How to save money on groceries and shop smart could put $4800 back in the pockets of the average family. Steve & Annette Economides give ABC’s Ryan Owens a primer on bagging up huge grocery savings. The information contained in this video and much more comes from the book, “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family. The end result: 17 paper sacks filled with groceries for $120 / $7 per bag. You can read more about our money saving grocery shopping systems and money-saving habits at the bottom of this page.
Grocery Savings Resources
Cut Your Grocery
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Cut Your Grocery Bill Video
90 minute Video Seminar
DVD or Instant Stream
Watch and learn as Steve & Annette walk you through their proven 3 step shopping strategy. What to do: before you go to the store; in the store and once you get home from the store. Tips to maximize your time and money!
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Stretching Grocery Dollars
90 minute Audio Seminar
Listen as Annette & Steve walk you through how we plan the shopping, cooking and storage of the food we buy. Without extreme couponing, we spend less than 50 percent of the national average on our groceries. Just apply one or two of the tips we share and you can too!
(available as an .mp3 or cd kit)
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Our official check-off shopping list: .pdf or modifiable MS Word
Click Here to find a wealth of helpful, money-saving tips
How Often Do You Go To The Store?
Click Here to take our One Question Grocery Shopping Poll.
How Often Do You Eat Dinner Together as a Family?
Click Here to take our One Question Dinner Poll
Saving money on groceries is one of the fastest ways to generate a budget excess. In this article, we share many of the tips and tricks we’ve used for years to cut our grocery bill in half (and more). Walk with us as we share the ins and outs of frugal and fun grocery shopping.
How we shop to save time and money
”I’m running to the grocery store to pick up a couple things for dinner— be back in 20 minutes.” This is the mantra of the typical shopper, home from work or rushed at the end of a day of non-stop transporting kids to and from home school activities.
For some families, a trip to go grocery shopping is a “daily necessity.” For other’s it’s a 2 or 3 time per week chore.
Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with Smart Shopping:
The average family of four is spending about $800 per month on groceries ($200 per person). Our Grocery Bill with 5 kids at home was only $350 ($50 per person / per month).
When we had 5 kids at home, we had to save time and save money on groceries. We found a way to cut our shopping for groceries to once a month and spent only $350, which included all of the food, paper goods and cleaning supplies.
Okay, don’t give up on this article yet, we weren’t always this way—here’s how we started.
Our Shopping History
When we were first married, we lived in an apartment that had a very small refrigerator freezer. Annette did what her mom did and went grocery shopping once a week.
A Freezer Helps Us Start Saving Money
A year later, a neighbor offered to share one shelf in her huge upright freezer —we accepted. That choice allowed us to stretch our shopping for groceries to two-week intervals. Amazingly, it took about the same amount of time as buying groceries for one week.
With one change, Annette earned back a couple of hours each week!
The next year, we bought a used 9-cubic-foot chest freezer and that freed us to grocery shop just once a month for our family of three. Wow, more time saved!
For the next 20 years, we went hunting at the grocery store twelve times a year. Doing it together became an exercise in efficiency, but it also rewarded us with the dividend of being able to feed our kids for about 75% less than other families.
Here’s how we Cut our Grocery Shopping.
We Shopped Together?
Grocery Shopping for a large family is a huge undertaking – especially if you’re trying to limit the number of trips each month. Annette asked Steve to help and together we created a system to get the job done . . . and have some fun too.
We divided the store into two areas:
- The Aisles – Annette’s realm;
- The Outer Loop (produce, meat, dairy, and deli)—Steve’s domain.
We know that many men would never think of helping their wives grocery shop. As a matter of fact, many would elect to have a root canal just to avoid it. Honestly, there are times when neither of us feels like starting this 5-hour marathon, but we figure it’s only once a month and we can get through it . . . together!
Steve’s advice to men is “If you want to eat it, you ought to help hunt it down. Besides, it’s a great way to truly love your wife.”
How Can You Start Saving on Groceries?
Remember we didn’t start off shopping for groceries once-a-month, we eased into it, and that’s what were encouraging you to do also. Consider how much time you’re spending grocery shopping and see if you can reduce it though planning, teamwork, and efficiency.
Could you reduce your trips to the grocer to once a week or twice a month?
Could you get your husband or one of your older kids to help you?
Could you plan ahead enough so that grocery shopping becomes an anticipated and well-choreographed event?
