There’s no denying it, grocery shopping can be expensive. In fact, your monthly grocery budget might be one of your biggest costs.
But just because you’re trying to save money on groceries doesn’t mean you can’t buy healthy food.
There are easy ways to save money on your grocery bill and lower your food costs without compromising nutrition or quality.
Here are 20 tips for grocery shopping on a budget that you can use to rein in your grocery budget.
Grocery shop with coupons
When grocery shopping on a budget, be sure to clip and use any available coupons for your favorite brands before you head to the store.
This will help you save money on food items you’re already planning to buy.
You can usually find coupons in your local paper, from your favorite grocery store’s app, or on websites like Coupons.com.
Compare prices across different grocery stores
You probably already compare prices of similar products, but don’t forget to compare prices from different stores as well.
Check the sales flyers and store coupons offered at other nearby grocery stores to make sure you’re getting the best deals.
Make a meal plan
Meal planning saves money and time and also reduces food waste.
Make your menu plan easier by choosing
Keep a list of family favorites so you can plan meals quickly.
Buy in bulk
Typically food products like rice, pasta, canned vegetables, and dried beans are cheaper when purchased in larger quantities.
Buying bulk items will not only save you money but time as well by reducing how often you need to grocery shop.
Stick to a list
One of the best ways to save money when you’re grocery shopping on a budget is by sticking to your shopping list and not buying items on impulse.
Make your grocery list before going to the store to keep from overspending or purchasing things that are unnecessary for that week’s meal plan.
Not only will you tend to eat more healthy food, but you’ll also reduce food waste by only buying the things you’ll use.
Pay attention to unit prices
Unit pricing is a way grocery stores denote the price per ounce, pound, or some other unit of measurement. They are often noted to the side of the price.
Use the unit price as a guide to compare different products and choose the cheaper option for the amount that you need.
Most people just look at the final cost of an item to determine if it’s a good deal. But comparing the price per unit is the best way to make sure you are getting the best prices on your groceries.
Just because the smaller bottle is cheaper, doesn’t mean it’s a better value.
Buy fresh produce and meats on sale and then freeze them
Did you know it’s estimated that we waste approximately 21% of the food we buy adding up to $1,800 a year per household?
Fruits, vegetables, and meat account for the majority of food waste.
If you plan to take advantage of sales and stock up on fresh fruit, ground beef, and chicken make sure you freeze them before they spoil. You can store them in your freezer until it’s time to cook.
Alternatively, consider buying frozen fruit. Not only will it be cheaper and more readily available during the off-season, but it’s also just as healthy, if not healthier, than buying fresh fruits.
Take advantage of cashback apps
Did you know you could earn rewards just for taking a picture of your receipt?
Fetch Rewards is my preferred receipt scanning app. It works for all your grocery spending as well as non-food items.
Get rewarded just for snapping pictures of your receipts. No pre-selecting offers, no scanning barcodes, no surveys, no ads – just scan your receipts and earn points!
Stock up on non-perishable items and pantry staples when they’re on sale
Stock up on non-perishable items (items with a long shelf-life) like peanut butter, canned beans, and canned fish when they go on sale.
You’ll be able to gradually build up your own pantry full of ingredients to shop from for future meal planning which will also help reduce your overall grocery spending.
Shop at a wholesale store
You can find many items at wholesale stores for less than you would pay for them at the grocery store.
Frozen fruits, frozen vegetables, chicken breasts, ground beef, and other types of meat are often heavily discounted at warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
Make sure to check unit prices to be sure you’re buying the better deal. And don’t forget to take advantage of any sales or specials to save even more money.
Shop grocery store specials
You can save on your food budget by taking advantage of store specials. You’ll find these sprinkled throughout the different departments and often in bulk bins in the front of the store.
Manager’s specials will usually get you the deepest discount. These are typically on a food item that’s near its expiration or sell-by date. Just pay attention and make sure to either consume them quickly or freeze them.
Buy generic brands
Did you know most professional chefs actually buy generic?
Generic or store brands are often much cheaper than name brands but are often just as good.
Just because you recognize a brand name doesn’t mean it’s inherently a better product. In fact, many brands are responsible for manufacturing their generic, store brand equivalents.
If you’re too busy to cook most nights, consider meal prepping.
Try batch cooking your meals all at once and then freezing or refrigerating what you’ll need for the rest of the week.
Having quick meals ready to go will help you avoid eating out, making extra trips to the store, and making impulse buys while you’re there.
Join your grocery store’s rewards program
Joining your favorite grocery store’s rewards program is one of the easiest ways to save money without much effort.
You’ll get customized coupons based on the food items you buy as well as qualify for member-only specials and discounted prices.
Grow your own fruit and vegetable garden
Starting your own garden or joining a gardening co-op with friends or neighbors will give you access to free, fresh vegetables and fruits all year long.
Don’t forget to freeze, dry, or can what you can’t use. Dried fruit and canned fruit can save you money all year long.
Order groceries online
Ordering groceries online is a great way to save money.
You’ll be more disciplined about keeping to your shopping list and can more quickly compare prices.
You’ll also be able to easily apply coupons and take advantage of store sales.
Make some meatless meals
Meat is expensive and prices are only going up. In 2021, meat prices were between 3-5% higher than the last year (depending on the type and cuts of meat).
Add at least one meatless meal to your weekly meal plan to cut back on these expensive items and lower your overall grocery bill.
Plan for leftovers
Leftovers are great for busy families. Planning for leftovers means less time in the kitchen as well as the grocery store saving you both time and money.
Take a look at your calendar when you’re making your weekly menu and make a note of the days that you’d like leftovers. Then plan your meals accordingly.
Drink more water
It’s always a good idea to drink more water.
Water’s not only healthy, but it’s also a great way to save money on your groceries.
Instead of buying expensive sodas or alcohol, buy a refillable water bottle you can use all day long.
Plus, studies show we don’t drink nearly enough water and often overeat as a result.
Drinking more water is not only healthier than the alternative, but it will also help you eat less too.
Grocery Shopping on a Budget Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
If you’re on a limited budget grocery shopping can be a challenge, but with a little planning, it is possible to lower your grocery bill.
Using these grocery shopping tips will help lower your monthly grocery bill as well as your overall monthly budget in the long run.
Try some of the strategies above on your next grocery trip to stretch a tight budget and enjoy good food without sacrificing quality or taste.