Moms, families, ladies rockin’ the single life- these money-saving tips are for everyone… because they came from everyone! Recently I shared my weekly grocery haul picture on instagram and facebook and asked people to share what they spend weekly (if they were comfortable doing so) and their best tip to save on groceries. I sorted the responses, looked into them myself, found some really cool new ideas and compiled them into what I hope will be a helpful post. If anyone is looking to save some dollars while still eating well (and who isn’t?!), these are for you!
How much are people spending?
First, I was curious what other people were spending on groceries. Our monthly grocery bill currently is around $750-$800 a month, so $180-$200 a week. This includes food only (OK, maybe a little beer and wine), is largely organic and does not include household items like paper towels and such. It feeds us (family of four with a four year old and 1 1/2 year old) most meals at home, save one family dinner and one lunch out a week. Maybe a coffee or extra lunch thrown in depending on how the week is going too!
I was thrilled that a lot of people responded to my question and wanted to share those responses with you, because if you are the head grocery shopper in your house, you have to be a little curious too, right?
A quick disclaimer though, remember, this comparison is apples to oranges (pun intended). Things to consider that can change answers quite drastically are: location, children’s ages, food preferences (grass-fed? vegan?), frequency of meals out, etc. So now with the disclaimers of out of the way, let’s take a look:
Vegetarian family of four: $120 on a bad week, $80 on a good one
Family of three: $110-$140 a week
Family of three: $175 a week
Two adults and one almost toddler: $120 a week.
Family of three: $160 a week
My fiance and I: $75-$100 a week
One person: $50-$80 a week
Plant-based family of five: $175-$200 a week
Family of five (two adults and three kids under four): $100 canadian dollars a week plus a $100 Costco run once a month
Family of five (two adults, a four year old and two year old twins): $150 a week
Two adults and a baby: $140 a week
Husband and wife: $100-$125 a week
One person: $50 a week
Family of five (but the four month old isn’t eating yet ;)): $180-$200 a week
Family of three: $120 a week
Family of five- no meat or dairy: $75-$100 a week
Husband and wife: $50-$60 a week
Family of three: $160 a week
Family of two in Northern California: $150-$170
Family of five (two adults and three active teenagers) in Michigan: $225-$250 a week
Family of five: $200-$250 a week
Family of four: $150-$250 a week
How are people saving?
Along with responses, many people left some great tips- some I use myself and some that I’m going to start using ASAP. I broke it down into categories so I could share these incredible tip with you. Starting with:
Who knew there were so many options? Most of them new to me. I’m a frequent user of RetailMeNot for coupons (you know, the one that always has a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby) so I was surprised that I haven’t made better use of grocery saving apps as well.
Thrive Market: Thrive market is an online retailer selling healthy foods at wholesale prices. Yep! You heard me right. I, too, was skeptical at first, but I’ve actually found that it really is that much cheaper. Most items are several dollars less. It adds up over time! The best way I can describe it is like a virtual Whole Foods. And who doesn’t love Whole Foods? There is an annual membership fee of $59.95. but use THIS LINK to get a free 30 trial!
If that’s not enough for you, you also get free shipping on orders over $49 – Read my full review of Thrive Market HERE
Ibotta App: This is a new one to me, but I have now signed up. With this app, you unlock cash rewards for products you want to buy. You buy them at your local store. Then you submit a picture of your receipt through the app and have CASH deposited into your paypal account within 48 hours. REAL CASH. So cool. You can also opt to receive giftcards as a withdrawal option. Reader Megan said she used her savings to get an Amazon gift card that she used on Christmas presents – awesome!
Target’s Cartwheel App: Who doesn’t love Target, right? This is an app I currently use. It offers hundreds of offers in different categories and some can really add up. You can search deals ahead of time or simply scan the barcode of a product to see if an offer exists. If it doesn’t but another similar product is offering a discount, then it will tell you. I find that most of the time, the Target brand offers at least a 5% off savings. Sometimes these really add up and I’ve saved as much as $10 at one time just by scanning items. I know other people that have saved even more.
Berrycart App: This new-to-me app is geared towards healthy eaters and features products that are organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, etc. You can learn about the companies they feature on the app too, which is cool. Similar to Ibotta, you buy the product, take a picture of the receipt and then they send you CASH via your paypal account or you can cash out into gift cards.
Checkout 51 App: I couldn’t find as much information on this app (if you use it please leave details in the comment section!), but it does state that you buy groceries and earn cash back, so another pretty cool set up.
[Tweet “Start saving money on groceries now by using these awesome tips from @ahealthyslice!”]
