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The cost of groceries is one of the biggest expenses in everyone’s monthly budget.
Too many people just accept the rising cost of their grocery spending.
But you don’t have to.
There are plenty of easy ways you can spend less money on groceries and I am going to show you how.
By following the tips I outline, I will help you reduce your grocery budget every single month.
The money you save on groceries can be put towards other expenses or savings.
Let’s see the things you can start doing to spend less money on food at the grocery store.
Table of Contents
How To Spend Less Money On Groceries
#1. Look For Coupons In Your Mail
Many people get flyers in their mail that have coupons in them.
If you don’t get them in the mail but get the Sunday newspaper, you will find the flyers here too.
Of course, you could always buy the newspaper at the store as well.
These are a great way to save money on groceries.
The bad news is they can also lead to overspending if you aren’t disciplined.
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This happens when you get so caught up in saving money that you use coupons to buy things you don’t need.
While it is fine to try a new item to see if you like it, don’t make it a habit.
#2. Review Grocery Store Flyers For Coupons
Some grocery stores include coupons you can cut out of their weekly flyers.
And in some cases, these can be great deals.
There is one grocery store near us that has a couple coupons each week and they are great deals.
One week, I was able to buy a pineapple for $0.49 vs. the regular price of $2.99.
If you end up losing the ad with the coupon, don’t worry.
Most grocery stores will also have the same ads in-store so you can take advantage of these coupons as well.
#3. Use Grocery Store Flyers To Find The Best Deals
When you are scanning the weekly ads for coupons, make sure you are paying attention to the sales as well.
Most stores have a rotation for when things go on sale.
Learn how this works at each store you shop at so you can plan your spending ahead of time.
As you do this, you will also know what is a good sale.
For example, you might see bread is on sale at $1 off regular price.
This could be great.
But if you pay attention, you will realize that in a few weeks, the sale is now buy one, get one free.
This is a great deal and you should stock up on bread.
Since mostly likely you won’t eat it fast enough, simply freeze the extra loaves until you need them.
I use this trick at one store near me to perfection.
Every couple of months they have amazing sales on a handful of the items we buy.
Most of the sales are BOGO or buy one, get one free.
But there is one sale at this time that is buy one, get two free.
I walk out of the grocery store spending $30 on food that if purchased at regular price would cost me $75.
#4. Sign Up For Grocery Apps
Most all stores these days have mobile apps to download.
Not only does a grocery app offer digital coupons, but many include recipes and a guide for where to find items in the store.
Beyond the coupons, there’s the added convenience of not having to cut out and hold onto certain coupons that you want to use later.
Simply open the app before you go grocery shopping or when you are at the store and tap on the coupon you want.
It will get digitally transferred to your loyalty card and the savings will be applied when you check out.
As a precaution, I always review my receipt to make sure all the digital coupons were applied to my purchase.
#5. Sign Up For Third Party Grocery Apps
In addition to using the app from your local grocery store, look into third party apps as well.
There are a handful that I use to help me save some extra money on groceries.
For example, Ibotta is one where I digitally clip a coupon for a product and then after I shop, I scan my receipt and the savings get added to my Ibotta account.
When I have earned $20, I cash out my earnings.
On an average month I save $7 on my groceries.
You can sign up for Ibotta by clicking the link below.
Another app I use is Shopkick.
This app has me earn points for not only buying certain items, but also scanning the barcode of items in store or simply walking into select stores.
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Once I earn enough points, I can redeem them for cash via PayPal or a free gift card.
You can learn more about Shopkick by clicking the link below.
Finally, there are receipt scanning apps.
These apps reward you with points every time you scan a grocery store receipt.
The two I use are Fetch Rewards and Receipt Hog.
As with the other apps, once I earn enough points, I redeem them for free gift cards or cash.
You can join Fetch Rewards by clicking the link below
As for Receipt Hog, click here and get 5 free spins when you upload your first receipt.
Understand that using these apps isn’t going to save you thousands of dollars a year.
But they do save you money.
On average, I earn around $350 a year using them, which helps me pay for gifts around the holidays.
I’m certain this amount would be higher, but I buy a lot of private label items as opposed to brand name goods.
And since taking a picture of my receipts takes me less than one minute, it is worth the time spent to me.
#6. Start Meal Planning
Some people like to create weekly meal plans ahead of time, especially when it comes to the dinners that they want to eat.
However, this may end up costing you more if you could wait to have that same meal later on in the month during a time when the ingredients you need are on sale.
Instead, wait to meal prep until you know what the store sales are for that week so that you can see what’s on sale and plan your dinner around those items.
It may not always result in the most exciting recipes, but it will help you save on money on the regular price of items.
#7. Set A Spending Limit And Stick to It
Learning how to save money on groceries depends not only on financial savviness but making sure that you’re making the right choices when you go out to shop.
