I have a serious love-hate relationship with grocery shopping. I love coming home with a trunk full of grocery goods and filling the pantry with my spoils. What I hate is the feeling I get 30 minutes earlier while watching the price jump up with every “ding” from the cash register. Is there a way to get the satisfaction of a full pantry and home cooked meals without having to grimace when you swipe your card? Is it possible to spend less on groceries?
The Money Wizard’s Secret and How to Spend Less on Groceries
The Money Wizard is a young financial analyst and the anonymous author of a personal finance blog. His blog details how he was able to save $200,000 by age 27 and offers useful tips on smart saving and cheap spending. One of his money-saving secrets happens in the grocery store.
The Money Wizard shares how he and his girlfriend spend less on groceries than the average person—by a long shot. He breaks it all down with everything they bought, the cost of each item, and their meals for the week. The numbers speak for themselves. With 26 items (including meats, veggies, dairy, and grains), 5 homemade dinners, and plenty of leftovers, their total came to $69.37. That brings the monthly bill to less than $300 for the couple or $150 per person. Even with their plan to eat out on the town every weekend, this method left the couple quite a bit of extra dough to roll around in—I mean save. (1)
The Cheaper Option Vs the Organic Option
But, if we take a closer look we see that there’s a little more to this method than meets the eye. The Wizard family’s grocery shopping method is definitely revolutionary in price, however, it’s not so keen on awareness for pasture-raised livestock and chemical-free produce. So while their particular grocery list may work for some, it’s not the best option for others.
Spend Less on Groceries the Organic Way
But, hey! Don’t throw in the towel just yet. Organic foods can, on average, be more expensive than any other option, but you can still keep your grocery bill at an all-time low by applying some of these tricks.
1. Meal Planning
The number one rule to spend less on groceries is meal planning. Take a bit of time at the beginning of the week to plan out what you and your family want to eat. Then, make your grocery list based off of the ingredients from those meals. This way, everything you buy has a place on the menu and nothing goes to waste in the fridge.
2. Whole Foods
Packaged and processed foods are definitely a lot easier to eat, but they’re also much more expensive. Try to focus instead on buying whole foods, and really take advantage of the bulk section for grains. You’ll notice a difference on your bill, and it’s a lot healthier for you too.
3. Buy At a Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s markets are a great option if you’re looking for organic, non-GMO produce. Before heading straight to the nearest grocery store, take a quick peek around the farmer’s market and buy everything on your list you can. You might be surprised at how much you save by taking an extra stop.
4. Be on the Lookout for Vegetables on Sale
Another great way to spend less on groceries is to try to plan out your meals based on what’s in season and on sale. I can guarantee you that trying to buy peaches in the dead of winter will be more expensive than in the summer. Keep tabs on produce and meat prices and plan to cook up what’s on sale whenever you can. You can also freeze your fruits and meats for a later date, or get creative with new recipes.
5. Start a Garden
Gardening is a huge money saver and a healthy way to spend some time outside tending to your produce. It may take a bit of extra work to get everything weeded and watered, but there’s no better way to ensure that your fruits and veggies are completely chemical free. And the taste is a million times better too.
Make Possibility a Reality
After so many years of turning a blind eye while paying for the contents of your shopping cart, it’s hard to believe that a cheaper grocery experience even exists. With a little extra effort, careful planning, and a bit of restraint while walking past the frozen pizza aisle, you can spend less on groceries than you ever have before.