Grocery Hacks – How We Save Money on Groceries

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How we save money on groceries

This is the story of how we reduced our grocery budget from $400/month down to less than $250/month!

My wife and I have very different personality types… and what a blessing that is!

  • I am the eternal optimist – the visionary – the idea guy – the spontaneous one – the encourager – the free spirit.
  • My wife is the responsible one – the realist – the finisher – always keeping things on track – always grounded.

Our different personality types definitely combine to make us into a better whole, and we have learned that each of us is particularly strong in certain aspects of every project.

For example, when we need to go grocery shopping we sit down together and combine our gifts to come up with our best grocery shopping plan.  If it wasn’t for my wife, there would be no plan!  If it were not for me, we would not be eating nearly as healthy.  If it were not for her, we would spend more money due to not planning a menu.  If it were not for me, we would not have a specific budgeted amount of money for groceries to stick to each month.

As you can see, both of us have different gifts and we work to combine our gifts to yield the most beneficial result for our family (which is currently just her & I.)

The other night we sat down — together — and compiled a list of ways we have successfully reduced our grocery bill over the last 7 months.

Jabs Grocery Hacks

I am including this awesome list of Jabs Grocery Hacks in a printable .pdf format that you can print and keep in your purse and/or stick on your fridge. Enjoy and happy hacking!
  1. Plan a menu – 2-3 dinners for the week and eat leftovers the other nights.  Base meals on what needs to be used up in the refrigerator.
  2. Make a list – only purchase items you will need to add to the recipes you’re making from #1 Plan a Menu.
  3. Stick to the list – once at the store, DO NOT deviate from the list.
  4. Use coupons – when available use coupons… but ONLY for the items on your list!  Do not buy things just because you have a coupon. In fact, here’s a resource to teach you how to coupon properly.
  5. Stock up – on your favorite/frequently used items when they are on sale.  Clear out space in your cupboards, pantry, basement to store overflow.
  6. Grow a garden – use your own produce in all of your recipes and if it is harvest season – plan your recipes around what you are harvesting.
  7. Pick your own – when it comes to fruit and veggies, pick your own and preserve them by freezing, canning, etc.  Use these frozen goodies to make your own jam, add to muffins, ice cream, breakfasts, etc.  We picked strawberries and we picked blueberries, we saved a boat load on both.
  8. Make your own – use fruits and veggies you grew/picked to make homemade jam, tomato sauce, salsa, etc.  You can also make your own bread, crackers, cleaners, etc.  We decided to use up a lot of what we already have in our pantry, then when we run out of something we decide if it is something we can make ourselves instead of purchasing new.
  9. Preserve food – Even if it is not something you grew, buy large amounts of in-season produce then go home and preserve it.  I have already made mention of this in a few of the other tips, that’s how important it is… this tip permeates so many of the other tips.  You can freeze, can, dry, smoke, cure, etc.  The predominate methods are freezing and canning.
  10. Use more beans – this has been a HUGE change and a HUGE benefit for us.  You should definitely increase the amount you use.  Beans are cheap, healthy and delicious.  They are much healthier and less expensive than meat.
  11. Frequent local farmer’s markets – my wife and I have switched to a predominately fresh, healthy, and organic diet.  We have found a farmer at our local market who sells organic produce, honey, maple syrup, butter, cheese, meats, etc. for cheaper than the grocery stores!
  12. Check “price per unit” – despite popular belief, when at grocery stores sometimes it’s actually cheaper per unit to buy 2 smaller items than it is to buy one larger portion.
  13. Pack breakfasts and lunches – do this everyday so you are not tempted to buy these meals “on the run”.  Make this part of your nightly routine every night so it becomes habit.  My wife & I pack our healthy delicious breakfast idea every week day.
  14. Pack healthy snacks – place these in small containers early in the week.  Keep some in your car, purse, office, man bag, etc.  This will keep you from purchasing unhealthy and expensive snacks form vending machines, gas stations, or other places.
  15. Do more baking – this kind of fits in with #8, but deserves it’s own description.  Set aside a little time each month to bake bread and healthy cookies then freeze them for the consumption throughout the month.  The ingredient to bake cost much less and will go much further than purchasing pre-packaged cookies and breads.
  16. Make fruit salad – using some of your pick-your-own fruits from number #7, combine delicious, fresh, snackable fruits into a Tupperware as a “salad”.  This is a great way to keep family members from purchasing and eating unhealthy/expensive snack foods.
  17. Eat more nuts – another great snack food.  We get an organic trail mix blend from our health food store for $3.79/pound.  This is another healthy and cheap alternative to expensive snack foods.
  18. Test generic brandspersistent and clever advertising has tricked us into thinking we need certain brand name foods.  Make sure you try generic brands at least once — with an open mind — before you decide how much you dislike them!  My wife and I eat predominately generic/store brand foods.  Also, generic health and beauty items, along with medicines, are often made up of the exact same ingredients as name-brand items.
  19. Organize your pantry – this is VERY important.  Most people waste a lot of food and money because it simply gets lost in the black hole that is their pantry!  I’m lucky because my wife and I are both pretty organized when it comes to our food stuffs, so we excel in this area and it is a blessing.
  20. Work together – like my wife always says… “Teamwork makes the dream work!”  Just like any other good thing in marriage/family life — saving money on groceries is much easier if both spouses are working together to reach the common goals of physical and financial health!
I am including this awesome list of Jabs Grocery Hacks in a printable .pdf format that you can print and keep in your purse and/or stick on your fridge.  Enjoy and happy hacking!

