If you're anything like me, going to the grocery store might make you wonder why it's so gosh darn expensive just to be alive. Every little thing just adds up so fast!!
1. "Lately I’ve been taking out a set amount of cash for that month and only taking $50 with me to the grocery store. This helps me only get what I absolutely need since I only want to spend the cash at hand."
2. "My fav tip is to add one splurge item to your list so you have a little treat already planned for yourself. This way you know you’re getting something yummy to celebrate a successful grocery trip."
3. "Have a standard list in your wallet. You can use it every time to try and avoid impulse buys."
5. "Use a calculator. It helps you prioritize what you really want in your cart. Also made me realize I spend a lot on junk food and not nearly enough on vegetables."
6. "It's a bit more time-consuming, but make a goal for how much you want to spend. Then, make a list of what you need to buy. As you check an item off the list, put the price next to it. Add them all up and see if you have room for anything extra that can still fit in your budget."
7. "I will plan out a few dinners and then look at remaining ingredients to make into another meal. For example, if I only need a cup of chicken broth for one meal, half a bag of Parmesan for another meal, and half an onion, what can I do with the remaining ingredients? It helps me cut food waste and also pushes me to get more creative."
8. "Invest in an InstaPot and buy dry beans in bulk. You can make chili, soups, and stews all on a budget and as a bonus, it takes less time in the InstaPot than in the stove which saves on electricity."
9. "A slow cooker is an investment but makes inexpensive tough meat taste amazing so you can stomach the cheaper cuts. And learn to cut down on food waste. Make your own broth with bones and vegetable ends for example. Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil to prevent wasting them if you don’t use them all up in time."
10. "I buy Visa/MC gift cards at Kroger when they are giving 4x fuel points. I buy them in the amount I have budgeted for groceries that week and only use them at whatever store I am in. This keeps me on budget and also gives me discounts on gas. When the amount on the cards runs out, that’s it."
11. "Shop the clearance section! Produce that’s about to expire is perfect for soups and stir-fries, prepared meals can usually be frozen, and there are sometimes shelf-stable items with packaging faults."
12. "Buy in bulk and freeze if you have the space! Also don’t be married to one grocery store. I check ads every week. I have a normal store but if there is something we use at a great deal elsewhere, that’s where we are going."
14. "Look at the bottom shelf. Off- and store-brand items tend to be kept below eye level and are usually cheaper."
15. "Don't buy mini pre-packaged snacks. It's cheaper to buy a bag of chips and then package into smaller bags for lunches."
16. "Don't purchase based on price per package but price per ounce/item. If a 12-pack of granola bars costs $3 and the 24-pack costs $5, get the 24-pack because it's cheaper per bar."
17. "Stop buying pre-cut vegetables, meat, and shredded cheese. They're like 75,439 times more expensive than their whole counterparts. Same goes for those pre-bagged salad kits."
For people with certain disabilities, pre-cut veg and shredded cheese might be a necessity. If cost is the only factor, then you can certainly save by cutting out those items, but never feel bad about buying them if they improve your quality of life.
18. "Make meals with bulk and versatile veggies. I usually stick to a few staples like carrots, potatoes, and onions! Also don’t be afraid of discount stores! I can usually find good deals on cheese and meat like bacon for a third of what you pay at the grocery store!"
19. "The cheapest produce by volume are cabbages, carrots, and pineapples (if you buy whole and cut it yourself). Rotisserie chickens are a great deal. And buy spices in the international aisle. McCormick will be trying to get $6.99 while a half-pound bag in the international section is $2."
20. "Before COVID-19, I would buy a latte before shopping and take a sip whenever I wanted to buy an extra beverage or junk food."
21. "I fool myself into thinking I’ve bought a lot of groceries by storing my reusable bags in my shopping cart. It makes the cart look fuller a lot quicker, and it helps when I’m considering an impulse buy."
22. "If you eat meat, go to the deli rather than getting pre-packaged meat, especially if you’re cooking for a one- or two- person household. For example, I don’t eat bacon regularly and needed three slices for a recipe. Rather than buy a pack that I would never finish for $13, I bought my three slices for $2."
23. "Honestly, I have saved so much money in the year since I became a vegetarian. People think it can be expensive. But if you do it right, you save a lot of money. Grains are way cheaper than meat."
Thinking about cutting some meat out of your diet? These cheap and tasty vegetarian recipes just might give you some inspo.
24. "Download the apps for your favorite grocery stores. Some, like the Safeway app, make special deals based on your purchases and sometimes have offers for up to $5 off any purchase over like $25. King Soopers and Kroger allow you [to] add coupons directly to your store card so you don't have to clip coupons. And Whole Foods offers coupons you can only get on their app."
26. "Shopping at Aldi! They have cheap everything with some great-quality foods! We save so much on groceries by shopping continuously here."
27. "Walmart’s free grocery pickup: Instead of wandering the aisles and buying way more than I need, I stand in front of my pantry and fridge and just order what I see I’m out of. We eat less junk this way too!"
28. "I enjoy using grocery delivery apps. Yes, the fees are outrageous, but we did a cost/benefit analysis our first year of using it (fun couple alert) and we saved a metric butt-load of money. It's much easier to stick to a list, put impulse items back, and take advantage of every sale you can find."
29. "I’ve tried a million and one tips but honestly, as a single full-time working mom, the only thing that I’ve been able to stick with to lower my grocery bill is 5 Dinners 1 Hour. All the planning and the logic behind the shopping is done for you; you just pick your recipes, shop, prep in less than an hour, and you have dinner ready for each night. I’ve saved so much on groceries and had so much less food waste."
30. "I match my coupons up with the weekly grocery flyer to maximize savings. Also, if the store does not double coupons under $1, I use all my high-value coupons ($1+) where I get more bang for my buck. More than once I have come out with free groceries and saving more than I spent!"
33. "Extreme couponing is neat and all, but don't stock up on crap you'll never actually use. It's fun to get something for a few cents that would normally be more expensive, but that's also a few cents you could put toward getting something you actually want."
34. "My boyfriend and I were spending way too much on groceries until we started shopping based off the sales flyer at our local store instead of at Whole Foods. We also buy one or two 10-pound bags of potatoes ($4 each) per month, as well as a 10-pound bag of rice (about $5) and pre-cook batches for quick meals. I’m vegan and he eats mostly plant-based at home, so this helped us to balance our produce-heavy meals with filling grains and starches that are much cheaper."
36. "Cook twice as much as you need and eat leftovers for lunch (if your workplace has a microwave!). Makes lunch easier, cheaper, and usually much healthier and more filling."
37. "Literally the best tip is to eat what you buy. Know what food is in your home and strive to use it this month. Save the last bit from bags of chips and crackers, blend it up, and use it for breading on chicken instead of buying panko. Season things differently and experiment so you don't feel like you always have the same meals. Just use what you have."
38. "DON’T SHOP HUNGRY!! When I’m hungry, I crave every single thing and spend way more than I need. On the other hand, if I eat right before I shop, I don’t always buy certain things I need because I am completely full. I would go shopping about an hour or so after you have eaten. It’s the best of both worlds and you always stick to your list."
Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.