If you have a loose budget and let yourself spend a bit more than you typically would, these extra expenses can add up over time and impact other areas of your budget.
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Instead, set a hard spending limit for your weekly or bi-weekly shopping trips and make sure to stick to it.
#8. Shop With A List
Arguably the best way to keep grocery purchases in check and avoid impulse buys is to shop with a list.
Before you head out, create a shopping list of everything you’ll need ahead of time so that you don’t end up grabbing things that you don’t absolutely need while you’re browsing the grocery store.
If you’re able to stay under your overall spending limit, this is even better for your wallet.
#9. Never Shop On An Empty Stomach
It took me a while to realize I was guilty of this.
I would go shopping when I was hungry and gave into a lot of temptations.
As I walked through the frozen food section, I gave in to the pizza and ice cream.
And then I would give in to the sugary cereal too.
Once I realized I was giving in to my urges because I was hungry, I took action.
Either I made it a point to only shop after I ate a meal, or I ate one of the snacks I started keeping in my car.
By having a full stomach, my willpower was greater and I saved a lot of money I was otherwise spending on impulse purchases.
Also, you can see if your supermarket offers online ordering.
Here you can add items to your cart, pay online and simply pick up your groceries without having to enter the store.
This will save you from the many temptations spread throughout the grocery store.
#10. Buy Store Brand Items Rather Than Brand Names
Branding is one of the ways that certain products will get you to spend several more dollars when you’re looking for certain goods.
Although there’s sometimes a difference in quality between certain items, this isn’t always true.
For example, let’s imagine that you have to buy some cold medicine this week because you’ve come down with a cold.
Choosing generic brands over name brands will not impact how well you recover from your cold.
The only difference it will make is in how much you spend.
If you don’t believe this, just look at the ingredients list.
You’ll see it is exactly the same.
If there’s an option to get a store brand product instead of name brand items, go for it.
This is a simple trick that can save you a lot of money.
#11. Shop At Different Stores
Unless you live in a very small town, most cities offer multiple grocery stores and supermarkets to choose from.
And if you aren’t shopping at multiple stores, you are very likely paying more than you should be on your groceries.
By shopping at different stores, you can get the best deals from each one.
If one store is noticeably more expensive and regularly draining your bank account when you go shopping, try out some other options that may end up saving you a couple of dollars.
The only time brand loyalty may work out is if your specific store offers a loyalty program that ends up saving you more than the competition.
Otherwise, make a list of the things you regularly buy and go to each store.
Note the prices for each item on your list and see where the best deals are.
Chances are you will have to shop at a couple stores to save the most money.
We shop at 3-4 stores ourselves.
This isn’t to say we go to this many grocery stores each week.
We stock up and shop based on sales so most weeks we are visiting 2 stores max.
#12. Always Check Out The Clearance Section
This isn’t necessarily a tip that will teach you how to save money on groceries every time, but it is one that can cut down on some of your expenses like alcohol, sweets, or medication.
Most grocery stores have a small clearance section carved out somewhere in the store that comes stocked with products that need to be sold and have almost reached or passed their expiration date.
Whether these are fresh goods, or in some cases not as fresh from the bakery, cold medicines or vitamins, or necessary staples like bread and wine, there are plenty of great finds that will be extremely marked down to your benefit.
You might even get lucky and find a discontinued product that is on sale for pennies.
One time I found a cinnamon spice that was being discontinued and instead of $4.99 it was $1.50, so I bought all 3 jars.
While you may not be able to determine exactly what’s going to be put on these racks weekly, you may be able to save some money by replacing full-price items on your grocery list with replacements you can find here.
#13. Shop At Discount Stores
In addition to shopping for groceries at the supermarket, you should consider buying food items at discount stores like Walmart and Target.
I’ve found that for some staple products, like household cleaners, toilet paper and paper towels, the best prices are not at any of my local supermarkets, but at Walmart.
And if you are looking for organic food, both these discount stores and others have been increasing their selection of these foods.
Therefore, don’t think you have to settle for Whole Foods pricing when you can buy organic elsewhere and usually for a lower price.
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As an added bonus, you can also shop for household items at these stores as well.
In fact, you should not be buying household items at the grocery store as they are usually overpriced versus discount stores.
#14. Shop Warehouse Clubs
Shopping at warehouse clubs for bulk items is another way to save money on groceries.
While the price you pay is more because you are buying a larger volume of goods, the unit price is actually lower.
However this isn’t always the case.
So be sure to know the unit price of the items at the grocery store so you can do a real comparison to the warehouse club pricing.
Don’t know what the unit price is?
It’s the price in the lower corner of the tag that is universal for all products.
In other words, if you are comparing one gallon of almond milk to a half gallon, which price is better?
