In this post, you’ll learn 33 tricks on how to save money on groceries.
Groceries expense is a major portion of your monthly food budget.
In the United States, groceries cost on average $387/month. That means approximately $4,644 a year.
While the prices are soaring each year and are not expected to come down.
Not knowing simple tips and tricks for buying groceries can result in higher grocery expenses and getting out of budget.
But following useful tips and tricks can save you $50 to $100 each month. Which you can devote to an emergency fund and pay off debt.
Important Note: If you don’t want to read out the entire article, you can scroll to the bottom and watch a video with practical grocery store shopping tips.
So let’s dive into it.
33 Tricks on How to save money on Groceries
Below are 33 proven strategies and tips you can implement on the next trip for grocery shopping. Some help you save more money as compared to others.
Not all of them need to apply to you. You can choose according to the market situation but knowing them helps you save money.
Let’s explain each tip on how to save money on groceries in detail.
1. Make a list of items before shopping
When we go to the supermarket some people buy unnecessary items. This increases their shopping cost and sometimes go useless at home.
To avoid that a simple strategy is to create a shopping list. A clear and proper shopping list helps you stay on track with your purchasing.
Take pen, paper, and list down all of the important food items and quantities needed. Exclude anything you don’t require and then strictly follow the list while shopping.
According to data, 80% of young shoppers make impulse buying in e-commerce stores.
As you apply it to physical groceries stores, you can apply the same while shopping online. Online stores also trick you into buying useless items using cross-selling and upselling strategies.
An additional advantage is that you don’t need to remember each item and quantity. Just see your list and buy that item.
2. Avoid taking kids to the store
First, it’s also the most important tip for how to save money on groceries.
If you have a family with kids then you might be taking them to the supermarket. It may be impossible for you to leave them at home. Because of no one for care or any other reason.
However, research found that pressure from kids results in higher shopping expenses.
A survey from Money Helper shows that consumers put an extra $21 into their shopping cart as a result of pressure from kids.
Think about that. If you put $21 for each weekly trip to the market, it costs you around $1100 a year.
Here are some tips to avoid that:
- If you have a maid then leave your kids at home in his custody
- You can also leave kids at your friend’s or relatives’ house
- If you take them to the supermarket then make sure to leave them outside with your spouse and you shop for the items
- Teach kids to not distract you during shopping and stay calm
- Offer rewards for staying on good behavior like chocolate or popcorn
If you follow these tips your grocery shopping will be less tedious and more economical.
3. Skip fancy prepackaged items
Prepackaged items are flexible to pick and are pre-weighted in quantity. For example, a bag of potatoes and tomatoes in 1kg, 2kg, 5kg, etc. You can easily pick them and they look very attractive as well. Because store labors already had done work for you.
But did know they cost more as compared with open nonpackaged groceries.
Yes, I’m right. The packaged groceries cost more per KG because the packaging cost is also included in the original price.
For example, if you purchase 5kg tomatoes for $3 then the same bag of prepackaged tomatoes costs you $3.5 or $4. Why not save those bucks?
This tip on how to save money on groceries helps you avoid rusty and spoiled groceries in prepackaged bags. You can pick fresh and healthy groceries from open buckets and shelves.
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4. Shop for groceries once a week
If you shop for groceries multiple times a week or daily then you should revert to once a week. Because daily shopping isn’t only hard but also costs you more as compared with once a week.
Below are steps you can try to shop a single time each week:
- Make a list of groceries for the whole week that you need
- Plan your meals for the week but don’t assign specific days
- Decide a certain day for grocery shopping but avoid busy days
- Purchase long-lasting and fresh vegetables, milk, and fruits
- If sales days are going on then take advantage
After following this type of schedule it’ll be easy for you to store a whole week of groceries, fruits, milk, and meat. Now you can easily cook the meals you planned and stay inside your budget.
5. See items on high and low-level shelves
When you go to the grocery store, you see 3 types of shelves for the same type of products. But if you analyze them deeply then there are three levels.
The upper shelves, middle shelves, and lower or bottom shelves. The upper and lower shelves are not easy to see as compared to the middle shelves in line with your eyes.
This is a trick of grocery store staff. They place high-priced and branded items on middle shelves. Because you see them easily. Upper and lower shelves are nonbranded or generic low-priced brands with the same quality products.
