Wishing you could figure out how to save money on groceries? In this post, I share 25 simple ways you can lower your grocery bill — starting today!
1. Plan a menu.
Want to save even more? Plan your menu based upon what you already have on hand and what’s on sale at the store.
Need help: Read my post on How to Plan a Menu.
2. Have a budget.
Need a ballpark figure for starting out? I recommend shooting for $20 to $30 per person per week. Then, work on slowly lowering that by 1-3% every month.
Tip: Use a calculator to keep tabs on how much you are spending as you add things to your cart at the store.
View meat more as a condiment then as the main thing for your meal. To further your savings, try adding lentils to ground beef or beans and onions and tomatoes to taco meat.
Need more inspiration? Check out my post on How to Eat Less Meat.
4. Shop the loss leaders.
These are the weekly specials — usually advertised on the front page of your store flyer — that are such great prices your store is taking a loss for you to buy them.
They are banking on the fact that you’ll come in to get these great deals and then buy a lot of others things, too. But hey, no one says you have to load up your cart with a bunch of other over-priced items!
Scout out all of the stores in your area and see which ones routinely have the best prices. Also, pay attention to weekly sales and specials at a few local stores. Plan your shopping trips based upon which store has the best deals that week.
Skeptical as to how this works? Check out my post on How to Shop at More Than One Store.
6. Use cash.
This is one of my biggest tips for how to save money on groceries! It seems simple, but it works.
It’s a fact of life: If you only bring cash to the grocery story from your allotted grocery budget, you can’t go over budget! 🙂 Don’t knock this until you’ve tried it. It’s a surefire way to help you stay on track with your budget.
Need help getting started? Read my post on How to Shop With Cash Only.
7. Print or download some coupons.
Before shopping, take a few minutes to check out the Coupon Database for printable coupons or your store’s online coupons (if they offer them) to see if there are any coupons for items you are already planning to buy.
If your store offers markdowns, keep on the alert for these when shopping.
When you find a great deal, see if you have enough money in your budget to buy it. Consider swapping out something on your list for this item. (For instance, if you were planning to buy cereal and you find a great deal on boxed oatmeal that is less expensive, buy that instead.)
Need more tips? Check out my post on How to Find Markdowns at Kroger.
Occasionally challenge yourself to see how long you can go without going to the store. It’s amazing how creative you can get — especially if you view it like a fun game!
Want more inspiration? Read my post on How to Eat From the Pantry.
10. Use your freezer.
If you have a deep freeze, make sure you are using it by buying items when they are on their lowest prices and freezing them. Don’t have a deep freeze? Make use of every nook and cranny of what little freezer space you have!
Need tips for using your freezer? Here’s my post on How to Become Best Friends With Your Freezer!
11. Buy ahead.
Most items routinely go on sale every 12 weeks at the grocery store. My goal is to never pay full price for any item. Instead, I try to stock up when it is on the lowest price. I aim to buy enough to tide me over until the next sale.
12. Plan your menu based upon what you already have on hand.
Menu planning is your best friend when you’re learning how to save money on groceries.
The more you buy ahead when items are on sale (see #11), the less you’ll spend on groceries. Plus, the more you’ll be able to plan a menu based upon what you already have on hand.
Before making a grocery list, always look through your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboard to see what you already have. Do you really need to go to the store or can you make do with what you have?
13. Use Swagbucks to buy groceries.
Get into the habit of turning on the Swagbucks videos or doing some things on the Swagbucks site every day. You can do this while you’re relaxing and watching a show at night. Or while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew in the morning.
By making Swagbucks a simple part of your day, you can pretty easily earn up to $25 in Amazon gift cards each month. Use these gift cards toward grocery items that are on sale on Amazon to save more.
14. Have a leftovers night.
Once a week, have a Clean Out the Fridge Night for dinner. Pull out all the odds and ends and serve a leftover Buffet. This can be a fun — and unique — dinner. Plus, it encourages people to use what you already have!
Bonus tip: Having a leftovers night once a week means you don’t have to cook dinner one night each week!
Buy the store brand or off brand whenever possible. (The only exception I make to this rule is when I can get the name brand marked down or on a great sale. If it’s cheaper to buy the name brand, you better believe I’ll buy it!)
16. Drink more water.
Buying fewer soft drinks and other beverages can significantly reduce your grocery bill over the course of a year. Plus, water is just plain better for you!
17. Make your own snacks.
Challenge yourself to find simple homemade snack ideas that are frugal and your family will enjoy. You can find some of our favorite snack items here.
(Bonus tip: I keep a snack stash of items that I find on great deals and just bring out a few things from this stash each week. This way, there are always
18. Sign up for cashback apps.
Download the iBotta, Fetch, and Shopkick apps. See if you can earn kicks from Shopkick when you go to the grocery store. Then, scan your receipt on Fetch after shopping to earn a little cashback. Finally, check to see if you purchased anything that qualifies for cash back from iBotta.
19. Have a meatless meal once a week.
Meatless doesn’t have to mean bland and tasteless! Some of our favorite meatless meals are lasagna casserole (we leave out the ground beef) and pancakes and eggs.
20. Buy whatever produce is on sale or marked down.
We typically only buy produce if it’s on sale or marked down. Yes, it means we usually only have 2-3 different veggies and 2-3 different fruits that week (unless I found lots of different sales/markdowns), but because the sales change each week, we eat lots of different veggies and fruits over the course of a few months.
I aim to pay no more than $0.99 per pound for fruit and can usually always find at least 1-2 fruits that are that inexpensive (well, plus bananas which are always cheaper than $0.99/lb!)
21. Find a blogger covering deals at your local store.
Don’t spend hours looking for deals if there is already a blogger doing all of the legwork for you! Search for your local city/town + “coupon matchups” or “deal blogger”.
If that doesn’t pull anything up, try searching for the towns around you. For those of you who live in a very small town, you might not find anything. However, if you live in a decent-sized town, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone — maybe even multiple bloggers!
If you still can’t find anything, then search your store’s name and “coupon match-ups” or “deal blogger”.
22. Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
This is a very basic tip, but it is one that is often overlooked. If you go into a store when you are really hungry, you’re going to have a lot less willpower and self control. And thus, you’ll likely spend more money and struggle to pass up impulse purchases.
23. Stick to simple meals with inexpensive ingredients.
When you’re planning your menu, think about how much your recipes will cost you to make.
It doesn’t have to be a scientific to-the-penny figure, but just having a good idea that there is a $10 difference between the price of making one meal as opposed to another meal can help you decide whether you can afford to make something or perhaps should save it for a special occasion.
24. Shop at Dollar Tree.
Very few people think of buying grocery items at Dollar Tree. It can be a goldmine of great deals on groceries, though.
Please note: Not every deal at Dollar Tree is a good deal. However, many things — like lemon juice, brown rice, apple cider vinegar, bread, beans, and much more — can be a lot less than what you’d pay at the grocery store.
25. Don’t buy pre-packaged, unless it’s on a great sale!
Look for ways to cut down on pre-packaged purchases. In most cases, these are quite a bit pricier and not as healthful. The only time I will buy pre-packaged is if there’s a great rockbottom price (such as a markdown or a sale paired with a coupon).
What are your best tips for how to save money on groceries? Tell us in the comments.
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