When it comes to my spending, I’ve resorted to reviewing everything in detail once a quarter. During the quarter, my customized version of a budget is put into motion. This quarter, I resolved to find ways to reduce the amount of money I spend on food. After some high level changes and a few smaller tweaks, I successfully reduced my grocery bill by more than 55%. This post will detail my top five frugal tips that helped me spend less on the all-important “food” category.
I’ve heard plenty of ideas out there on ways to reduce spend on groceries, but I finally took some of those practices to heart. I hope you find one or two that you can put into practice yourself and let yourself move one step closer from employee to investor, as I am always trying to do.
Rice, Lentils, Quinoa & Farro
I’ve started to incorporate these four ingredients as a staple in my weekly meals. Naturally, they have a plain taste, so these ingredients are open to trying various types of sauces and spices.
Each of these contains a lot of carbohydrates (lentil less so) which supplements my cardio focused workout schedule. When I need a few extra grams of protein, I can remove the rice and rely on the other three.
I plan on incorporating beans into my diet and they would also fall into this same category.
Potatoes over Ramen
On a similar note, many “struggling artists” will discuss how they live on nothing but instant ramen noodles as a sign that they can’t afford more nutritious meals.
Ironically, instead of buying ramen, opt for the often less expensive and more nutritious option of potatoes. There are dozens of ways to make potatoes and similar to the items listed above, you can include all types of sauces, spices and even cooking methods to vary it up.
Buy in Bulk
This one may be obvious, but I have recently incorporated a new method for being able to take advantage of buying in bulk while living in a large city.
Many readers have their own car and are able to drive to pick up large amounts of food. Since I live in the city without a car, I barely have access to traditional grocery stores, let alone wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.
To alleviate this, I have signed up for a service that delivers grocery items for my door. I stock up about once a month on items that will last me the whole month. By doing this I’m able to save about 10%-20% on the items I buy, even after factoring in the additional costs of delivery and tipping the driver.
One of my favorite purchases is when I save 65% by buying a large container of mixed nuts instead of the smaller individual containers. For $13 I’m able to pick up 56 ounces, instead of buying the smaller 8 ounce containers for $5. This small purchase makes me feel good each day during those few minutes where I’ll snack.
An additional benefit is that the stores near me that sell in bulk require membership fees that I can bypass by paying for a monthly delivery charge instead.
Essentially, instead of paying for annual membership fee, I am paying for a service to deliver these goods directly to my door.
Not a bad deal.
If you have a car and a delivery service available, you may want to review the trade off available here. This combination might only work while living in a large city where maintaining a car can be expensive due to paying an extra $200-$300 a month for parking.
Another benefit is that the delivery service removes all possibilities of impulse buying while shopping in such a large store.
Treat Meat as a Garnish
By far the largest driver in reducing my grocery bill was treating meat as a garnish instead of the main course.
Before applying this approach, many of my meals contained a large amount of meat (including fish).
Naturally, as you remove meat from your plate, you are left with needing to replace it. That’s where my last tip comes in handy.
Shopping on the Perimeter of the Store
When it comes to your traditional grocery store, the freshest and typically healthiest items are located on the perimeter of the store. This includes fruits & vegetables.
With the gap left by meat, I’ve opted to fill this with fruits and vegetables which has led to an overall healthier diet.
Not only is my body happier by implementing these grocery bill tips, but so is my wallet.
Have you incorporated any of these tips in the past? Are you working on reducing your grocery bill by using other tips?