How to save money on groceries every month starting today
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One thing we all have in common is this:
Everybody needs to eat. And to eat, means you need to have food. And as nice as it would be if it was, unfortunately food isn’t free.
You may already be using something like this in an effort to bring down your grocery bill (which I do recommend you do, by the way), but even though it will bring your grocery down a bit, it’s not going to bring it down drastically.
To drastically lower your grocery bill you need to approach grocery shopping in a whole different way (which we’ll talk about here).
It can feel impossible to save money on groceries with the cost of food constantly rising, especially when you don’t know how to save money on groceries. What do you need to do, anyway?
If you’re in a hurry:
So, how DO you save money on groceries?
How much time do you spend every week in your kitchen planning, prepping, and making meals? (Too much, or none at all?)
How much time do you spend every week just trying to THINK of something to make for dinner?
Coming up with dinner ideas used to be one of the biggest time (and money) suckers in my life. I would spend more than an hour each day just trying to think of something to make for dinner using the ingredients we had on hand in our house.
After a while of scrolling through Pinterest and scavenging my cookbooks (I don’t have many cookbooks… but I do have this one and it’s my FAVORITE – I haven’t come across a recipe that we don’t like in it yet), I would end up finding a recipe that we didn’t have all the ingredients for and would have to make a “quick” trip to the grocery store for just one or two things.
I don’t know about you, but when I make a “quick trip” to the grocery store for just one thing, it never ends up being quick… and I never end up getting just one thing.
I’m sure you can relate to this –
When I got to the grocery store I would grab a basket (why do I need a basket for just ONE thing?), and by the time I would get to the checkout my basket would be full of stuff that we don’t need.
And at the checkout I would be faced with a grocery bill of over $50.
Now imagine doing that a couple times a week… imagine how much money is getting wasted on things you don’t need.
Planning meals the day of (instead of planning them in advance), was – and is – a massive waste of time and money. Looking back now, I was too stubborn to make any sort of change. (I had heard of meal planning, but I refused to do it because I was sure it would take away my creativity in the kitchen…)
One day when I was going over my husband’s and my bills for the month I realized that we had spent MORE money on groceries for ONE MONTH than we spent on rent that month.
For TWO people.
(Really, I can’t say “we“. I was the one who did all the cooking and shopping, so, as much as I hate to admit it, it was entirely on me.)
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The amount of money I had spent on groceries for us for the month didn’t even include the times we went out to eat, which we did several times in a month.
If I’m being completely honest…
…this isn’t something I love talking about. I don’t like remembering how irresponsible I was with our grocery spending. I talk nonstop over here about how we’re managing to live off of one low income and ways that we’re cutting costs (and cutting costs on groceries), so talking about this is kind of like pouring salt on an open wound.
I can only imagine how much more money we would have saved up by now if I hadn’t been so careless with our grocery budget (or lack of) back then.
Even though it’s not something I love talking about, I believe it’s something that needs to be talked about.
Here’s the thing:
You may be in a similar situation as we were. You may be spending FAR more money on groceries every month than you need to be.
Maybe you can’t remember the last time you compared prices or checked your grocery bill. Maybe you’re spending massive amounts of money on groceries and don’t know how to spend less.
And that’s why I believe it’s important for me to talk about this.
Because maybe YOU need to hear what I’m about to say.
When’s the last time you asked yourself this question:
“How can I spend less money on groceries?”
The reason I’m sharing my story of extreme (and embarrassing) overspending with you is because I want you to know that if you’re in the same situation that we were in, there IS a way to turn it around!
And we’re the proof.
We cut $700 a month out of our grocery budget
If you’re looking for the short version of the story, doing this is exactly what helped us stop overspending on groceries.
But, I’d recommend you read the long version to learn how we used that to save so much money on food.
After I had quit my job to become a stay at home wife and I realized how much money we were carelessly spending a month on groceries, I knew that someway, somehow, we needed to make a change.
I didn’t know how we were going to do that, I just knew that there was NO way we would be able to continue living on one income when we were spending such astronomical amounts of money on groceries.
After doing some research and reading multiple stories from people who were seeing great success with meal planning, I decided to try it out.
I didn’t last a week before I was back on my way to the grocery store (and back on my way to overspending on groceries).
In short, my first attempt at meal planning was a big, fat fail. (If you’re feeling discouraged because you’ve tried and failed at meal planning before, don’t give up!)
After another couple of months of overspending on groceries I decided to try meal planning AGAIN – except this time I was going to do it differently. This time I was going to research more, plan more, and DEDICATE myself to meal planning.