Using these tips and principles me and my wife have been able to cut our grocery budget from $400/month down to less than $250/month on average!  We have also lost a combined 60+ pounds and have never felt better.



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1 Phil

The quote I’ve always heard is “Teamwork Doesn’t Seem Work!”

2 Peter

Great list of tips! Now, if we could just actually implement them. Putting words into action is always the hardest part I think. Easy to write or read about – but not as easy to put a plan into action. Sounds like you guys are doing great!

3 Paul @ FiscalGeek

$250 a month? That’s unbelievable we’re having a hard time hitting $800 but that includes 2 kids and 2 large dogs in the mix. Great list, I especially scrutinize the (unit cost) of everything they always try and get you with the 22 oz FAMILY SIZE and the 20 oz fun size and then it’s by 19 get 3 free. Dang grocery stores. Good tips, it’s hard enough for us to even consistently shop I’d settle for that.

4 Dustin @ Inzolo

Way to go. This has been on ongoing struggle for us. We tend to spend $1000 a month on groceries per month for a family of 5. Seems ridiculous I know. I should add that we include toiletries, makeup, cleaning supplies, etc in this amount though.

I think the biggest problem is we love good fresh food. My wife is Italian and comes from a long line of great cooks. She is also a food network junkie and loves to try new ideas all the time – despite the cost of all those fresh ingredients.

5 Matt Jabs

These changes seem overwhelming at first, but they’re really not as hard as they seem… mostly it’s about conscious change.

We have found this system is actually easier and more fun once you get it going. The tough part is to get it going… and it takes the WHOLE family to make it successful!

We include personal products in our grocery budget too. Also, we eat 90% fresh, homemade foods.

6 Dustin @ Inzolo

OK, now you’re just rubbing it in! :)

7 Darlene

I like to use E=bay for coupons. When the weekly flyer comes out with the sale items for the following week, I go through it and type in the specific item that is on sale. Always be sure to put “coupon” at the end. ( example: Eckrich coupons, Frosted Flakes coupons) If you don’t it will pull up all things associated. Most of the time the things that are on sale have a coupon the same week. They are sold usually in lots of 10′s and 20′s. I have literally spent $15.00 to $20.00 in coupons and shipping cost and walked out of the store with more $300.00 worth of groceries and paid less than $10.00 at the checkout. Yes..you will have a lot of the same items, but if it is something you use and you can get it free or pay just a few cents for it, it is well worth it. You can also have coupon buddies and split the cost of the coupons and share them.That’s what my sister and I do. I literally didn’t have to buy my dawn dish soap for almost 2 years. It was on sale for 1.99 and I had a 1.00 coupon that doubled. I bought two lots of 20 for under 10.00 from E- bay and paid zero at the checkout for them. I did the same thing with coffee creamer.

