When planning monthly expenses, groceries take up a large portion of the budget. And there is no way to get around it! Groceries are just one essential you need to make room for on a budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can shop smart when grocery shopping. Here are some simple tips on how to save on groceries each month.
20 Ways to Save on Groceries Every Month
1. Use coupons
Coupons are still one of the best ways to save on groceries. You can do this the old-fashioned way by clipping coupons from flyers and packaging. But now, you can also load coupons into apps. And if you shop online, like on Amazon, for some items, be sure to use browser extensions honey Or to automatically apply coupons and discounts at Rakuten checkout.
2. Price matching
Many grocery stores will match the price. If you find an item that’s available at a lower price at a store, show the grocery store and they’ll match the lower price. You can do this by creating a flyer or using an app flip This helps you find these price comparisons when shopping. Done effectively, this can save you up to 10% and save time at the grocery store!
3. Buy generic brands
When shopping for packaged goods, always look for generic or store-brand options rather than name-brand items. In most cases, the product is exactly the same but has a different label printed on it. While this may only seem like a few cents saved, it adds up when you’re buying multiple products over time.
4. Shop at a variety of grocery stores
Careful planning of where to buy groceries can make all the difference. For example, Walmart may have a great selection of pre-packaged produce at great prices, but you may prefer to buy local produce at the farmer’s market or local grocery store. Know your grocery store and a good idea of where to find certain groceries. While you don’t need to make multiple stops in a week, going to a different grocery store once a month can help you source better deals.
5. Make a grocery list
Know exactly what you need before you set foot in a grocery store. This will prevent you from over-purchasing and making impulsive purchases. You may not know what to take for meals and snacks and end up with more than you need. And the last thing you want is your groceries to go to waste! Make a meal plan and stick to it.
6. Food preparation
Meal prep can help you make your grocery shopping quick and easy. Meal prep usually involves making a large batch to eat throughout the week. This not only enables you to save on groceries by limiting what you have to buy but also saves you a lot of time during the week.
7. Buy in bulk
While more expensive up front, buying food in bulk can save you tons in the long run. If you know you’ll need it, you can get a bunch now!
The best places to save money while loading up on essentials for the month are Costco or Sam’s Club The annual fee is usually worth the savings.
Buying in bulk only works if you know you will use it. For example, if you are using a recipe that calls for black beans and they are 3 for the price of 2, will you actually use that many black beans out of your recipe?
8. Buy in season
Try to buy produce in season. Whenever fruits or vegetables are at their peak harvest, you can get a lot of produce for extra cheap. If you don’t think you’ll eat that much, consider freezing, drying, or canning the extras. If you love making morning smoothies, for example, you’ll be happy to have a large stock of frozen fruit that lasts you through the growing season.
9. Buy frozen or canned foods
A common myth surrounding frozen and canned foods is that they are not as nutritious as fresh produce. This is completely wrong! You will get the same value of frozen strawberries vs fresh ones. And in most cases, canned or frozen foods are quickly cheaper than the fresh stuff. Be sure to rinse canned items thoroughly before eating to help remove excess sodium.
10. Use a cashback credit card
Cashback credit card is one of the best money hacks. Use the cashback credit card for expenses you know you have covered and necessary. Like groceries! You can usually get 1.5% to 2% back on your spending. So while you may not see that cash right away, you can put some of your grocery money back to feed into a future grocery trip.
11. Join a loyalty program
Most grocery stores offer loyalty or rewards programs, and most are free. Please join them as much as possible! Some of the best include member-only bonus savings or a points system. You can earn points on items you already buy that you can later redeem for prizes like free groceries.
12. Stock up on sale
When you see a good sale, take note! This is a great time to stock up on items you use frequently. Or if there’s an item you might not need right away, wait and see if a sale pops up. This is a great method for non-perishables because you don’t have to worry about using the items right away. You can also put items in the freezer, such as bulk chicken breasts and vegetables, for later use if you have room.
13. Compare unit prices
What may seem like a good deal on the surface may not be after all. For example, it can be difficult to know which box of pasta is a good deal if they are of different sizes. To help you determine the best value, look at the unit price. And no, you don’t need a calculator!
Look for price tags and small print. Unit price is usually located under main price. It will describe the price per unit, such as price per ounce. Looking up unit prices at places like wholesale clubs is also especially helpful because you can see exactly how much you’re saving on each bulk item.
Your stomach can speak louder than your eyes or your brain. When you’re hungry, you’ll want to stock up on whatever feels good to you at the moment, even if you don’t need it. Plan to grocery shop after you’ve finished eating and when you’re not so focused on food at the right moment.
15. Use what you have
Food waste is a huge problem for many families. Food is hard to come by and therefore, your hard-earned money! When creating your weekly shopping list and meal plan, take stock of what you currently have and how you can incorporate it into the next week. If you have half an onion and some leftover potatoes from last week, maybe you can include shepherd’s pie on the menu this week! This prevents food waste and the need to buy more than what you already have.
16. Shop with a calculator
There’s nothing worse than seeing that huge total when you’re at the cashier and surprised by the numbers. Try to keep a running tally of your total while shopping to stay within your grocery budget. One of the best ways to do this is to use a calculator while you shop. If you’re shopping with a partner or kids, ask them to help keep an eye on the total while you push the cart.
17. Leave the kids at home
I know I just said they can help you keep track of your spending, but leave the kids at home if you can! They’ll encourage you to get more than you need, whether it’s sugary cereal or a candy bar at checkout. Leave the kids at home, so you don’t have to test your limits and patience while staying on track while grocery shopping.
18. Check Expiration Date
When shopping, check when something expires. You don’t want to buy food and have it go bad before you eat it, even if it’s considered non-perishable! If you’re buying in bulk, you want to make sure the items you’re buying have a long time frame so you have time to eat them and don’t have to rush to eat a large amount of food.
19. Use Ibotta
Ibotta A convenient rebate app that you can use in a number of ways to save on groceries in-store or online. You can submit your grocery bill for in-store purchases and get cashback on all eligible purchases. You can link your loyalty cards and accounts to make collecting points and cashback even easier With this cashback, you can earn gift cards that you can spend on your groceries
20. Order groceries ahead of time
Looking to cut down on buying trends? You can order your groceries ahead of time and get exactly what you came for. Then, you can opt for curbside pickup, so you don’t even have to get out of your car. It’s also a huge timesaver, especially when you have kids.
Every penny counts
We hope these money-saving tips help you save at least one expense you can count on each month. While they may seem small on the surface, a few cents here and a dollar there can add up to significant savings over time, and money you can put away for a rainy day or to pay off debt or big purchases.
For even more savings, use some (or all) of the hacks on this list and combine them with our best frugal living tips.