Groceries stores do this to earn more by selling high-priced branded grocery products.
But you need to be clever.
Look at the upper and lower shelves and you see the same high-quality vegetables, canned products, milk, and meat. So why pay extra dollars for the same quality? These generic brands are as good as those fancy and expensive brands.
For example, if the branded products cost you $5 then generic non branded will cost you $4 or $5 per kg.
If you follow this trick on how to save money on groceries, then you can lower grocery expenses.
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6. Choose the right credit card for payment
If you use a credit card to pay grocery bills then at first I don’t recommend that. But if you want to, then be careful of using the right credit card.
The groceries credit cards come with different rewards and benefits. If you know them and compare credit cards on the basis of these factors, you can save a lot of money but also pay less in interest costs.
Here are the steps for choosing the right credit card for payments:
- Get a card with the highest cashback on your purchases
- Have zero percent introductory APR
- Charge interest normally depends on your credit score
- Provide other benefits for spending on gas and transport expenses
That way you can save hundreds of dollars each year. According to statistics on average Americans spend $5,000 each year on groceries shopping.
Let’s say you save $300 to $800 a year then amazing. You can devote that to savings, retirement, savings accounts, entertainment, or personal expenses.
7. Carefully check the expiry date
Whenever I visit the grocery store I check the expiry dates very carefully. Especially on canned products, jam, milk, yogurt, cooking oil bottles, and other related items.
But why do that?
- First of all expired foods are dangerous and unhealthy
- Second expired items will result in loss of money as well as the headache of returning to the store
- Third, if you pick items that have current manufacturing dates are fresh and tasteful, and long laster. You can easily meet the whole week’s meal plans.
Expiry dates are not mentioned on tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, and fruits. Because they usually last for a week maximum.
But checking dates on other items is helpful. These are printed in black ink near the price figures. Try out this tip on how to save money on groceries next time.
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8. Buy from bulk bins
If you want to save money and want less garbage or packaging material then shop from bulk bins.
Bulk bins are open baskets and jars filled with specific food. This includes different types of groceries, dal, beans, flour, and dry fruits. The customer fills their bag according to his/her needs and then weighs it at the sales desk.
The price you pay for bulk bin items is way less than the prepackaged items. They also have products like washing powders, biscuits, sweep, and soaps.
Along with that, you can easily purchase according to your need. Because in prepackaging weight is constant and you don’t have a chance to buy variable quantities. Also, the bulk bins allow you to buy organic items.
But for bulk bin purchasing you either need your shopping bags and jars or take them from the grocery store.
Here are some bulk bin shopping tips:
- Have shopping bags and jars
- Properly weigh the container
- Write down the price on it to know how much it cost
- Fill it properly till the end by pressing
That is it. You get to go with bulk bins.
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9. Sign up for the reward program
Reward or loyalty programs are offered by retail stores to retain their customers. In this program, they offer different incentives like cash back, discounts, and coupons.
When you’re a member of this program the incentives are automatically adjusted to your checkouts without clipping any coupons.
If you have a credit card with the name of the online store or another retailer then why not be a member of your local retail store? It takes a few minutes to signup and you’re good to go with saving more money on your grocery shopping.
Here are some notable stores for joining loyalty programs:
- Stop and Shop
- Food Lion MVP
- HEB Points Club
- Kroger Plus Card
You can also search your nearby retail store for whether they offer a loyalty program or not.
Let’s jump to the next tip on how to save money on groceries.
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10. Buy groceries from reduced shelves
Don’t hesitate from reduced shelves. Because their prices are down as compared with new items on fully filed shelves.
The groceries are perishable goods. And after 1 or 2 days the expiry date comes closer and prices fall to sell them fast. But the quality of these groceries is still good to provide taste and are healthy for preparing meals.
Next time you see reduced shelves, then don’t hesitate to buy those items. This helps you prepare your favorite meals at a low cost.
11. Keep a shopping bag with yourself
Shopping bags are great for handling items and easily taking them home. But they add a little expense to your shopping.
According to Wikipedia cloth shopping bags cost $0.10 to $0.25 to produce and are sold for up to $0.99 to $3. This adds up to your grocery shopping cost.