8 Darlene

Squeeze-it’s, I had twenty boxes of Honey Comb cereal that I got for only the cost of the coupons. I don’t to buy the coupons that are just a mix of many items, because I get a lot that I can’t use. I always go for the specific items on sale at my local store. I love it!

9 Carrie

Good list of tips Matt! #10 (using more beans) could also go along with incorporating more vegetarian meals into your cooking. Veggie meals are just as tasty as meals that use meat as the main source of protein but are cheaper and sometimes have a greater health benefit.

10 Matt Jabs

Absolutely! We eat much less meat now and do not even notice. When we do eat meat it is from healthy, non hormone, non anti-biotic ridden animals. :-)

11 Leigh

Great tips. We’ve been doing a lot of these over the summer and it has made a huge difference in our grocery bill. I highly recommend buying fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk and learning to how to freeze or can them. Freezing in particular is easy and doesn’t take any special equipment. My fiance and I are really lucky because our family has a garden and we basically swap off work for free veggies.

12 Matthew @SoundMindInvest

Congrats on the weightloss! That’s excellent.

As for eating organic, it’s hard to do cheaply. Farmer’s markets are great. But keep in mind, eating organic might not be as healthy as you think: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23725592-details/Organic+food+no+healthier+blow/article.do

13 Matt Jabs

That link is to a report from “the Government’s Food Standards Agency”.

Personally… I trust gov’t agencies zero so that report concerns me zero. I already know and am confident of the difference healthy, nutrient dense, organic food makes… we have witnessed it first hand in our lives and that is all the proof I need. :-)

14 Matthew @SoundMindInvest

The only way to know what effect the food being organic made is if you were twins and ate the exact same food, just organic vs. non-organic versions. You’re not a twin are you?

15 Kevin@OutOfYourRut

Paul@FiscalGeek–Having two kids and a large dog I feel your pain!

We’re patting ourselves on the back for dropping our basic food budget to $600/mo, which is no easy task since both kids are teenagers.

One thing we have been doing though–and I wrote a post on my own website about it a couple of weeks ago–is merging grocery cost cutting with dieting. That is, simply buying less and eating less. We’ve dropped our monthly from $800 down to $600, and I’ve lost 15 lbs since the beginning of the year.

No diet plan, no special foods, just the simplicity of less on both the spending and eating side.

My “diet book” will be published in Spring of 2010. (I’m kidding of course, at least about the book.)

16 mommie-x-2

This is great advice. I recommend checking out the book Food Matters. The focus of the book is more around the environmental aspects of food production but it has a lot of great recipes for eating healthy, less expensively. We’ve saved tons just from the tip about making your own microwave popcorn in a brown bag. Thanks for all of the great tips and advice. I’m new to the site but am hooked!

17 Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog

I love that you lost weight and saved money! Your budget is an inspiration- I’m doing okay at a little under $200, but that’s for one.

18 Matt Jabs

Good job Kasey. Keep in mind that it is easier for two people because you have to make a meal whether it is one or two, so we just make a tad more – you still have all the costs associated w/making the meal… so I would say you’re doing pretty well by keeping it under $200!

19 Jennifer

I am a definite fan of dried beans. Instead of cooking them in specific recipes, I cook the whole bag and freeze the beans. That way I can always grab a handful to toss into meals. I put them in most of the meals I make, so it comes in handy to have them in the freezer. To keep the beans from sticking together in a frozen chunk, I spread them on a cookie sheet, freeze ‘em, then put them in a bag. I usually have several varieties in the freezer at any given time.

20 Matt Jabs

Jennifer this is such a great idea! I am going to start doing the same thing – cooking all the beans up then simply freezing them for easy use at any time. Also great tip about freezing on a cookie sheet to make them more manageable.