To know for sure, you look at the unit price.
In most cases, the larger the size, the better the unit price, saving you money.
Simply check the unit price to know for sure.
#15. Find A Local Farmers Market
For fresh produce, consider a local farmers market.
The prices are usually better than the grocery store since they cut out the added cost of shipping to the supermarket and the mark up from the store.
For the absolute best deals, head to the farmers market just before closing time.
You might be able to haggle on the prices of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables as the farmer might not want to take them back home.
And if you are looking to make something out of the produce, ask for seconds.
We buy seconds of apples all the time to make homemade applesauce.
The only thing wrong with these apples is they have blemishes on the skin so they can’t be sold to the supermarket.
We get a large box for $10 and make applesauce and apple pies out of them.
#16. Buy Less Meat
Anyone who shops for food knows that meat tends to be the most expensive item at the store.
Whether it is ground beef, chicken breasts, turkey, or other types of meat, the price per pound is significant.
So what can you do to lower the cost of this food item?
The easiest way is to simply buy less.
Don’t think you need to have a meat in every meal. Try going meatless one or two nights a week.
Instead of meat, have soup or pasta, or a salad for dinner.
If you can go 2 nights a week without meat, you can greatly lower your food budget.
#17. Limit Food Waste
A another tip to keep your grocery spending in check is to practice limiting food waste.
This could be as simple as saving uneaten meals and reheating them for lunch or dinner the next day.
Or it could be using leftover food for other uses.
For example, you can take chicken bones and use that as a base for your own chicken broth or stock.
Finally, it could also mean buying less food each week.
If you find yourself throwing out food because it expired before you could eat it, you might be better off buying less to make sure you eat everything you buy.
The fact is we waste a lot of food in this country, to the tune of $161 billion each year.
#18. Look For Promotional Deals On Delivery And Pickup Apps
Although you may not need your groceries delivered, you can generally schedule your goods for pickup through these apps, using special promotional deals that they offer in-app.
Just make sure that when you use these platforms to look for deals, you factor in any delivery fees that they may charge you.
The last thing you want to do is to think you got a bargain, only to end up paying more than you normally would if you did all the heavy lifting by yourself.
Also, it is important to be specific when ordering groceries.
In some cases, the shopper will substitute an item for a different brand name if you are not specific on what you want.
#19. Shop Online For Bulk Goods And Grocery Essentials
Not all of your grocery shopping has to be done in person or even through delivery apps.
In fact, there are plenty of great resources online that can help you get your hands on some of your most essential products.
Take for example, a website like Boxed.
Boxed allows you to get great deals when you buy certain products in bulk.
Some of the items that you may want to stock up on include things like crackers and children’s snacks, soups or pasta, and even things that you may need around the house, like cleaning products.
When you buy in bulk, you can save money by getting everything you need ahead of time so that you don’t have to purchase it again in the near future.
If you’re looking for how to save money on groceries that are organic or socially responsible, you could always try Thrive Market.
Thrive Market is a membership-based, online grocery store that offers you access to organic goods that are sent right to your doorstep.
If you typically shop at organic health stores, you’ll find the products here are much more affordable.
Additionally, they offer a wide variety of products to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for health and wellness, beauty, pantry, frozen meats and other products, or even wine, they have nearly everything that you could ask for besides produce.
Plus, you have the added convenience of getting everything sent right to your doorstep.
They also offer regular discounts and sales and will even give you Thrive member gift promotions so that you can get some free things you’ve been looking to try.
This may not be for everyone, but it’s a great option for those who already shop for sustainable brands.
#20. Try A Subscription Meal Plan Instead
For those who are busy and don’t have time to shop for meals, you’ll learn that how to save money on groceries can be as simple as signing up for meal delivery services.
With a subscription meal plan, you pay for a number of meals sent to your door per week that are either ready to eat or just need to be prepared according to the directions.
While some may be expensive, it all depends on how many people you’re feeding and what type of meals you want.
This way, you can save time and money all while focusing on other important tasks.
#21. Pay With A Rewards Credit Card
An often overlooked way to reduce the cost of groceries is to pay with a rewards credit card.
While this will not directly make your grocery trip cheaper, you will earn points or cash back depending on the type of rewards card you choose.
It’s important you know what your goal is first and then pick the reward that meets your needs best.
For us, we opt for cash back cards.
At the end of the year, we redeem our cash back and invest the money.
There are lots of credit card options out there.
Here is a great list showing you some of the best options to pick from.
There are the best ways for how to spend less money on groceries.
Don’t think you need to start using all of these tips.
Pick out a couple to start with and then pick more or substitute out ones that aren’t working for you.
If you have patience and take the time to figure out which ones work for you, you will find that your monthly grocery bill is going to go down a lot, allowing you to put that money towards better uses.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.