We could all use some tips to help us really save money on groceries in 2023! With inflation at 6.2% at the end of 2021, it’s no wonder that we are all starting to see the effects of inflation. Outside of vehicles, gas, and homes, grocery products such as meat have risen nearly 6% in price in the last year. Companies have also started making packages of our favorite grocery items smaller but kept the price the same (shrinkflation). With prices going up in the grocery store, it’s time that we get into some tips on how to save money on groceries!
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How to Save Money on Groceries in 2023
$50 per person, per month is no longer achievable.
One of my most popular posts is how we spent just $50 on groceries one month. Yes! Just $50 for an entire month!
But alas, that was 2018 and we had no idea what we were headed into.
Grocery prices have increased so much, that even if you ate just beans, rice, and some fresh fruit and veggies, you still may not be able to keep you budget at just $50 a person. I know we haven’t been able to do this in a very long time.
So what can you do?
*hint* keep reading!
Set a grocery budget per person per month.
The easiest way to determine what you grocery budget should be each month is per person. For us, we typically budget $100 per person per month. This comes out to $300 a month total.
This isn’t meant to buy food for each person and only allow them to eat that food. Can you imagine labeling everything in the fridge with kids around?! This per person per month strategy is mean to give you a good idea of what you can spend (aka your budget).
Is $100 a person realistic for every family? Probably not! Because each family has their own set of dietary needs and lifestyles. If $100 doesn’t work, try $150 and continue to adjust from there.
Setting a budget is key in how to save money on groceries in 2023!
Need more on budgeting? >>> How to Create a Basic Budget
Take pantry inventory.
You set a budget – great! Now you can go out and spend all that money on groceries…. right?
If you really, truly want to save money on groceries this year, you’ll need to know what you already have. This best way to do this is by taking a pantry inventory.
Pantry inventory means that you open up your fridge, freezer, and cabinets and dig out the long forgotten boxes and packages of food. Write what you have down on a piece of paper or use the printable from my post HERE.
This list of food will not only allow you to use up what you already have, but it also gives you insight on what your family doesn’t eat. For example, if you have six boxes of spaghetti and you frequently buy more at the store, is spaghetti on your meal plan this month? If not, why do you keep buying it?
Use up what you have first.
Like our duplicate boxes of spaghetti, your pantry inventory list is the key to using everything up that you already. But how does this help you save money on groceries?
You’ve already spent that money. So instead of buying new groceries at the store, perhaps for an increased price, use up what’s been in your kitchen for weeks. This way, you aren’t spending money by purchasing new grocery items.
The same applies to personal care items. You can read more about the joy of using things up HERE.
When deciding what items to use up first, check the expiration date or how long it’s been in the freezer. Most pantry items are okay to eat past the listed expiration date. However, please use your best judgement! That can of tuna from 2017 probably isn’t a great idea.
Meal planning takes your pantry inventory and food that needs to be eaten first and turns it into an actual, money saving menu.
Meal planning take a few steps, but is well worth the effort!
- Check your schedule. Will you be home to cook a full dinner or do you need something quick?
- Take pantry inventory to see what you have on hand.
- Is there anything that needs to be eaten right away? Plan around that first.
- What meals can you make with what you have on hand?
- Fit those meal ideas into your family’s schedule.
- Make a grocery list based on the meals you’re making. This hopefully only includes a few ingredients for each meal since you’re using up what’s in your pantry first.
- Grocery shop for only what you have on the list. If something is too expensive, see if there is an alternative ingredient you can use or omit it all together.
- Now stick to the plan!
Pro Tip: Create a list of your family’s favorite meals and keep it somewhere you can easily access it when you are meal planning!
While all of that is easier said than done, you can view a more in-depth guide to meal planning when you sign up for my email list! I send you my meal planning eBook straight to your inbox.
Cook in bulk.
Bulk cooking has a special place in our lives. Not only does it save money on groceries, but it saves us so much time! Who doesn’t want a little extra time back in their days?
When I think of cooking in bulk, I think…
- Doubling a casserole recipe and storing the second batch in the freezer
- Cooking a whole bag of dry beans in the crock pot then portioning them out into freezer safe bags to use as we need them
- Cooking one main ingredient (like chicken, ground beef, etc) at the beginning of the week to use in various recipes on the meal plan
However you want to make cooking in bulk work for you, keep in mind your space limitations. Do you have enough fridge space to store a weeks worth of cooked chicken? Or enough freezer space to store an extra casserole or freezer meal?