21 Paula

Great post. Quite a few of these are on my list of good habits, especially the menu planning, making a list (and sticking to it) and cooking extra so you have leftovers. I use the leftovers for bag lunches at work, saving $$ there too. I haven’t gotten my food spending down quite as low as you have, but I’m working on it! Question for you – is it just you and your wife in the home, or do you have kids that you’re feeding on your $250 budget? I’m working with two teenage boys in the house.

22 Matt Jabs

It’s just my wife & I – but we intend to raise our children up this way from the very beginning… we’ll see how it goes when we get there! :-)

Godspeed.

23 Paula

It’s a good plan, and a challenge. :) When children are small time seems to be your most valuable commodity. Even today, with my kids pretty self-sufficient, I find that I still fall back on some convenience items though I try to minimize. We do most of our cooking from scratch, and the boys are getting more interested in nutrition and exercise as life-long good habits. Right now I’m working on healthier (but quick) school lunches, and (of course) my grocery budget!

24 Rob O.

To add to your tip on coupons, be sure to join one of the online services like Coupons.com so you can print coupons for the items you’d normally buy anyway. And if your spouse has a (separate) PC, have him/her join as well so you can print twice as many coupons. We haven’t paid full price for diapers, milk, yogurt, or half a dozen other staple items in months!

25 Matt Jabs

Thanks Rob… we do not utilize coupons enough, but now that we do most of our shopping at farm markets and/or food coops I’m not sure how much more effective they can be for us.

26 Eric O.

So much of my wasteful spending results from poor (no) planning. Like anything else, it takes a conscious effort to spend wisely at the grocery store. One of the things that is killing my budget is eating out at lunch. I need to bring my lunch to work, but get tired of leftovers and sandwiches. Any ideas?

27 Matt Jabs

Hey Eric: I know what you’re saying. A lot of the other ideas for snacks are included in the list for this post. Each day for lunch I take some of our homemade cookies, some fresh fruit salad (we love this – just organic cantaloupe, grapes, blueberries or whatever you like… nothing canned!), some organic nut mix, etc.

Another thing you can do is experiment with taking salads w/chicken breast on the side (separate container to keep lettuce from wilting), or some other simple healthy meal.

28 Dustin @ Inzolo

I showed you hacks to my wife. She really like them. It was a good reminder on a lot of things so we printed out the pdf you provided. We really like the idea of freezing cookies :)

29 Matt Jabs

Ha ha! Awesome Dustin… I’m glad to hear it. It is encouraging when I can see that our experiences can be a direct help to others. Cool to know, thanks for sharing.

30 Karen Joy

We spend $800/month on groceries, but that’s with five kids and extremely specific diets, due to genetic digestive problems. However, we do a LOT of the things on your list. Most of them.

I have found that eating fresh is CHEAPER than buying pre-made, boxed, frozen items. I buy most of my produce from a farmer’s market, and buy what’s in season, but even produce that’s not on sale is way cheaper than most prepackaged items.

Another tip is to shop at an Asian market, if you have one handy! I buy lots of my fresh veggies there, too, and it’s WAY cheaper than the regular grocery — fresh ginger for $0.99/lb, fresh bok choy for $0.79/lb, fresh peeled garlic for $1.99/lb (which makes it cheaper than buying it by the bulb at the regular grocery), fresh sugar snap peas for $1.49/lb…

And for meat, I never pay more than $1.99/lb. I buy in bulk, whatever is on sale, and put a lot in the freezer. If chuck steak is on sale, I usually cut it up into chunks and freeze it that way so that it’s ready to throw into a stew straight from the freezer.

I have a similar post, specially for those on a gluten-free diet (which can be VERY expensive to feed): http://onlysometimesclever.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/saving-money-on-a-gluten-free-diet/

31 Matt Jabs

I’m so glad to hear you say you shop local Karen! It’s so much cheaper than people realize… not to mention, the food is so much better, and you can feel great about supporting your local farmers.

The tip about Asian markets is a great one. I have an Asian market across the road from my place of employment. I have been in there a few times, but have never committed to shopping there. Now that you have encouraged me, I’m going to give it a shot. Thanks!

