This past week an awesome blog (One Good Thing by Jillee) asked me to do a guest post on ways to save money on groceries. I was able to take Jillee’s daugher in law shopping and we had a great time. I thought I might as well re-post these same simple steps on our blog 😉 The great news is we are giving away THREE 12 month memberships to Deals to Meals. You can visit One Good Thing to enter to win (one of two memberships) and at the end of this post you can also enter to win a membership here on our site). That’s three options to win a FREE membership.  Good luck!
For those who are new to our site and are wondering how our service works, visit this post that explains how you can save $100’s without using coupons! This link will help you understand how our website works and how shopping can be easy & fun!
4 Simple Steps to Cutting Your Food Budget in Half!
For
most families their food budget can either make or break the bank. Most
families spend more on groceries than they do any other household expense,
except for their mortgage. Most of us plan for our future, for retirement, for
vacations and for nearly everything in life. However, most people don’t have a
plan when it comes to sticking to a food budget. Many families walk blindly
into a grocery store, pick out food that looks good, make a meal or two from
those items, and then  return to the
grocery store to start the whole process over again (national average is 1.7
times per week—that’s almost 8 times a month). The average family when they run
to the store for a gallon of milk ends up spending over $50. Do that too many
times and your entire month’s budget could be eaten up by impulse shopping
trips. Sound familiar?

I
am excited today to share with you how you can cut your grocery bill in half!
That sounds pretty bold I know, but if you follow these four simple steps, it
can be done! I will share with you ways you can eat healthy, fresh, homemade
meals without spending a lot of money.  Living on a tight food budget doesn’t mean you
have to eat Top Ramen every night. There is a smart and simple approach to
grocery shopping and meal planning that will save you $100’s throughout the
year. Let me show you how easy and fun this can be!
 

Using
Deals to Meals Kaitlyn
and I went shopping at Walmart and  had a
great time shopping for our week’s groceries and saved over $100 between the two of us. Here is our ‘loot’ we got by price-matching
all of the best deals here in our local area (remember, prices will vary
depending where you live and where you choose to shop).

 

Let’s
jump into the steps and show you how easy it is to save TIME and MONEY!
STEP
1: PLAN YOUR MEALS AROUND SALE ITEMS
Most
people shop first and plan later. Before you go shopping decide how many times
you will cook a homemade meal. Some weeks this could be 3 times and others it
could be 7 depending on your schedule. Planning your meals first and then
shopping will save you $100’s on your groceries. Take the time to look through
the ads (or let Deals to Meals do it for you) to find out what the best deals
are. Then, plan your meals around what is on sale. For example, if chicken,
tortillas, cheese, sour cream and cilantro are on sale, make Chicken Enchiladas
for dinner. If beef roast is on sale, make French Dip Sandwiches one night. This
is berry season, so use those berries on sale for a side dish or dessert. Simple
enough, right?
The
great part about Deals to Meals (our online grocery shopping and meal planning
service)  is we give
you a weekly meal plan that goes with the sale items in your area. For example,
this week pork chops, potatoes and squash are on sale. On our meal plan we have
a recipe for Lemon Grilled Pork  and
sides that will feed a family of 6 for under 
$10.  Without these items on sale, this meal would be more
than double that.

 

One
tip to keep dinner time exciting is to try new recipes. Everyone gets bored of
spaghetti and tacos. Use your creative powers and try new recipes that will
excite your tastebuds. Keeping new and fun recipes rotated into your weekly
meal plan will keep you (and your family) from getting in a dinnertime rut! We
have over 1,000 recipes on our site that your family is sure to love 
STEP
2: SHOP THE DEALS
Taking
the time to look at the grocery sales in your area is another crucial part to
saving money. Be an educated shopper. There are basically only 3 places to buy
your groceries (besides having your own garden): Costco/Sam’s Club, Walmart, or
regular chain grocery stores. Most food items at wholesale stores (like Costco)
are NOT good deals. Walmart
has over-all good prices, but these prices can be cut dramatically if you price-match
items that are on sale from other stores.
If
you are opposed to shopping at Walmart and price matching, that is okay! Just
go to the individual stores and stock up on their sales.  It will work out to be the same, but it might
just take a little more time.
The
sale items you want to focus on are the ‘loss leaders’ from every store. These
are the deals that will be LESS than Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart. When an
item goes on sale for these great deals, this is the time to purchase them and
use them in your weekly meal plan. Each week every grocery store will have
anywhere from 5-15 of these great deals (which will be advertised in their
store’s weekly ad). Purchasing these best deals will save you up to 75% on your
groceries. The more you can be disciplined and ONLY purchase these deals, the
more money you will save.
I
have to admit, this will take a little self control. I know it is hard to leave
a store without your favorite snack or cans of soda. However, if it’s not on
sale, PUT IT BACK! Be patient. Over time nearly every item in a grocery store
will go on sale for these ‘great’ sale prices, and that’s the time to stock up.

