Short and sweet today. Recently I cut my grocery bill in half by making only two changes to my shopping routine. And I was not throwing away my money before either! I was planning every time and trying to make it as cheap as possible. But two little hacks I learned let me cut in in half anyway. Let’s dive in.

The 40/40/20 Rule

This rule changed everything for me. Before this rule, my fridge was always full with fresh produce, and if I didn’t plan to the point on what I would cook that week, something would go bad, rotting away while I was panicking about the money I was loosing and the ill smelling adventure I was about to embark upon cleaning the fridge later that week.

The 40/40/20 rule is simple:

Every time you shop, 40% should be frozen, 40% for the pantry, and only 20% fresh produce for the fridge.

Long expiry dates

As frozen and pantry items have extremely long expiry dates, this keeps you from having to worry about the food in your fridge going bad. You’ll definitely eat it all in one week if you cook once or twice.

Capitalize on sales

Also, buying more of pantry and frozen items, means you can capitalize on sales buy buying in bulk. Yesterday canned beans and tomatoes were on 50% at my local grocer. I bought all I can carry, probably managed to stock up for the rest of the year at least. 50% is an insane return at the stock market, and in the long run, this is the same.

Building storage for bad times

Buying more than you need (right now) of certain items works in a way the same as saving surplus money. Over time, you’ll notice your food reserves building up so much that, if you’d lose your job or get sick, you could manage for months with the food in your house. This feeling of security is great.

READ: 5 Lessons from a Personal Finance Nerd

Finding your cheapest option

This rule might seem obvious to everyone, but it wasn’t for me. There are four large grocers in walking distance from where I live (I’m lucky). I always shopped at the chain my parents used to go to. It felt safe. Same with brands in the store ; as long as I recognized a brand, I wouldn’t have to worry I’d buy something below par in quality.

The myth of low quality

I was afraid the low price grocery stores would have bad quality food, and just didn’t like the feeling of going in there at all. The aisles weren’t as well sorted. It simply just didn’t look as nice as the store I was used to.

READ: How you should handle friends that want to borrow money

An amazing book changed my perspective

But reading Financial Freedom: A Proven Path to All the Money You Will Ever Need by Grant Sabatier, the author of the Millennial Money blog, which is an AMAZING complete and easily digestible guide on everything Personal Finance related, made me realize that considering the potential savings on changing stores would at least make it worth trying for a while and see if I like it.

Going cheap

I changed store to a line in Sweden called Willy’s, who market themselves as the cheapest grocer. After a few shopping rounds I noticed that not much changed in terms of the quality I perceived my food to have. The only thing that changed was the total on my receipts!

READ: Do what you want

Going for the store brands

I also decided to try the store’s own brands instead of the brands I recognized. Although I was afraid to buy something of such bad quality that I couldn’t even eat/use it, I decided to try each item at least once to see if there was a difference. So far, the only thing I’ve gone back to a better brand on is dish washing tablets.

Here’s a list of what store brand items to start with.

And comparing my spending, without doing much else than implementing these two rules, after only one month, has cut my grocery bill in half! And this with a quickly growing food reserve in the freezer and pantry as well!

I’m baffled how I could’ve missed this for so many years. The money I would have saved!

Here are two posts I liked on the topic:

“This week in my kitchen…Feeding a family on a budget… The basics…”

“How We Save Money”

Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks on reducing the grocery bill even more. I’d love to hear about them and try them next time I go!

This article was originally posted on

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