How do you save money on food when you’re a single mom raising a family of 4 on one income?
It seems impossible to reduce your food bill and keep your kids (especially the teens) fed, full and satisfied.
By the time the next paycheck comes round, you’re super stressed and quite happy to go to Grandma’s house for Sunday lunch.
Dave Ramsey, the financial whizz, recommends in this post that no more than 10–15% of the monthly budget should be spent on food.
But you know that the bulk of your income goes towards your food bill.
So, you can’t imagine slashing the food budget. It would mean allowing your kids to go hungry and you can never do that.
But, don’t despair. It is doable.
This post is packed with practical tips to show you how to save money on food and still spoil your kids with a few treats now and again.
Ready? Let’s get started then.
10 Proven ways to save money on food every month
These 10 grocery shopping tips to save money on food will help you get smarter at managing your grocery budget while still enjoying your meals.
1. Learn to meal plan
Maybe you’re always been the spontaneous type when it comes to cooking daily meals.
But if you want to save money on groceries, the smart thing to do is to embrace the art of menus and meal planning.
This will ensure that you:
- Have a well stocked pantry to make meals for a month
- Have proper ingredients to prepare healthy meals
- Do not have to go too often to shop for groceries
- Help you avoid ordering take out meals
- Will save you money, time and gas from frequent shopping trips.
Check out this YouTube video on your first steps to meal planning:
2. Always shop with a list
Making a well-planned grocery list gets you in and out of the grocery store faster and helps you stick to a healthy meal plan.It also stops you from making impulse buys.
The best way to organize your grocery shopping list is to note all items by aisle. It will save you time and energy in going back and forth in the store.
3. Meal plan based on what’s on season and on sale
When planning meals, consider what’s in season and on sale for that week or month.
Many grocery stores follow an annual sale schedule – selling groceries at deep discounts when they are in season. Identify the sale schedules of your favorite stores and shop then.
Every season comes with a bounty of fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself to see how many seasonal ingredients you can include in every meal.
Plus, you get the freshest ingredients, most nutrition, best flavor, at the lowest price when you buy groceries in season.
While at it, consider freezing some produce from short harvests to keep a variety of options to use when prices rise.
For inspiration on the healthiest foods to buy to supercharge your family’s nutrition,
read 10 Powerful Foods that Reduce Stress and Improve your Life.
4. Use recipe apps to plan meals
Use recipe ingredient matching sites such as SuperCook to plan your meals. Such sites help you with meal planning ideas based on what you have at home and what is on sale in a given week.
This post lists other sites that allow you to use up the ingredients you have to make awesome meals.
5. Sale Circulars
Check out weekly sales flyers for your favorite stores to save on groceries. Use their ads to find the best deals on groceries in your area.
Your first stop when meal planning should be weekly sales circulars. For example, you can plan for spaghetti and meatballs if ground beef and bread crumbs are on sale.
5. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk often saves you money in the long run. It’s also a more sustainable alternative to foods that often come in single-use plastic packaging.
So, what foods should you buy in bulk
- Seeds, flours, nuts, and grains
- Pasta and legumes
- Canned goods
- Berries in season
Bulk buying means having enough storage space in your freezer and pantry. So consider this before adopting bulk buying to save money on food.
6. Shop at different stores
Why do you shop at your current store? Is it convenient or the friendliest? Most of us shop where we do out of habit.
However, if you want to save money when grocery shopping, you have to let go of the comfortable routine that costs you money.
If you want to slash your food bill, check out competing stores in your area. They often have weekly ads. You might find your favorite store costs you extra money in the long run.
I know, figuring out new shopping plans can be frustrating at first, but it’s worth it to save money on groceries.
7. Change your in store shopping habits
How do you shop while at the store?
Look up and look down. The eye-level shelves stock the priciest items. You’ll always spend less money on groceries if you look at the higher and lower shelves for cheaper items.
Keep track of each item you place in your shopping cart on a calculator. Round off items as well to avoid overspending. So if an item is priced at $2.35 round off to $3. This way you may have money left over after your grocery shop for a Starbucks coffee.
8. Shop at farmer’s markets
One of the best ways to save money on food is to shop at farmer’s markets.
You can get fresh organic fruit and veggies in season at great prices. This allows you to support local farmers and to be guaranteed healthier and tastier products.
Also, shop towards the end of the day to get even more bargains.
9. Freezer meals
Freezer meals allow you to bulk buy seasonal items. Spend a weekend batch-cooking and stock up your freezer.
The benefits of freezer cooking:
- Saves you money via bulk buying
- Ready meals which also helps you avoid take-out meals
- Lowers stress – no scrambling to prep and cook meals everyday
- If you’re new to freezer meals, here’s a helpful YouTube video to get started:
10. Shop online
If you’re a single mom, one of the biggest challenges is going grocery shopping with the kids.
You may want to consider online shopping. This will allow you to:
- Skip going to the store
- Reduce impulse buys
- Price-check before buying
- Get free delivery of your purchases
- Earn loyalty points which can help reduce your bill further
Sometimes, saving money on groceries feels like you’re on a hamster wheel. You keep trying to save here and there, but feel like you’re not getting anywhere fast.
Let’s recap on the steps to take to save money on food:
– Start meal planning
– Always shop with a list
– Meal plan with seasonal and sale items in mind
– Use recipe apps to create meals to use up leftovers
– Consult sale leaflets
– Buy in bulk
– Shop at different stores
– Improve your in store shopping habits
– Shop at farmer’s markets
– Make freezer meals
– Shop online
Put these steps into practice and your family will eat well. More importantly, watch your saving soar.
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Andia Rispah is a personal finance nerd who empowers people still in the trenches to financial freedom. Download her handy spreadsheet to discover how small changes in your spending habits can lead to enormous fortunes later in life. Find out more about Andia at mintcents.com