Groceries are a major expense for most American families. Families across the country spent an average of $5,259 on groceries in 2021, and that expense is rising. Economists expect 2022 grocery spending to be significantly higher thanks to record inflation levels.
Everything from bread to meat, milk, and veggies cost nearly 10% more in September 2022 than it did in September 2021.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend as much as the average family to eat. You can save quite a bit of money by making small changes to your shopping and consumption habits.
12 Ways To Save Money on Groceries
As prices continue to rise, it’s more important now than ever to save money on groceries. There are 12 different things you can do that can put a dent in your grocery bill.
1. Clip Coupons
You’ve seen coupons before, but have you ever taken the time to clip any on your own? You might be amazed at how much you can save by looking for coupons in newspapers and mailers for products you already buy.
You could save more by taking things a step further.
When you create your grocery list, go online and look for coupons for each item on the list. Chances are you’ll be able to save quite a bit.
Take Clipping Coupons to the Next Level
You can take clipping coupons to the next level by ignoring specific brands on your shopping list. For example, if you can’t find a coupon for Bush’s baked beans, consider another brand that you have a coupon for.
2. Shop the Outer Edges of the Store
Most grocery stores offer their fresh meats, dairy products, and produce in refrigerators that line the outer edges of the store, though there are some exceptions. You can save quite a bit of money by shopping in these sections rather than venturing into the center of the store.
Pre-packaged meals may seem inexpensive, but you’re only buying a limited number of servings. When you make food at home, fresh ingredients go far further than pre-packaged meals.
There’s another major benefit to cooking your own food too. It’s the healthiest option. This step doesn’t just cut costs on groceries, it cuts unhealthy preservatives out of your diet.
Take Outer-Edge Shopping to the Next Level
Take this tip to the next level by looking for low-cost recipes online. You might be surprised by how many different meals you can make for your family for under $10.
3. Use Your Rewards Credit Card
You can earn cash back and other rewards every time you swipe your rewards credit card. For example, with the Wells Fargo Active Cash card, you earn 2% unlimited cash back on all purchases.
However, this is a conditional tip.
You should only use rewards credit cards for groceries if you are going to pay the entire credit card balance off each month to avoid interest. If you don’t, you’ll pay more in interest than you earn in rewards, defeating the purpose of using the card in the first place.
Take Rewards Credit Cards to the Next Level
You can take this tip to the next level by using multiple rewards credit cards. Some cards have maximum rewards caps or offer more rewards for specific purchase categories. When you make a purchase, use the rewards card that offers the most value for that specific type of purchase.
4. Join Grocery Store Loyalty Programs
There are countless brands that reward their customers’ loyalty. Why not take advantage of the rewards that are available to you? In most cases, all you need to do is provide a phone number.
Rewards programs may not seem like much, but you typically earn 1% or more in savings. If you spend $5,000 on groceries every year, that adds up to $50.
Take Grocery Store Loyalty Programs to the Next Level
One way to maximize your savings from loyalty programs is to download the mobile apps for the brands you join. In many cases, you’ll find in-app discounts you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
5. Plan Your Meals & Stick to Your Plan
Do you meticulously plan your meals each week? If not, doing so can save you quite a few bucks.
When you shop without a plan, you shop based on what looks good. You may also buy more or less than you need for specific recipes, which can lead to food waste.
You may be able to save significantly by planning your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for each day of the week. This gives you the opportunity to buy exactly what you need and avoid wasting food and the money you spent buying it.
Take Meal Planning to the Next Level
It’s easier to stick to a meal plan when planning your meals is exciting. Consider looking online for new recipes and incorporating at least one of them into your meal plan every week. This may not save you any more money, but it will add a level of excitement to the meal-planning process.
6. Shop at Cost Plus 10% Stores
Grocery stores are independent businesses that are in business to make money. As independent businesses, they’re free to set their own prices. That means prices may be significantly different from one store to the next.
Cost plus 10% stores aren’t in every neighborhood, but if there are any near you, you’re in luck!
These stores charge their customer their cost of goods plus a 10% markup. You could save big bucks when stores only charge a 10% markup.
Take Shopping at Cost Plus 10% Stores to the Next Level
You can take the savings from shopping at cost plus 10% stores to the next level by clipping coupons and shopping on the outer edges of these stores.
7. Get a Wholesale Club Membership
Wholesale clubs sell products in bulk quantities. Why would you want to buy in bulk? Because it’s typically far less expensive per unit when you do.
The exchange is that wholesale clubs like Costco and Sams Club charge membership fees if you want to join. Those fees typically range from $45 to $120 per month, depending on the type of membership and membership rewards you’d like.
It’s worth the fee. You could easily save $40 or $50 with one well-planned trip to a wholesale club.
Taking Wholesale Club Membership to the Next Level
Many wholesale clubs also offer rewards credit cards. You could add to your savings by using the rewards credit card for the brand you’re shopping at.
