Find me at my new blog!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

How I'm Frugal at the Grocery Store (8 Tips and Ideas)

Otherwise known as, "How To Save Money at the Grocery Store and Still Get Lots of Good Food."  :)

I'm not nearly a professional at this yet, having had only a little over a year of practice.  However, I have developed some tips and tricks for saving my family money at the grocery store.  I'd like to share my new routine with you in the hopes that it will prove helpful for you as well!

1) Divide items on grocery list by category. That way I don't make multiple trips across the store.
2) Check weekly store fliers. If a store has a sale on something that I'll be buying anyway, I'll get it at that store (but I only ever go to two or three).
3) Note on shopping list which stores have which items.  If milk is $2.50 at one store and $3 at another, I'll get it at the first.
4) Include rough estimate of what each item will cost, on grocery list. 
5) Round up costs on everything.  That way, if I accidentally round low on something (since I don’t know exactly how much everything is) it mostly evens out.  It helps me avoid going over-budget.

This week I have a bigger grocery budget than usual, thanks to a bigger-than-usual paycheck—God is good!  However, there are a few extra things I need that I don’t usually buy, like plastic sandwich bags, plastic wrap, a pork roast for when my family comes for dinner on Monday, and toilet paper.  Those are things I don’t often buy, however, so they don’t need to be regularly budgeted into my groceries.

6) Add up estimated costs on all items, including things not absolutely necessary.
What I like doing to myself is putting things on the list that I would like but don’t necessarily need, like more vinegar for cleaning (I still have over half a gallon), coffee, which is a would-like-very-much-but-don’t-absolutely-need, and ground beef, which is expensive and not the healthiest meat out there.

7) Cross off like-not-need things if total cost is over budget. I might end up being able to get them anyway, if I come under-budget with the necessary things..

This week, after adding up my grocery list, I came out about $50 over budget.  I’ll cross off things like lemonade ($5 for 5 cans), Reese’s Cups (which I was going to use in a dessert but don’t have to, $5), elbow macaroni and Velveeta (Velveeta is expensive, $6), and other things.  I ended up crossing off about $48 worth of items.

Now, most of my crossed-off items probably won’t be as much as I estimated, and the other things on my list probably won’t be as much as I expect.  So I might be able to get a few of the things that I crossed off anyway.  (Coffee is top priority!)
But, the thing is, they’re all non-essentials.  We’ll have plenty of food without them; most of the things I crossed off were “extras.”

8) Take a calculator to the grocery store.  For littler trips, I just add mentally. When I add, I'll round everything up to the nearest 50 cents or so. Then, when I have everything on my list, if I’m under budget at all, I can get some of the “extras”…
and, since I will have rounded up, I’ll still come out under-budget at the cash register!

Maybe I'm weird, but I find this sort of thing fun.  I hate spending money, so anything I can do to save money is great!

It's important to not make saving money all-important, of course.  What's my real reason for doing all this?  Am I honoring God and serving my family?
I think the answer to that is YES.  I'm doing my best to be frugal, to be a good steward of what God has given me, and still to provide good food for my family.

What are your ideas for saving money and time at the grocery store?  I'd love to have you share in the comments!


  1. Jaimie, these are great tips! I need to work on #7: "Cross off like-not-need things if total cost is over budget"!!! Thanks for some inspiration to do better on my next grocery run! :)
    ~Joy @ Yesterfood

    1. Thanks, Joy! I need to remind myself of these sometimes. It's so satisfying to spend as little money as possible! :D


I love reading your thoughts and opinions!