With the rising cost of food recently, you might be thinking of ways to reduce your grocery bill.
And I’m not an expert by any means, but I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks I’ve learned.
How to Reduce Your Grocery Bill
Change Your Mindset
The first thing is we have to change our mindset about food. The more things you cook at home and the less processed food you buy — the more you will save on your groceries.
Think of the basics: meat, vegetables, fruit, grains, and dairy.
No matter what type of diet you follow, if you prepare most of your meals from scratch it will save you money.
And I know time is a factor for most people, but I usually batch cook and prep things in advance (like cutting up fruit and vegetables) to save time.
I also tend to make my own snacks — making muffins for my toddler and baking sweets on occasion.
Another thing I do is try to find clearance food.
For example, Walmart’s clearance baking rack is a great place to look for bread under $1 like donuts, and buns. Although these are not always the healthiest options, once in awhile it’s a great way to save on snacks.
Also, Hornbacher’s usually has a reduced meat clearance (but I learned you have to get there early if you can). And they also have a reduced fish section.
Most grocery stores in the Fargo-Moorhead area have items with reduced stickers or a section for clearance. That goes for health food stores as well, like Swanson Health Products and Natural Grocers.
Local farmers and farmers markets are another way to get great deals on produce. If you follow local markets on social media (for example, I love following Lady Bug Acres’ Veggie Barn on Facebook), sometimes if they have an abundance of produce for that day they’ll mark it down or give away free produce.
Another option, if you have food assistance, the Red River Market has a matching program that gives you dollar to dollar match. According to their website, if you swipe your EBT card at the Red River Market information booth, you can receive matching funds up to $15 per market. When you spend $15 from your account, you get $30 in market tokens. Which provides an excellent opportunity to get some fresh vegetables.
Another great resource we have in our community is Ruby’s Pantry. It costs $26 for a bundle of food. Although you don’t get to pick what you get, there is a variety of food from fresh to frozen.
Also the Dollar Tree can be a great resource for some things, if you know your prices. The big bags of Himalyan crystal salt are still a great deal. So are the canned roasted red peppers, the Campbell’s Soup if it’s the bigger-sized can (I think only chicken noodle and tomato) as well the brown rice (if you can find the two-pound bags).
Grocery Shopping Tips
- Make it a habit to look at unit prices. It’s already on the price sticker at the store and shows the price of what you are getting per weight or volume.
- Keeping track of prices also helps, as does buying vegetables and fruits when they’re in season.
- Buying generic versus name brand will also save you money. However, I don’t buy everything generic — sometimes name brand is better tasting!
- Look for products on the top and lower shelves, they tend to be cheaper.
- Check out the sales flyers (There’s an app called Flipp that has them or go directly to your preferred grocery store’s website or app as well. The deals, called “loss leaders,” are usually on the front page. Loss leaders are called that because they want to price something low to get you into the store and also buy other things.)
- Cooking around the sales for the week, or what you have in your pantry will also help save money.
Rebate Apps & Coupons
There are also several rebate apps one can use. Checkout51 and Ibotta are the most popular ones. You add offers, and then scan your receipt after you’re done shopping. And the trick is to only add offers on things you will use or already use. Otherwise, you are just buying things for the sake of a discount and that defeats the purpose.
As far as couponing goes, things have become digitalized and it seems like every store has its own rewards program. It’s a great idea to sign up for those.
I hope you found some of these tips useful and remember if you are really struggling to provide for your family we have a list of resources here.