Here’s the thing:
If you really want to save money, you need to be determined and you need to be willing to try new things. (Not halfheartedly like I did the first time I tried meal planning.)
The second time around wasn’t perfect. I still didn’t love meal planning and I was still spending more money than we needed to be some weeks, but I wasn’t overspending as much as we had been.
It was a small win.
The biggest problem I faced was trying figure meal planning out on my own. I’m someone who doesn’t like to accept help – I like to figure out how to do things on my own, which meant, there was a LOT of trial and error when I started meal planning.
But, I did eventually get the hang of it – and now I LOVE it.
What I would recommend for anyone who wants to use meal planning to save money, though, is to purchase a meal planning system like this one.
When I started meal planning I did it all with a good old fashioned piece of paper, pen, and hours of research.
But here’s the thing:
It took me a LOT longer to break my overspending habit than it needed to. If I would have been willing to accept help, I could have started saving hundreds of dollars every month, sooner.
(You certainly CAN do meal planning the way I did, but if you’re looking for something to help you start saving money on groceries THIS MONTH, I do suggest you get this meal planning product.)
How to save money on groceries – what worked?
I wholeheartedly believe that meal planning has been one of the biggest reasons that I am able to continue being a stay at home wife and mom.
I hate using this phrase… but meal planning really has changed our lives. (If I hadn’t started meal planning and continued to spend the amount of money on groceries that I had been spending, I would have had to go back to work.)
How to meal plan to save money (and time)
There are a lot of different meal planning methods available, but the most important thing you can do is find the one that works best for you and your family. You could go the old fashioned route of using a pen and paper, you could weekly food planner like this, or you can use the meal planning method that I recommend, below.
This is the meal planning method that has helped THOUSANDS of families save money every month and I highly recommend it.
Here’s how meal planning saves you time and money:
1. You only have to decide what to eat ONCE a week
Can you imagine how nice it would be to know exactly what you’re having for dinner every night of the week? Not having to come home after a long day and spend time deciding what to make that night.
Instead of spending 15 minutes each night trying to decide what to make for dinner that night, you’ll be spending 15 – 20 minutes ONCE a week, planning meals for the next seven days.
2. You can save time by prepping the meals
Since you know exactly what you’ll be eating each night, you can save a LOT of time by spending a bit of time prepping all your meals for the week so when it comes around to suppertime all you have to do is throw everything into the oven.
Now, you’re already going to be saving a lot of time by knowing what you’re eating and having all the ingredients at home, so whether or not you prep your meal ahead of time is completely up to you, but I love to have all my veggies for the week washed and chopped so they’re ready to go.
3. You shop with a plan – once a week
We all know the more time you spend in the grocery store, the more money you spend on things that you don’t need.
When you make a weekly meal plan you gather all the ingredients that you need for the meals and write them down on your shopping list (looking for a good grocery list? I love this one), then when you go to the grocery store you know exactly which aisles you need to go down, and which ones you can avoid altogether.
4. You waste less food
When you make a meal plan you know exactly which ingredients you need to have on hand for the week. This helps eliminate food waste since you won’t buy things “just in case”.
You only buy the food that you need from the grocery store, and as you make your meals throughout the week you will use all the food you bought up – which means you won’t have to throw away spoiled food anymore.
5. You’ll have more YOU time
Since you won’t be spending so much time every day deciding what to eat (nevermind the time you’re going to be spending my making fewer trips to the grocery store), you’ll get more time to relax, or clean, or spend with your family.
6. You can plan meals around what’s on sale
As if all those other reasons weren’t enough… another big reason why you should be meal planning is because you can plan your meals around what’s on sale for the week.
This will save you a LOT of money.
This is how I do it:
I flip through all my weekly grocery store fliers. I make notes of things that are on sale (specifically meat), then I plan my meals for the week around what’s on sale.
Just last week while I was looking through the fliers I noticed that one of the stores had an AWESOME deal on ground beef (which is usually very expensive where we live), so I went ahead and planned most of our meals for the week to include ground beef.
How to use Eat at Home Meal Plans to save money
I mentioned earlier that you certainly can meal plan without a meal planning system, but it is a LOT easier to use a meal planning system.
Meal planning can require a lot of time – especially when you’re first starting – so I do recommend that you use a meal planning system like the Eat at Home Meal Plans, especially when you’re just starting out.
The reason why I recommend these meal plans is because they do all the hard work for you. The meal planning system allows you to choose your meals (from a WIDE variety of choices… I haven’t come across a meal that we don’t like, and we’ve tried LOTS of them), then it will create a grocery list that you can take to the grocery store with you with everything you need to make the meals you chose, provide you with the meal plan and recipes.
