All you can eat…for less. AKA Cutting your grocery bill in half

I remember a time when we’d spend $150-$200 a week on groceries. That’s $600-$800 a month. Today, we LOVE saving. Our monthly grocery budget is now only $350.  We don’t eat caviar, but we still eat well!

Saving money is making money!

Saving money is making money!

Tips on cutting your grocery bills in half:

  • Go through your local circulars looking for the best deals.  Don’t be lazy.  Do it.  A lot of the supermarkets here do Buy 1 Get 1 or Buy 1 Get 2 or 10 for $10 deals.  Beware, just because it’s B1G1 doesn’t mean it’s a great deal.  For example, here 1/2 gallons of ice cream can be up to $4.99.  I’ve seen them as low as $1.99 for the same brand at another store.  Study.  Know your prices.  The word SALE doesn’t necessarily mean you will maximize your savings.  FLIPP is a great app for your phone.  It lets you browse flyers, clip deals, and search for specific items.  Check out their site here.  
Guess who is stocking up on bottled water and ice cream this week?

Guess who is stocking up on bottled water and ice cream this week?  Syrup sounds good too.

  • Coupon.  Your Sunday newspaper is worth the $1.50, if you use the coupons.  Check out your favorite stores coupon policy.  Some will double or triple coupons.  If you match a coupon to a sale, suddenly you have a name brand item (or 10) absolutely free.  Coupon Mom is a great site that will take your zip code and tell you about the best local sales.  They’ll also tell you where you can find corresponding coupons to help you save more money.  Check out their site here.
  • Inventory and list.  Go through your kitchen, plan meals for the next week or two based on what you already have, and write a list of things you need to complete those meals or create brand new meals based on the sales and coupons you have tracked down.  Using existing food cuts down on waste and allows you to save money.  Planning ahead will expedite your shopping time.  If you focus on getting everything on your list, it will keep your mind off other unnecessary items.  Here’s a list of great grocery list apps for your phones.
  • Stock up on amazing deals.  Chicken breast is going bad in 2 days and down to $1 a pound?  That’s a savings of 75%. Buy it all and freeze it!  You may want to buy another freezer.   Bags of rice at half price, buy a year’s worth and put it in the pantry.  Get the kid down the block to unload it for you!
  • Go generic.  All the generic store brands are actually made by big name brand companies.  The ingredients are slightly different and so is the packaging, but the cost difference is significant.  In some cases the cost difference is half off.
  • Make it yourself.  MOM makes her own English Muffins and instead of spending $2-$3 for a 6 pack, each muffin costs about 10 cents a piece.  Instead of buying frozen bean burritos, buy the ingredients and spend an hour making a dozen, freeze, and save.  Pretty smart, eh?
  • Try Aldi.  If you don’t know what Aldi is, let me introduce you to a pretty cool brand.  We do 90% of our shopping at Aldi these days.  We’ll stock up on huge sales at other stores, but at Aldi almost everything is half price.

PS – Aldi Tortilla Chips were 99 cents today. Same size bag of generic at a competitor was $2.29.

What you need to know about shopping at Aldi:

  • Bring a quarter.  You’ll need one to unlock a shopping cart.  Aldi doesn’t pay for someone to round up carts because their customers bring them back…to get their quarter back.  That 25 cent minor inconvenience saves you money.
  • Bring some bags.  I suggest buying a couple of high quality mesh bags.  Aldi doesn’t provide bags.  They will sell you plastic bags or mesh bags if you’d like.  Avoid the plastic.  You can only use it once or twice and it’s not good for the environment.  No free bags equals less cost for Aldi and less cost for you.  PS – Often Aldi will have boxes by checkout to help you conveniently carry your groceries.  Those are free.
  • Aldi can’t be beat when it comes to the staples like milk, bread, and eggs.  Here a gallon of milk is $2.69, bread is 90 cents, and a dozen eggs is $1.55.  I’ve seen all of those up to double at other stores.
  • Over 90% of their items are Aldi store brands.  Give them a chance and I bet you’ll love them.  Like Jif or Skippy peanut butter?  You’ll love Aldi’s.  Like Kraft American cheese slices.  Aldi’s, to me, tastes identical.  We enjoy almost everything at Aldi as much as expensive name brands.  The only thing I don’t like is their baked beans.
  • They don’t take credit cards.  You have 2 options for payment, cash or debit card.  Not having to pay credit card fees or check fees cuts Aldi’s cost and consequently you save money.

What other tricks do you have for saving money on food?  Share with us.  Do you shop at Aldi?  Do you shop at Costco or Sam’s Club of BJ’s?  Let us know.