32 Save Money Hound

Great tips especially Tip no 15 to do your own baking. Our household enjoys doing our own baking. It is a much healthier and cheaper alternative than buying packaged snacks in the supermarket. As a general rule, the more processed the food item is, the more it will cost.

33 Michelle

I’m into saving on my groceries too. I’ve always used coupons but a friend told me about The Grocery Game and since using it, I’ve saved an average of 50% on each week’s groceries. That goes up to about 60% when my local store runs triple coupon promos. To maintain these savings, it’s ESSENTIAL to stick to the list you go shopping with.

I pay for their service but my savings more than cover their small fee. And my time spent preparing to shop (making my list, getting my coupons together) has gone up, but again the time is worth the savings.

As a stay-at-home mom, these savings make me feel like I’m still contributing financially to the family. And I always come home with a big grin on my face because of the money I’ve saved. Grocery shopping is fun now!

34 Matt Jabs

Awesome job Michelle… you’re having fun because saving money is fun – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a personal finance nerd! :-)

35 Casandria

I’ve been a GGer for over 6 years now and it cut our budget from $1000 a month to $300. That’s with 1 adult, 4 kids, 2 cats and 2 dogs. I feel the small cost for the lists makes up for the time I would spend myself trying to track the prices and find the deals, but I also look at other free boards for deals that don’t always make the GG lists.

For those who want to do it themselves, the real key is knowing when to play the coupon and being able to stock up at that time so having more than one of that coupon. Sales and coupons are cyclical so about every 12 weeks or so, the same things will go on sale so if you can buy enough for 12 weeks at a time, you’re good. If you can track the prices for 4-6 months on the things you buy the most, then you’ll know what the lowest price is and you can stock up accordingly. I buy 4 sets of papers each week so I buy at least 4 of everything when it’s uber cheap or free (make money on some deals every week.) I have a full size freezer and shelves in our mudroom for storage and have stuff stashed in every possible place. Just about anything freezes, eggs cheese, yogurt, bread so you can buy in bulk and keep it fresh until you need it.

This week between Walgreens and CVS, I spent $9.46 and saved $83.62. I’m a big time grocery geek :)

36 muffintops

I’ve also found you can save a lot in whats typically called the ‘ethnic foods’ aisle of the grocery store (especially in a more urban cities). Spanish brands like ‘Goya’ or ‘Iberia’ have a lot of typical ingredients like rice, beans, bottled minced garlic, tomato sauce, noodles, spices, broth, etc for much less than regular brands. I usually get all my items in the regular aisles and then slowly walk through the ethnic aisle replacing/swapping out prices.

**Note about baking. Although it’s very rewarding, can sometimes up the cost of your electric bill. I live in a building that has no gas line.. so all the appliances – including the stove – work on electricity. My electric bill once doubled because I was baking, roasting, making stock on the stove for hours almost daily. It can backfire on you in this situation.

37 Matt Jabs

Good point… that is definitely a very relevant concern.

38 Steve in W MA

If you bake a lot, get a bread machine on Freecycle. The cost of energy is much lower than using your oven. I find that they commonly are given away because people get them as gifts, then don’t use them. The Breadman Ultimate is a good one, with both programmable cycles and an option for Dough Only modes and Bake Only Modes (temperature is controllable from around 250 to 350 degrees).

For stock, use a large crock pot, perhaps using the stove to get everything up to a simmer, then putting it in the crock pot overnight (most meat stocks are best after 4-6 hours of simmering at 180-200F or so).

Energy cost for a large crock pot for 6 hours will be around 150-170 watts * 6 hours or approximately 1 Kw/hr, or 18 cents.

Besides using a pressure cooker, I’d say that the crock pot is the best way to cook dried beans. soak them overnight right in the crock, then turn the crock pot on for 3-4 hours, making sure there’s enough liquid to cover the beans the whole time.

They will come out perfect, and the energy cost will be under 500 watt hours, or 0.5 kw/hr, which at 20 cents kw/hr is only 10 cents.