And if you use 5 shopping bags each week for grocery shopping trips, then it adds up to $300 a year. Which is too much.
Here is what I do for saving money on shopping bags.
I purchase reusable clothes shopping bags or make them myself at home. Then I take them to grocery and retail shops with me each time I shop for groceries, oil, milk, or any other item.
This means you only have to pay the one-time price and then use those bags for a lifetime.
Some stores pay cash for every shopping bag you bring with you. For example, Target, Foodland, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods provide five cents per reusable shopping bag you bring.
Now, for example, you bring 5 shopping bags each week. That means for a single shopping tour you saved $0.5. Now multiply it by 52 weeks which means you saved $26 for just grocery shopping. If you shop 3 times a week then it adds up to a yearly $78.
You can apply this trick to other shopping categories like clothing stores and shoes etc and save hundreds of dollars a year.
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12. Use coupons for taking discounts
The average American household saves $1,465 using online and mobile coupon codes each year. Which lowers their household expense by 6.4%. While the same survey reveals that a consumer can save $316 on groceries using these codes.
You can analyze how much money you can save by simply using coupons and discount opportunities. For getting these discounts first of all keep an eye on your local grocery shopping stores. Along with that download their apps if they have where you can get information about current and incoming coupons and deals.
If you visit the big stores like Walmart then use their website or go to online coupons sites like Flipp.
But there are certain things to keep in mind while collecting and using coupons:
- Read out their coupons and discount policies. Sometimes you can get even more benefits in the form of rain checks and price matching.
- Remember to keep your coupons with you when going shopping for groceries. If you forgot them at home then you aren’t able to get benefits.
- Combine your coupons with cashback reward sites to save more as compared to using individual coupons. Because they give you rebates for buying different types of products. For example Ibotta and Fetch Rewards.
- Become a member of the loyalty or reward program of stores and get their card. This helps you save more and get additional coupons, deals, and discounts.
- Last but not least don’t get hung up on coupons and try to purchase everything that is a bargain. Instead, go with your requirement and follow the shopping list.
Following these tips and coupons will help you save big bucks very easily. It’s a huge saver tip when it comes to how to save money on groceries.
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13. Look for sale days in the supermarket
Sales days are always going on in the supermarkets and groceries stores. Because these stores wanna sell more of their products.
The sales are usually going on when:
- they have lots of stock that are old,
- supply for a certain product inside the season is greater,
- holidays are going like Christmas, Easter, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday
- beginning days of the new year
What they do is place discount labels on different well-known items. And if you need that certain product you can take advantage of that. You can buy them in bulk and store them at your house to use for a whole week or even a whole month.
14. Don’t buy bottled water
Bottled water is used for drinking, industrial use, and many other purposes. It’s purified and easily available.
But cooking your meals in bottled water isn’t always a good idea. If your hometown water is natural and clean then that is a lot better than bottled water. It’s fresh and has natural ingredients which are not only healthy but also less costly or free.
On average bottled water costs $1.45 which costs each person $20 a month and $250 a year.
In case you’re using it for cooking purposes that will cost even more which you normally didn’t realize.
Another big drawback is that only 20% of bottles are recycled and the remaining 80% pollute our planet.
Don’t skip using the bottled water tip on how to save money on groceries each time you shop.
15. Download groceries store apps
I touched on it earlier and here I want to explain it in a little more detail. Groceries stores have applications for iPhones and Androids.
But why do you download these apps? Groceries stores offer coupons, deals, and discounts for different holidays and events to sell out their stock. What happens is that you can take benefits from these deals and save a bunch of money.
Instead of paying full price, you pay less and the overall cost will decrease. Famous supermarkets have their apps.
Here are some prominent stores with Android and iPhone apps:
- FreshDirect app
- Walmart grocery app
- Peapod app
- Kroger app
- Postmates app
And lots of others you can find on Google by simply searching “Groceries store apps”.
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16. Return your bottles and cans
If you purchased a glass bottle of beverage drink or a big water bottle of 20 liters, you need to make a deposit money as security or recycling cost. It can be 25 cents to more than a dollar.
So in case, you didn’t return that bottle the money you deposited will be used to cover the cost.
The best way is that after the bottle is empty you return it to groceries store and refund your money. That way you can save money each time you took a bottle to your home. Along with that the environment didn’t get polluted by the over-throwing of bottles and used for refilling.
