It’s time to post a little update on my grocery savings methods! I just realized it’s been two years since I shared my current strategy – and it has changed. So here it is!
#1 Always shop with a list
I usually visit two different grocery stores each week – Aldi and Lowes Foods (my local higher end grocery store). Shopping with a list might seem like an obviously good idea, but when you buy a lot of the same things each week it doesn’t always seem necessary (it is).
Before I go to Aldi, I mentally walk through the store and write down the things I need in the order they appear in the store. Aldi is hard to maneuver and I’m all for saving myself extra time in there! Once I’m in the store, I cross things off as I put them in my cart. This saves me time and money.
Before I go to Lowes Foods, I visit Southern Savers and create a list based on the sales for that week (this is called shopping the sales cycles and is the best way to shop a regular grocery store). You can see one of my shopping lists here – I love that it tells me which Lowes Foods e-coupons are available to be clipped, and I make sure I have those loaded onto my account before I shop.
When I was sick with the flu earlier this month, I took advantage of their online grocery ordering service. I still made a list before I started shopping to make sure I got the best deal and didn’t forget anything I needed.
#2 Stick To Your Weekly Grocery Budget
Everyone’s grocery budget is different, based on the cost of living in your area, the size of your family, your dietary needs and how many meals you eat at home each week. I allow myself an average of $75/week for the two of us. All of my meals come from that budget, and Paul eats at least one meal a day at home. This doesn’t include household products – sticking to my grocery budget gives me extra cash for those things!
Some weeks I spend more than $75 if there’s a good deal on meat or if I’m restocking our supply of something else. When that happens, the following week I only shop at Aldi. That helps me to keep the budget even – I can usually stock up on everything we need for the week with about $40 at Aldi (given that my freezer and pantry are usually well stocked).
Don’t be afraid to adjust your weekly budget if it’s not meeting your needs – unless of course, your finances dictate that you only spend that set amount of money on groceries. If you’re not sure how to find room in your budget for extra groceries, send me an email. I’m happy to help you look for other ways to save on those expenses!
#3 Shop around for the best deal on household products
This is always the hardest one for me. I really try to jump on a good deal and buy ahead, instead of waiting until I’m out of something and at the mercy of whatever price the store nearest me is charging. Here are a few examples:
- Pet Supplies: Amazon and Chewy.com often have the best deals when buying in bulk or using the autoship option
- Cleaning Supplies: Target usually has the best deal when you combine a gift card promotion with a Cartwheel coupon
- Toilet Paper & Paper Towels: The grocery store often has the best deal when you combine a sale (around $3 off the regular price per package) with a $1 off coupon
I’ve also begun shopping at Dollar Tree with a careful eye, looking for the best deals on things like toothpaste, small trash bags, condiments, batteries and other various cleaning supplies. Read this post for all my favorite things to buy at Dollar Tree!
That’s it! You’ll notice I didn’t say much about coupons – which is unlike my grocery savings strategy in past years. In my opinion, couponing has changed and isn’t nearly worth the effort that it used to be. I haven’t even found much benefit in rebate apps like Ibotta or Savings Star – the only one I use regularly is Target’s Cartwheel app!
What questions do you have about saving money on groceries? Leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer them directly or in a follow up post!