5 frugal ways to save on grocery bill

As human beings, we all need to eat food to continue our everyday lives. Avoiding food for a few days and our bodily functions will shut down completely. I’m a firm believer that we are what we eat. Here are a few frugal ways to save on grocery bill so you can have more money set aside for investing.

 

1. Eat less meat
Meat is expensive, there’s no other way to put it. I’m a meat eater and I love eating meat. Lately, Mrs. T and I have been eating less and less meat. We have been substituting kidney beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, black-eyed peas, and lentils, for meat. We have also been avoiding red meats due to various health benefits. If a recipe calls for ground beef we might use ground turkey for substitute. Even when we make meat dishes like curry or chicken tikka masala, we limit the amount of chicken breasts used and use a lot more vegetables than what the recipe calls for.

 

2. Buy meat in bulk
We go to Costco about once every month to stock up. We typically get chicken breasts in bulk fro Costco. When we get home we’d repackage the meat and put 2 pieces of chicken breasts in a ziplock bag. When we need chicken we will then take out the ziplock bag and defrost the chicken breasts inside.

 

3. Have a meal plan
Mrs. T and I have been planning our meals on a 2 week interval. Having a meal plan means you know exactly what you need to shop for and can help you avoiding multiple trips to the grocery stores. Most importantly, you will less likely to fall for impulse buys. Meals can be organized accordingly to avoid wasting items like parsley or cilantro.

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4. Keep an eye out for discounts
For items that get used regularly, it’s a good idea to stockpile them when they go on sale. You can store non-perishables very easily, and for perishable items you can usually freeze them for a longer shelf live. For example we use coconut milk quite regularly for curry so whenever canned coconut milk go on sale, Mrs. T and I will stock up.

 

5. Know what’s in your fridge
A lot of people buy food items, put them in the fridge, then completely forget about them. After a few months, these items rod and needed to be thrown out. What a waste! It’s vital to know exactly what you have in your fridge. Food waste can easily add up. Kerry at Squackfox has an excellent article on how to organize your fridge.

 

Do you have any frugal tips on how to save on grocery bill?

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16 thoughts on “5 frugal ways to save on grocery bill”

  1. Hi Tawcan

    Funny, I’m in the middle of drafting a future post about my food/grocery shopping!

    I pretty much do all those things that you’ve listed, except that I plan on a weekly basis and I guess I should really keep an eye out for discounts.

    I buy chicken breasts in bulk (ones with skin on if possible, as they are are cheaper than skinless). I then dice the chicken and split them into meal portions prior to freezing – just found that this seems to make the meat ‘go further’ than freezing the meat intact.

    When I buy rice, I’ll buy a 5kg pack which will last me ages, same with pasta.

    Since I got a bread making machine as a late Christmas present this year from a family member, I haven’t bought a single loaf of bread from the shop, I just make my own each week. A bag of flour, which can make 3 loaves costs half as much as a single loaf, so I’m making a few savings there! I guess other people would just go right ahead and bake their own bread, but I’m not that accomplished a baker!

    Reply
    • Hi Weenie,

      Good point on buying skinned chicken, it does save a bit of money and it’s really easy to de-skin yourself. We haven’t tried dicing the chicken prior to freezing, that’s a good point that we may have to try in the future.

      We don’t have a bread making machine but my wife can make some killer breads that are as good as store-bought artisan breads. It’s much better to eat something that you make yourself.

      Cheers.

      Reply
  2. Tawcan,

    Great tips here. I’m personally having a hard time with the “less meat” suggestion only because I’m a huge carnivore. I’m eating a lot of stir-fry right now and I know it would probably be easy to mix in less chicken and add more rice.

    One other suggestion is just to eat less. I look around and see a lot of people simply eating way too much food. Portion sizes have just exploded over the last decade or two, and we simply don’t need that much food to sustain ourselves. Eating less is better on the body and the wallet.

    Best wishes!

    Reply
    • Hi Dividend Mantra,

      I had a tough time eating less meat at the beginning but the trick is to decrease the amount slowly. 🙂

      Good point on eating smaller portions. The portion sizes that you see in some restaurants are absolutely crazy!

      Reply
  3. Tawcan,

    Great quick points here. One thing I liked about what you mentioned was using ground turkey instead of beef. It tastes extremely similar, is healthier and to be honest – is usually cheaper! In fact, I am going for a workout and have a few pounds of ground turkey thawing on my counter right now – I am going to grill it all and eat it over the course of 3 days = making all meals to save time and save money. Nice!

    -Lanny

    Reply
  4. I’d like to add that you can grow some of your own food as well! Things like romaine lettuce, basil, and scallion don’t take very much to grow. Just plop them in some nice loose dirt, water them a few times a week, and harvest as you go! It’s also quite easy to grow sweet potatoes. The leaves grow as fast as weeds and are really yummy. The only problem is that if you don’t harvest them for a while, they sorta can take over the whole patch of dirt and get all over the place.

    And, if the item has a long shelf life, I always buy in bulk from Costco. Saves me trips to the grocery store as well as money. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Seraph,

      Good point, growing your own food is something that I plan to write about later. Growing your own herbs is a good idea too. Herbs can get so expensive.

      Reply
  5. Many of my meals are in the form of juices. Often a store nearby sells carrots for $1 for 5 pounds. Stick those, beets, apples and other cheaper fruits/veggies and make a smoothie. It is very, very filling with all the fiber and healthy and often keeps me for many hours. That’s one of my cheaper “meals” I consume about 3 or 4 days a week.

    Reply
    • Hi DivHut,

      We make our own juice from time to time but I’ve not had juice to replace my normal meals. I’ve tried a few times with breakfast but always get hungry within an hour or so. Maybe I should give it a try again.

      Reply
  6. Very good tips! My wife and I started pre-making meals and freezing and it seems to cut costs significantly. Also, I stopped eating as much meat, so that really helped. It’s amazing how much money can be blown on food if you aren’t watching it carefully. I find that going to the store less often is the most dramatic cost savings tool, as I’ll drop at least a hundred every time I go into a store even if I was only meaning to buy a few things.

    Reply
  7. I don’t eat any meat, and my husband eats very little, so we save a lot there. We also buy produce on sale at a local farmers market which is a great way to save. We live in Canada, so our groceries are more expensive than in the US but it’s still easy to save.

    Reply
  8. We rarely buy meat for groceries but we also value buying organic produce and foods so it seems to counteract any kind of significant savings 😉

    Reply

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