All YOU have to do is:
- Print your meal plan, grocery list, and recipes
- Make that night’s recipe (you can choose to make-ahead, make freezer meals, make slow-cooker recipes, and more)
- Enjoy dinner with your family, stress-free
If you’re wondering how you can do all your grocery shopping on a tight budget and start seeing big grocery savings, this is the system that worked for us, and the one I believe can work for you.
Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding the Eat at Home Meal Plans:
How does this meal planning method work?
With the Eat at Home Meal Plans you can access the recipes, shopping lists, and ready-to-use meal plans for each month anytime in the member’s area.
This meal planning system was created for real families, and they know that real families have real opinions, likes, and dislikes.
With this in mind, you will get access to all four of the meal categories, and you can then use the pre-made meal plans or create your own filled with recipes you think you and your family would like.
I can attest that meal planning CAN be a lot of work (trust me, I did it the hard way at first and it took me much longer than it should have to get the hang of), but the Eat at Home Meal Plan will do all the hard work for you and gives you all the tools you need to save money on groceries every single month.
Each month you will get access to four different meal plan options (you’ll also get access to over 70 NEW recipes each month) –
- Traditional. The traditional plan is family friendly and includes a variety of meats and veggies, along with the occasional meatless meal (which helps keep costs low). This plan incorporates the largest variety of recipes – and they’re all kid-approved. Even the pickiest of eaters will find meals to enjoy.
- Wholesome Traditional. If you like to incorporate more wholesome, traditional foods into your family’s lifestyle, this plan uses common ingredients with an emphasis on natural foods – including a variety of meats, veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
- Slow Cooker. Slow cookers and instant pots are any busy mom’s best friends. The Slow Cooker plan provides the variety of the Traditional Plan, except every recipe can cook in your slow cooker and many include Instant Pot options, too. BONUS: Each month’s plan also includes one week of slow cooker freezer meals that can be assembled in one hour.
- No Flour/No Sugar. Healthy foods can be delicious, too. The No Flour/No Sugar meal plan includes easy-to-prepare, hearty, healthy recipes that everyone will enjoy. These meals are big on veggies and protein from whole foods that you can find in any supermarket. Enjoy a salad of the week and an optional easy protein of the week with no flour or artificial sugars added.
You will also get color-coded grocery lists that are pre-filled with the ingredients you need for the meals on your meal plan (which significantly cuts down on the amount of time spent at the grocery store, and helps you spend less money), and all the recipes that you want for that month.
(My husband and I have tried A LOT of the Eat at Home recipes and I we haven’t come across a recipe that we don’t like!)
After you get your meal plan, the recipes, and your grocery list – you’ll go grocery shopping, then you will go ahead and make the recipe that you have chosen for that night.
You can choose to make the meal ahead of time, make freezer meals, a slow cooker meal, or go the traditional route.
Then – you can sit back and enjoy dinner with your family without having to leave the house.
What kind of recipes are included?
You will get access to over 70 NEW recipes each month (they don’t repeat a single recipe within three months), as well as side dish and dessert recipes.
When I make dinner, one of the biggest things I struggle with is choosing a side dish that goes well with the main dish, so that’s one thing I love about these meal plans – that they include side dish suggestions and recipes.
I’m not very good at cooking – will this be too advanced for me?
This meal planning system was created for beginner and advanced meal planners alike.
You can head over to the details page here to read about other members who weren’t much for cooks, or didn’t even enjoy cooking, who have loved using the Eat at Home meal plans.
The recipes you get in these meal plans are simple and easy to make which is great for those of you who don’t necessarily like cooking or maybe aren’t that good at it (you can only get better from here!).
I’m living paycheck to paycheck – is this a good investment for me to make?
I believe that each person’s situation is unique and different, so to say that this is the right choice for everyone would be a far stretch.
What I do know, however, is that meal planning is the very thing that has helped my husband and I consistently save $700 on our groceries every month. It has helped us stay under our $300 grocery budget (which is pretty significant, since we live in a place where food is more expensive than more), so for us, it has been more than worth it.
For us, I can confidently say that it IS worth it – but for you, it comes down to what you think. You know your financial situation, I don’t.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that if these meal plans stop you from eating dinner out even just one time this month, they will be paid off.
Or, if they help you save $7 on your grocery bill every month, they will be paid for.
(We’re saving $700 every month on groceries! So YES! I think it’s worth it!)
What about side dishes and dessert recipes?
Don’t worry – side dish recipes (and even suggestions of which side dishes go best with which meals) AND dessert recipes are also included with these meal plans.
