Inside: Need to finally feel confident grocery shopping on a budget? Learn how to save money on groceries without coupons. Yes! This comprehensive guide will equip you with the tools you need so your family can eat well for less!
Let me tell you something. I’ve tried it all.
Waking up at the crack of dawn to grab that Sunday newspaper.
Flipping through hundreds of coupons, searching for something we’ll actually use.
Cutting and organizing for hours on end.
All to save a whopping $2.00 on my grocery bill.
But there’s hope! I finally figured out how to save money on groceries without coupons. And it’s so, so simple.
It really comes down to managing your kitchen like your grandma would.
Plan ahead. Eat real food. Cook it at home.
Let me show you how I manage grocery shopping on a budget without clipping one single coupon!
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Grocery Shopping on a Budget without Coupons!
Before You Shop
Here’s the secret. Saving big on your grocery budget starts before you step one foot into the store.
Planning ahead is the one tip that saves me hundreds every. single. month.
And the good news is that it doesn’t have to be super time consuming or difficult!
Step #1: Shop your Pantry
Before I create a meal plan I take note of what I’ve already got on hand. I pay special attention to any items I know will be versatile and great to fill out meals:
- Poultry, fish, or meat in the freezer.
- Fresh veggies or fruit that needs to be used before it spoils.
- Frozen veggies in bulk I keep in the deep freezer.
- Rice or other starches I have on hand in the pantry.
- Staples like flour, sugar, and oils.
Need to get a handle on what you already have? This kitchen inventory printable will help you get organized, quick!
Step #2: Make a Meal Plan (and Stick to It!)
Next, I make a meal plan for two weeks. I generally plan out 14 dinners, but we usually eat out once a week. This means I have two extra meals planned ahead of time for the next meal plan!
My bi-weekly meal plan process:
- I make my plan on Sunday afternoons while my whole house is napping after church.
- Then I write down a two-week menu for easy reference on the fridge. Then write down each night’s dinner in my planner.
- I shop that Monday morning, usually at Aldi. If I know I’m busy that day, I’ll place an order on Walmart Grocery Pickup. #alltheyes!
- For extras like milk and random things I forgot, I’ll add it to my WalMart Grocery Pickup Order later in the week. If I stay out of the store, I’m less likely to buy things I don’t really need!
Download this two week menu planner to get ahead of the game!
OK, so you know you need to make a meal plan. But 14 meals? That’s a lot of planning!
If it helps, assign themes to each day so you’re not cooking the same thing over and over again.
Our theme goes something like this, and we just repeat this with slight variations from week to week:
- Monday: Comfort food, baked chicken, etc.
- Tuesday: Tacos or something spicy
- Wednesday: Crock Pot day, soups, chili.
- Thursday: Italian, pasta, or a casserole.
- Friday: Asian inspired, stir fry, etc.
- Saturday: Classic American, something grilled, BBQ.
- Sunday: Crock Pot day, roast, etc.
Make up your own themes according to what your family loves!
Here’s a sample of our typical two week menu. I laminated my meal planner and use dry erase pens so that I can use this over and over again!
When you’re grocery shopping on a budget, keep these tips in mind as you meal plan:
- Plan for more veggies and less meat:
- Make a stir fry, and include a ratio of 1 to 3 for meat and veggies. The veggies will bulk up the meal, while the meat still gives flavor.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat and put your slow cooker or InstaPot to work!
- Buy a whole chicken and cut it up instead of opting for pre-cut pieces.
- Plan one night a week for a meatless meal.
- Add flavoring and seasoning yourself:
- Remember, convenience always comes at a price. Think about buying the plain version of a food and adding in your own seasonings and flavors instead.
- Buy a big tub of old fashioned oatmeal and season with raisins and cinnamon.
- Buy a plain pork loin and marinate in Italian dressing instead of splurging on the pre-marinated package.
- Don’t forget to plan ahead for snacks, lunches, and breakfasts, too!
- Stock up on eggs, oatmeal, and other inexpensive staples for breakfast.
