How To Save Money On Groceries In a Bad Economy

In a tough economy, saving money on groceries can make a huge difference in helping you stretch your budget. With rising costs and less income, looking for ways to reduce your grocery bill is essential. Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can use to help save money on groceries, even during difficult financial times. This article will discuss how to save money on groceries in a bad economy to get the most bang for your buck!

How to save money on groceries in a bad economy. Grocery list, apple and ink pen.

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Plan Your Meals For The Week and Create a Menu

Meal planning may not be the most fun way to prepare your meals, but it can be reasonably quick and straightforward since people tend to eat the same variety of foods. 

When planning your meals, consider the foods you most commonly eat and use those ingredients in several recipes. 

Then buy those items in bulk, especially dry goods like rice or pasta. You can freeze bulk meat and vegetables.

Meal planning. Berries and almonds

Find Recipes Online

You can find thousands of recipes online for every cuisine and family size. Some websites even give you a printable or downloadable grocery list once you complete your menu.

My favorite website for finding free high-quality recipes is because of the sheer number of recipes available. You can view the attached video showing how it’s made for many of the recipes. Then you can add all or specific ingredients and print your shopping list.

Meal Planner Pro allows you to set up recipes based on each family member’s food preferences. They have recipes that support vegans, diabetics, etc. You can also add recipes directly to your calendar. Both apps are free and have large communities of users.

Make One-Pot Meals and Freeze Some for Later

Crock Pots, aka slow cookers and Instant Pots, are great for creating quick and easy meals in large amounts (then freezing some for later). They are designed to clean up quickly and not take up much space. You don’t have to stand over the stove for hours to prepare delicious meals.

Find recipes for your Crock Pot or Instant Pot.

Check Weekly Sales Ads Before Shopping

In a bad economy, doing more planning before spending your hard-earned money is necessary. Grocery stores provide weekly ads to help you take advantage of sales. This helps you plan your menu for the week and locate coupons for extra savings. 

Look for coupons on items that are already on sale. You can plan your meals around the latest deals by knowing which goods are on sale. If you base your weekly meals around foods on sale, you can see more significant savings.

If the store is out of an advertised item, get a rain check just in case the item is restocked after the sale. Rain checks may have an expiration date, so be sure to read the fine print. They may not be available for clearance or limited quantity items.

Order groceries online. Laptop, coffee, crossaint, apple, pencils on desk.

Stop Impulse Buying

Impulse buying is one of the main ways people overspend at the grocery store. Most people I speak to tell me that they rarely get out of the store without buying things not on their shopping list. 

One way to stop impulse buying is if you don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. Food seems more appealing when you shop while hungry, and you tend to spend much more money.

Focus on shopping the store perimeter where the fresh produce and meats are. That way, you have fewer chances of grabbing unhealthy snacks.

Order Online and Pick Up Your Groceries or Have Them Delivered

With so many busy schedules, people often don’t have time to go grocery shopping. Grocery stores have made it easier to shop online using their mobile app or website.

This option is great because it prevents impulse buying. You order only what you need. Walmart and Kroger are two of many stores offering grocery pickup and delivery options. 

You can arrange the pickup around your schedule, then park in the designated area and wait for someone to bring your groceries to your car. 

Have Your Groceries Delivered Directly To Your Door

Not all stores offer grocery delivery. But instead, utilize grocery delivery services to get them to their customers. Grocery delivery services are terrific for people who don’t have access to a car or cannot drive due to a disability.

A designated shopper handles grocery shopping after the order is placed online and the groceries are delivered to your door. 

Two popular grocery delivery services are Shipt and Instacart. Both services require a membership which can be paid annually or monthly if a yearly commitment is too long. 

Both services allow you to order from several different stores and save you a lot of time in traveling and shopping.

Get free grocery delivery with Shipt (first-time customers only).

Get free grocery delivery with Instacart (first-time customers only)

If you want a wide selection of organic produce, antibiotic-free meats, and dairy delivered to your door, Misfits Market is an online marketplace to consider. Average savings are 40% off regular grocery store prices.

They provide weekly grocery delivery curated based on customer preferences which also includes pantry items, baked goods, and wine. However, their customers have complete control of which items they want to be delivered each week. 

There is no membership fee, although it is a subscription service that can be canceled anytime. The weekly order can be paused anytime as well. 

