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How to save money grocery shopping

How To Save Money Grocery Shopping

Updated on January 25, 2022

 Personal Finance

Grocery shopping doesn't have to be a budget buster. You may have seen elsewhere tips for saving money when it comes to food, such as cutting out the daily gourmet coffee or bringing a bag lunch to work instead of purchasing your lunch every day.

Here are some more food-related tips in terms of saving money at the grocery store and we'd like to pass those tips on to you:

Prepare for Grocery Shopping and Save Money

Make a list

Making a list will help you not to overbuy. Going to the store not knowing what you need, will lead to spending on items you don't need and probably won't use.

Shop with a List

Repeated surveys have found that people who shop with a grocery list save more than those who don't, and it's not just about remembering what you need and don't need. People who don't use grocery lists were found to be more susceptible to impulse purchases. Don't just shop with a list, stick to it. Cutting out unnecessary food purchases will save you money, and help keep you committed to other such self-disciplinary necessities as a budget.

Shop alone

It may seem impossible to shop alone if you have children, but you will save money. Specific studies have shown that you'll spend 30% more when you grocery shop with your kids and 38 percent more with your partner. Also, avoid the peak shopping times between 4 pm and 5 pm and get some real quiet. You deserve it.

Don't shop hungry

Eat before you go shopping and don't shop hungry. People who shopped hungry not only bought higher calorie, unhealthy foods but spent more than they intended to and bought a lot of unnecessary items.

Know your prices

Not all 'sales' are real sales. Grocery store promotions aren't necessarily created to help shoppers. Their primary purpose is to be profitable and make money for the store. Having a general idea of what a product costs and what you're willing to pay is extremely useful.

Check the ads

Each store has its sale/special. Something you use a lot may be on sale, which would make it an excellent time to stock up.

Coupons are your friend

Going online and doing some research at sites like can save you quite a bit of money. Keep in mind, though, only look for coupons for items that you need. Don't purchase something because it's a great deal.

Shop at different stores

Not all stores are created equal. Various stores have better deals on certain items. For example, Costco has better deals on milk, and Winco has better deals on fruit and meat. Check your local stores to find the best deals in your area.

Shop with the seasons

Seasonal produce tastes better and will save you money. Buying out-of-season produce will not have the flavor, and you'll be paying extra for its travel bill.

Know about eye-level shelves

Did you know that sneaky grocery stores stock the most expensive items at your eye level? Take the time to look up and down and see if there are better deals to be had.

Save Money When You Are Grocery Shopping

Shop generic

Did you know that Americans are wasting about $44 billion a year on name brands? You can usually buy the same product at almost half the price. I understand that some brands are off the table, but you might be surprised by the taste of some generic brands.

Read the food dates

When you're buying milk or other items that expire quickly, take the time to check the expiration dates of the ones set behind in the cooler. Grocery stores usually keep the oldest products in the front for a more comfortable reach to ensure you buy them first. You'll be surprised how much older products are in front than the ones stored behind.

Avoid pre-cut or pre-packaged food when you can

When you buy pre-packaged items, you are paying for convenience. A perfect example would be vegetables and fruits that come washed, cut, and packaged. Instead, wrap your food to save money.

Skip serving-sized items

Unless you live alone, buying pre-packaged or sliced products will cost more because you are paying for convenience. A big block of cheese and a package of sliced cheese are vastly different in price. The same holds with those bags of salad. Get more bounce for the ounce and spend a little more time preparing your food the old-fashioned way.

Stop buying processed foods, dudes

You know these foods are high in sugar, sodium, and refined carbohydrates and low in nutrition. You'll need to eat these foods more often to feel full during the day which causes you to spend more.

Use store reward cards

Maybe carrying all of those cards is a pain, but you can get an app like Key Ring that stores all your reward cards on your smartphone. Cards and apps are free, and you'll receive exclusive deals in the mail if you give them your correct address. If you can't be bothered with filling out the application or have privacy issues, the cashier at the store will usually scan a card if you don't have one.

Share the bulk

You can save some serious loot with wholesale shopping. Make a list with friends or another family and split the bill if you don't have a large household. An excellent bulk purchase is meat if you can't escape your bacon needs.

Skip exotic spices

It's fun and exciting to cook with new flavors and techniques. However, buying exotic spices and specialty ingredients at an international market could save you quite a bit of money.

Fresh herbs are expensive – Grow your own

If you haven't started a fresh herb garden yet; you are throwing away money. Let's look at Fresh Rosemary, buying an ounce of it can cost up to $2.00. You could buy a whole plant for less than five bucks.

Say, 'No!' to bottled water

It seems as though not too many folks mind fueling the billion-dollar industry of bottled water. Sure, it's convenient, but have you considered the environment and how much landfill space these plastic bottles require? The average price of a 16-ounce bottle of water is a buck. Your faucet is free.

Blocks of cheese only, please

Again, buying pre-cut anything will cost more because it's convenient. Grate your cheese on Taco Tuesday and save some serious cash.

Mix your marinades or spice rubs

Did you drop six bucks on a spice rub or marinade? You could have made it with seasonings you might already have. Because most of these seasoning mixes are salt – You could save some serious money. You could also check your local international market and make your own.

Buy bags of potatoes

If you pay attention to the price of loose potatoes compared to a 5-pound bag, you could save some money.

Stores still offer rain checks

Grocery stores sell out of popular sale items all the time. Don't be afraid to ask for a rain check, but please go to customer service and not at the checkout to see if your store offers that option.

Don't buy toiletries at the grocery store

You can save money and buy your toiletries at a pharmacy or online. Compare the prices and find your best option.

Saving money on groceries isn't magic or that difficult. If you take the time and plan, you'll see immediate savings for you and your family. Feel free to drop some knowledge in the comments section if you have any tips for saving money at the grocery store. Also, remember that if you need any extra cash for a short-term, be sure to check out our installment loan requirements in Nevada and Arizona and see if that option is right for you.

Photograph of author Joseph Priebe

Joseph Priebe

Joseph Priebe takes pride in assisting audiences with his articles to help them make sound financial decisions.

With over ten years of experience writing financial content his goal at CASH 1 has always been creating engaging and easy-to-digest information for anyone searching for immediate or long-term monetary solutions.

When Joseph is not writing about personal finance, you can find him photographing the Southwest United States with his 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphic camera. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona.