In today’s economy, we’re all feeling the pinch, and one place where the pinch seems especially tight is at the grocery store checkout. It’s easy to see your hard-earned dollars disappear in a flash as those grocery bags pile up.
In this article, we’re serving up 25 practical and easy-to-implement strategies to save money on groceries. From little-known money-saving tips to smart shopping habits, we’re here to help you make the most out of every dollar you spend. So, get ready to transform your weekly trip to the grocery store from a budget-buster to a money-saver.
25 Best Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Check out these 25 tips for cutting back on your weekly grocery bill this week!
1. Make a grocery shopping list
Never go to the grocery store without a list and when you get there, stick to your list. If you rely on your memory, you’ll end up forgetting essential items, which means another trip to the grocery store, and a waste of gas. Not to mention the time wasted on two round trips.
2. Compare prices between stores
Comparing prices between multiple grocery stores is a simple but effective way to save money on groceries. You can do this by looking at the weekly flyers or checking the websites of different stores to see which one has the lowest prices on the items you need.
3. Use coupons
There are several ways to access coupons, such as:
- Clipping coupons from the newspaper or other printed materials.
- Using digital coupons that can be loaded onto a store loyalty card or smartphone app.
- Finding them online and printing them out.
You can also find coupons by subscribing to a store’s email list or following them on social media. To use coupons, simply present them at the checkout when you make your purchase, and the discount will be applied to your total.
4. Shop once a week
This is where a grocery list is crucial. Plan to shop only once a week. The less you shop, the more you’ll save. You’ll also be less tempted to buy additional items if you reduce your time in the grocery store.
It would be even better if you could go on a weekday after work. Then, you can be sure that it will be a short trip to the supermarket as you would just want to get home as fast as possible. No time to wander and fall into impulse purchases.
5. Use what’s in your pantry
You can spend less if you plan your meals around items you already have in your pantry. There’s no point in buying more of something if you’ve already got it. Instead, you can use a website like SuperCook to search for a recipe with the ingredients you already have at home.
6. Keep an eye out for discounts
Buy in bulk at discounted prices, but only for frequently consumed items. If you know you’re going to use it, it makes sense to attempt to cut costs on food now. Only do this if you have the space to store the items or a large freezer.
7. Buy what’s in season
Similarly, buying produce in season is a lot cheaper than off-season prices. So, for example, when prices are low on berries, buy extra and freeze in ziplock bags to enjoy throughout the year at your leisure. You may also be able to find some great deals at your local farmers’ market.
8. Swap out expensive items
Review your grocery receipt and see if you can swap out a few expensive products for lower-cost alternatives. Doing this each week can add up to significant savings over time.
For example, I recently realized I could save a lot of money on frozen poultry rather than buying them fresh. I started saving money after I transitioned into buying frozen poultry and paying $10-15 less than buying them fresh. And they are the same quality!
9. Be wary of bulk discounts
Several items offered for one price might look like a good deal (e.g., 10 for $10), but not if they’re just going to sit in your pantry or perish. Buying in bulk will only save money on groceries for frequently used items, like canned tomatoes or tuna, or products you can freeze.
10. Consider joining a warehouse club
Warehouse stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s offer some of the lowest grocery prices. They also offer a wide variety of products, including groceries, household goods, electronics, and more. This means you can often find everything you need in one place, which can save you time and money.
11. Use a cashback app
Using a cashback app like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, and Checkout 51 can be a simple way to save money on your purchases. A cashback app allows you to earn a percentage of your purchase back when you shop at certain stores or use certain payment methods. Some even offer bonuses for reaching certain spending thresholds.
12. Use a credit card with cashback rewards
Using a credit card with cashback rewards can be a great way to reduce your expenses on your grocery purchases. Cashback rewards programs typically offer a percentage of the purchase amount back to the cardholder, which can add up to significant savings over time. Some give you up to 6% cash back at supermarkets.
When choosing a credit card with cashback rewards for groceries, consider the percentage of cashback offered for grocery purchases, as well as any other perks or benefits the card may offer.
13. Eat before you shop
Heading to the local grocery store with an empty stomach is a bad idea if you’re trying to keep your monthly grocery budget on track. If you follow any grocery shopping tips, it should be this one. Eat before you grocery shop!
I can’t tell you how many times I convinced myself I’d be making pancakes every morning while buying groceries, only to have the pancake powder sit in the cupboard and never used. On an empty stomach, your food purchase decisions are skewed.
14. Decrease your aisles
Grocery stores strategically place dairy and produce at opposite ends to force you to pass by all the aisles. But if you head only to the aisles that have the items you need, you are more likely to avoid impulse buys; your grocery trip will also be a lot quicker.
