The average family spends $412 a month on groceries, based on recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But with inflation at an all-time high, this number is likely much, much higher.
For instance, in my family of two, we’re spending at least $150 more a month on groceries than we did pre-pandemic. And honestly, I feel like our shopping habits have stayed the same.
Every time I walk out of the grocery store, I’m just staring at my receipt like…
Thankfully, there are ways to cut down your grocery bill without eating ramen noodles every day. Here are some tips on how to save $100 a month on groceries.
1. “Shop” From Your Pantry Once a Month
One way to save money on groceries is to take inventory of what you have on hand and then plan your meals around those items.
For instance, say you dig through your freezer and notice you have some tortillas, a half-pound of ground beef, and some frozen bananas. You look in the pantry and see some peanut butter, a can of beans, and some rice.
How can you use up these ingredients?
Maybe you make a peanut butter and banana smoothie for breakfast or a snack. And then you make tacos with ground beef, rice, and beans for dinner one night.
Just like that, you already have a few meals planned for the week. Not only have you saved money, but you’ve also cut down on food waste (double win!).
2. Stretch Ingredients
Another way to save money on groceries is to stretch ingredients. This means buying items such as rice, beans, and pasta in bulk and then using them to stretch other more expensive ingredients.
For example, you could make tacos, but sub half the ground beef with a can of black beans to make it go further. Or, if you’re making spaghetti, you could sub half the meat with mushrooms.
The result is the same amount of food, just made cheaper with a bulk ingredient. It’s honestly a great way to enjoy the same dish while saving money in the process.
You can also omit expensive ingredients or things that could easily be subbed. For instance, if a recipe calls for fresh parsley but you only have the dried stuff, just use it. In my experience, your taste buds won’t notice a difference — but your pocket will.
3. Cut Down on High-Priced Items
Maybe it’s a nice bottle of wine, a high-priced steak, or your favorite brand of coffee. Whatever it is, cutting back on these items can help you save money on groceries.
I’m not saying you have to cut them out completely, but even reducing the frequency at which you buy them (or consume them) can help you hit your goal of saving $100 a month on food.
Read more: When it’s OK to Spend Money
4. Limit Prepackaged Foods
While they may be convenient, prepacked goods are often more expensive than their unpackaged counterparts.
For instance, a pack of pre-cut veggies costs more than a bag of uncut veggies. The same goes for things like premade guacamole, hummus, and soup.
While it may take a few extra minutes to prepare these items from scratch, it’s worth it in the long run. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also know exactly what ingredients are going into your food.
Read more: 8 Ways to Lower Your Food Bill
5. Get Familiar with Your Food Waste Habits
Every person has those grocery items that they just can’t seem to use up before they go bad. For me, it’s always fresh cilantro. (Why are the bunches always so big?!) Maybe for you, it’s a gallon of milk, take-out food, or a tub of salad mix.
Getting familiar with your food waste habits can help avoid throwing away money each month. So, take note of which ingredients usually go bad before you can use them up and buy less of those items.
6. Don’t Go Grocery Shopping When You’re Hungry
I’ll be the first to say that whenever I go to the grocery store hungry, I want ALL THE THINGS — a kombucha for the road, a box of sugar cereal for a late-night snack, maybe some peanut butter pretzels to munch on while I work.
But all these things add up. And if you’re spending an extra $25 a week on things you never intended to buy, cutting them out can instantly save you $100 a month.
So, before you hit the grocery store, make sure you’ve eaten a filling meal or snack. Your wallet will thank you!
7. Pay with a Credit Card that Earns Grocery Rewards
Grocery prices are climbing. So if you feel you’ve cut back as much as possible, another way to save money on food is by paying with a credit card that earns decent rewards on groceries. You can then redeem your rewards for cash or gift cards, which can be used to offset future grocery expenses.
Some of the best credit cards for groceries are:
- Citi Rewards+® Card — Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000) in the first 12 months and 1 point thereafter.
- Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card — Earn 3% cash back at grocery stores (excludes superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card — Technically this card doesn’t offer a bonus specifically for groceries, but it has such competitive rewards for all purchases, that it’s one of the best cards to use at the supermarket. Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, with no limits. However, the annual fee is $95.
Read more: Best Credit Cards for Groceries
8. Use Cash Back Points to Buy Grocery Gift Cards at a Discount
Here’s another tip for credit card users. Depending on which credit card you have, you may be able to buy a $50 gift card to your favorite grocery store for $45, a $100 gift card for $90, and so on.
You can look for these discounts in your credit card app’s rewards center. If it’s available to you, it can be a great way to save money on groceries.
9. Get Imperfect Produce at a Discount
The idea is that stores only want to sell perfect-looking produce, so the misshapen stuff gets left behind. If you don’t mind a blemish or two — and you’re confident you can use up all the produce before it goes bad — this can be a great way to save money on groceries.
10. Order Groceries Online
If you’re easily tempted by end-cap displays and special treats, this can be a great way to save money on groceries. Simply place an order online with Walmart, Amazon Fresh, Instacart, or another grocery delivery service and you’ll only pay for what’s in your cart.
You can even see exactly how much you’ll pay before you place your order, so you can adjust your cart if you think you’ll be under or over budget.
Bonus tip: Many of these services offer free delivery for your first order or if you meet a minimum order amount, so be sure to take advantage of that!
Saving money on groceries doesn’t have to be difficult. By following these simple tips, you can cut your grocery bill by $100 without making major changes to the way you shop.
Featured image: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock.com