Over the past two or three years I have noticed a strange phenomenon. Although my kids are growing and eating more, and we are eating more nutritious foods every year, my weekly grocery bill are getting less expensive. It’s strange! I’m doing so many things that I’m told should cost me more. I am buying more local food. I’m buying more organic food. We are trying a larger variety of foods as the kids’ tastes get more adventurous. So why is the weekly tab shrinking? Here are five reasons I came up with:

1) I make a list. I have a list that I print of my usual staples and I check off what I need throughout the week. Every Saturday morning I figure out what I am making for the week and add special items to my list. On Sunday when I go to the grocery store, I am armed with a list that allows me to purchase those good high-quality foods and no more. In short, I waste less when I have a list.

2) I buy local. At our local market the produce prices are very reasonable. Every Saturday after I make my lists, I buy everything I can from the farmers market. Not only does the food taste better, it lasts longer because it’s been picked in the past 24 hours, rather than traveling a week from a different time zone! Two weeks ago we picked almost 40 pounds of apples from a local orchard. These will last for weeks in the fridge, and we have made homemade applesauce, apple butter, dried apples and more.

3) I buy in bulk. This means buying oats out of the bulk bins and not the box. I buy large tubs of yogurt instead of single servings. Packaging costs extra money. Why pay for it if you are not going to eat it!

4) I buy less processed food. Processed food, for the most part, costs more. A store-bought granola bar costs 2-3 times what a homemade one does. As I make more homemade versions of store-bought food, my grocery bill shrinks.  Popsicles, granola, muffins, cookies, and soups are all examples of things I used to buy but now make. I’m also skipping a lot of preservatives, additives, dyes extra salt and sweeteners.

5) I buy less store bought drinks. I used to store up on drink boxes and pouches for the kids to share when they had friends over. I would buy cartons of juice for breakfast, which I often had to throw away when they expired. My kids now drink water and organic milk and don’t seem to miss all the juice. My husband has kicked his diet soda habit, too (almost). I used to buy a vitamin-enhanced water, but stopped about a year ago. Water out of the tap is just about free, and has zero calories!

How do you save money at the grocery store?


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