My Best Tip for Spending Less TIME and MONEY in the Grocery Store

It's so obvious, but true! This is the best way to simplify your grocery shopping.

Remember how I said that I enjoy grocery shopping? That’s thanks, in part, to the handy shopping list I make which streamlines everything. But I have an even bigger secret that saves more time and money than anything else.

Ready for it? Here it is: Don’t buy stuff.

I understand, this “tip” is kind of like saying “the best way to save on gas is just don’t drive.”  Well, both tips are true. They seem a little obvious and anti-climatic, but they also happen to be the most effective. Until I took these things to heart by skipping the frozen food aisles (and walking to school when the weather was nice), I really wasn’t saving much money.

In the years since I began buying my own food, my grocery list has shrank gradually. There are three reasons for this:


1. We don’t eat as many processed foods
2. We buy ingredients rather than a finished product
3. We source some of our food elsewhere

To show you what I mean, I made a list of a few things we used to buy at the store but no longer. In parenthesis I’ve put what we use instead.

  • grated/sliced cheese (a block of cheese can be grated or sliced as needed)
  • yogurt (we make our own in the crock pot)
  • milk (we have a herd share with a local dairy)
  • coffee creamer (I use a splash of creamy raw milk!)
  • canned soup (we make our own soup/broth)
  • canned fruit (we usually just get fresh)
  • canned vegetables (we eat fresh or frozen)
  • salad dressing (make ourselves or do without)
  • bread (make ourselves)
  • bottled drinks (buy only as a treat)
  • frozen pizza (make our own)
  • pasta/pizza sauce (it’s cheaper to make your own with canned tomatoes and herbs and veggies of choice)
  • processed food like waffles, hotpockets, etc (don’t need)

Crossing these items off my list allows me to cut out nearly half the aisles in the grocery store!

Yes, I spend a little more time in my kitchen making food from scratch, but the health and money benefits are worth it. And the time I used to spend in the grocery store can now be invested in making a wholesome pot of soup or a loaf of sourdough bread.


  1. I am so excited to see that these things (except for milk, every-so-often salad dressing and the rare frozen pizza for a quick meal) are all the things I don’t buy, either!! 🙂 When I realize how many aisles I skip at the grocery store, it’s a pretty satisfying feeling. 🙂

  2. That is truly the best tip of all 🙂
    I still buy salad dressing, and yogurt. But for the most part, when we go to the store, the area I spend the most at is right there in the produce section. 🙂 In the summer time it’s easy to make do with what we get from our small garden, but in the winter, I am desperate for fresh food 🙂

  3. Pingback: 97 Easy Ways to Save Money - GrowingSlower

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