- Make your own easy and cheap energy balls for snacks!
- We usually eat smaller portions and leftovers for lunch.
These are a few of my favorite recipe resources for quick and healthy meal ideas:
- eMeals: this meal planning app syncs with WalMart Grocery Pickup so that you can just tap to order your ingredients, order online, and pickup in store! Choose from tons of menu options, including low-carb and 30-minute meals!
- Tasty App: I fell in love with this app and the super simple video tutorials! I use this when I’m looking for a new recipe to fill a spot on my meal plan. Guess what? It also syncs with WalMart Pickup!
Love to take a paper list into the store? Shopping with a list will save you time and money. Download this printable grocery shopping list below!
In the Store
Alright, mama. You’ve got a plan. You’ve made your shopping list. You’re in the car, ready to shop. But now is the time to stay focused! Don’t let all your hard work go to waste.
Use these tips in the store to keep more money in your pocket!
Tip #1: Shop the Outside, Not the Inside
This is a simple rule that will save you tons of money and put more healthy food on the table. Whenever possible, shop items on the outside of the grocery store, not the inside rows.
The outside usually contains fresh fruit and veggies, perishables, and less packaged goods. Most of the time, these items will go farther and cost less than their packaged counterparts. Plus they’ll usually have less additives and preservatives to keep your family healthier!
However, one exception I’ve found to this rule is with frozen veggies. Sometimes I’ll find giant bags of frozen broccoli or corn that will last us a month and offer more savings over fresh produce. Check those prices and compare!
Tip #2: Shop Around Town
Is your loyalty to a certain grocery store costing you big bucks? One of the best ways I’ve found to save money is to shop around town.
Sometimes I’ll get toiletries on Amazon or WalMart, meat at Winn Dixie, and produce at our local farmers market.
But there’s one store in particular you absolutely can’t miss if you’re grocery shopping on a budget…
Shop at Aldi!
I thought I was doing it all right. I shopped generic items at WalMart. Bought real foods. Bought in bulk when it made sense. But I was still so frustrated at spending $500 a month or more for my family of four!
Then I discovered Aldi. And I’ll never go back.
Once I started shopping at Aldi I started saving $50-$100 on every grocery trip. Without coupons. No joke.
Aldi has rock bottom prices on almost everything you need on your grocery list.
But there are a few Aldi tips you’ll need to know before you go:
- Bring your own reusable bags or boxes.
- Bring a quarter to rent your cart. You’ll get it back when you return your cart!
- Check out the Aldi app for local deals and weekly ads.
Aldi doesn’t have an affiliate program, and I’m not compensated in any way for recommending them. I just love Aldi and I know you will too!
Click here to find an Aldi near you!
Tip #3: Check Unit Prices
Do you usually get sucked in by those BOGO deals? Listen, I hate math. (That’s why I’m a writer!) But when you’re grocery shopping on a budget a little math goes a long way!
- Ignore the big bold numbers on a price tag.
- Instead, look at the price per unit. It will be in (much smaller) text below the item price. This is your golden number!
- If you don’t see a unit price, divide the ounces or weight by the price to get the price per ounce.
Tip #4: Check your Mindset
We all have those shopping trips where we go in for a gallon of milk and come out with $100 worth of goodies we don’t need.
But you’ve got goals. And if you want to meet those financial goals you’ll have to change your mindset when it comes to grocery shopping.
- Don’t shop hungry or tired I know easier said that done. My favorite time to shop is first thing in the morning after breakfast.
- Or sip on some coffee and shop after the kid’s bedtime!
- Make it a game. You’re not depriving yourself, you’ve just got different priorities this time around! Hunt for those deals!
Ready to win at grocery shopping on a budget? The secret is to think simple. Make a plan and stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save on groceries with these simple tips!
Be sure to access our printable library to grab those printable downloads to create a kitchen inventory, get started on your meal plan, and jot down your shopping list!
What does your grocery budget look like? Are you ready to cut your grocery bill with these tips? Share your experience in the comments below!