How I Save Money at the Grocery Store

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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It’s a rainy, gray morning here in Boston, so I stayed under the covers with M & m instead of going to yoga like I had planned. I even laid out my yoga clothes and mat, but I shut off my alarm and went back to sleep. Looks like my warm, comfy bed won this morning!

Breakfast

I whipped up an oldie, but goodie for breakfast this morning: Sweet Potato Oatmeal Pancakes. I totally destroyed the second pancake– it stuck to the pan and fell apart– so I didn’t include it in my photo. But, I can assure you it tasted better than it looked! 😉

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I topped my Sweet Potato Oatmeal Pancakes with honey, raisins, walnuts, and chia seeds. I also drank an iced coffee with soy milk with breakfast.

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Grocery Shopping 101

Continuing with my financial series, my next post is about how I save money at the grocery store. I aim to spend less than $75 per week and my bill usually comes in around $65-70. Here’s how I save money at the grocery store:

Grocery Shopping 101: Before I Leave the House

Grocery Shopping 101: At the Grocery Store (Part 1)

Grocery Shopping 101: At the Grocery Store (Part 2)

Grocery Shopping 101: Unit Price

Reorganize My Fridge

Tweet for Discounts

Sign Up For My Grocery Store’s Email Updates

Eat From the Pantry or Freezer

Taming the Coupon Chaos

There’s even more money-saving tips on Trading Up Downtown, including this morning’s guest post: Trading Up Without Paying Up.

Breville Juicer Raffle

Just a reminder that the raffle for the Breville Juicer ends tomorrow evening (Tuesday) at midnight. (I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday morning.) Be sure make your donation to our Team In Training page if you want a chance to win. You can check out the giveaway details here.

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Blog Bake Sale

Calling all bakers!!!

On Tuesday, September 7, I will host a Blog Bake Sale to benefit Team in Training! If you’ve never participated in a Blog Bake Sale, check out Meghann’s post about the rules and logistics. Her post is very detailed and explains how it all works. I’ll run the Blog Bake Sale on Carrots ‘N’ Cake in the same way.

If you’re interested in donating baked goods, please send me an email at carrotsncakeblog@gmail.com with your name, the baked good(s) that you would like to donate, a short description of it, and a photo and/or link to its deliciousness by Wednesday, September 1. You don’t need to be a blogger to participate. All baked goods are welcomed!

Question of the Day

What are you favorite tips and tricks for saving money at the grocery store?

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70 Comments

  1. Yum – your sweet potato oatmeal pancakes looks amazing!

    Also, I can’t wait to see your post on saving money at the grocery store. Every little bit counts. 😉

  2. I think lists are the biggest key to saving money!! I always let myself get an impulse item or two, but if I’m just blindly walking through the store, I’m way less likely to stick to a budget.

    Emailing you now about the bake sale!

  3. I always see whats on sale…for instance if I need mustard, i will buy whatever is on sale! Im with jess, i always really think about something before i put it in my cart. if i dont NEED it right then and there, it will always be there and I can get it next time!

  4. Rainy mornings definitely call for cuddling up in bed!! And they also call for cozy breakfasts, like pancakes! You’ve covered both, you’re so good Tina!!!

    My tip for saving money at the grocery store is to make sure you don’t shop while you’re hungry. It stops you from making poor food choices and from spending on things you dont need. And also, like others have said, bring a list. The combo of these two things is a winner in my eyes 🙂

  5. I have a grocery store master list preprinted, it has everything I regularly buy, I go through the kitchen and highlight what we need. It solved the problem of buying doubles of items.

  6. I usually do a lot of these “tips” but I’m still spending over $100 a week. I usually cook 4 – 5 days out of the week and I think that adds up after I get all of the ingredients that I need. Do you cook dinner every night? If so, is your bill still $75? If so, I need MAJOR help then!

    Thanks for the post!

  7. @Andrea: We cook dinner 4-5 times a week. We dine out at least once or twice and there’s always a “wing it” night where we eat whatever we find in the pantry or freezer. I think the biggest money-saver is making meals with similar ingredients each week. For instance, I’ll make two dinners and a lunch using tofu or eggplant or another common ingredient.

  8. I try to cook meals that have leftovers that can be “recreated” — like a chicken/salsa/rice casserole that gets eaten the first night, and then the next night can be eaten as burritos, etc. It saves me time (less cooking) and money since there is no food going to waste.

  9. I agree with Andrea. I don’t know how you do it on 75 a day! I don’t even live in a major city (coastal virginia) and I still spend around 100 a week. Maybe cuz my husband eats a ton of food and is picky about name brands? (if it were up to me I’d go store brand with most things).

    Your 75$ is s thing of magic.

  10. I so need some pancakes…. I’ll just have to wait for 3 more weeks until I’m back in the kitchen with all the ingredients for it :))
    I try to buy stuff on sale, and also I try to buy stuff that have a plain package, but are produced by the same company as the more expensive packaged stuff.

  11. I check out the adds for all the stores in the area where I am shopping, notate which store next to the item, then check for coupons. I shop at 4 differnt stores. I spend 125 a week for 2 adults, 3 picky children, including school lunches. I make a list, redo that list when the sale adds come out, search for coupons over the internet, add/adjust if I run/need anything else during the week. Biggest tip I have, don’t bring the husband…lol!

