22 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Families’ food budgets stretch thinner with each grocery store trip, but food isn’t a luxury. We need to eat, and we need to feed our families. 

Here’s how to save money on groceries without going hungry. 

How to Save Money on Groceries

Saving money at the grocery store is an art. Although every family is different, most can use a handful of these 22 tips to save more money on food, giving them some extra breathing room in their budgets. 

Start saving on groceries today. 

Compare Price Per Unit

Most articles about how to save money on groceries promote bulk buying, but bigger isn’t always better. 

Though sometimes buying in bulk pays, sometimes it only seems like a better deal. 

Most grocery stores show the price per unit next to the full item price. Check to see which size truly offers more bang for your buck.  

Buy Generic

Generally, generics are just as good as name brands and much cheaper. 

Opt for generic cereals, bottled drinks, bread, pasta, rice, and canned goods. You can save up to $2-3 for each swap, which really adds up when you’re on a budget.  

The small chart below shows the price differences between the generic version and the name-brand version of some everyday items, highlighting how much money you can save by switching:

Product Generic Price  Name Brand Price 
Flour 3 cents per ounce 5 cents per ounce
Bottled Water $3.42 per 24 Pack $5.45 per 24 Pack
Crispy Rice Cereal 17 cents per ounce 29 cents per ounce
Pasta 6 cents per ounce 11 cents per ounce
Chicken Broth 6 cents per ounce 8 cents per ounce
Shredded Cheese 29 cents per ounce 49 cents per ounce
Lunch Meat 75 cents per ounce 84 cents per ounce

 

The prices in the chart are based on a local grocery store’s online app. Prices will vary by location and brand. 

Skip the Drinks

Stop buying canned and bottled drinks. Skip the soda, ban the juice, and avoid pricey bottled water. You don’t need it. 

These non-essential items cost precious dollars that could be spent on nutritious alternatives. We don’t need them; they’re bad for our health and horrible for the environment. 

Most beverages are overpriced sugar water anyway, so skip them to feel healthier and wealthier. 

Cook from Scratch

After working all day, the last thing you want to do is come home and cook a healthy meal from scratch. Fast food and pre-packaged freezer food are far more convenient. 

However, the convenience comes at a price. 

Consider chili—a family staple. Canned chili costs about $2 per can, depending on the brand. You’d need about four cans to feed a family of four for a single meal, costing about $8. 

Alternatively, you can buy a bag of beans, two cans of diced tomatoes, an onion, and some spices for about the same price and have enough chili for two meals,  with leftover beans for something else. 

Avoid Processed Foods

Even if you don’t cook from scratch, avoid overly processed foods. Easy mac, chips, freezer lasagna, snack cakes, and other highly processed junk are more expensive than they’re worth. 

These food items tend to lack nutritional value and are no longer worth the cost. Name-brand chips cost over $5 per bag and offer nothing of value but comfort. 

Chop Your Veggies

Precut fruits and vegetables provide extra convenience but are far more expensive than the alternative. 

For example, a pound of fresh carrots costs about a dollar, while a similar amount of cut or baby carrots costs twice as much, sometimes more. Is the extra dollar worth the 15 seconds it takes to peel a carrot?

In addition, baby carrots don’t pass the taste test. I used to buy baby carrots due to the convenience, and I never noticed the lower quality until I switched back to fresh. Fresh carrots smell and taste like real carrots, while baby carrots now seem like processed mush. 

Use A Cash Back App

If you aren’t using Ibotta to earn cashback on groceries, you must sign up right now

The app offers substantial deals on items you would buy anyway, so you may as well earn cashback for it. 

Before using Ibotta, learn how it works to ensure you don’t accidentally spend more with the app than you would without it. 

Shop at the Cheap Places

Walmart may have its issues, but you can score great deals on groceries by shopping there instead of big-box grocery stores. 

Stores such as Publix and Kroger offer better product selections, but those selections come with higher price tags. If budget is your biggest concern, shopping at Walmart can save you precious dollars. 

To save even more, shop at Aldi, which offers the lowest prices on off-brand items. Even some dollar stores have food offerings if you need to eat for as cheap as possible. 

Get Spices at Ethnic Stores

When you need to stock up on spice, head to your local ethnic market instead of the grocery store. You can get cinnamon, sesame seed, chili powder, garlic powder, and exotic spices far cheaper than your local grocer. 

Stick to the List

Impulse shopping destroys grocery budgets. Those cakes, crackers, cookies, chips, and ice creams tempt even the most savvy shoppers. 