Some stores like Walmart didn’t return plastic bottles but only glass bottles because can be easily washed and refilled.
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17. Purchase from the wholesale market
When it comes to how to save money on groceries this strategy works very fine. I personally experienced several times that wholesale locations for groceries and fruits help you save huge money compared with retailers.
If you have a nearby wholesale market where farmers sell their groceries in bulk, you can buy them very cheaply. Sometimes its cost is 2 to 3 times less because supply and competition are huge and demand is low.
18. Make yogurt at home
According to Statista, one yogurt pint price is around $2.33 in the US.
But if you make the same yogurt at home then it’s a lot cheaper as compared to the one you buy from the store. Because it doesn’t involve a lot of processing, wholesaling, retailing, and container as well as chemicals to preserve it for a longer period.
You just place the milk for 2 to 3 days and it turns into yogurt through a natural biological process. And it’s a lot more hygienic and tasty as compared with the industrial one.
According to statistics each American consumes around 14 pounds of yogurt each year. If you have a family of five people that mans 70 pounds of yogurt each year.
If you make yogurt at home then you can save $100 to $300 each year.
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19. Buy a big package
This idea came from my last week’s trip for purchasing groceries.
What is found was that if I purchase a small pack of detergent then it cost me 2 to 3% more than if I purchase a big pack. This means companies offer deals on big packs. The same goes for beverages where the one-liter bottle is costly as compared with 1.5 or 2.25-liter bottles.
The formula is simple. If you buy a big pack that means you’re buying more and so companies give you a discount.
Therefore instead of buying small groceries, detergent, and beverage packs, purchase larger ones. It also helps you to avoid frequent purchasing. Instead of buying 6 bottles of beverages 6 times purchase them in a single trip and get a discount as well.
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20. Sign up for cash-back apps
Cashback and rebates websites and apps help you save money whenever you purchase anything from groceries stores they support. You need to scan your receipt and they pay you a refund of a certain percentage.
Along with that, you can find coupons and deals on these apps and websites like coupons.com. Which is an extra advantage to making a bargain.
There are dozens of these apps and sites available online like:
- Checkout 51
- Open table
- Fetch rewards
- Get upside
And many others you can find online or through your Android or iPhone play store.
21. Add up all the prices while shopping
When it comes to how to save money on groceries, the most important thing is to stay on budget. This means if you have a $400 budget for groceries each month, make sure to don’t go overboard. Each week this comes down to $100.
Here comes the use of little intelligence. And you need to add up all the prices while picking up products. With this strategy, you have a clear picture of how much you’re going to spend on groceries and how much worth of products you have picked.
This can be done simply by using your mobile phone or having a calculator with yourself.
22. Check prices of multiple grocery stores
When I go to retail grocery shops or big supermarkets and stores I usually check prices on 3 to 4 different points. This helps you figure out what’s going on in the market and where I can purchase economically.
More than that I become able to find low-price stores and discount opportunities as well. Sometimes one store is selling at full prices and the store next to it is running a sale on its products. So that allows me to make a bargain.
This also helps figure out the quality of products. Some stores don’t have much higher quality products in categories like rice, dal, dry fruits, and vegetables. And others have fresh items.
23. Read your bill and calculate the total
An intelligent tip on how to save money on groceries.
When you go to the sales desk and the salesman makes your receipt of what you’ve purchased. Then make sure to total it yourself. This helps you avoid paying for an item added by mistake.
Also, you know how much you’re spending on this trip.
You can also tell the salesman for a discount on the receipt. This also becomes a record that helps you make future budget estimates for food and groceries.
24. Avoid pre-chopped items
In groceries stores, there are two versions of fruit and vegetables. One is full without preparation and others are prechopped and ready-made.
What is the trick here?
You need to avoid ready-made fruits and veggies. Why because it is more expensive and gets spoiled very fast when you open the plastic wrapper.
And you can compare it yourself. According to HuffPost prechopped fruits are 3 times more expensive than others.
Because the expense of preparing and packing in the container is also added.
What you can do is buy the normal fruits and groceries and prepare them yourself at home. This helps you sharpen your cutting skills as well as saves more money.
