Spring Into Savings On Your Grocery Bill

From baseball games to amusement parks, spring activities can be expensive. But you can save on your grocery bill with these twelve tips!

It might not feel like spring just yet, but the warmer, sunnier season is just around the corner. Green leaves start appearing on trees, flowers begin to bloom, and baby animals popping up everywhere. Spring means more cookouts, picnics, and outings enjoyed in the beautiful weather.

Saving on your grocery bill can give you more cash to enjoy spring activities – more trips to the baseball field, more outings to the zoo, and best of all, more picnics with family and friends. Here are our twelve tips for saving on your grocery bill in the spring. 

Buy Foods That Are In Season

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, these foods are in-season in spring:

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Collard Greens
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemons
  • Lettuce
  • Limes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Pineapples
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss Chard
  • Turnips

Start your spring meal planning by incorporating these fresh produce items. Your health – and your wallet – will both thank you for buying items that don’t have to be preserved for long periods of time or transported across great distances. You can often buy these items at local farmer’s markets, where your purchase directly helps your community.

Look Up Recipes

Woman in kitchen looking at cookbook

Now that you have a list of which foods are in season in spring, it’s time to start planning your meals. This is the fun part! If you already have cookbooks on your bookshelf, take them out and start looking for recipes that incorporate these ingredients. Or, see what you can find through Google. You can even make a trip to the library and check out cookbooks (just don’t’ get any food on the books while you’re cooking!). 

You know what foods you should be purchasing to get the best deals and, now that you have the recipes, you know what other ingredients you need to make delicious, cost-effective meals. Remember, buy in-season produce first! But you should also keep in mind what not to buy…

Don’t Impulse Buy

This is hard to do – I mean, it’s in the name, after all – but it’s an important part of keeping your grocery bill low. That seasonal flavored coffee placed strategically on an end cap close to the checkout line is there to tempt you. You don’t need it, nor do you need an extra roll of paper towels if you can make it through the week with the one you have. Don’t give in to impulse purchases. Stay strong!

Buy in Bulk

Front of Costco store with blue sky
Sheila Fitzgerald / Shutterstock

Saving at the grocery store is all about planning. That’s why impulse purchases can quickly add up and you should actively plan to avoid them. Instead, look at the recipes using in-season and other cost-effective ingredients that you’ve chosen. Then, find out if you can buy those ingredients in bulk. 

You’ll save when you purchase your food in higher quantities. Check out wholesale stores like Costco and Sam’s Club – investing in a membership is often worth it. Incorporate buying in bulk at these stores into your grocery shopping routine. Even if these savings are small, they add up over time. 

However, remember that you shouldn’t buy food in bulk if you aren’t going to eat it all. That’s a waste of food and money!

Read More: On a Budget? These Low-Cost Grocery Stores Offer Great Deals

Freeze Extras

It’s also smart to buy fresh items when they’re in season (and buy them in bulk if you’ll eat them all), and then save them for when they’re out of season. As long as you prepare and freeze food items correctly, they’ll stay good for longer. Look it up online if you’re not sure how to properly store a specific food. Label these items so that you know when to use them by! 

Use Coupons

Pile of coupons

Coupons may not be trendy, but saving money is smart, so who cares about trendy? These days it may be easier to find digital coupons than physical coupons, but don’t recycle that weekly ad before you look for deals. See if you can clip any coupons from the ads first, and then go online.

Start by checking out Coupons.com. You may also want to check out RedPlum.com and SmartSource.com, too, for coupons that you might use. After you’ve checked for coupons in general, go to the websites of the brands with the most expensive items on your shopping list. See if you can find coupons on those brands’ sites! 

Shop the Sales

Speaking of grocery ads, plan to shop the sales. When you get the ads in the mail, take the time to look through them and plan your meals around what’s in season and what’s on sale. Knowing exactly what you’re going to buy before you go to the store will help you save big time! Remember that meal planning is critical to saving big on your grocery bill.

And Shop Around

Man on cellphone loading groceries into trunk

Shopping the sales is key, but if you’re just going to the store that’s the closest to your house because it’s the most convenient, then you could be missing out on some great deals. 

Make a list of grocery stores that you’d be willing to drive to, and then one day when you have time, go and check them out. If you’re paying more for blueberries at Trader Joe’s than you would at HyVee, and you buy blueberries all season long, then you should switch to shopping at HyVee more regularly. 

The smartest thing to do is to shop the sales at each store. How realistic this is, though, depends on how much time you have. If you’re long on time but short on cash, going to several stores to buy your groceries will help you save big and is the smartest option.

Even if you can’t shop around every week, you may want to try to shop around once a month. Every little bit of savings counts!

Consider Ordering Online

Ordering your groceries online has become more and more popular in recent years. If you don’t enjoy actually shopping in the grocery store, or if you’re willing to test this out to see if it ends up saving you cash, then try it! 

When you pick out your items online, you’re less likely to impulse spend – and you can also see just how much you’re spending instead of guess-estimating as you walk through the store.

I know I hate trying to keep a running tally of how much I’m spending. It’s a lot of addition to do on your feet while you’re trying to not bump into people and get the items that you need. Ordering online is a great solution!

Keep your spending on track by watching exactly how much you pay for each item when you add it to your (online) account. However, you may not receive everything you request. Be prepared to be flexible if you order your groceries online.

Plant a Garden

Spring is the best time of year to plant a garden! Start planning your garden now if you want to save by eating the food you grow yourself. Not only is it a cost-effective way to save on your groceries, but it’s better for the environment than buying food that’s been shipped in from all over the world. 

How you plant your garden will depend on your area. Visit a local nursery, greenhouse, garden center, or even a hardware store and speak with the employees there about what seems to work and what doesn’t. Check out gardening books from the library and get to work!

While you can’t enjoy the food right away, investing in a garden now will help you save for years to come.

Join a Community Garden

Man wearing hat outdoors in community garden

If you live in an apartment or a house with no backyard, then planting a garden may seem impossible. However, you can join a community garden if there’s one in your area. 

Check out how much it costs to reserve a planter or a plot. If it’s affordable and if you have the time to dedicate to taking care of your veggies, go for it!

Plant the seeds for the foods that you like (if they will grow in your climate!). Speak with other gardeners. You may be able to trade food with someone else. A community garden is not only a fantastic way to save on your grocery bill, but it’s also great for – you guessed it – the community, too. 

Consider Plant-Based Food

Meat is expensive: there’s just no way around it. It also has a major impact on the environment. If you can eat less meat, that’s a great way to save on your groceries and to help the planet. By switching to plant-based options – like Beyond Burgers or Impossible Nuggets – you may be able to cut down on your spending. Compare the plant-based items in your grocery store with the meat versions and see what’s less expensive. You may be surprised!

Saving on your grocery bill requires some time and thought, but when you see those savings rolling in, every second will be worth it. 

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