Use Coupons. Scrissors and coupons.

Download Digital Coupons and Use Your Loyalty Card

When you download digital coupons to your grocers’ mobile app, you can benefit from deals you otherwise may not find. These hidden gems will save you a lot of money over time.

Look for double coupon deals and limited-time specials to save even more money.

Some stores allow you to add coupons within the app and use paper coupons in-store.

Loyalty cards linked in your app offer additional perks. Some stores provide exclusive member deals and other savings. 

For example, the Kroger shopper card allows you to earn fuel points when you use it at checkout. You can use your points to save $.10 per gallon of gas for every 100 points you earn (up to 1,000 points and 35 gallons per fill-up).

Purchase Less Pre-Packaged Food 

Pre-packaged food costs more because the extra cost of packaging material gets passed to the customers. So avoid paying for excess packaging as much as possible. 

This includes cut fruit and vegetables. You can save more money buying whole fruits and vegetables vs. precut. 

If your store has a bulk food section, you can purchase only the necessary quantities and bag the items yourself.

Buy In-Season Produce Vs. Out of Season

In a bad economy, some people buy canned fruits and vegetables or skip them altogether. If you prefer fresh fruits and vegetables, purchase in-season instead of out-of-season produce. 

Out-of-season produce costs more because it is rarely grown locally, and the extra cost of transporting it from other regions or countries gets passed to the customers. 

You get fresher and better-tasting produce when it’s in season, and it helps support your body’s nutritional requirements.

Shop at Farmers Markets. Fresh produce on a table.

Shop at Farmers’ Markets or Locally Grown Co-ops

There are many benefits of buying locally grown food besides lower prices. When you buy locally grown food, you not only support your local farmers and local economy, but they offer more variety than grocery stores. 

Another benefit is you get fresher produce. Fresher produce tastes better because it’s picked when ripe.

Most local farmers’ foods are naturally organic due to sustainable farming practices.

So you save money and have access to healthier food at once. 

Grow Your Own Garden or Herb Garden

Growing your own garden can be difficult while rewarding at the same time. If you find that you eat the same produce all the time, it may be cheaper to grow your own. 

Not only do you save money, but you control how your food is grown and what goes into the soil. You also get fresh air and exercise when you grow your own food. 

You don’t need much space, as a patio or balcony is sufficient for a container garden. Also, you can purchase grow bags if you don’t want to dig up the yard or if you rent your home.

Even if you live in a tiny space in a cold region, you can have an herb garden. Window-sill herb gardens are common in such spaces.

Fresh herbs are costly and go bad fairly quickly. When you grow your own, you pick what you need and leave the rest for later. 

Use cash back apps. Cell phone in hand.

Use Cash Back Apps

Cash back apps give you cash back on things you buy every day. Whether at a grocery store, restaurant, or online shopping, you can earn cashback.

How It Works

Select your retailer in the app and check off the items you usually buy. Then scan your receipt after your purchase to redeem your cashback offers.

Apps such as Ibotta and Rakuten are two apps that I’ve been using for several years, and have earned over $1,300 cash back on things I buy all the time. 

You can shop by computer as well. Both apps have a browser extension that can be downloaded to your Chrome browser. 

Logging In

Once you log in to your account, you will receive a pop-up whenever you land on a participating online retailer’s website. Just activate the cashback feature, and your account gets credited after your purchase. 

You can even link your loyalty accounts and debit or credit card for your convenience. No receipt is necessary on purchases through linked accounts. 

Cashing Out

Cash out your earnings in Ibotta once you reach $20. You can have your money direct deposited into your checking account via Paypal or loaded to an e-gift card.

Cash out your earnings in Rakuten once your balance reaches above $5. You can have your cash mailed to you via check or sent to your PayPal account. 

Every dollar counts when trying to save money on groceries in a bad economy. If used together, these methods help you save hundreds of dollars on groceries each year. 

A bad economy does not mean you have to spend more of your hard-earned money. There are always ways to save money and stay within your budget. Enjoy the extra savings you find using the strategies mentioned in this article. Put the extra money into a savings account or use it to pay off debt. 

Final Thoughts

Tracking your spending and savings is the best way to see how your savings add up over time. Please share your strategies for reducing your grocery bill. 

See also: 20 clever ways to save on household expenses for more ways to save money.

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