Don’t allow the delicious-looking offerings to eat away at your budget. Instead, make room on your list for one or two snacks. This way, you’ll avoid the temptation without feeling deprived. 

Use the Store’s Loyalty Program

Many grocery stores still offer loyalty cards and apps, offering customers great deals on everyday purchases.  

The loyalty program collects data on customer preferences and offers coupons and rewards in exchange. The offerings vary greatly by brand, so you should check your favorite store to see if they have one. 

Buy Less Meat

One of my old Army buddies once told me a meal is not a meal if it does not contain meat. However, meat is expensive, and you can make tons of delicious meals without it. 

Try vegetarian spaghetti, chili, and stuffed peppers. Swap ground beef for potatoes in tacos. 

Going meatless a few days per week will help you stretch your food budget, and it’s better for the environment. 

Keep it Simple

Sometimes, the best meals are the simplest. You don’t have to plan complex meals with many ingredients to keep your family fed. 

A simple stirfry with rice and vegetables costs only a few dollars and takes about 20 minutes to prepare. A box of spaghetti and a jar of sauce cost about three dollars. 

Check the Clearance Section

Many grocery stores have clearance sections where you can score great deals on damaged goods or perishables nearing their expiration date. 

Stop at the clearance rack first to see if you can score deals on the things you need. You can find everything from meats to vegetables to canned goods on clearance. 

Freeze It

Clearance meats seem suspect, but the grocery store couldn’t sell unsafe items. The meats won’t keep in the warmer refrigerator section, but they’ll be fine if you take them home and pop them in the freezer. 

You can also freeze breads, vegetables, sauces, and other items for later use. 

Meal Prep

Saving money on groceries is often a balance of time and money. Cooking from scratch and using unprocessed vegetables is cheaper, but it doesn’t help if we lack the time to prepare meals at home. 

Meal prepping can help. Take a few hours one day per week to precut, precook, and prepare everything for the coming week. You can cook and freeze sauces, chop your vegetables, make your rice, and get everything ready to pop in the oven the day you want to eat it. 

Consider Wholesale

Wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco offer stellar deals on bulk products. You may benefit from paying the yearly membership fee and buying all your non-perishables in bulk if you have a large family. 

Use What You Have

Once a month, raid your pantry and prepare a meal from the random ingredients you already have. For example, make dumplings with chicken stock and flour or chili with the random beans and tomato sauces you have in your cupboard. 

The monthly pantry raids will prevent wasteful food spending. 

Do It Yourself

Instacart sounds appealing, but why spend an extra $20 on groceries when you can do it yourself?

If you struggle with impulse buys, you can use a store’s curbside app to purchase your groceries ahead of time without paying for an extra shopper to do it for you. 

Use Leftovers

Leftovers make easy meals, but you can also use them as a base for your next dinner. 

Whenever I make tacos, I combine the leftover meat and potatoes with beans and Spanish rice to make a taco casserole. I also make chili cheese dogs with leftover chili and soup with leftover chicken. 

Consider whether you can make interesting new dishes with last night’s leftovers. 

Fast Meals

Some nights, you just don’t have the energy to cook. Allow yourself a fast, easy meal each week. 

Grab a frozen pizza, milk & cereal, or veggies and hummus for easy, no-prep meals on those nights when you’re all out of energy. Having something easy at home will prevent you from spending too much money on fast food. 

Eat & Drink Before You Go

The adage “Don’t shop hungry” rings true, but you should also avoid shopping thirsty. 

Shopping when you’re hungry or thirsty is a surefire way to add impulse buys to your cart. Bring a bottle of water while shopping, and take a sip whenever you want to add something extra to your cart. 

Saving Money on Groceries Means More Money in Your Pockets

Food is a necessity. The more money you can save on groceries, the more you’ll have available for your financial goals and long-term security. 

Use these tips to keep more money in your pockets while maintaining a healthy diet. 

12 thoughts on “22 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries”

  1. Great tips!

    We’ve just gotten on board with the shredded vs. non-shredded cheese. We’ve started buying massive blocks of cheese and freshly grating it while cooking. Frugal and fun!

    • I’ve never done the block cheese thing…I would think a massive block would go bad before I get to use it! I do buy generic shredded cheese though, its over a dollar cheaper than the name brand and exactly the same.

    • I’ve never tried that before! I should look into it. And I think buying online would really reduce the impulse buying!

  2. We also find that buying produce that is in season saves money. There are more sales on things like cherries and berries in the summer and oranges in the winter.

    • Oh thats a good one! I’ve also heard that Farmer’s Markets are great places to buy cheap produce, but I don’t have the time to scope them out.

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