15. Avoid brand names
You’ll pay more for name-brand products with a fancy label, so avoiding these will help you save on groceries. Buying generic or store brands is usually much cheaper, and if it’s the same product, why pay more?
16. Avoid eye-level shelves
Grocery stores stock the priciest items on eye-level shelves because they’re seen first and more easily reached. So look at the higher and lower shelves for cheaper items.
17. Resist prepared meals
Prepared meals are easy to heat and eat, but you’ll pay a lot more than if you cooked them yourself. You can reduce your spending on food by cooking more than you need and freezing leftovers.
You can easily pop these in the microwave on nights you’re too busy or tired to cook. For example, do you really need to buy that package of chicken fried rice? Just search for the recipe online, cook it yourself in bulk, and freeze it!
18. Grate your own cheese
Grated cheese or pre-cut fresh fruits are convenient, but packaged food like this will cost you a lot more. So, why not grate and cut it yourself and save some money?
19. Don’t buy bottled water
It’s free to get water from your faucet, so paying for bottled water doesn’t really make sense. You’re also doing the planet a favor by not buying and disposing of plastic bottles.
20. Use the self-check out stand
Using the self-checkout will help you to save money at the grocery store. This is because the wait time is shorter, and there are usually fewer items available for impulse buys around self-checkout stands.
21. Grow your own herbs and vegetables
Sure, those little bundles of herbs—at $2-plus a pop—are very convenient. But do you ever use them all or throw most of them away? By growing your own herbs in pots or your garden (if you have one), you’ll always have fresh herbs. Your landlord will love that you’re making plans to be a long-term tenant too.
22. Use a loyalty program
Most grocery stores have loyalty programs that offer discounts, cashback, and other perks to their customers. If you frequently shop at a particular store, consider signing up for their loyalty program to get discounts on groceries. Some stores even offer personalized deals and coupons based on your shopping history.
23. Shop at discount stores or ethnic markets
Discount stores and ethnic markets can offer lower prices on groceries compared to mainstream supermarkets. Don’t be afraid to check out these stores for deals on items like spices, produce, and canned goods. Just make sure to compare prices and check the quality of the items before you buy.
24. Plan your meals and snacks
Meal planning can help you spend less on groceries by ensuring that you only buy what you need and that you use up everything you buy. Take some time each week to plan out your meals and snacks, and make a list of the ingredients you’ll need. This will also help you avoid the temptation to eat out or order takeout, which can be more expensive.
25. Try grocery delivery services
Many grocery stores offer delivery services that can help you reduce your gas costs and save time. Plus, when you shop online, it’s easier to stick to your grocery list and avoid impulse purchases.
Groceries are a necessary expense that can take up a large chunk of our budget. However, with a bit of planning and smart shopping, it’s possible to significantly reduce our grocery bills. By using some of the tips we shared, you can cut costs without sacrificing the quality of the food you buy.
Remember that spending less on groceries doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste, health, or variety. In fact, some of the tips we mentioned can even help you discover new foods and flavors that you might not have tried otherwise.
So, next time you’re at the supermarket, take a moment to think about your shopping habits. See if there are any areas where you can make some changes to reduce your expenses.
As long as you plan ahead, you can keep your grocery bills in check while still enjoying delicious, healthy meals at home. Happy shopping!
See also: How to Eat Organic on a Budget
How to Save Money on Groceries FAQs
How can I save money on groceries?
There are numerous strategies for saving money on groceries. These include meal planning, using coupons, buying in bulk, shopping sales, and purchasing store brand items. It’s also beneficial to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables, as they’re often cheaper and fresher.
Does buying in bulk always save money?
Bulk purchases can be a great way to save, but it’s not always the most cost-effective choice. It’s important to consider whether you’ll use all the product before it expires. If not, you may be better off buying a smaller quantity, even if the cost per unit is higher.
How can I save money on groceries without coupons?
While coupons can offer substantial savings, there are many other ways to cut your grocery bill. Shopping sales, buying store brands, and sticking to a list can all help. Additionally, avoiding pre-packaged and convenience foods can significantly reduce your costs.
Is it cheaper to eat at home or eat out?
Generally, it’s cheaper to eat at home. While eating out may seem convenient, the cost can quickly add up. By cooking at home, you have more control over your budget and what goes into your food.
How can I eat healthy on a budget?
Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. Focus on buying whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins. These are often cheaper and healthier than pre-packaged or processed foods. Buying in-season produce, utilizing frozen fruits and vegetables, and cooking at home can also help you eat healthy on a budget.