Being frugal means reducing your expenses – but building a frugal grocery budget challenges the most experienced cheapskates among us.
If you’re looking to makeover your grocery budget and slash your food costs, check out our 9 tips for how to food shop for cheaper. Cutting just 10% off your monthly food bill can be a serious savings!
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Visit a Discount Grocer
Look for a discount salvage and surplus grocer in your local area when building your frugal grocery budget. They carry foods that retailers may not have been able to move on their own shelves – and offer them to shoppers at deeply discounted prices, from 50-90% off of regular grocery store prices. If you find a deal on something that’s not perishable, make sure to stock up – the deal may not be there by the time you get back.
Tip: Keep an eye on expiration dates when shopping at these discount grocers, since they may be close to expiring when you get to them.
Shop the Day after a Holiday and Stock up on Markdowns for a Frugal Grocery Budget
Keep an eye out for discounted ham after Christmas and Easter, turkey after Thanksgiving, and brats and chicken after Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
Order Shelf-Stable items online for savings
When you use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program, you can get 15% off of items you agree to have shipped to you at regular intervals. Many of the shelf-stable items you purchase every week at the grocery store are available on Amazon, too. And if you use a cash back credit card rewards program, you can save even more.
You can learn more about Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program here.
Offer to Buy the Office Groceries to Get Extra Rewards/Points
If you work in a small office, volunteer to be the one to buy the office coffee, creamer, snacks, and sodas (if you’ll be reimbursed). Use your cash back credit card and grocery loyalty rewards and rack up savings or gas points without any extra cost to your frugal grocery budget. You can then use those points to save on your own groceries or gas purchases.
You can even order online and get cash back with a program like Ebates.
Check out: Ebates Review: How to Make Money with Ebates.
Grow Herbs Indoors
Cooking with fresh herbs adds a lot of flavor to recipes, but the cost of small amounts of herbs is pricey at the store. Head to a greenhouse and for a couple bucks, you can get a tabletop herb plant that will add flavor to your cooking for pennies per serving.
Build One Meal a Week around Something You Need to Use Up
Saving money on grocery items is pointless unless you actually use the items. Every week when you make your meal plan, check your fridge, freezer and cupboards for one item that’s been sitting around for a while. If you’ve had chicken breasts stashed in the freezer, plan to make chicken parm one night so you’ll be sure to use them up.
Designate a Leftovers Day
The day before you go shopping, devote the day to using up leftovers – extra veggie scraps can be added to soups and omelettes. You can heat up a variety of leftovers instead of cooking a new meal. Or simply freeze extra portions you won’t get to eat so they won’t go bad. Using up what you have is a crucial part of frugalizing your grocery budget and creating a grocery budget list without waste.
Avoid Adding Health and Beauty Items at the Supermarket to Your Grocery Budget List
Big box stores like Target and Walmart typically have better prices on cosmetics, medicines, vitamins, soap, toothpaste, and hygiene products.
Find Ways to Go Zero Waste
You can reduce your grocery bill by cutting or eliminating your consumption of disposable products, like paper towels and disposable plates. For a frugal grocery budget, start using clean cut up t-shirts instead of paper napkins and washing them instead. And ditch disposable plates altogether.