8. Take Advantage of Sales
There’s nothing like a big sale. Although sales aren’t always happening on the products you use regularly, consider trying new things and taking advantage of sales when they’re available.
9. Compare Prices Online Before You Shop
As mentioned above, most grocery stores are for-profit companies that operate independently. As such, they’re free to set their own prices. That’s why prices in one store may be far higher for some products and far lower for others.
Before you shop, go to the websites of the stores you plan to shop at and look for the items on your list. Compare prices at all of your planned stops. Make a note on your list of which stores have the best prices so you know what to buy and where.
Take Price Comparisons to the Next Level
As you compare prices, consider looking into prices at stores where you don’t typically shop. If there are enough savings at another location, it might be worth adding another stop to your shopping trip.
10. Don’t Pay for a Name
There are some things that only taste right when they have a specific brand name printed on their labels, but those items are few and far between. In most cases, generic brands taste almost exactly like their brand-name counterparts, and in some cases, even better!
That’s especially true for non-prepared foods like rice, dried beans, and other produce.
Generic foods are usually far less expensive than brand-name foods. It doesn’t make sense to pay extra for a brand when a blind taste test shows lower price options have a nearly identical flavor profile.
Take Generic Shopping to the Next Level
You can save on more than groceries when you shop generic. That’s especially true when it comes to over-the-counter medicines and healthcare products. Take a look at the ingredients of that expensive headache medication you use. Now, take a look at the label on the generic brand. You won’t find any material differences between the two.
11. Save Your Receipts for Rebate Apps
There are tons of apps you can use to get rebates every time you shop. The process is usually very simple and involves one of two options:
- Saving Receipts. Some apps ask you to take a picture of your receipt. When you do, they credit you a percentage of your purchase back as a rebate.
- In-App Shopping. Other apps require you to shop at popular brands in their apps and reward you with rebates for doing so.
No matter which you choose, you stand to save a meaningful amount of money on your grocery bill when you take advantage of them.
Some of the most popular options include:
- Fetch Rewards
Take Your Rebate Apps to the Next Level
If you’d like to increase your savings from rebate apps, simply sign up for multiple options. Some apps offer larger rewards for shopping at some stores than others. So, use the rebate app that gives you the most bang for your buck with each purchase.
12. Grow Your Food
Another way to save money on food is to grow your own. You may not have a green thumb, but you really don’t have to. There are some crops that are so easy to grow, everyone should be doing it, and when you do, you don’t have to buy them. Some essential, yet easy-to-grow crops include:
- Citrus (Oranges, Lemons, Satsumas, Grapefruit)
- Stone Fruit (Peaches, Pears, Plums)
Take Your Food Garden to the Next Level
If you want to take your gardening to the next level, consider looking into the crops that grow best in your area and start growing them. Also, follow YouTube channels like Self Sufficient Me to learn how to become a better gardener.
Don’t Forget the Back of Your Pantry
Nobody likes to dig to the back of anything. A pantry is no different. You may be buying canned and dry goods you already have plenty of. Instead, go on a pantry hunt to see what you already have waiting to be eaten.
Take Your Pantry Hunt to the Next Level
If you’d like to take your pantry hunt to the next level, challenge yourself not to purchase anymore dry and canned foods until your pantry is 100% empty. It may be difficult to find recipes for everything, but doing so can cut back on waste and save you money.
Pro Tip. Round up as you create your grocery list. You’ll stay on or under budget every time you shop if you do.
The Bottom Line
You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year on groceries by following the tips above. What are your plans for all of that savings? Consider investing your savings online to build yourself a secure financial foundation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Saving Money on Groceries
The increasing cost of groceries is a pain point for just about everyone. So, it’s not surprising that there are so many questions about grocery savings circling the web. Answers to some of the most common questions are below.
What Is the Best Way To Save Money on Groceries?
There are multiple ways to save money on groceries, but the best way to save is to employ multiple options at the same time. Consider challenging yourself to take advantage of all 12 ways to save on groceries listed above.
How Much Money Should I Spend on Groceries per Person per Month?
The average cost of food per person per month in the United States typically ranges from $150 to $300. If you’re spending more than $300 per person, you’re spending far too much. If you’re able to eat for less than $150 per month per person, you’re a grocery savings star.
How Do You Eat Healthy on a Budget?
The best way to eat healthy on a budget is to buy fresh produce and meats rather than prepared meals. When you buy fresh, you’re not paying the cost of someone else cooking and packaging your food. Not to mention, home-cooked meals are almost always more healthy than pre-cooked meals.
What Are Some Cheap Healthy Meals?
Some cheap and healthy meals you can make include:
|Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole||Recipe|
|Breaded Pork Chops with Apple Cabbage Slaw||Recipe|
|Chicken Pepper & Corn Stir Fry||Recipe|
|Quinoa with Chicken & Lentils||Recipe|
|Beefy Stuffed Sweet Potato||Recipe|
These are just five of the countless options available to you. A quick search online will give you a never-ending cookbook of low-cost healthy meals.