  12. use EVERYTHING you can before buying a single new thing. this is a huge money saver and im surprised more people dont try to do this! if i have 2 condiments that are half full, i wont buy a new one (even if its a different kind) until those 2 are finished. if ive got frozen veggies, then i dont buy fresh. if ive got some kind of protein left, then thats what ill use before buying anything else. i find that if you dont make a conscious effort to use stuff then it will sit in the pantry FOREVER. theres nothing worse than staring at the same can of beans for weeks on end. i just eat the stuff and make a mental note to NOT buy things that i dont want to eat immediately! if i have to force myself to use up some random frozen item in order to be economical, then it wasnt an economical purchase in the first place!

  13. I save at the grocery store by only getting what I need for the next couple of days. By not getting too much food at once, it’s very rare that anything goes to waste! Not to mention I love going to the grocery store, so I don’t mind going there a few times each week 🙂

  14. I definitely do NOT do a good job saving money at the grocery store! Good, healthy food is one place where I am totally okay with splurging! To limit my spending, I do make a rule with myself to only shop at Whole Foods once a month :).

  15. My hubby and I always make a list and stick to it – that way, we’re only buying what we planned on and not making impulse buys.
    BTW – sometimes staying under the covers, skipping the workout and snuggling is the best way to spend a morning! I do it pretty often. : )

  16. If something I use as a staple is on sale I buy a ton even if I don’t need them all at once. Like beans were 2/$1 this weekend and canned tomatoes were 10/$10. Much better prices than normal so I stocked up even if it was a bit over this week.

  17. As much as I rely on meal plans and lists, first I check out weekly circulars to see what’s on sale. Once I know that its easier to plan affordable meals. I’m also a huge coupon advocate. I use websites, the coupons in newspapers etc. Finally, I really try to stay away from processed foods. I find that these tend to be pretty expensive. Plus they never fill me up so its like money down the drain. My bf and I rarely buy chips or snacks for that reason.

  18. I’m just back from the store, and felt especially frugal this morning:
    1) Go during off peak hours if possible. If I feel rushed or if the store is super crowded, I am more likely to make bad decisions to just get the hell out of there.
    2) Make a list
    3) Look at the flyer to see what is on sale and try to make meals out of it. Like, this morning, ricotta cheese was on a really good sell, as well as pasta. So I’m going to make stuffed pasta shells later this week.
    4) Go to a store with good prices. No matter how good your tactics are to save money, if you are in an expensive store, you will not get the best prices.
    5) Stay away from pre-packed or ready to eat meals. It’s always cheaper to make it yourself.
    6) Don’t buy taxable things (at least here in Canada). Real food is not taxed, but treats like coke, cookies, chips, and other things like that are taxed. I try not to have any of those in my basket because they end up more expensive with tax and these are usually the not as healthy for you things or prepacked things.

  19. Hi Tina,
    First of all, I love your blog! Ok so now onto my question — is that $75 per week total for you and your husband together? My boyfriend and I spend $150 per week total. I do really extensive and detailed meal planning for each week, and I will often buy staples like cereal and milk at drugstores and use the in-store coupons there. That $150 per week includes 7 days of breakfasts and lunches, and 6 nights of dinner (we eat out one dinner per week). It also includes pre- and post-workout fuel (those bars really add up!) I really appreciate hearing your thoughts on this. Thanks for sharing this info!

  20. I LOVE the idea for the bake sale!! So excited that I already emailed you an idea…this is a great way to fundraise and bring bloggers together at the same time.
    Also, I had such a hard time getting out of bed to run this morning too – what a gloomy Boston day. Perfect for pancakes though 🙂

  21. Those SP pancakes seem incredible!

    I save money at the grocery store by buying as many generic brands as possible, clipping coupons like a mad woman, and buying over ripe fruits and veggies (at the farmers market) because they’re always super cheap.

  22. Sorry Tina, but I’m not impressed. My husband and I spend $30-40 a week on groceries and that’s for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. We cook all of our meals from scratch and don’t really eat leftovers. We also mainly buy staples and fresh produce, not packaged food.

  23. I stock up on my favorite foods when they are on sale. I only like certain kinds of certain items so I really have to utilize that to maximize my grocery dollar!

  24. I always make lists ahead of time when I shop! Also, I look online to see what deals are going on in my area. There are two major grocery stores right next to each other and if one os having a major deal on something we need, we will actually go to both stores that week.

  25. This is such a helpful array of posts about saving money. As a broke college student, I’ve seriously had to cut corners on my expenses in every depratment yet I still want to eat fresh, healthy whole foods. I will be referring to this post and its links a lot when planning future grocery trips!

  26. IT is so cold and gray in Boston today! Makes me want to just curl up with warm tea + a good book!

    Awesome tips for saving at the store. My best tactic is I split my shopping. There are certain items that I truly only buy organic (meat, milk + some produce) so I shop for those at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Then all of my other produce, canned goods, etc comes from our local store where I use coupons galore and pay close attention to sales!

  27. we’ve started shopping like europeans– planning our meals and going to the store nearly daily to get what we need- and not much else. thankfully, our grocery store is only about 2 blocks away and a quick walk. big stuff (like gallons of milk) gets purchased on the weekends with the car.

  28. I use a lot of your same tips. Primarily, making a list (sticking to it), shopping only once per week (if I forget something, I live without it for the week), and paying attention to cost/unit. Generic brands are always a plus and it saves money to plan out meals rather than keeping a stock of what we like in our fridge.

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