How to cut your grocery budget in half without even growing your own food plus even eating organically! These simple steps will make your life easier and healthier in the long run.
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What makes the biggest change to cutting your grocery budget in half?
Groceries are expensive, and lately they only seem to be going up and up.
In the middle of winter, I had NOT preserved anything from a garden nor local produce for the winter. These would obviously make a huge difference in our grocery budget! But it wasn’t a reality at the time. However, I still was able to cut our grocery budget in HALF!
So even if you have no garden or in season preservation that’s happened. You can still cut your grocery budget in half following these simplifying steps!
7 Ways to significantly lower your monthly grocery budget
- follow a menu plan
- shop your list (bonus tip: don’t go grocery shopping hungry)
- order bulk foods
- cook from scratch
- avoid buying processed foods
- eat for gut health
- Bonus: grow & preserve your own food
1. Make a monthly meal plan
I’ve never been the person who liked meal plans. I’d rather wing it. If I did make a meal plan I NEVER followed it.
Then I discovered a super easy way to make a meal plan we will actually use. Click here to read my post on how you can make your own meal plan that you will actually stick to!
Doing this one thing: making a monthly meal plan, alone, almost cut our budget in half!
I made a two week rotating meal plan for the month and it worked! As time passed I got more creative and added more variety.
It makes such a difference, it takes so much stress out of planning and grocery shopping. You’ll know exactly what you need and when you’ll need it. You’ll be able to easily swap meals around if needed and know you still have all the ingredients.
To get my plant-based two week rotational meal plans that I created for my family, click here!
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2. Shop your list
When you go to the store or shop online, stick with the list. You’ll save money from not buying food you don’t need or food that will only end up going bad in the back of the fridge.
This will save you time because you know what you need and won’t be missing anything when you get home.
Prior to shopping my list from my meal plan, I used to go to the grocery store, sometimes even hungry (bad combo!), and just wonder the aisle trying to choose things I think I’d make and we’d eat in the next week or so.
I always came home with things we’d defiantly eat. But (and it’s a bit BUT) there were the unnecessary and sometimes unhealthy snacks, foods that would inevitably go bad, as I never got around to making that recipe I had thought I could maybe find for that produce item(s) that looked so good in the store.
Without a list from a working menu plan, there are other problems. I’d go to start making a recipe and realize I was still missing a few key ingredients. So now I had to come up with something else, or take precious time to drive back to the store.
Either way, it wasn’t lending to a smooth meal prep, nor a budget friendly grocery bill.
Once you have a working meal plan for your family, it’s super easy to create a grocery list from that plan!
3. Order bulk foods
Buying bulk foods was a big game changer for us!
- Saves money in the long term
- Saves time
- Provides some food security
Ordering bulk foods is more money up front, but in the long run it’s a lot cheaper.
If you know you’re going to eat oats for breakfast 3 mornings out of the week, why not order bulk? You’ll save money doing this plus save time since you don’t have to run to the store so frequently.
Buying organic bulk is a great way to make organic foods more affordable. Usually the smaller quantities are overpriced.
Make sure you are only purchasing things on your meal plan shopping list that you know you will be using frequently. Otherwise you can waste a lot of money and food this way too.
This post by Homesteading Family has a lot of tips for building up your long term food storage supply.
And bonus, you don’t have to worry about the grocery stores randomly having empty shelves because your pantry shelves are stocked with what you use on a regular basis.
As for fresh foods we try to eat organic, local foods as much as possible. At minimum we follow the clean 15 and dirty dozen list. There are some things for fresh eating you can still do though (even in the winter), like grow your own sprouts or microgreens.
4. Cook from scratch
Cooking from scratch is healthier, cheaper and enjoyable (with a little practice).
You have to cook from scratch in order to lower your grocery budget. If you buy bulk you will need to cook from scratch to use it up, you don’t want it just sitting there.
This means not eating out, or doing take out, as it quickly eats up your grocery budget.
For example, making a salad from scratch is much cheaper than buying or ordering a pre-made one, not to mention the cost of a nice dressing.