You will get one dessert recipe option each week, on each plan type (so you could make all FOUR desserts in one week if you’re feeling rambunctious!).
I have kids in the house and they can be PICKY eaters – will they like these recipes?
While I can’t speak for kids, I can say that my husband and I have tried many of these recipes and we have LOVED every.single.one of them. I even make these meals when we have guests over, and I’ve had several people ask to get the recipe.
For kids, however, here’s what Tiffany has to say:
How can I know that meal planning really saves money?
Picture this – you’re standing in your kitchen and it’s 5 pm. The kids are all hungry and everyone in the house is asking the same question:
“What’s for dinner? And WHEN are we going to eat?!”
Your husband is going to be home from work soon, and you know he’s going to be hungry.
You stand there without a clue of what you’re going to make for dinner. You end up thinking of a dish to make, but you don’t have all the ingredients at home, so you have to load everyone up and make a “quick” trip to the grocery store to get a couple ingredients for dinner.
One of two things happen –
- You end up eating out at a restaurant for dinner. You’re all loaded up in the vehicle already, anyway, and it’s getting late – so going to a restaurant (or getting fast food) sounds a lot easier than going to the store, getting ingredients, and having to go back home to make dinner. Or,
- You go to the grocery store to get 2 or 3 ingredients for dinner. By the time you get to the checkout you’ve filled a small basket full of food (you saw some sales that were just too good to pass up – and you’re hungry). The grocery bill that should have been less than $10 is now more than $50. You beat yourself up on the inside a little bit, then go home to start cooking dinner, already exhausted and grumpy.
I have personally been in both of these situations. I used to make many many trips to the grocery store in one week. I didn’t bother stocking up on food because I never knew what I would want to make for dinner tomorrow or the next day.
I liked to wait for the creativity to hit me before I decided what to make for dinner.
Well, as it turns out, waiting for creativity to hit me and not planning ahead are the very two things that made me spend more than $1,000 on groceries for one month. For TWO people.
(And that doesn’t include the times that we went out to eat that month, which we did at least three or four times.)
After successfully starting meal planning, I was able to cut our grocery bill down to $300 a month, or $75 a week.
So yes – I truly believe in meal planning.
I am the walking, talking proof that meal planning WORKS. It worked for us and I am confident it can work for you, too.
How much does the Eat at Home Meal Plan cost?
You can choose from three different payment plans (the good news is, all three plans include FULL access to the same meal plans and recipes, so you don’t need to worry about missing out on anything).
- Monthly plan – $14/month. This plan is billed every month until canceled
- Quarterly plan – $10.33/month (25% savings). This plan is billed every 3 months until canceled.
- Yearly plan – $7/month (50% savings). This plan is billed every 12 months until canceled.
What if I sign up and don’t end up liking it? Is there a return policy?
There absolutely is. Eat at Home Meal Plans was created for real families, and they know that real families all have different opinions, different likes, and different dislikes. So, they’ve set it up so you can try the Eat at Home Meal Plans risk-free for the first month.
If you sign up and find that you and your family aren’t loving it, you can simply send them an email within the first 30 days to get a full refund.
If you sign up for the quarterly or yearly plans and want to cancel further down the road, you can email them at any time to cancel those plans, too.
9 more reasons why you’ll love the Eat at Home Meal Plans
- 15-minute meals. Perfect for those particularly busy nights (when you’d normally just eat out – but not anymore).
- Get all four plans (Traditional, Wholesome Traditional, Slow Cooker, No Flour/No Sugar) with any payment plan.
- Get the whole month’s plans so you can plan ahead and only make a couple trips to the grocery store a month.
- Serving options are available for small families (3 – 4 servings), and large families (6 – 8 servings). This helps you avoid food waste and allows you to play for any leftovers you might have.
- 1-hour freezer stash. Save time (and money) by stocking your freezer with 6 meals prepped in ONE hour. (You’ll get a new freezer-stash plan every month.)
- Color-coded lists make it easy to swap out ingredients or whole meals.
- Printable recipes for easy cooking (and so you can add your favorite recipes to your homemade cookbook so you always have them on hand).
- Printable menus that you can hang on your fridge or near your calendar so you, and everyone in your family, can easily see what’s for dinner. (No more need to dread the “What’s for dinner?!” question.)
- Instant pot recipes are included for some recipes in each of the plans.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (because I seriously LOVE meal planning!) – meal planning is the number one way that we save money on groceries month after month, without fail.
Learn more ways how to save money on groceries:
20 Things we Took Off Our Grocery List to Save Money
18 Clever Ways to Save Money on Groceries