Buy in Bulk
Although you may have to pay out a little more up front, you will save lots of money if you buy in larger quantities. For instance if you buy a 1 lb bag of rice for $2, you may be able to get a 3 lb bag for $4. So you get three times the amount of rice, for only twice the cost.
Stock-up during Sales
Many items have long expiration dates such as beans, rice, canned goods. These items will last 6 months to over a year, so when they go on sale, purchase enough to last you 6-8 months, and then they will most likely go on sale again so you can re-stock.
Watch the Ads
Check out the grocery store ads each week to find the best prices. When you see a great price, go get it. This may mean you have to go to more than one store, but because you're stocking up, it will cost you less in the long run to buy items with the lowest out of pocket cost.
You can cut your grocery budget in half if you use coupons. Many stores double or triple coupons on a regular basis (a quick call to your local grocer will let you know.) If you combine your coupons with local sales, you can get items for just a few cents or even free. A few examples- Guerrero recently offered a printable coupon for $1 off any Guerrero product. My local grocery store had them on sale for $1 each, so I was able to get 2 packages for free. La Victoria had a coupon in the local paper for $2 off any enchilada sauce. A couple of weeks later it went on sale for $2 and I was able to get them for free. I also buy multiple Sunday papers, so I when something is cheap or free with coupons, I can really stock up. Visit The Modern Coupon to learn more.
Produce Co-ops Some ares may have a produce co-op, where you pay a flat fee (usually $10-$15) and then you pick up the pre-selected produce at the designated location every 2 weeks, or maybe even weekly. The co-ops get the produce from local farmers at a great price, so the amount of produce will vary each time (depending on what is in season) and should last 1-2 weeks. You can search online to see if your area has one.
Farmer's Markets are a great place to get fresh, local ingredients. Fruits, vegetables and specialty breads and more can be found for much cheaper than grocery store prices.
Research and make a Plan
Find out all of your produce options (co-ops, farmer's markets or local farms) and make a plan to visit one or two. Order a few Sunday papers, or plan to make a trip to the paper machine each Sunday. Decide how to organize your coupons (there are hundreds of ways, just search online for more information) and plan on searching through the store ads. Once you get organized, you can plan on spending 1-2 hours each week getting your coupons, clipping them and organizing them. I just clip the ones I think I will use and then keep the rest of the inserts in hanging file folders in a crate. Then I use Coupon Mom's coupon database if I want to look for a particular coupon.
This is another up-front cost, but well worth it in the long run. If you have a deep freezer, you can buy meat (one of the most expensive ingredients that we use on a regular basis) when it's on a great sale, and store it for later. When ground beef is on sale for .99 cents a lb, I buy 15 lbs and freeze it. If you can't afford a new one, check your local classifieds, PennySaver, Craigslist or Freecycle to get one for cheap or free.
Check Online Money-Saving and Coupon Sites
Once you get used to this way of shopping, you will save at least 50% of your usual bill. Most weeks I save 75-80% on my groceries and I mostly shop from my own pantry. I only go to the store for the cheapies and freebies. It takes some time to get a good stock of coupons to work from, but it will happen. You can also check online sites such as Slick Deals to help you save even more money.