Deals
to Meals  makes this part of grocery shopping
SUPER simple. For those living in the United States we tell you where the best
deals are in your area. Our service is available in all 50 states in the U.S.,
for those living outside of the U.S. these concepts can still help you save
money. All you have to do is login to our website choose the stores you want to
shop at, create your grocery list and off to the store you go! It literally
only takes a few minutes to put your shopping list together and have your meals
planned for the week around those best deals.
  

Choose
from the grocery stores in your area to shop at, or price match ALL of the
deals at your local Walmart. Visit our blog for tips on making price matching
easier.
Kaitlyn
uses a great post-it note trick that saves a lot of time and frustration when
price matching. As you place the items in your cart, just jot down the sale
price on the sticky note and place it on the food item. This way the cashier
knows what the price is and will change the price for you without a lot of
hassle. Genius!!
 

 

Price
matching, or buying those great deals each week can save you SO much money!
Here are just a few of the items and their sale prices that Kaitlyn and I took
advantage of.

Produce
and meat are the two most expensive portions of a family’s food budget. If you
can save on these items you can save $100’s a month! Most of our recipes are
made with fresh produce, meat, fish and whole grains. Using these items normally
would be very expensive, but when bought at sale prices, you can eat healthy
meals by shopping the deals.
 

The meat we price matched was almost half the
price of Walmart’s already low prices. 
Produce
prices continue to rise, so take advantage when prices are low. For example,
red bell peppers are on sale at Sprout’s Market this week for only $0.33 each
(regularly $1.64 each at Walmart). That saved us $1.31 on just one pepper.
Kaitlyn and I bought 12 peppers, which saved us $15.72 on just peppers.

STEP
3: STOCK UP WHEN PRICES ARE AT THEIR LOWEST
This
is one of the most fun parts of grocery shopping for me! There is nothing worse
than running out of items right when you need them. Building up your own
grocery store’ in your pantry and freezer will save you all year long on your
grocery budget.

When
items go on sale for those rock bottom prices, that’s the time to stock up!
Each week (or at least monthly) choose an item or two that you will stock up
on. Our website will give you an idea of how much you would need of each item
to have a 3 month supply of food on hand for your family. Here is a link to the
best food storage inventory sheet on the web.
Not only will this food come in handy
during an emergency or job loss, but it will also save you from having to buy
items at full price in the future. Here are a couple of the items on sale this
week for great prices that can be added to your ‘stock pile’ (peanut butter,
pasta, and cereal—the eggs, of course, won’t store but stock up and keep them
in your fridge for several weeks).

STEP
4: LEARN TO COOK FROM SCRATCH

We
live in a day of conveniences.  Many
processed and boxed foods, although easy to prepare, are overpriced and filled
with preservatives. You can save a lot of money by taking the time to learn to
make more of your favorite recipes from scratch. Not only will it save you
money, but it will be a healthier option for your family.
Our
blog has hundreds of recipes that will help you know how to use the whole
grains, beans, powdered milk, and other items you are storing. We have tried
and true recipes for homemade Wholegrain Pancakes, delicious Whole Wheat Bread,
Chilis, Soups, Homemade Salad Dressings, and MUCH more!
Now
that you all know the four simple ways to cut your grocery budget in half, we
are going to make life even easier!

We are offering ALL of you a FREE two week trial to Deals to Meals to see how much time and money
you can save! 
We
are also excited to give away a 12 month membership to Deals to Meals (as well as another 2 on One Good Thing–that’s three chances to win!).
How
to enter to win one of these memberships:

*Follow our Deals to Meals Blog and
leave a comment (on this post) saying you did so.

*Follow
Deals to Meals on Pintrest and leave a comment (on this post) saying you did so.
*Follow Deals to Meals on Facebook (we have a NEW Facebook account so follow this link ;), and leave a comment (on this post) saying you did so.