10 Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

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Wondering how you can beat the high price of groceries? Consider these ten simple steps you can take to save money on food costs.

save money on groceries

One of our most fluid expenses each month is what we spend on food. I mean, food can defined as lobster or lettuce. There’s a lot of wiggle room when it comes to spending your grocery dollar.

Here are ten simple ways that you can save money on groceries.

1. Shop the sales.

Don’t buy what you want. Buy what’s on sale! I used to spend a pretty penny when I let my tummy be my guide. Now, I scan the grocery sales ads and plan meals around what’s cheap that week.

2. Check the clearance rack.

It will surprise you what the store wants to unload. Often it’s NOT going bad anytime soon. Instead it’s got holiday packaging or they just have too much. Grab some deals on the clearance rack.

3. Don’t shop on an empty stomach.

You’ll buy more than you need if you go shopping when you’re hungry. If you can’t avoid going at that time, spend five minutes to buy and snack on a Larabar or some other quick and easy bite. That dollar you spend at the beginning of your shopping trip will save you even more by the end of your trip as you shop according to your list and not your appetite.

4. Take stock.

Know what you already have before you go so that you don’t buy more than you need. If you’ve got a full cupboard already, do a pantry challenge to use up what you have before it goes bad.

Just Slap a List of Meals on the Fridge

Meal Planning 101

5. Plan your meals.

Have a meal plan with an exact list of needed items. If you already know what you’re going to make this week, you can limit your shopping only to the things that you need.

Need some help meal planning in a budget-friendly way? Grab one of my meal plans that will show you how to make 7 dinners for 4 people for $70 or less.

6. Check your list again.

If you forget something, you’ll be tempted to go back to the store, and likely buy more than you need while you’re at it. Be sure to scan your list before you check out so you make sure you leave with all the things you need.

That said, give the cart another scan. Do you really need that XY or Z? You can put things back and save some money. Don’t buy more than you truly need.

7. Make do.

About to make a recipe and find out you are missing one ingredient? You could go to the store but then you spend more time and money, and you risk buying other things while you’re there.

Chances are you can find a substitution for a needed ingredient with what you already have.

Cilantro Chicken resized

Cilantro Chicken Rice Bowls

8. Go without.

Sometimes, we need to forgo our desires for the greater good. It’s okay. You’ll live.

9. Focus on cheap eats.

Filet mignon is special occasion food. Make peace with economical meals — they’re just as tasty! Food doesn’t have to be expensive to taste great. With a little creativity, you can make Beans and Rice rock it.

10. Make it yourself.

You can save a bundle if you make things yourself. You can make homemade convenience foods for a lot less than you would pay at the store.

Have you got an easy trick to saving money on groceries?

Do tell! See you in the comments.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Stephanie M. says

    One thing I’ve been doing forever is to buy as many “store brand” items as possible. Someone once told me that supermarkets pay companies to make items for them and then put the store label on it. I believe this. How many times do you see on the label, “compare ours to” . . . I have come across a few items that just aren’t as good as the “real thing” but mostly, I buy store brands on just about everything. For example, I buy store brand crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and paste, ketchup, mustard, mayo, butter, jams/preserves, canned beans, French fried onions, sugar, flour, baking powder, cornstarch, baking soda, some boxed side dishes, pancake mix (if you don’t make your own), sour cream, heavy and lite cream, almond milk, oatmeal, frozen potatoes like French fries, and even some OTC medicines, like cold and cough, antacid, etc. I was a little skeptical at first on the meds but they are simply generic. Most of the time when you fill a prescription anyway, the pharmacist usually tries to find something generic to save you money. And there are so many more store items that I buy. But as far as paper towels are concerned, I will only use Bounty and that’s that. 🙂 I had a coupon yesterday for 75 cents off two half gallons of almond milk. They were originally $3.99 each. Then I looked at the price of the store brand almond milk and without that being on sale, it was $2.99 each. So it was cheaper for me to buy the store brand and the best part it, it doesn’t taste any different. You have to watch though, once in a while when a non-store brand item is on sale, it can be lower in price than the store brand. My advice to people who are skeptical, try a few items at a time; you may be pleasantly surprised to see that your are not sacrificing taste and you’re saving money and you’ll see how much at the bottom of the receipt.

    • LeslieT says

      i agree with you on buying store brands, except for Bounty! I got turned on to Bounty paper towels after it was proven at our school science fair that they are the best.

      • Stephanie M. says

        None better as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

        • Always remember you can use other things besides paper towels if you want to save money too! =) Old clothing can be cut into rags, socks with holes used to wipe down toilets and thrown away.