Online shopping/drive by pick up
Several readers mentioned their love affair with online shopping. They said it helps them stick to their list and not get sidetracked with other tempting items around the grocery store. Most seem pleased overall with the quality of items the store picks out for them (non-bruised produce, etc).
Harris Teeter: Offers online shopping and easy to pick up express lane. In some areas they even offer home delivery!
Lowe’s Food, Meijer, Safeway, etc… check your local store because I’ve heard a lot offer this service now.
Instacart: Home delivery for groceries! A couple commenters said they loved this service that allows you to shop online then delivers groceries right to your door. I haven’t gotten to try it because it’s not available in my area yet.
Walmart: (<–Referral link- you and I will both get $10 off our order if you sign up using it). It’s hard to beat Walmart prices on some items, but our local store is pure chaos to try and get in and out of. Recently I tried their curbside pickup and was pleasantly surprised. I was pleased at their selection of organic options and used the curbside pick up to buy many pantry items.
I loaded up on extra staple items (La Croix, bottled waters, applesauce pouches, etc), then went to Whole Foods for my produce, meats, etc.
The result was the total trip of both stores adding up to $195, which sounds right at my average, but I was able to load up on so many staples (frozen organic fruits, etc) and splurge on $28 worth of halibut, so overall it really was a great deal and I will do it again in the future.
Like my example above, I believe the best way to save money is by shopping at more than one store. Curbside pick up makes this a little easier. Also, choosing stores that offer the best prices is a smart way to go, obviously. The best value stores that were mentioned several times by multiple readers were the following:
Aldi: I’m so embarrassed that I haven’t shopped at one yet. People RAVE about their low prices and increasing organic selection (though I’ve heard mixed reviews on produce quality). One reader said she even considered her proximity to an Aldi when buying a house! That must mean it has some awesome deals. I hope to check it out myself soon!
Costco: Oh, Costco has a fan club for sure. We are getting one near us in the next year and I will probably hop aboard that bandwagon. People rave about their low prices on high quality meats, fish, produce and other foods.
Trader Joe’s: Known for great prices and unique products, a lot of people mentioned their love for this store! I had a poor experience with their produce, but if I had one closer to me, I would probably hit it up occasionally for great prices on staple items and fun, new products like the frozen organic cauliflower rice. So cool!
Meal Planning: A personal favorite of mine, as it reduces food waste and saves my sanity.
Buy Seasonally: Buying produce that is in season will keep your produce costs down. Shop your local farmers market for great deals on local produce or search online to find out what currently is in season.
Veggie-only and plant-based meals: Meat proteins, especially if you are buying higher quality meats like grass-fed beef, really add up in cost. Several readers mentioned adding in even one or two plant-based dinners a week helped their overall health and their finances.
Using eggs as protein: Even buying free-range eggs, which can cost $6 a dozen, is a lot less expensive than meat or poultry options and can usually stretch further.
Experiment with new cuts of meat: Chicken thighs, for example, will cost much less that the more popular chicken breast and some people say they have more flavor too.
Grow your own food: Even growing just a few items or herbs can help cut down your grocery cost. Some readers grow much more than that too and love the low cost and extremely high quality their families enjoy.
Eat at Home and factor that into the budget: Initially it may look like a higher cost because of the increased grocery bill, but you may be surprised at how much you are saving over all with the decreased amount you are spending out. One reader said she started buying the “fancy” organic coffee beans and not only enjoyed the taste more, but also ended up saving money overall because she cut out her Starbucks habit.
Whew- how is that for a boatload of information on how to save money on groceries?? I can’t thank you all enough who shared your tips; I know I’m excited to try some of the new-to-me ones out as well! And let’s keep the idea sharing going. Tell me,
What is your favorite way to save money on groceries?
If you could only share one tip, what would it be?
For more healthy eating talk, visit my favorite food tips page.
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says
I didn’t know about that Whole Foods app either! Downloading now!!
I was curious about this post ever since I responded to your question on instagram. 🙂 Great collection of tips.
I havent’t tried online shopping yet, but I feel like the offers in the US sound so much better than here in Germany.
Buying seasonally and regionally is definitely a big one for us. As is going to more than one store. And buying “the real thing”, nothing packaged or prepped.
I’ve had mixed experiences with Instacart – unless you are getting super simple items, they tend to mess up 2-3 items per order (frozen kale vs fresh, really small spaghetti squash, etc).
I love Thrive market for well priced healthy dry foods. It just takes a little planning as shipping can take up to a week.
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables says
These are such great tips! Once I got married, I really focused on reigning in our budget but I still have work to do haha. I’m going to check out some of those apps!
