuse the ones you get from shopping as garbage bags. I do this all the time."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

More house than you need

"While some families "grow into" their homes, sometimes less is more. Save on mortgage and the possibility of purchasing more for a larger home. Downsize and save."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Club/bar full cover charges

"While having a spontaneous night out is fun, if you RSVP when possible, arrive early, or take advantage of online ticket sales, you can skip out on paying in full at your favorite nightlife places."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Leaky faucets

"If you pay for water utility bill, according to the EPA, fixing leaky faucets saves you 10% on your bill. By ignoring it, you not only lose money every day it goes unfixed, but you also waste clean water, at a rate of 10,000 gallons per year."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Fast food restaurants

"Improve your health and wallet by not eating fast food often. It may be cheap, but it adds up, especially if you eat out a few times per week. Instead, spend the money and the time to grocery shop and prepare meals."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Cool drafts

"Save on heating and electric bills by fixing drafts and keep the warmth and cool in your home during the winter and summer."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Unnecessary data phone plans

"Unless you need unlimited data for work, you should not spend much on your cell phone bill. I save a ton of money on my cell phone bill by using Republic Wireless."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Pet food

"You may not be able to cut out this expense completely if you have pets, but you can score free cans of pet food with coupons occasionally so you won't have to spend as much."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Buying lunch

"Sometimes you're running late for work and don't have time to pack a lunch. Buying lunch often costs much more than preparing and bring a meal to work. Spend some time planning, purchasing and preparing meals ahead of time so they're ready to go, even when you're in a hurry."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Leaving electronics plugged in

"Even though you may not use them often, electronics that are plugged in still consume energy. Unplug appliances you don't you often and keep other electronics on a power strip, turning them off when not in use."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Prepared grocery store meals

"When you do go grocery shopping, sometimes the already-prepped sub or diced fruits and veggies tempt you to buy them and save time, but you'll be paying top dollar for those products. Plan a list ahead of time and buy the individual food items, then spend the time prepping them yourself in order to save.

If you have trouble making grocery lists and figuring out what you're going to eat each day, I'd highly recommend trying out the $5 Meal Plan so you can receive healthy meal plans and recipes to your inbox."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Vending machine snacks

"Not only are these snacks typically unhealthy (there goes your healthy habit), they are typically much more expensive than their grocery store counterparts. If you find yourself buying vending machine snacks, try to save the money instead and see how much you have leftover at the end of the month. You can probably invest it."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Transportation

"When you're heading out and can't or don't want to drive, consider calling Uber or Lyft instead of calling a cab so you can save money on the ride. You can use my link to get $20 off your first Uber ride."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Brand name items

"Save money by skipping on the brand names, like medicine, toiletries, and certain foods. Remember that healthier options with fewer additives may cost more and in that case they may be worth it. Otherwise, generic is the way to go."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Buying smaller/single packs

"Save money by skipping on the brand names, like medicine, toiletries, and certain foods. Remember that healthier options with fewer additives may cost more and in that case they may be worth it. Otherwise, generic is the way to go."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Purchasing paper towels/paper napkins

"You are purchasing these to eventually throw them out. Save on the waste and save money by buying reusable, washable towels and napkins. Your wallet and the environment will thank you."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Paying extra for night time movie showings

"Primetime showings are typically 2x higher than those during the day. Go to morning matinees or take advantage of weekly specials ($5 movie nights during the week)."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

Movie theater food

"Often times, movie theater food can cost more than the ticket to get in. Try to keep food purchases to a minimum when you can or eat a filling meal before you go see a movie."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

DVDs and On Demand

"Instead of spending money on purchasing the movie, subscribe to streaming services and find an alternative or go to your local library."

Credit: My Debt Epiphany

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