    • Karen says

      You are absolutely right about generics. DH used to work for a potato processing plant. When they did french fries, they packaged them for a couple well known fast food chains, name brands and a store brand. Once one order was filled, they just changed the packaging and carried on.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Long before I was married to my husband, he used to work for Keebler and he said they did the same thing with cookies and crackers.

    • Connie says

      I agree, often the store brand/generic is just as good. Some products we actually prefer it to the national brand. But, like you mentioned, some products you do end up buying the name brand because it is superior in quality. What good is buying the less expensive one but you need to use 2-3 times more?

      • Stephanie M. says

        I know about that. I don’t care for store brand dish detergent. But trying things is how you find out.

  2. Stephanie M. says

    I forgot one thing; Another way that I save money is I switched to cloth napkins. I haven’t bought paper napkins for two years now. I can’t see throwing away napkins everyday. I have a really nice basket that I keep in the kitchen and it’s loaded with cloth napkins. I find them on the clearance racks or on sale. I even have some red bandanas that I purchased at the dollar store. They get softer after each wash. It doesn’t even matter if you can’t get a matching set for everyone in the family. Eclectic is okay too. Everyone can have their own color or pattern; it’s just for “everyday” use. When you realize how many napkins you go through in just one day, imagine what you go through in one week or one year. Cloth napkins take the place of those and they last a long time. Back in the day, cloth napkins were on everyone’s table every day; just watch an old show like I love Lucy or Andy Griffith. They did not use paper napkins. Everything adds up. Plus, there’s something really pretty about a cloth napkin next to your plate.

    • LeslieT says

      I also use cloth napkins, and cloth panty liners, to save money and be “greener”.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Every little bit counts and that’s why I use the reusable shopping bags everywhere I go.

    • Karen says

      Cloth napkins are the best. I find them all the time at thrift stores. A friend of mine bought the jumbo pack of bathroom washcloths at Costco–36 matching napkins.

      • Stephanie M. says

        I’ve heard about people using washcloths. They do the trick!

  3. Carole M says

    Don’t go shopping at the grocery store with children. You will spend more just trying to keep them quiet. And never shop around lunch time, because tempers are more likely to flare with crowds, and everyone rushing around trying to get back home or back to work on time, and hungry, crying kids. I fully endorse buying the store brand. I mean, green beans are green beans, right?

    • Stephanie M. says

      That’s right because . . . “You’re not you when you’re hungry!” 🙂

  4. Connie says

    Cooking at home and eating in has really saved us money. We are actively trying to reduce our expenses nowadays in favor of paying off debt and saving for the future. A friend who has successfully paid her debt off and cut up the cards told me how she shops for groceries and I’m trying the same. (She plans out the meals she’s going to cook and only buy what she needs to make them in terms of fresh ingredients. She sees what pantry/freezer items that are available and tries to use them in the plan.) Overbuying and wasting food was one of the main ways we were wasting money. Cooking and eating down the pantry and freezer helps, too. It is good to always have something on hand but hoarding a lot didn’t help us save money–because we forget about it, gets freezer burn or expires. I’ve used all of your suggestions mentioned above in one way or another in the last few months and it definitely has made a difference–including the usage household goods.

  5. karen J says

    Clearance prices rock! I was at Bartell’s yesterday picking up prescriptions. A group of woman were congregated in one aisle. I stopped to see what was going on. The Easter candy had just been REALLY reduced. I bought Godiva and Lindt bunnies for a quarter each and other Easter candy (bags of jelly beans, Dove chocolate eggs, Twix, Starburst, Reese’s peanut butter cups) for a dime each. Score! At checkout my five dollar purchase saved me over 53 dollars. Now I would never, ever spend that much on candy, but at those prices-yes. I will use the chocolate chopped up for cookies, some for grandkid treats, and yes, I admit it, I will just plain eat some of it.

  6. Those are all great tips. Learning to make do when I don’t have an ingredient, is really hard for me, but I’m working on it. I also love to use coupons, from the newspaper and internet.

    • Pam Lay says

      If you don’t have an ingredient do a search online, for instance Italian seasoning. Is just a mix of several other seasonings. Many times I have found I needed a certain spice or item, search for “substitution for ______” and you will be very surprised at what other items work well in a recipe. This is also good when clearing the pantry, find out I need something to make it into a recipe/dinner, but something I don’t usually use per-say. Tells me what I can use & complete the meal without buying an item I may never use again

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