There are lot’s of great food blogs out there with from simple from scratch cooking. Two of my favourite plant based food blogs is the Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows! Both have tons of easy healthy plant based recipes, I love their search filters for special diet, season, cuisine, recipe type, ingredient, etc.
5. Avoid buying processed foods
Processed, quick foods are usually more expensive. They may not be your best go to when it comes to saving money.
This is also why I don’t clip coupons. I find they are not usually for the wholesome whole foods, rather more processed foods. Or simply not something on my meal plan. Not to mention it’s time consuming and I often forget the coupons or realize I missed the date when I go through the till anyways.
The pre-made frozen dinners are convenient I’ll admit. Like who doesn’t love frozen pizza, cheese, yogurt, perigees, frozen lasagna, etc. to pull out in a pinch. Put it’s expensive!
You’re paying for the convenience and processed foods up front, and your health is paying for it in the long run. Cut your grocery budget by cutting these foods out of your grocery list and making them from scratch instead. It’s fun learning this skill, and gives one a sense of accomplishment too.
Try making a double batch, portioning it out and freezing the leftovers. That way you’re saving yourself time and money, while keeping the convent fast meals ready in your freezer. Win win!
Freezing food that getting pushed to the back of the fridge will help lower any food waste and help your food budget too.
6. Eat for gut health
This also falls under the cook from scratch tip, but there’s more to this one.
These days when we hear this we often think of sourdough bread. This is one great way to cut your grocery budget. Healthy store bought bread can be expensive!
Making your own sourdough bread from scratch using bulk grains or flour will cut you bread budget even more. Sourdough bread making is such a fun and tasty art to learn!
Other ways to eat for gut health include lacto-fermenting your own veggies. This can help you make sure nothing goes to waste in the back of your fridge. It’s so tasty! This saves you money and is gut healthy.
Lacto-fermenting can be a great tool for lowering your grocery budget too. For example, if you were to find a deal on some veggies at the end of the season. Say there’s a deal on a bunch of cabbage at a local farmers market during the end of the season. What better way to use it than to make sauerkraut!
Another way to save money and cut your grocery budget is to cut snacking.
What?! No snacks, not even healthy ones?! Trust me, it’s better for you and your grocery budget!
Besides being a big saver on the grocery budget, not snacking is so much better for your digestive system. Our gut needs one hour rest between meals.
Healing can happen when we let our gut rest. A typical meal takes 3-4 hours to digest. So giving it that one hour rest afterwards will give you more energy and better health. Think of it like intermittent fasting, but without all the fuss.
But if you struggle with blood sugar or something else and absolutely need something. I’d really encourage real foods like real fruits or raw veggies.
7. Grow and preserve your own food
Now, as I said at the beginning of this post, we had not done this, when we cut our grocery budget in half! We hadn’t even preserved any local, in season food for the winter either.
However, both preserving local, in season foods and growing your own garden are great ways to cut down on your budget. These super healthy ways to provide quality food for your family, lend to your own food security, and support your local community. This would definitely cut your grocery budget down even more!
Even if you don’t have a garden, you still can cut your grocery budget significantly by following the first 6 tips I’ve shared with you.
(But there’s no saying you can’t grow some herbs in a pot and some sprouts in a mason jar on your counter. Or try container gardening to get started. I’d encourage you to try it!)
We cut our grocery budget by more than half by following a rotating monthly meal plan, only shopping our list, ordering bulk foods from our list that we use on a regular basis, cooking from scratch, avoiding processed foods, and eating for gut health.
You can cut your grocery budget in half to and improve your health in the process!
What have you done to cut your grocery budget down?
I’d love to hear all about it and learn from you too! Let me know in the comments below what your favourite tips are for lowering your family’s grocery budget.
Click here to get my FREE meal plans.
This printable is filled with simple, gut healthy, plant-based meal ideas. It even includes a bonus for when to feed your sourdough starter to when to do the shaping and baking the bread and pizza crust.