They are also fresh and healthy because prepared and packed items come with preserving chemicals that are dangerous for your body. Their taste and freshness are low and expire very soon.
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25. Grow your vegetables
In this list of ways how to save money on groceries, this strategy is very powerful and interesting as well. A hobby which you can enjoy very well.
If you have free land out of your house then you can grow your vegetables and fruits on it. This can be done in the front or back yard of your house.
If you do that you can cut down a big percentage of your groceries budget. The more land you cultivate the more you save.
Statistics from Investopedia show that a 600-square-foot backyard can produce over 300 pounds per year which can save you $600 each year.
You can cultivate any type of vegetables or fruits like cauliflower, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, ginger, pineapple, and bananas. Just a little bit of information and effort is required. You can learn these simple farming tricks from Youtube videos.
26. Do not buy when you’re hungry
When it comes to how to save money on groceries this tip works very fine. The reason is that when you’re hungry everything seems tasty and you can’t stop yourself from purchasing.
New research reveals that hungry people buy 70% more products than others.
The best times to shop are in the morning after your breakfast or after the launch. In these times your stomach is full and your desires for food are in super control.
27. Buy fresh groceries
Fresh groceries are healthy and last for a long time. They provide good value for your money and you can use them for a whole week’s meals.
As the longer the groceries last, you less often visit grocery stores.
But you need to go timely to the market. Because afternoon groceries start to lose their freshness and are left very limited in amount.
The best time is to visit groceries store in the morning times.
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28. Take into consideration the unit price
Normally with the size of preserved groceries containers or bags, the price is different based on their weight, brand, and quality.
Sometimes big packs have a low unit price as compared with small packs. This applies to both prominent and generic bands. The same quality product of a famous brand may have a higher unity price than a generic brand.
What you can do is calculate the unit price of products and compare them based on weight and brand. This helps you choose less costly items and find the best deals.
29. Buy in bulk and store it
During sales days it’s better to make a list of important items and purchase them in bulk. This becomes a bargain for you and instead of paying full price, you can take advantage of discounts.
The best tip is to consider dry items and groceries that last longer. For example, ginger, garlic, onions, beans, meat, and dry fruits depending on your need.
But don’t buy unrelated things. Follow your shopping list but just buy more quantities than normally you do. This an amazing tip on how to save money on groceries.
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30. Leave out-of-season items
It’s common that when the fruits and vegetable season ends the prices for those items climb sky-high. Becasue demand is greater but supply decrease due to season end.
That’s why it’s better to avoid these fruits and groceries and try other alternatives in the season going. This helps you avoid buying expensive items.
31. Finish what you have purchased
If you consume all the items purchased for the week then waste will be low and you get the most value out of your spending.
And the best trick here is to purchase according to your requirements. And it will be easy for you to finish in 7 days and make sure waste is as minimum as possible.
32. Ask for discount
If prices are at full and no discount is being offered you can ask for a discount on your total price. Just tell the salesman in a friendly voice and he likely gives you 2 to 5% discounts. Because groceries stores staff always wants to retain their customers.
33. Avoid credit cards
Credit cards are used by the majority of people. And why not it’s easy to swipe anywhere for purchasing anything. But using it is not always a good idea.
When you make purchases with a credit card you need to pay interest. Which is an extra cost for your shopping. And for economical shopping, you should try to avoid it.
The alternative option is to use your debit card or cash. I think cash is the best. Because banks may deduct fees on your debit card transactions as well.
Here is your video on grocery shopping tips. You don’t get all the tips listed in the article but get pretty much decent knowledge. So make sure to watch till the end. The video is courtesy of Jordan Page from the “Jordan Page, FunCheapOrFree” YouTube channel. She makes videos about personal finance and frugal living.
You’ve learned 33 tips on how to save money on groceries. Following them can save you hundreds of bucks on shopping for groceries and other food items.
It’s possible that you didn’t see urgent results. But, when you calculate for the whole year you see hundreds of dollars, are being saved.
You may not need to use all of them. Because some are used during specific periods like sales or discount days. While some can be used at any time.
Now it’s time for you to pick strategies that are suitable for you and practically use them to save money.
If you liked this post make sure to share it on social networks.
Now tell me in your comments which strategy you’re going to use in your next trip to the grocery store.
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