Ive found that buyimg dried beans in bags instead of cans is cheaper 🙂
Love this post!! So helpful. Thank you for taking the time to compile feedback and share with us!
Parita @ myinnershakti says
Love this post! Just put “check out apps from Brittany’s post” on my to do list 🙂
My #1 tip is to meal plan, make a list, and stick to it when shopping. It takes a bit of planning and work, but when you start seeing $20-30 worth of savings, it’s so worth it!
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious says
I am so checking out that Whole Foods App and the Walmart curbside pickup is genius!
I had no idea there is a Whole Foods app! Life changing. Thanks for the awesome post!
In the vein of meal planning, I like to plan our meals 2 weeks at a time and focus on two proteins. That way we’re not buying 3-4 different proteins at a time which can really add up. Frequent low-cost proteins are chicken thighs/legs (plus dark meat is tasty!), pork roasts, ground beef, and liver/organ meat (we don’t eat this too frequently, but it’s really cheap and full of great iron!).
This was so interesting. I wish this information was available 25 years back when my kids were little. Have any of you thought of shopping in ethnic stores. I have Chinese and Indian stores close by and the prices on their produce is really good. Also Indian stores have organic bags of beans which are much cheaper than whole foods.The spices are good quality too. Thanks
So many tips here! Our spending fluctuations a ton depending on whether my husband is home for the month or away for the month. When he’s home, we can easily spend $200/wk because he likes to cook gourmet meals, doesn’t love leftovers and cooks 3 full meals a day – everything from scratch and we entertain a lot. I’m trying to meal plan and order more online to budget better for these months. When its just the toddler and I, I typically do one monthly Trader Joes shop and then fill in produce, dairy and meats weekly. My husband isn’t into ‘convenience foods’ but these meals and bases make up a lot of my options when I’m flying solo. It ends up being about $300 for the month. I just learned that TJs doesn’t allow any chemical dyes in their products, which is fantastic. No Red40 or the like. In past years, we have done a meat share for a 1/4 cow, lamb or pig which greatly saves money on high quality meat. I’m trying to buy bulk foods online from Thrive or Boxed after giving up a BJs membership. We also participate in a CSA which provides nearly all veggies May-Nov and keep a small garden, and grow TONS of herbs and tomatoes to can and/or freeze. The biggest money saver we’ve done is renovate our pantry so everything is organized and visible. Bulk foods go in glass jars and containers so we can see how much we have an we don’t overbuy. It also helps in meal planning to ‘shop our pantry/freezer first’ for at least 1-2 meals, then figure out the rest. The last thing we’ve done recently is invest in an InstaPot. The thing is awesome for quickly cooking fresh veggies instead of buying frozen, making applesauce in 4 min instead of buying it (I still pouch some homemade purees for our toddler and freeze a huge batch to throw in her lunches, for pennies on the dollar), cooking perfect grains, batches of oatmeal, and quickly cooking beans (even if you forget to soak them). It makes bulk shopping much easier and fun.
These are fantastic tips! I need all the help I can get because I am notorious for leaving the store with more than what I needed and am generally awful when it comes to coupons and anything like that. Apps, I love, though, and already use Target Cartwheel. Along with your Walmart suggestion, I heard they also have a similar app where you scan your receipt and somehow you get money back… I’m going to look into that one as well as a friend said she saved more with that than Target Cartwheel.
Phew! This makes my brain hurt, but in a good way! We recently moved to a new neighborhood so I’m changing up grocery stores again (Costco + Safeway). We used to live within walking distance to a great Trader Joe’s and what a fantastic way to save money and headache it is to walk to the store – I miss it so much! So my advice is to live within walking distance of your favorite grocery store – kidding, kidding!
My mom shops at Aldi and I am always SO IMPRESSED by the deals she gets and how good the food is. Their store brand is usually on par or even better than items from more expensive grocery stores. Like all stores though, it depends on the store and the location. I have favorite Trader Joe’s and I have some that I will pass up because their selection usually isn’t as good.
You know you are 30 when you love to talk grocery shopping 🙂
I really enjoyed this post and can’t wait to read through all of the commentors’ tips!
Thanks for sharing! I also just downloaded the Whole Foods app!
I just wanted to chime in with a bit on Ibotta – it was *great* for me the first few months, but my enthusiasm for it has really died down. Really the only way I could save on stuff at this point is to buy processed stuff that I wouldn’t normally buy; the any brand/produce savings they used to have are no more, or appear once for something like 25 cents off avocado and then never show up again. I know I’m not the only one who has noticed this too if you read around their facebook page a bit. It also sucks living in a small town now, because even though I have a Walmart I can go to for groceries, the few products I get interested in (a new brand of hummus, sprouted quinoa, etc.) are never at my store.
