When we think about the things that usually cost us a lot of money, we often think about housing, cars, or healthcare. But groceries is right up there: a Personal Capital poll showed that the top spending category for Americans was… groceries (“Groceries were reported as the number one expense overall and for each age group“).
This article will focus on basic money-saving techniques to help you drastically reduce your grocery expenses right away. Make sure you upvote the top tips that have saved you a LOT of money in the past!
- 33Prepare a Shopping List with Inexpensive ItemsGoing to the store with a list of cheap items to buy (under $0.99 per individual serving) is a good starting point to make sure you buy items that will save you money. Check out our Cheap shopping list ($50 a week for 2 adults). This list saves money with a focus on essential items, with items costing as little as 10-30 cents per serving. Going to the store with a shopping list will also help you limit impulse purchases that can really hurt your wallet.
- 32Buy More Items in Bulk to Save Up to 50%Most people know that buying in bulk saves money. However, most people don't know HOW MUCH you can really save by consistently buying in bulk (if you have enough space to store products). Bulk purchases can often save you 50%. Check out the two examples listed on the image (50% and 52% savings). Wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club can really help you save money, but make sure you don't buy PREMIUM items wholesale as it will cost you, even with the bulk savings. If you have enough storage room in your home, consider stocking up on products like rice, canned food, or toilet paper.
- 30Buy The Loss LeadersA loss leader is a product that is sold at such a low price that the grocery store actually loses money by selling it. Grocery stores lose money on these items because they know that customers will end up buying a lot more items, making the overall shopping cart profitable. Make the most of these offers! Pick up a sales flyer at the store. If you see potatoes and cheese sold at incredible prices, prepare a potato gratin for diner!
- 29Load Up Your Cart With These Nutritious & Cheap Items (6¢ to 50¢ per serving)Here is a sample list of healthy, inexpensive and nutritious items that can be used for great-tasting meals. Best of all, these items only cost about 6¢ to 50¢ per serving: 1. Eggs (6¢/serving), 2. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (50¢/serving), 3. Brown Rice (15¢/serving), 4. Whole Wheat pasta (15¢/serving), 5. Quinoa (31¢/serving). Quinoa has more protein and amino acid than brown rice, but brown rice has more fiber. Both of them are great to eat healthy and keep your budget low, 6. Homemade Hummus (49¢ per serving). Hummus at the store isn’t cheap. Luckily, it’s super easy and inexpensive to make yourself. View the entire list by viewing our Healthy and cheap grocery list to save money.
- 29Use Coupons (Not a Surprise, But They Do Save Money)According to the Promotion Marketing Association’s (PMA), an average family saves around $5.20 to $9.60 per week (about $2,000/year) using coupons. Additionally, shoppers using coupons claimed in the research that they save about 7% on a grocery shopping trip with coupons. You can make fantastic savings by frequently checking when vouchers and coupons are available for your favorite products. Check your mailbox or the Sunday papers to find the best coupons.
- 26Go Shopping With a Number In Mind (Eg $75 Max to Spend)Going grocery shopping with a budget in mind (for example $75) will help you save money: you are now going to the store with a goal to achieve, and this will help you make the right decisions and discover new creative ways to meet your goals while still getting enough food. A grocery budget will make you more aware of what you’re spending, help you prioritize where to spend the bulk of your money, and give you the motivation to seek out sales or less expensive options.
- 24Meal PlanA lot of people think that planning your meals in advance is a bit tedious. But planning your meals for the week and making a grocery list of the items you need for these meals, is one of the best ways to save money while eating ealthy. First, planning for healthy meals mean you are a lot more likely to actually eat healthy meals. Second, just going to the store and buying a bunch of random healthy things is a sure way to spend more than what you should. Here is a link to my most popular article on meal planning: discover 2-step easy meal planning.
- 21Buy More of These Cheaper VegetablesWe all know that vegetables are good for your health. But did you know that cooked green beans cost about 3x more than cooked carrots? That cooked green peas cost 2.3x more than cooked cabbage? And it’s not just about comparing the price per pound at the grocery store. You need to take into account “shrinkage”. For example, a pound of Fresh Corn gives you 0.54 pounds of actual corn to eat, but a pound of dried lentils gives you 2.7 pounds to eat after cooking! Luckily, we have done all the research for you. Here are the 10 cheapest vegetables you can buy (see image below).
- 21Search for a Discount Store / Outlet Near YouIf you mostly only shop at big-brand name grocery stores, try experimenting with grocery outlets or discount stores, where you can often find liquidation items on premium brands or lower-cost grocery options. I found a "Grocery Outlet" store that had French "Boursin" cheese on sale at incredible prices (For $1.99 vs $3.99-$4.99 at other stores), as well as frozen veggies at a price you couldn't beat. I only buy a few items at this store, but it helps save us a lot of money.
- 20Know Which Veggies and Fruits Are in Season (Cheaper Now)You can definitely save money by buying fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. You can read my post “When to Buy Fruits and Vegetables In Season” or use this handy chart from The Budget Mom is very helpful to help you find which fruit and vegetables to buy now at lower prices.
- 18Keep Meat to a Minimum / Chop Your MeatMeat is expensive, so we try to stretch it as far as we can. Here are some of the ways we do that: 1) Replace meat with new favorite items: We add beans to tacos and quesadillas so that we can use less meat. They’re inexpensive, filling, and so good for you, 2) Chop your meat: Instead of serving a big expensive steak, add a little chopped meat over your meals. Or smaller steak slices. For example, add a bit of chopped ham to a salad and baked potato meal. Learn more with our post on The Easiest Way to Eat Healthy on a Budget.
- 17Shop for Recipes that can Save you MoneyBuying cheap food products that you can use to make delicious meals is the perfect formula to keep your grocery budget low, while still enjoying your life! here is our list of 23 Healthy Meals on a Budget (Starting at $0.64 Per Serving).
- 15Use Cash-Back Apps Like IbottaIbotta is a free app for your smartphone that lets you earn cash back for in-store and online purchases. Does Ibotta really give you money back? Yup! I’ve personally earned a solid amount of money from Ibotta! You do have to have earned a minimum of $20 to withdraw your money, but if you’re using the app regularly, that’s not hard to do. You can choose to have cash transferred to your PayPal or Venmo account, or choose from a whole bunch of gift card options. I’ve tried many of the money saving and cash back apps out there and I think Ibotta is the most easy-to-use and straightforward one out there. Read my ibotta review or sign up to try it out.