10 Ways I Stopped Spending Too Much Money on Groceries {Part 1}

10 Ways I Stopped Spending Too Much Money on Groceries {Part 1}

If you cut your grocery bill by just $10 a week, that’s $520 you can save a year. For some families, that’s just fun money. For others, it’s more serious. Over the past two years, budget concerns have completely changed how I shop. Since time is money, and I have a lot more time than money, here’s how I’ve conquered our grocery bills.

1. Read ads and know your stores

10-waysI’ve saved hundreds of dollars by reading the new grocery store ads each Wednesday. I used to go to one store for convenience, but convenience is at a cost. I’ve found the price difference between the same product regularly varies between 20 cents to $2. With loss leaders, the savings are even more extreme. Loss leader sales usually beat warehouse club prices especially when I factor in the membership and gas costs since they aren’t my closest stores.

I’ve also learned that stores tend to cycle the same sales, so I know to wait to buy bread at Winn Dixie because they do BOGOs pretty often. I know LeBlanc’s will put shredded and block cheese on sale for 4/$5. Albertsons does 88 cents/dozen eggs. For our regular items like this, I keep a mental list of who has it for the best price, and I pick up those regular items while I’m there for a loss leader.

2. Set price limits

As a general guideline, I aim to not spend more than 99 cents/lb on fruit or meat at stores. With produce, this helps me stick to seasonal eating which means I’m buying it at peak taste and best price.

I don’t buy much meat at stores, but when I do I aim for chicken thighs and drumsticks, which regularly go on sale for 49 cents/lb. Some stores will often only go to $1.19 while others usually go to 79 cents. I also like to buy pork butt, which goes on sale for 89 cents to $1.49/lb.

3. Know the markdown areas and times

While there is a lot of food waste in this country, I find some stores are more motivated than others to sell their less than perfect items.

I routinely buy three 8 ounce packs of mushrooms from one store for $1.50. Sometimes the produce needs to be used right away. Other times, they’re just making room for new inventory. I’ve gotten apples, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and more at unbeatable prices. I figured out if I go after mid-morning storytime, there tends to be the best selection. Occasionally I even luck up and find organic items. These deals tend to be cleaned out after lunch at my stores, but your stores may be different.

One store in my town marks down their bread throughout the day. I buy pita and dinner rolls 50-75% off to freeze for future use. Another store puts its rotisserie chickens on sale around 9 pm. While some stores gather their marked down items, others just leave them on the shelf in the same spot with a markdown sticker. Last week I found grassfed and free-range eggs for 50% off.

4. Buy in bulk and understand best by dates

Buying in bulk is more than shopping at a warehouse store. I buy lots of things in bulk at the regular grocery store. Many products last a long, long time. Many dairy products, for example, don’t tend to spoil until they are opened, especially if they’ve been ultra-pasteurized like most organic products. Then its peak taste is within 7 days of opening. I have cheese that I bought on sale in August whose best by date isn’t until late January.

I also belong to a CSA for a local farm. I pay a flat rate ahead and pick up a weekly vegetable basket. It’s much more affordable than buying organic at any store. They use growing methods I agree with. It’s priced really well. I get fruit, veggies, and eggs depending upon the season.

Each fall, I buy half a side of grassfed beef directly from a small farm. I get all the great cuts and the ground beef cuts for a flat rate of $4.95/lb.This is the majority of meat my family eats for the entire year. I’ve been to the farm and processor numerous times. The quality of the meat is fantastic. I never have to drain off fat. The cuts are to my specifications down to the thickness of our steaks and the size of our roasts. I also get the bones which make great broth and really beef up a pot of beans with flavor.

5. Keep lists and plan ahead

I keep two grocery lists: things we need and sales I’m interested in at each store. Using these lists, I decide which stores to visit. I’m usually in and out with just a couple of bags of specific items unless I happen upon some surprise markdowns.

Since I have a car to get to stores easily and room to store bulk items, I never buy everything I need for a week at once. These privileges allow me only to buy what’s the best price.

These tips work best in an area where you have many stores to shop from to make the most of the loss leaders. Not including Walmart and Target, I have 5 grocery store options within 5 miles of my house. Most are between 1-3 miles away, which makes stopping by a store to pick up just a few items a lot easier since it’s on the way to other places.

If you do shop at supercenters, be sure to use their apps like Cartwheel at Target and Savings Catcher at Walmart. In my experience, these won’t get you the lowest prices in town compared to the above methods, but if you’re going for convenience they can definitely save you some money.

How do you save money on groceries?

I have 5 more tips to share next time, but let us know what has and hasn’t worked for your family.


  1. Great info! I actually live in independence, right around the corner from Poche Farms. What farm do you get your beef from?

    • Hi! We love the Poche family. I’m up that way fairly often.

      Right now we still get our beef from Mississippi (High Hope Farm) because I have a longterm relationship with the farmer and processor. They work with my schedule to where I can get it easily though its 4 hours away.

  2. Food must be way cheaper where you are–I’m a pretty good shopper and I rarely see any meat/poultry or produce for near .99 anymore in Nola metro. More like 1.99 is cheap these days.

    • Elaine, thanks for commenting. I do live outside of the city, but Sav-A-Lot in NOLA is advertising chicken leg quarters for 49 cents/lb in their latest ad. I find to get these prices on meat, you have to be open to buying quarters, legs, or thighs. You just have to read all the ads and be open to what stores you go to.

      My Piggly Wiggly today had turkeys for .89/lb and pork chops for .99/lb. The pork chops were reduced, but the turkey was the sale price listed in the paper.

      $1.99 is still a good price though especially if it fits into your budget. I just had to find better deals than that for mine.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here