10 Tips For How To Save Money On Groceries

how to save money on groceries cheap supermarket food budget

Nothing is worse than spending money needlessly that you could have saved for something else. Most families spend way too much money on their grocery budget each month without realizing that there are easy ways to cut costs. 

A little bit of planning can go a long way and end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year on groceries while still keeping your family happy and fed. 

That extra money could go towards savings, paying down debts, or maybe even a family trip. Keep reading to learn how to save money on groceries, so you never overspend again at the grocery store or market. 

Why People Spend Too Much Money on Groceries 

The main reason people spend too much on groceries is that they shop without a budget. While a budget may feel confining, it can actually offer a lot of freedom. 

No budget means you are free to shop without limits and spend your money recklessly, not leaving enough for other things. When you shop with a budget and stick to it, you will be able to pay your other bills easier and maybe even use your money for fun things. 

People also overspend by buying expensive products. In the list below we will go over how to find the best deals to make your budget stretch farther at the supermarket. 

But before we discuss the best tips and tactics to save money, you need to set a monthly grocery budget. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spend around seven percent of their income on groceries. To determine what your budget should be, try this grocery budget calculator. 

With your budget in mind, now you can learn how to shop within that amount and save money with some tricks that not everyone knows about. Here are 10 top tricks to learn how to save money on groceries. 

1. Make a Plan to Reduce Impulse Buying 

Walking into a grocery store without a list or meal plan is a sure-fire way to spend more money than you were planning on. No list means you are left aimlessly wandering through the aisles grabbing whatever sounds good at the moment, which usually leads you to buy more than we actually need. 

Next time you shop, take a few minutes before you go to write out a list of what you actually need. When you are at the store, stick to your list and avoiding last-minute impulse buys. 

It might also be helpful to outline a meal plan for the week to get a better idea of what you need. From there, you can break your list into categories to include snacks and beverages so that all of your bases are covered and you are not tempted by something that was not on your original list. 

You should also never shop with an empty stomach, as your cravings will guide you instead of your well-planned list. 

Walking in with a list prepares you to save money and still get everything you need, and it also helps you cut down on food waste. Having a meal plan will also help reduce how much you eat out, which is much more expensive than eating at home. 

After a few weeks of making a list of groceries each time before you shop, it will become second nature and you will never want to enter a grocery store without one again. This little trick will help you save money every single week and guarantee guilt-free shopping trips. 

2. Scan Your Kitchen 

Another thing you should do before you shop is run a quick scan of the food you already have at home. This can help you craft meal ideas around what is already in your kitchen instead of needing to buy more ingredients. 

If it helps, you can keep a running list of what you already have in your home to refer back to if you forget while you are shopping. That way you can avoid buying multiples. This will also help you eat up all the food you have before it goes bad, which is a huge source of wasted money for most families. 

3. Calculate as You Shop 

If you have a strict weekly spending amount for groceries, do not wait until the check-out line to see if your cart comes in under budget. The only way to ensure that your budget is safe is to take a calculator with you or use the one on your phone to add up your items as you shop. 

Getting to know the average prices of the groceries you buy each week will help you get creative and fit more into your budget. You can also trick yourself by rounding up the price of each item so that when you get the total it will be less than you were expecting. Finally, do not forget to leave some room in your calculations for tax. 

4. Buy In-Season Produce 

Food and vegetables that are in-season are usually cheaper than the options that are not. Lookup a list of seasonal foods for your region and keep it on your phone so you can refer to it while you shop. 

As a bonus, eating seasonally is better for your health too. 

When choosing your produce, pick options at different stages. For example, if your family loves bananas, choose some that are ripe and ready to eat now and some that are still green and will ripen later in the week. This will help make sure your family can eat them all week before they go bad, which will save money on waste. 

5. Pay Attention To Sales and Coupons 

Keep up with the weekly ads and sales at your grocery store. Most of them have a weekly handout with all of the upcoming sales, or you can check on their website. Doing this can usually help you find extra coupons for the supermarket too. 

You can even compare deals between all of the grocery stores near you by checking their websites before you shop and choosing the one with the best prices that week. 

Pay attention to when the sales end so you can plan to shop on the day that you can take advantage of the most deals. If you are a Kroger shopper, use their app or newsletter to stay up to date with their sales and coupons. 

