Summer is almost here, and with its arrival often comes big changes to the average person’s diet. Hearty soups, casseroles, and chili are replaced by seasonal vegetables, fruit salads, and delicious grilled meats. In this post, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks that help me and my wife save money on food during the summer months while still eating well.
Generally speaking, the tricks we use to save money on food during the summer are somewhat similar to how we save on food any time of the year. However, there are a few tricks that work far better in the summer months than they do during any other season. So grab a notepad and pen, and read on to see the steps we take to save on food during the summer!
You Must Start With a Plan
Have you ever found yourself at the grocery store without a list, with no idea what you have in your pantry and refrigerator, and an empty stomach? I’ve been there, and I can tell you that this is a recipe for disaster.
However, heading to the grocery store without a list during the summer months can be worse than any other time of the year. Our local grocery store of choice always has fresh fruit and vegetables near the main entrance. It’s almost like a trap, and if we don’t have a list, we fall for it. Every. Single. Time!
If you don’t have a list when you enter the store, you’re far more likely to end up with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your cart. Normally, this is a good thing. But if you’re buying far more than your family will eat in a month, you’re just wasting food and money.
Check Ads and Circulars for the Best Deals
Ten years ago, it was a normal practice to check weekly ads for the best grocery deals. I remember watching my parents do it every Sunday and Thursday. In a digital world, fewer and fewer people have a newspaper subscription, so ads can be hard to come by in some communities.
It is always a good idea to check out your grocery stores’ weekly deals, even if it means checking their website or downloading their app. Especially if you regularly shop at a few different grocery stores, checking out the deals in advance can help you save as much as $20 per week!
Helpful hint: We use our favorite grocery store’s app to save money automatically and earn rewards on items we would normally buy anyway.
Check out Farmer’s Markets to Save on Food During the Summer Months
If you live in a community with a farmer’s market, you owe it to yourself to check it out. As a kid, I spent many Saturday mornings visiting the markets with my Grandpa. He always had an eye for deals, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to head home with a back seat full of fresh beans, corn, tomatoes, apples, and watermelon.
Word of caution: Your local farmer’s market may not necessarily help you save money on food during the summer months on a weekly basis. Plenty of variables, such as your local economy, weather patterns, and even fees charged to merchants at your local market can have a big impact upon prices.
Download the Ibotta App
Simply put, the Ibotta app is one of the simplest ways to save money on the items you would already buy anyway. It is an easy replacement for people (like me) who hate couponing, and the savings add up very quickly over time. The best part is that they recently overhauled their app, making it much easier to save money.
Saving with Ibotta is easy. First, sign-up for free using my link - you'll receive a $10 welcome bonus just for signing up. Then download the app (available for Android and iOS) – you’ll need it later to scan your receipt.
Next, find your go-to stores (click here for a list of over 300 participating stores) in the app, link store loyalty accounts, unlock available rebates, and go shopping. When you’re finished, scan the bar codes of items featuring a rebate, snap a picture of your receipt, and submit. You’ll receive cash back into your Ibotta account within 48 hours, which you can later transfer using PayPal or use to buy gift cards.
Ibotta offers rebates on a wide range of products, including $2.00-$5.00 rebates on many varieties of beer/wine, toiletries, snack foods, and over the counter medicine, among other items.
Again, Ibotta is FREE to use and you'll receive a $10 BONUS if you sign-up today.
Know How to Store Fruits and Vegetables
Summer is by far our favorite time to buy and enjoy fresh produce. In our area of the country (the Midwest), it is also the best time of the year to get fresh, locally-grown produce.
One of the most important things to know when buying fresh produce is how to best store it to maximize its shelf life. Download the free printable to store on your refrigerator when you enter your e-mail address in the box – don’t worry, we won’t SPAM you or share your email address with anyone. You’ll also receive periodic communication from us, but you can unsubscribe at any time!
Score the Best Deals on Fresh Local Meats
Balancing the desire to support local farmers with the need to save money on food during the summer can be difficult. I know that when we host large groups for a barbecue at our house, I’m very conscious of how much money we spend.
If you are comfortable buying meat in bulk, Zaycon Fresh is aiming to change that one community at a time.
Zaycon Fresh provides high-quality, farm fresh meat directly from local farmers to your table – and their prices typically beat even Aldi and Wal-Mart! When you sign-up for FREE, Zaycon will leverage the buying power of several local families on your behalf and help you save money on food by purchasing items in bulk.
They send daily e-mail alerts on local sales events, and when you place your order, they take care of the rest. When your order is ready, you bring your receipt to a designated pick-up location near your home and collect your fresh, inexpensive meat without even leaving your car.
Pro Tip: Orders from Zaycon tend to be larger than the average family’s needs, but you can recruit a friend or two to divide up the bill, allowing everyone to save and still eat delicious meat!
Again, Zaycon Fresh is available in 1,200+ communities nationwide, and you can sign-up for FREE to save money on food today.
Stop Buying High Calorie, Dehydrating Beverages
During the summer months, hydration becomes even more important than it is during other seasons. If you routinely spend money on high calorie beverages, such as soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages, you can significantly reduce your budget during the summer by increasing your family’s water intake.
During the summer, my wife and I use these blender bottles for smoothies and water on a daily basis. If you make it a habit to carry a water bottle with you at all times, you’ll avoid the urge to splurge on expensive bottled water or sugary drinks when you’re on the go.
Try $5 Meal Plan
I’ll be honest: I can understand how buys families struggle to save money on food during the summer months. My wife and I don’t have children yet, but we see our close friends are always on the go to baseball practice, swim lessons, games, and much more.
When you’re this busy, it can seem like it is impossible to meal plan. Stopping in for a visit to McDonald’s is much easier, but the hit on your wallet can very severe.
If this is you, it may be time for $5 Meal Plan to come to your rescue. With their free, 14 day trial, summer can be a great time to try out their plans at no risk.
When you sign-up, each Friday at 11 AM ET, you’ll receive a meal plan in your e-mail inbox. The meal plan includes a shopping list and a detailed menu complete with the following:
- Five dinner entrees with sides – Each week they include one freezer friendly, one slow cooker, and one 20-minute meal.
- One lunch and one breakfast, plus,
- A random goodie each week – sometimes dessert, sometimes a beverage, and sometimes it’ll be a snack (sometimes more than one!)
- Gluten-free options (upon request)
As a member, you’ll also gain access to a private Facebook group to share recipes and tips with other subscribers.
If meal planning just isn’t working out, I recommend giving $5 Meal Plan a try. Again, you have nothing to lose when you sign-up for their FREE 14-day trial.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you save money on food during the summer months and beyond. They have helped us save money on food during the summer while still enjoying good meals, and I believe they can work for you, too!
If you have any other tips and tricks to share that others could benefit from, please leave a note in the comments and I will add you tip to this post.