If you have a bread machine, you can bake other things in it too. Like roasts. Much less expensive fuelwise than the big oven.

You don’t have to buy any of this stuff new. Craigslist, Freecycle, and keeping your eye peeled to the side of the road the night before trash day will get you all this stuff within one or 2 months at the most, possibly for free.

39 Matt Jabs

Great advice.

I was soaking my beans & cooking on the stove. We use the crock pot for some things, but not enough things. I’m going to give this a try.

40 Jamee

I use Coupons very heavily, there are great website becentsable.net that tell you what coupons to use, where to go to and what coupon to use. We get a ton of free things. I spend on average of $60 a week, and that is two adults and two children, and 4 children I babysit daily. I also freezer cook, where I cook alot in one day and pull meals out of the freezer and reheat, We are working on doing once a month cooking eventually. I never pay for things like yogurt, shampoo, toothpaste, and very little for snacks and cereal for my children.

41 Designed2Design

Just thought I would pass on another great way to save. I get a $25 Visa gift card each month just for shopping at the same grocery store and gas station each month. It’s great. Check out http://www.cashforgasandgroceries.com for details. It’s simple and I have gotten $15o in Visa cards already.

42 TheRoosterChick

Awesome list of tips! Especially the “Test generic brands”. Those small changes add up to big savings.

43 TheRoosterChick

Awesome list of tips! Especially the “Test generic brands”. Those small changes add up to big savings.

44 Matt Jabs

Thank you RC, glad you found this info helpful… it sure was helpful to us! :-)

45 Cheap Cooking Equipment For Cooking In Bulk

I will sing your praises from the hills. What a truly great site you have here. Thank you for all the information – Grocery Hacks – How To Save Money on Groceries | Debt Free Adventure! – which is exactly what I was looking for. Jill Rambers

46 Matt Jabs

You are FAR TOO kind! But I’ll take it. ;-)

47 Steve in W MA

Hey Matt, try this fantastic snack (and healthy): take cooked chickpeas, spice gently with salt and a tiny bit of cayenne pepper, spread them on a roaster pan, then bake for about an hour and a half at maybe 300F. They will become completely dry and crunchable and will store forever (but will go stale after a while so eat them within a week or two is my advice)

You can try spicing them other ways too. Maybe add some lime juice for tartness and some chopped chili peppers and garlic/ginger or thai lime leaves if you’re into Thai flavors.

I go through a pound and a half or so of these per week.

48 Amy

I have a Russian recipe for something similar except you fry the canned thoroughly dried off canned/cooked chickpea in a little peanut oil, then salt and pepper immediately after. Really good and kind of reminds me of eating nuts which I love but they are so expensive, and this is cheap!

49 Matt Jabs

Mmmm, sounds good.

50 Tina

This is the area where most of us “lose” it. Good job sticking to the budget because when children come along you’ll be able to continue to save. I spend $400 a month for 4 and my 3 children and I eat well. I cook mostly every day and we enjoy lots of family time. Great tips!

51 Savvy Sister

Great article Matt. Your advice on Using Coupons and Stocking Up is perfect for today’s economy! I’ve also found that stocking up by using coupons is helpful. It’s a way that you can slowly build up your food storage, and save 50% or more at the same time. Knowing how to find the best coupons and use them can be a challenge. I found a great free blog that explains more about this: http://www.savvysistershops.blogspot.com/

52 Karen

I thought this was a great, comprehensive list. I’ve also just read about “gleaning” http://blog.greensherpa.com/index.php/personal-finance/slashing-your-grocery-budget-using-ancient-methods/ Has anyone else tried this process to keep grocery expenses at a minimum?

53 Michelle Hanning

Thanks for posting this article! I completely agree with the teamwork thing and am thrilled that I have a thrifty husband that can help me be more disciplined in how we spend our money. It seems like it can be so much more expensive to eat healthy but you gave some great suggestions on how to do so and save money at the same time. Wonderful!

