It’s no surprise that food prices are rising. What may be a surprising is that there are specific steps you can take which will help you spend less on food – even in light of prices that are constantly going up.
The best part is, you can complete all of these steps at home. If you’re struggling with your grocery budget, you could be missing some important steps to take before you head out the door to shop.
To see me give examples of these steps in my real kitchen with my ingredients, watch this video.
(Posts on Under the Median contain affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase we will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. To read our policies in full, click here.)
Step 1: Know what you have in the freezer and pantry.
Checking your pantry and freezer before going grocery shopping is a great way to avoid buying items you already have. This can help you save money and reduce food waste by using up the ingredients you already have. Make a note of the items you need to replace, so you don’t forget them when you go to the store.
Keeping a neat pantry and organizing your freezer, makes this step even easier and faster.
Step 2: Inventory perishable foods
Another way to save on groceries before shopping is to make a perishable food inventory and create a plan to use up what you already have in the house before it spoils.
Take an inventory of the perishable items in your fridge and pantry, such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, and make a note of their expiration dates.
Then, you’ll be able to create a meal plan based on the items you already have in your house, using them up before they go bad. This can help you avoid buying more perishable items than you need and reduce food waste.
Consider incorporating these perishable items into your meal plan for the week, or try freezing them if you can’t use them up in time. By reducing food waste, you can save money and automatically lower your food bills.
Step 3: Use store flyers effectively
Store flyers contain information on sales, discounts, and promotions for the week. You can compare prices across different stores and plan your shopping accordingly. This can help you save money by taking advantage of the best deals available.
You can also use apps and websites that compile store flyers for different retailers to make the process even easier.
Step 4: Find coupons
Many grocery stores offer coupons on their website, in their weekly flyer, or through a loyalty program. You can also find coupons online on various coupon websites or apps.
Check if the store you’re planning to shop at accepts digital coupons, so you can save paper and ink. Look for coupons for the items you plan to buy and bring them with you to the store. If the store allows stacking coupons, you can combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons to save even more money.
Keep in mind that some coupons may have restrictions, such as expiration dates or purchase limits, so make sure to read the fine print before using them. By taking advantage of coupons, you can save money on your grocery bill and get more for your money.
Step 5: Make a grocery list
Making a grocery list is one of the most important things you can do to save money before going grocery shopping. When you have a list, you are less likely to make impulse purchases or forget the items you need.
It can also help you stick to your budget by keeping you focused on the items you need, preventing you from buying unnecessary items. Before making your list, consult your inventory of the items you already have at home, to avoid purchasing items you don’t need or buying too many of something already sitting on your shelves at home.
When making your list, be specific about the items you need, and include the quantity you need for each item. Additionally, consider organizing your list by section of the grocery store, such as produce, dairy, or meat, to help you shop more efficiently to save time and money.
Step 6: Create a menu plan
A menu plan involves planning out your meals for the week ahead of time. This can help you save money by reducing food waste. Before creating your menu plan, take an inventory of the items you already have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. This can help you plan meals around the items you already have, so you don’t have to buy as many items at the store.
Additionally, consider planning meals that use similar ingredients, so you can buy in bulk and save money.
When creating your menu plan, consider factors such as your schedule, dietary restrictions, and budget. Make a list of the ingredients you need for each meal, and include them on your grocery list.
By planning your meals ahead of time, you can avoid the stress of deciding what to cook at the last minute, save time and money, and ensure that you have a balanced and nutritious diet.
Step 7: Plan your shopping route to save on money and gas
If you are planning to shop at multiple stores, try to plan your route so that you can minimize driving time and distance between stores. This can help you save money on gas and reduce wear and tear on your car.
Consider using apps or websites that can help you plan the most efficient route based on the stores you plan to visit. You can also try to combine your shopping trips with other errands you need to run in the same area, so you can reduce your driving time and save on gas.
Additionally, consider carpooling with friends or family members who need to run errands in the same area to share the cost of gas and reduce your carbon footprint.
Step 8: Take reusable bags and coolers with you
Bringing your own bags can save you money on buying plastic or paper bags at the store. Plus, it’s environmentally friendly!
Bringing a cooler can help you keep perishable items fresh during your trip, which means you can take advantage of deals on fresh produce, meats, and dairy without worrying about spoilage before you get home.
This can also allow you to buy in bulk for items that need refrigeration, such as cheese or deli meats, which can save you money in the long run.
Step 9: Take grocery money with you in cash
Using cash can help you avoid overspending and sticking to your budget. When you pay in cash, you are forced to be more mindful of the prices of the items you are purchasing, and it can be a helpful way to control impulsive spending habits which keep you broke.
By setting a budget for your groceries and bringing only the amount of cash you need, you can avoid overspending and save money.
Additionally, paying in cash can help you avoid credit card fees and interest charges that can add up over time.
Step 10: Have separate “stock up” money
Another way to save on groceries before shopping is to have separate money available to stock up on great deals.
Sometimes, stores offer great deals on certain items, such as buy-one-get-one-free or 50% off promotions. By having a separate budget for stocking up on these deals, you can take advantage of the discounts without overspending your grocery budget.
This can be especially helpful for non-perishable items like canned goods or paper products that have a longer shelf life.
By buying these items in bulk when they are on sale, you can save money in the long run. Just make sure to check expiration dates and storage requirements to ensure that the items will last until you are ready to use them.
By following all these tips, you can save money on groceries and stick to your budget.
2 thoughts on “Easy Ways to Save on Groceries Before Leaving Home”
I recently was « bumped off » the Healthy Indiana Plan health insurance, and now will be paying more for health insurance through healthcare . Gov .
Do you have any tips on how to adjust your budget when expenses like this come into your budget that were previously lower?
Thank you for all of the great tips!
Shanna, first I’m sorry to hear about your healthcare insurance going up that much. When Larry retired our healthcare costs quadrupled. So, we totally understand. We made an excel spreadsheet listing: monthly fees, yearly deductibles, dental visits, eyeglasses, etc. This gave us a pretty accurate idea of what we needed to consider in the “insurance” category. Then, we went through the budget line by line to figure out the areas where we could make reductions. It took a little bit to decide how we could re-balance the budget to make it work.