Cooking in bulk allows you to save money on groceries in 2023 by making ingredients stretch further and preserving them for future use!
Use your freezer.
Several years ago we were given a chest freezer that now lives in our garage. I was thrilled at the idea of being able to fill it up with bulk cooked ingredients and meals as well as other perishable items I found on super sale at the store.
The best money saving tip to using your freezer is keep it organized! Label EVERYTHING and use freezer safe baskets when you can to categorize items.
The next best tips to save money on groceries by using your freezer is process and store foods properly. What’s that mean?
It means that yes, you can buy that 5lb roll of ground beef at the store and toss it in your freezer. But are you going to use that all at the same time? Probably not! So before you freeze it (or any other bulk bought product) portion it out into freezer bags, label them with the contents and date, and then freeze them.
Even better, cook the meat in minimal seasoning and then portion it into bags to freeze. You can easily grab one from the freezer, season it however you like and make it into a super quick and easy meal!
When I think of bulk shopping, I don’t automatically assume Costco or Sam’s Club! My mind goes to the glorious bulk bins at stores like Sprouts or Winco. And the amazingly priced meats at Aldi! While members only stores like Costco can save you money, it is easier to save money on groceries when you shop at regular grocery stores because large packages of products aren’t your only option.
I have found that in general, the less packaging a product has, the cheaper it is! This is especially true for grains such as rice and nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts. And larger trays of meats, like chicken and beef, are generally less expensive than their pre-frozen counterparts.
Just remember that if you shop in bulk, be prepare to properly store your food so you can get the most use out of it.
Shop with a list.
I easily spend 25-50% more money when I shop without a list! Yikes! Shopping without a list makes me wonder down every aisle to see if I need anything and that ends up as a disaster on my budget.
So to save money on groceries in 2023, a list is 100% necessary!
It doesn’t have to be fancy. But it does need to be based on your meal plan. What ingredients do you need? Did you add in snacks, personal care and household items?
Use rebate apps, not coupons.
As a former extreme couponer, I have found that the coupons online and in the paper each week have sharply gone down in value over the last three years. With the addition of prices of our favorite products going up, it just isn’t worth it to use coupons on their own!
That’s why now exclusively use rebate apps!
My favorite is Ibotta. Ibotta is an app and browser extension that you use to get cash back on items you buy every single day. There’s often rebates that will make the product FREE! Yes, FREE!!!! This past Thanksgiving I got a whole 15 pound turkey absolutely free. That’s insane!
Not only does Ibotta work with in-person shopping, you can also use it online and for grocery pick up.
While you do need to have a $20 balance to cash out to your bank account or to PayPal, I find that it’s very easy to achieve with all the bonuses that they have each week.
If you sign up for Ibotta using my referral link (or referral code: icybenx) you’ll get an extra $10 dollar bonus when you redeem your first receipt. Easy money!
Try going meat free for several meals each week.
My last tip on how to save money on groceries in 2022 is to try going meat-free several meals each week.
Per pound, meat is more expensive. Meat fake-outs (like Beyond Burgers, or veggie nuggets) are also expensive. But meals like red beans and rice or curry can be meat free, delicious, and relatively inexpensive. Some of our favorite meals are beans, rice, and spices in different varieties.
My biggest advice when trying to go meat-free is this: don’t try to make your favorite meaty dish vegetarian, simply find a naturally meat free recipe.
Even if you think your family won’t go for this, start reducing the amount of meat you use in each meal. How far can you stretch shredded chicken or ground beef? Find other ingredients (like beans) that can be the star of the show in meat’s place.
If you’re struggling to think of what could be meat free and taste good, start with my 10 Vegan Meals to Make When You’re Broke.
Here’s the thing…
You can read this post and get really hyped up to save money on groceries – and that’s great! But real change won’t happen in your spending or budget if you don’t implement what works for your family.
Being frugal and saving money takes work.
We’ve been groomed by marketing and social media that easier and faster is always better. Let’s change our mindset and put in a little work. This work that we put in by using what we have first, meal planning, budgeting, and shopping with a list, gives us the power to be in charge of our finances. After a few months of sticking to meal plans and budgets, you’ll find that these things have become habits and take no work at all!