Frugal Living

How I’m Saving Money on Groceries in 2017

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you can’t always lower your mortgage or your car payment, but you can do something about how much you spend on groceries! Last year I saved over $1,500 on groceries and I plan to keep that trend going for 2017. We live in a constantly changing world where technology and social media impact so much of what we do, including grocery shopping. My strategy for saving money on groceries has evolved over the years – here’s how I’m planning to stay on top of my game this year!


#1 Shopping At Two Specific Grocery Stores

Store #1: Aldi – I shop here for produce, baking staples, frozen fruit and veggies, lunch meat and chicken sausage. If I didn’t have to, I’d never step foot in Aldi again, but I cannot meet my grocery savings goals without their produce prices! We eat a lot of salads and fresh fruit and that’s all made possible by Aldi. Check out this post for my Top 3 Tips For Shopping At Aldi!

Store #2: Lowes Foods – This is a chain located only in the Carolinas, but it’s similar to Kroger, Publix or Harris Teeter. Lowes Foods is a high-end grocery store with higher everyday prices but amazing sales. My store doubles coupons up to $.99, accepts coupons from other stores (like a $10 off your $40 purchase coupon) and regularly runs BOGO deals on name brands. Put all that together and you get amazing deals! I buy all my fresh meat at Lowes, along with pantry items like chips and cereal, juice, frozen foods, pasta and more. I use Southern Savers weekly shopping lists to tell me what is on sale and where to find the coupons I need.

#2 Using Coupons Strategically

For years I strolled the aisles of the grocery store with my trusty coupon binder, flipping through the pages to find coupons that coordinated with unadvertised sales. I still use my binder, but only to organize my coupons at home. Now I simply gather the coupons I need for the items on my list, put them in an envelope and head to the store. I buy the items on my list and I’m done! I still think the binder is a great option, but I’m loving the simplicity of my new system!

People often ask me where I find my coupons. Our city produces a weekly newspaper that appears on our driveway free of charge, and it’s always filled with coupon inserts! I would not pay for a newspaper subscription so I’m very grateful for this! Each week my coupons are probably 30% paper (from those free inserts) and 70% printable (from sites like and manufacturer sites). My grocery list from Southern Savers sends me directly to the coupons that I can print from home. I also use rebate apps like Ibotta and Saving Star – and of course, Cartwheel for Target!

#3 Making My Weekly Menu Based On What I Have

We eat a pretty simple fare, so I don’t need exotic ingredients to make our meals. I am able to keep a variety of all our favorite ingredients on hand by stocking up when things are on sale. I’ve been cooking for us long enough that it’s pretty easy to do that and still end up with a balanced menu for the week. I went through my meal planning process in this post, if you’re interested!

Deciding what you want to eat > making a menu > making a shopping list > buying those specific items…that’s the worst way to save money on groceries. You then have to pay whatever price the grocery store is charging for those items instead of buying them when they are at their lowest price. (Well, the absolute worst way is to wander around the grocery store with no menu or list, throwing things in your cart that sound good. You end up with only half the things you need for the week and then eventually hit the store multiple times making up for the deficiencies.)

What’s your grocery shopping strategy? Where you do shop? Do you still use coupons? What’s your favorite rebate app?



19 thoughts on “How I’m Saving Money on Groceries in 2017

  1. PS-My dream day would be to walk the aisles of Trader Joe’s and just look at everything. Alas, our closest TJ is 3 hours away, but we’re getting one in our area next fall. Yahoo!


  2. I save money by planning our menus. Like you, we eat pretty simply so that really helps. I shop at Kroger and Aldi and feel like the balance between the two really helps save money. Love this post!!


  3. Great tips! I still use paper coupons and my favorite deal apps are Ibotta, Checkout51 and SavingStar. I’m about to hit my rewards on all of them. Hooray! I also take advantage of grocery store apps for Kroger, Meijer, Wal-Mart and Target. I’ve yet to try Aldi, but I’m hoping to make it happen this year. If only for canned goods, produce deals and to check out the smell that Stephanie is talking about haha.


  4. I love Aldi’s for the price but we don’t have one up north. I use two local grocery stores but haven’t seen one as cheaper. I do shop sales starting with meat. Whatever is in the freezer and on sale is the beginning of my meals. I wish I was a meal planner but I haven’t ever done it. I tend to keep enough staples for things we eat that I can put a meal together with a few options. I do substitute if I don’t have it or ditch it for something I have the ingredients for. I pretty much keep the grocery budget in check but could do better.


  5. These are all great tips, Whitney! My issue is that I really love to try new recipes often – cooking new things is sort of a hobby of mine. So if I want to try a new recipe and the ingredients aren’t on sale – well, I just get them anyway! And then we might have leftovers of an ingredient we may never use again! This is something I need to try and work on…


  6. I’m actually more of a wander around the store, throw it in the cart if it sounds good, kind of shopper, BUT I only do it with the things that are on sale or that we have to have no matter the price (milk, yogurt, bananas & potatoes are the biggies for us). I also have my Kroger e-coupons and a small folder or print coupons with me every time & my ibotta.

    I did a half-menu plan for a while and did once a month shopping, but I just got out of the habit. (I made a list of meals for the month, but not the day we would eat them on.) I still do a bigger trip every 2 weeks or so at Sam’s and Kroger, then in between if we need one of the staples, I send John (because he just gets what I send him for). But I don’t make trips if I’m making something and we don’t have an ingredient. I just substitute something else or wait to make that dish until next time we have it. I do manage to plan ahead for holiday meals or special events, though.


  7. Let’s talk Aldi… I hate them. But love them. Does that make sense? I can’t stand how it smells in their store. It stops me in my track every single time. I feel like this smell follows me home on their fresh produce. Any time I’ve shopped there James can tell by opening the fridge. Does it smell to you?

    BUT what I do like is the price savings. I get a lot of our canned goods there as well as snacks for Connor.

    I shop Kroger and Aldi with the bulk of it being done at Kroger, mostly for the gas perks and I have a 1-2-3 Mastercard through Kroger that gives us perks like Kroger gift cards that I then use for groceries, making a portion free!


    1. YES! I’m right there with you – I hate Aldi but I love their prices. I can’t smell (ever) so I don’t know if the store smells or not. It might be your location, because I haven’t heard that from others. I only shop in there because it allows me to have way more fresh produce than I could afford to buy in the regular stores. It sounds like you’re doing a great job saving money on groceries!


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