6. Stop Buying Cheap Snacks 

Inexpensive snacks like chips and candy may seem like they would save you money, but they are actually a pitfall that leads to spending more. Since most junk food snacks do not offer a valuable nutrition profile, they leave you still feeling hungry, making you go back to buy more. 

Instead, focus on snacks for you and your family that are filling and healthier for you. For example, apples and peanut butter, cheese sticks, vegetables and dip, nuts, and more. 

This is not to say that you can't enjoy something fun every once in a while, but do not get sucks into the trap to spend more money by relying on these snacks to fill up your family. Focusing on more nutritious and sustaining snacks for between meals will save money and help everyone in your family function better. 

7. Shop High and Low 

Grocery stores actually put their most expensive inventory on the middle-level shelves so it meets your eye line while you shop and you will splurge. Do not be fooled by this tricky tactic. 

If you look just above or below the middle shelves, you can usually find a less expensive alternative for the same product. Most of the time it is the same quality as the pricier name brand product and can shave dollars off of your bill each week. 

For foods like pasta, rice, cereal, and canned goods, avoid pricier brands with fancy packaging and go for a no-name brand or store brand instead to save money. 

8. Buy Canned and Frozen Food 

When fresh produce is out of season, buying the canned or frozen version is way cheaper and just as nutritious. You can also stock up and make some easy meals really inexpensively, like a vegetable chili, to stretch out the time between grocery trips. 

Having a small stock of canned beans is also a great way to add protein to your meals and save money on meat that week. For an inexpensive dessert, keep some frozen fruit on hand and simply add whipped cream when you get a sweet tooth. This will save you from rushing to the store for some ice cream or other more expensive dessert option. 

9. Speaking of Frozen, Freeze Your Meals for Later 

It is cheaper to buy more ingredients for the same meal than it is to buy all different ingredients for a new one. With that principle in mind, plan in some room for leftovers when crafting meal ideas for the week. 

When you are cooking, simply make more than enough servings and refrigerate whatever you do no eat for the next day. If you want to have it later, freeze it instead. You can do this with soups, casseroles, and other foods that freeze well. 

This little trick will save you time along with the money it saves on groceries. 

You can also utilize your freezer to stock up on sale items. If your grocery store is running a great deal on chicken wings, buy a few weeks worth and freeze what you will not use right away. 

10. Buy Bulk Items Online 

For grocery staples that your family goes through every week, try bulk shopping online. Sites like Amazon, Jet, Peapod, and Boxed can save you money with their subscription services, and you will save time searching for them at the grocery store. 

If your family eats a lot of beans and you have the extra time to soak them, trying buying dry beans in bulk since they are cheaper than canned. 

Be careful with bulk shopping. Make sure you only buy what you know your family actually eats and will get through in a reasonable amount of time. Bulk shopping is not the place to try new foods, but rather where you save money on staples. 

More Ideas of How to Save Money on Groceries: Learn to Make Inexpensive Meals 

If you have a large family, or even if you only cook for yourself but you are on a tight budget, learning some easy inexpensive meals to rotate through will also save money on groceries. 

You can usually switch up these meals to make them more versatile while still remaining cheap. For example, make a vegetable penne pasta dish and switch up which vegetables you use so you can shop seasonally, which is the cheapest option. 

Make a vegetable and rice casserole and switch up your vegetables again, or purchase different types of rice-based on what is on sale. Baked potatoes with a few toppings is another great meal that can go a long way for a small amount of cash. 

Eggs are another food that is inexpensive and can be prepared a variety of ways so you never get tired of them. Try them fried, scrambled, poached, or boiled. You can also use up any vegetables that are about to go bad in an omelet, saving you money and a trip to the grocery store

Find more easy and inexpensive meal ideas from the supermarket in our Finance and Lifestyle sections. 

Happy Homes Run on a Good Budget 

Hopefully, you feel empowered now that you know how to save money on groceries, and you can put your extra cash to something more fun. Remember to think about your budget as something that can give you more freedom, not less. Rather than a hindrance, it is a way to live with more financial stability and the freedom to do more with your income. 

For more tips on saving money and personal finance resources, check out the rest of the blog. We publish a wide variety of articles to help you and your business to save money on any budget!

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