54 Lauren @ Just Just Add Lauren

Thanks for the tips! We’ve cut back a lot on our groceries using a lot of the same ideas – I’m not sure of the actual money saved, because we have used the savings to begin eating more organically. However, we are spending now about the same as we were spending before, and incorporating organics, so I would say that we are probably saving around 30% off the things we do buy. Thanks again!

55 Karry Jones

Great tips. I’ve been doing these as well.. With everything so expensive right now, we want to save as much as we can, right? Especially with groceries, gas and clothing.. arrgh1

56 Monica Clark

Matt,
Awesome list and ideas, I printed out yours and saved the others from all the great comments too! We are a family of 6 and three of them are teenage boys, so you can imagine our grocery bill. They think I’m mean because I don’t buy soda, sweets, and junk food except as occasional treats, but I get them yogurt, cheese, and fruit which is healthier anyway! I’m motivated by this post to cut down the grocery bill further, and I really need to learn to cook better anyway. Thanks for the advice.

57 Matt Jabs

Hi Monica, glad you like the ideas, they work so well for Betsy and I. Glad to hear you’re doing what’s best for your kids rather than simply giving them what they want, it’s best for them and we know it. :) God bless!

58 Vicky

Some of the first few I use but thanks for sharing the others!! Love the working together … So obvious yet very effective.

What has worked for me is http://grocer4u.com …. They show you both store sales and manufacturer coupons and help you make a grocery list that you can print or email. I have been using it for three months and they have weekly ads from local stores in Seattle. They have saved me over $140 but better yet it saves me so much time making my list …. I let my kids do it !!

59 Olivia

We have two young males at home besides my husband and I. They just don’t eat, they inhale. Our budget of $444 a month covers food, soaps and personal care, and occasional eating out or movie. Besides your strategies, we keep this money in cash. We start by setting aside a “cushion” off the top. If I find a great deal on a bulk purchase it can be used for that. It the cushion remains at month end we can “blow it” on more frivolous things like a movie out. That way we never overspend and the kids feel more like their peers. The pantry (filled with loss leaders) is our biggest money saver, square foot garden second (from which we can and freeze), and cheaper sources, third. We recently discovered a lady though our local shopper paper, selling brown eggs for $1 a flat. As she’s near my husband’s regular travels, pickup works well. I’ve dabbled a bit with foraging but it hasn’t really made a big impact on our budget. A friend is supposed to show me more in the spring.

Friends of ours keep chickens. They are fed an organic diet and produce wonderful eggs and meat. We knew another couple surviving through seminary by keeping and eating rabbits. As you said, spouses with different gifts work well together. Both wives grew up on farms.

60 Hannah @ HowMuch

I didn’t really get to browse through all the comments, but this is how we are able to spend less than $400 per month on our groceries for a family of four.

- We use CouponMom.com and AFullCup.com. These sites match up sale items with coupons. We only use coupons on sale items.

- If something is a great deal, I will buy the coupons on ebay. For example, last week, salsa was $0.99 and after my $0.50 coupon doubled, it was free. I went out and bought 15 for our pantry. Each and every week, I get things like this.

- Consider your local grocery store credit card (if they have one). Our local store, Meijer has 5 to 15% off days where we can save on our orders!

61 Megan Lowe

This really answered my problem, thank you!

62 G. Lopez

Great article! I especially love #8… make your own! We’ve done this not with veggies, but with herbs like mint or basil, which can cost quite a penny in the supermarkets (and seem to hardly ever go on sale).

There’s a lot of great tips though, some of which I do and others that are helpful such as the farmer’s market tip (I still need to make a point to go to ours nearby). Been couponing to spend less on groceries for several months now and have managed to save lots… had a short timeframe where I got almost $300.00 of groceries for under $100.00! Coupons are great aren’t they? Nice tips, and thanks again for posting them! God Bless!

G. Lopez

63 Ford Twintee

Love the article…my wife and I really plan everything now from the meals all the way down to what we’re going to snack on when we get the munchies! Anything to save money to support other habits works for us!

64 Matt Jabs

Now you’re getting your priorities straight!

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