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?
I am so interested in the homemade foaming handsoap. My business partner makes our soap, however I spend a lot on the foaming handsoaps(even though I only buy them during their sales) at Bath and Bodyworks that my husband loves.
Also I was recently introduced to the alternative to dryer sheets. 1 cup of fabric softener to 6 cups of water in a container with dollar store sponges. toss in a sponge with your clothes and when your load is dry put the sponge back into the container for next time. Suggest snuggles for their great scent.
Thanks for the great tip!! -Jordan, MSM Team
I want to second # 16 – use bar soap. I have recently switched to bar soap, and I also think that it is better for the environment (with not using plastic bottles). We have also started making our own foaming handsoap (instead of buying the Bath and Bodyworks kind), and this has saved us a lot of money. There are multiple recipes online if you are interested.
Thanks for the suggestions! -Jordan, MSM Team
One thing I wish I had that my sister in law does, is buying veggies from a co-opt. You sign up for the season and pick it up once a month and your box is a mismatch of local veggies. You don’t get to pick the veggies so you have to be creative.
But also a lot of the times going to a local farmers market will get you lower prices on veggies than at the grocery store.
Those are such great ideas! Thanks for sharing! -Jordan, MSM Team
The food rescue organization and any other charity organization like that should be left only to the POOR, the ones who really can’t afford food, the widow mamas, the mamas who are single and need assistance to provide for their childen, it’s not for us to save on our budget. Please consider not taking food from the poor, DO consider on helping them though.
Crystal Paine says
There are actually many people who read here who are actually in that position — single mamas barely making ends meet and people who don’t have enough to buy basic necessities, so that’s why I wanted to share it.
Shop with a smaller cart or a basket. Even if it means multiple checkouts and making trips back and forth to your car, you’ll really think on what you’re putting in that cart or basket. The bigger the cart, the more we’ll want to fill it up. Also, when the store is busier, we tend to spend more. Shop on days when it’s not so busy. Wednesday is usually a quieter day for shopping and Wednesday night seems to be the best time.
Crystal Paine says
Great tips! Thank you so much for sharing!!
We cut our own meat. A few examples are when pork loins are on sale we will cut them into boneless pork chops. or you could butterfly them and have stuffed chops. I have a kitchen aid meat grinder so I will buy boneless skinless chicken breasts and make ground chicken on the cheap also with the same pork loin you could make ground pork.
Crystal Paine says
Great tips!! Thank you for sharing!
Often your meat counter will cut meat for free! I often buy pork loins on sale and have them cut. When I get home, I just put enough for each meal in a freezer bag! 🙂
Meal plan from what you already have in the freezer and pantry before you head to the store. Especially on a week when the grocery budget is tight, you might be surprised at what you can eat that’s already in your kitchen.
Crystal Paine says
SO good! Thanks for sharing!
I use Target Drive Up(awesome with young kids!) and awesome if self control at Target is a weakness. 🙈 If you have their debit card you still get 5% off, and you can apply Cartwheel. You can also apply Target Circle savings(receipts scanned with 1% rewards for non Target card purchases). You see your subtotal as you go along by checking the cart(doesn’t show it on the current screen as you add like Walmart). Target Drive Up and Walmart Pickup save me tons of money, because I know my running grocery budget and can easily subtract. Today I had added the few things I needed and almost fell over when the subtotal was double the amount that was budgeted. I quickly went to my pantry, saw I had enough of certain things and either downsized or eliminate them from my order. This helped me stay UNDER budget instead of going way over.
Target Drive Up does not allow you to order frozen or refrigerated items like Walmart, but they don’t have a $35 minimum order like Walmart. I have literally ordered one item from Target, and they alert you as soon as it is ready(which is often minutes after an order is placed!). Just make sure you choose Drive Up(they bring it to your car) instead of Order Pickup(come inside to pick up).
Dollar General has also been a new favorite!!! This isn’t groceries, but I actually bought a pair of sneakers for my husband for $2.50 on clearance today(our store had 70% off already clearanced summer shoes–not sure how the sneakers were summer, but they had the yellow dotted tag!). They will make great yard work shoes!!! And I have gotten my kids name brand clothes at very frugal prices at the end of seasons(Spiderman and Black Panther shirts/basketball shorts sets with a Marvel tag). I’ve also found super cute home decor that looks like Hobby Lobby finds!!!
Crystal Paine says
Thanks so much for sharing these great tips!!
Timely post! We are near 200 a week for a family of 4 and I didn’t even realize it!! Sticker shock! We already do so much of this, but will add in others. With two kids I’m going to try to get them to use less TP. What is it with kids and wanting to use the entire roll each time? Lol. And make homemade washable napkins.
I’m also going to try out Bountiful Baskets and see how that helps us with produce because we eat so much fresh food we go shopping, and spending, constantly! And in Colorado our produce is PRICEY! We have to do dairy free so things like almond milk and df yogurt are always more but I’m reenergized to buy them at rock bottom. Thankfully they stay fresh longer than dairy!
I would also add, we have changed a lot of what we eat, so if possible I’d suggest that. We don’t drink coffee anymore so we save on that and creamer, we drink less juice and lots more water. We eat less processed foods for health reasons but they are also so much more expensive.
Crystal Paine says
Thanks so much for these great tips!
Archie Davis Jr says
The thing that works for me is ordering groceries from Kroger I get a employee discount on Kroger products. I also plan ahead what I cook.
Crystal Paine says
Thanks so much for sharing!
If something is on sale, I buy it up until the next time it’s on sale which may be around another six weeks. I did this with ketchup at Kroger today. I bought 6 bottles at a great price.
Crystal Paine says
I’m such a fan of this tip! Thank you for sharing!