We are a family of 4 soon to be 5 ( 2 yr old and 4 yr old girls). We spend about $80-85 per week for food/household/toiletry items. My priorities are organic dairy, organic for dirty dozen most of the time and as much quality/grass fed meat as I can afford. My 4 year old has many food allergies but the main ones that impact shopping/budget are eggs and chicken. My number 1 tip for food allergy families is make your own. At first I would buy a small egg free pancake mix in natural food section and it would be $4 and would make 2 of our pancake batches. Then I tested out egg free homemade pancakes and started to make a huge batch that would leave some to freeze for around $1! This tip goes for anything really…chop your own vegetables, prepare own lettuce etc. I also meal plan and make grocery list around sales ad. Picking the fruits, vegetables and meats on sale and sticking to my list. I do use checkout 51 app but it took me 6 months to earn the $20 to be able to cash out. A lot of items are processed but they do have $.25 each week for produce, sometimes mama chia products, nature path, venus razors, baking powder, flour etc.
This was a great post! I had no idea about the Whole Foods coupon app either but I downloaded it immediately and will definitely be using it.
Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) says
I will definitely be checking out the whole food apps. I usually switch between Safeway and Whole Foods. I tend to get tired of both of them though. I know I could save money if I shopped at more than one store but I’m just not willing to spend the extra time driving around my town to save probably $10/week. =/ I do enjoy stopping by Tj’s once in a while and picking up some random pantry items because they do tend to have some great prices. I usually shop at TJ’s before a party too because they have the best prices on cheese and a great variety.
I avoid walmart like the plague. I hate it b/c it’s too busy & loads of other complaints. I recently went there with my family and stumbled into the food aisle and was really surprised to see regular items that i buy every week at publix are SO much cheaper at walmart. I’m excited to try this curbside drop off!!! it looks like instacart! i’m using your referral link.
Aldi for sure!! We switched a few years ago from Meijer/Kroger and I always say that Aldi is half the reason I can be a SAHM. Plus, no coupons to clip! I also am very diligent about meal planning. For our family of 4 (one toddler, one preschooler) I try to stick to around $120-$140 per week (including paper towel, dish soap, toiletries, etc).
Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections says
I’m so glad you did this post and got people’s feedback on how much they spend. I should show this to my husband. Our grocery bill has risen a lot recently, but I also have a little one who just starting eating all the same things I do, so that definitely adds to it. We just moved and there is no Trader Joe’s around us for hours and my go-to cheap-o grocery store isn’t here either. Middle of no where Texas has pretty bad options for finding groceries cheap. There’s Wal-Mart and Costco and that’s about it!
I feel like in general things have gotten more expensive anyway, plus adding in paper towels and stuff like that really adds up!
Do you really like Cart Wheel? I never tried it but shop at Target all the time. The one time I looked at the app the coupons were for things that i felt are way overpriced at Target anyway and I usually buy somewhere else. But maybe it’s worth checking out!
Patricia @Sweet and Strong says
I need to start using some of these apps. There are rarely coupons out there for healthy choices or fresh produce, but it’s nice to know you through apps you could be saving money on those items. The one tip I would tell people is to meal prep and make a list. That helps you avoid impulse buying when you see something you want just because.
One of the ways I also save money at Target is by using reusable bags. Its only $0.05 a bag, but it adds up when you’re a frequent visitor and as an added bonus you don’t have all those plastic bags floating around the house.
I’m saving money by starting a garden. Haven’t had much luck yet due to crazy weather, but I will succeed. I have also started raising ducks which will actually make me money. My ducks produce more eggs than my family will ever need even with supplying my brother and sister-in-law with eggs. I get over a dozen every 2 days and am looking into selling the extras locally.
Jen | Green Baby Deals says
Great tips here, thanks! I’ve been looking for a solution that works for my lifestyle and here’s what I recently started doing that’s helped my budget: 90% of the time I buy my groceries at my local health food store. (The other 10% is food co-op, farmer’s market or garden.) So each week I write down what their sales are from their weekly flyer and I plan my recipes around that list. (Sounds so simple, but unfortunately it took me quite some time to put this plan into action!) It’s been saving us $20-30 on average per week on a $160-180 budget.
Your refrigerator looks so cleaned and organized! Thanks for sharing these money saving tips! I’ve been wanting to try out the curbside pick-up. It seems like more and more places offer it now.
Samantha Miner says
Checkout 51 tips: offers change each week. Every thursday is when the new week starts and end on wednesdays.. Also when you have enough to cashout ($20) they physically mail you a check