Easy Ways to Save on Groceries Before Leaving Home

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.

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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.

6 thoughts on “Easy Ways to Save on Groceries Before Leaving Home”

  1. 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.

  2. I love how so organized you are Hope. But what I do is make sure that I’m stocked up with the essentials like chicken and rice amd all other deals that I’ve gotten when shopping at Costco where I do my bulked up items where I save alot bc I don’t use up all my meat in one sitting or even in a few weeks. I also give my plans over to Jehovah who has always made my way successful as Proverbs 16:3 says and Psalm 37:5 says. So staying organized is key but also never forgetting to rely on God for ur planning events as well…yours truly Art….

  3. I just watched the video that you made that had a lot of these tips. I was pretty blown away that you spent only $2400 on groceries for the year!! I have 4 kids and we too are saving to get into a bigger house, so I’m really starting to watch our budget. I’m wondering if your family eats many snacks, or if you mainly try to fill them up at mealtimes? We homeschool so we’re near the kitchen all day, which can make it hard to curtail eating. Thanks for your wonderful advice! 🙂

    • When the kids were younger we did snacks at 10:30 AM every day, but they were pretty simple. Air popped popcorn or carrot and celery sticks with some ranch dressing. Sometimes we did artistic things with our snack items like cutting them up to resemble flowers or ladybugs or something like that. You can Google some fun stuff that can be done cheaply and quickly. But, my favorite thing was doing snacks that were tied to what we were learning in homeschool. For instance, when we were studying animal habitats, I grabbed everything out of the refrigerator or pantry that looked like they could use that item to create a habitat. We had everything from leftover mashed potatoes to olives to carrot and celery sticks piled on the table. I handed them a plate and told them to use anything on the table they wanted to create a home for their animal. They were only three rules. 1. They had to be able to explain to me I what kind of animal lived in that home. 2. Exactly what each element they had put on their plate represented. (I wound up with a lot of mashed potato caves. Lol!) I did tell them that they might want to warm up the mashed potatoes in the microwave before using them for the habitat. So they were not eating cold mashed potatoes, because that’s just gross. 3. They had to eat whatever they had created for the habitat and that was their snack (I think a couple of the boys actually wound up eating their leftover habitat for lunch.) Super good memories. Thanks for the great question


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