We all want to spend less on our groceries, right? Food is one of the biggest line items in most people’s budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to figure out how to save on your grocery bill every month!
This post was written by our fabulous staff writer, Kate Underwood!
1) Shop at Bargain Stores
There are plenty of discount grocers to choose from, depending on where you live in the country. Chances are, you’ll find one near you where groceries are significantly cheaper:
- Save Alot
- Trader Joe’s
If you don’t want to spend a ton of time clipping coupons or visiting multiple stores to get the best deals, then choosing a great bargain-priced grocery store will give you the most savings for very little effort. Bargain clubs like Costco can also be a good bet.
When I started shopping at Aldi, I was amazed at how much I could buy for so little money. So try a discount grocery store and see just how much further your money can go!
2) Buy Store Brands
In recent years, the quality of store brand, or generic, groceries has increased tremendously. And 90% of the time, I find that I truly don’t notice a difference between brand-name items and generic items. It’s an easy way to save on your grocery bill.
Most of the time, you’ll like the cheaper version just as much. For example, I love my Malt-O-Meal cereals and find they’re as good as the higher-priced brands.
3) Meal Plan
Doing a little meal planning in advance will really help you to save on your grocery bill. Sure, you could go to the store and shop haphazardly, tossing whatever interests you in the cart. But you’ll end up with a bunch of items you may not need (or even want!).
I admit I’m not the best at meal planning. But whenever I have several dinners planned out in advance, my shopping is much more focused and less wasteful.
Making a meal plan benefits you in several ways:
- You shop more efficiently.
- You don’t buy a ton of excess stuff.
- You get all of your important ingredients, avoiding the need for extra trips to the store.
A great strategy for saving money on groceries is to cut back on your total trips to the grocery store. My husband and I used to easily spend 20% more on our groceries because we didn’t plan, so we ended up at the store multiple times every week.
This tip, combined with meal-planning, can decrease your grocery spending a lot. Plan your meals so you can get by with a weekly shopping trip, or even less frequent.
Every time you go to the store for “just one more thing” increases your spending because you’ll almost always think of another item (or six) to put in your basket.
5) Limit Meat and Junk Food
Meat isn’t usually cheap, so if you can minimize your meat consumption, you should save a lot. Also, see these ways to cut your meat budget in half!
Along the same lines, anything that’s junk food (with little to no nutritional value) can be cut out of your shopping list. It’s hard for many of us, but you might be really surprised to see how much money you save by skipping the cookies and potato chips. It’s better for your waistline, too!
6) Buy Ingredients vs. Prepared Meals
The more prepared your food is when you buy it, the higher the markup on the item will be. Stuff like those tiny kids’ meals with four crackers and a few slices of cheese and pepperoni are hugely inflated in price, not to mention packed with preservatives and unnecessary packaging waste.
Whenever possible, buy raw ingredients that you can prepare yourself.
- Buy the meat and vegetables instead of a ready-made pot roast kit, for example.
- Get your basic items and take a little bit of time to prepare them to make nice meals.
It’ll be cheaper and taste better than a frozen meal you throw into a skillet.
Convenience is nice occasionally, but the more often you go homemade, the more money you’ll save.
7) Check Per-Unit Prices
Rather than just looking at the total price of a product, be sure to check the per-unit price. That way you can truly compare one brand to another, as well as how much money you’d save buying a larger size instead of the smaller size.
8) Try Online Shopping
I can’t praise this strategy enough: online grocery shopping is a fantastic way to save on your grocery bill.
Stores put a lot of effort into store layout, placing the higher-priced items and the impulse buys where you’ll easily see them. The brand-name stuff will be strategically located at the ends of the aisles, while the generic equivalents are hiding on the shelves. Tons of impulse buys are set near the checkout areas.
I save money simply by not going inside the supermarket. I just do my normal shopping online.
You can save so much money online, because you’re less likely to take the time to add random junk food you don’t even need. Instead, you’ll stick to the list. You’re not susceptible to the marketing tactics employed in-store.
Some stores charge a small fee for pickup, but you’ll probably save more than the fee by avoiding the last-minute unintended purchases.
9) Be Smart About Buying in Bulk
Shopping at warehouse clubs, where bulk pricing reigns, may seem like a no-brainer. But you have to be smart when you buy in bulk.
You’ll save on your grocery bill if you do bulk-buying the right way. Don’t buy huge quantities of something you wouldn’t normally buy or use. Just because the per-unit price is cheaper when you buy in bulk doesn’t make it a great deal for you. Getting 75 tubes of toothpaste won’t save you money if you’re still trying to use them up ten years from now.
Bonus Tips For Saving:
- Use coupons
- Use a credit card with bonus grocery rewards
- Use all of your food at home
- Don’t shop while hungry
- Inventory your pantry regularly
- Check clearance sections
- Shop multiple stores for the best deals
- Use Ibotta or other cash-back rewards programs
- Buy extra items to freeze or preserve when on sale
How to Save on Your Grocery Bill – Final Thoughts
Buying groceries doesn’t have to be a huge drain on your finances. You can implement these nine strategies to save on your grocery bill right away. The big question is, “Will you?” Will you actually implement these strategies and choose to save hundreds of dollars a month? Or will you say, “That was a good article,” and then forget all about it 10 minutes from now.
Make the choice to save. Write down how you’re going to do it right now!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.