All of these questions, if answered could put dollars back into your bank account and hours back into your day.
Working together and utilizing the aisle and loop system, we would visit two stores in one evening—one for sale items and the other for the balance of the food shopping.
Before cell phones were so common, we used a set of FRS Walkie-Talkies to communicate with each other in the store. It was fun for Steve to “Beam Up” Annette, and it helped us get through the grocery store faster whenever questions about sales and quantities would arise. Annette always encourages women that if they’re going to ask their husbands to help, to make the grocery shopping experience a little bit of fun.
Here are the basics of our plan.
How We Save Money with The Ads
The week we go food shopping, we purchase—or borrow—Wednesday’s newspaper and review the grocery store ads. We do things opposite of most grocery shoppers who plan a meal and then hope to find a deal.
Annette’s Grocery Strategy Is To:
Whether you plan a week or a month’s worth of meals—planning meals based on the sales in the grocery stores can cut your grocery bill 30% to 50%.
Practice makes Perfect
The first time Annette did a menu month-long menu plan; she spent almost the whole day and just planned the dinners! With practice, she eventually was able to do it in about 30 minutes.
To help in the process, she made a list of more than 100 meals she can cook, divided up by the main ingredient. Now she basically plans a rotation of meals based on what bargain-priced meats we have in our freezer. As a result, our grocery shopping trips have become simply a time to get fresh produce, staples, and stock up on marked down deals for the future. And our grocery bill has been slashed.
The Power of AdMatch
We have found that the fastest way to save on groceries is to utilize AdMatch at Walmart (Target also offers this policy). We simply make a list of the best prices from the various stores in our area (there are 8 of them) and let Walmart match the prices. One day we approached the check -out with four carts of groceries (2 were full of AdMatched items), there was a single guy in front of us with one cart full of groceries. He checked out and paid $265. When we finished with our four carts of groceries, our bill totaled $278—we filled more than 20 paper grocery bags full of groceries. AdMatch can really cut your grocery bill and chop your food budget.
Baby Sitters Help you Save on Groceries
When the kids were younger, we would pay a babysitter while we went to the grocery store. It was well worth the money to be able to concentrate and calculate the best deals. Besides, it’s unrealistic to expect children to be well-behaved for several hours of intense grocery shopping. As our kids grew, they’d occasionally accompany us and were awesome helpers—it truly prepared them for living on their own.
Putting Away the Groceries
Once we got home it was pretty late, so we only put away the perishable grocery items. Plus the kids love to forage through the bags looking for “surprises.” The next morning we put away the dry goods. We label cereal boxes with the month and year so we don’t end up with 2-year-old cereal sitting on our shelves.
Buying Fruit Just Once a Month?
Limiting trips to the grocer means that the more perishable fruits and veggies were eaten first. Bananas, grapes, and strawberries usually last a week. Pears, tomatoes cucumbers can last two weeks. Apples, oranges, lettuce, potatoes, carrots and cabbage, carefully stored, can last a month.
What About Milk & Bread for a Month
We are often asked about storing milk, cheese, and bread; we carefully freeze all three (and many other items).
How to Freeze Milk
Pour off a little to allow for expansion. Read more about freezing and thawing milk here.
How to Freeze Cheese
We mainly buy shredded cheese in 5-pound bags and store it in smaller plastic containers. We also free chunk cheese and have learned how to reconstitute it so it doesn’t crumble when sliced. Here’s the secret to slicing frozen cheese.
How to Freeze Bread
We place loaves in tied plastic bags and carefully set in the freezer, avoiding crushing them.
Read more about freezing store bought bread here.
Properly used and inventoried, an extra freezer can be a money-saving machine—we’ve calculated that it saves us about $2000 each year.
We spend less than half of what average families spend and eat a well-balanced, healthy and delicious diet. We also spend much less time shopping than other families. Learning better planning, smarter shopping and more clever cooking are some of the fastest ways to find extra money for your family budget and cut your grocery bill in half.
If your grocery shopping cost $4800 less this next year, what could you do with that money?
Would you pay off debt, take a nicer vacation or build savings for college or retirement?
Perhaps saving money on groceries could reduce the need for an extra income or over-time hours.
Any way you slice it Cutting your Shopping will give you more time with family and more money in the bank.
That should make everyone happy (except the grocery store manager).
The ideas in this article are just a few of the tips, tricks, and hacks we share in our book, “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half.”