Saving Money on Groceries

Everybody needs to eat, but food can be incredibly expensive. Many people have wondered how to spend less at the grocery store. There are many simple tricks that you can use to minimize the cost of food. These may seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of them, they are incredibly simple.

Buy in Bulk

Generally, a smaller item will appear to be cheaper than the larger one. If you do the math, the larger one is usually a better option. Grocery stores know they can make more profit with the smaller items because more people are inclined to purchase that size.

Buying a larger size is a good idea if you will be able to use the bigger option. If you buy a 10lb bag of potatoes when you were only going to eat 5lb before they went bad, the smaller option is better.

For some staples, such as flour, sugar, and corn meal, and some non-essentials, like candy and trail mix, you can find more savings by shopping in the bulk section. You have complete control over how much you buy and the price per pound is likely lower than any of the pre-bagged brands.

Buy Whole Foods


Pre-prepared foods get rid of so much hassle. A frozen dinner or pre-sliced meat brings down preparation time. It’s a shame that the food gets a significant markup when it’s in a packaged form

Buying food in their original form is cheaper than just getting parts. It may take a bit longer to cook than the packaged food, but the time you spend in the kitchen is time you’re not spending working to pay for the packaged dinners. Your cooking skills may end up surprising you. Food made from scratch will always taste better than food from a can.

Try the Store Brand

Don’t worry about the store brands tasting bad. Consumers Reports did a taste test between major brands and store brands. In most of those cases, the store brands tasted as good or better than their brand name counterparts.

Because stores control their own brands, they may have extra deals, like more frequent sales or bonus points for a points program. These deals make the store brand even more affordable.

Stick to a Meal Plan

Impulse shopping can lead to your grocery bill skyrocketing, but its sneakier cousin, unplanned shopping, can hurt your wallet just as much. Unplanned shopping occurs when you buy something promising yourself that you’ll use it, but you never do. People throw out up to 20% of their food. That wastefulness costs you.

Planning meals in advance helps to curb spending by telling you what items you’ll need to buy to make those meals. It’ll help you make sure that you use every item that you buy. It can even help with time management and healthy eating, as you no longer have to struggle with the question of “what am I going to make for dinner?”

Keep Track of Seasons

Clothes, hair, and décor go through seasons, but few people talk about seasons when it comes to the food they put on their table. However, seasons matter more with food than they do for most other items. Think about it: if there is a blizzard outside, what are the odds that the apples you’re buying are in season?

Some produce, like mushrooms and lettuce, is in season for most of the year. Other kinds are only available for short times. Cucumbers and peppers are summer foods, while sweet potatoes are harvested in the winter. When your favorite vegetable isn’t in season, its price goes up.

Mind the Expiry Date

Expiry dates aren’t God. They aren’t even consistent. Sometimes, they are called “Best Before” dates, other times they are “Use By” dates, and sometimes you are presented with a date and no appellation at all. Depending on the type of food, the expiry dates may be meaningless. The only type of food with regulated expiry dates in the United States is baby food.

In most packaged goods, like canned food, crackers, and other things that do not perish quickly, the Best Before date refers to the date that a manufacturer believes the food will lose some of its flavor or texture. The food is still safe to eat, but it might not taste as good.

With perishable items, like dairy, meat, and produce, the expiry dates are more important. You can usually smell or see when something has gone bad. Even with vegetables that look a bit wilted or milk and meat that is only a few days behind the best before date, you can revitalize the food by cooking it.

Eat Before Shopping

Early humans would eat food the moment they got the chance. Modern humans still have that instinct. That means that if you are going grocery shopping while you are hungry, everything looks tastier than it is.

The simple solution to this problem is to eat before you go. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Even a granola bar will do. It’s just important that your stomach is full before you go so you aren’t tempted to buy everything that you see.

Avoid Samples

Sometimes, grocery stores or food brands will hire a third party to hand out free samples to customers. Other times, they give out free samples themselves. These tiny morsels of a product are enticing. Who doesn’t like trying new things?

The reason stores set up free sample displays is because free samples are one of the most effective marketing tactics that a grocery store can use. Avoiding free samples means avoiding the temptation to buy the associated product. These products may not be products you’ll use, so you’ll save by avoiding them.

Use a Calculator

Calculators can be incredibly useful tools to figure out how much you’ll be paying before you get to the counter. They can help you stick to hard budgets and even help to figure out which deal is better.

It might look awkward to bring a calculator to a grocery store. Most phones, even non-smart phones, have calculator applications on them. You will look far less conspicuous pushing buttons on your cell phone. Keeping the amount you’re spending in your mind as you shop will help you make better purchases.

By using one or all of these techniques, you can save plenty of money. You might learn additional tricks that are unique to your area or your grocery store. At first, these techniques may be frustrating, but over time, you will learn to master them. Your wallet will be heavier, and your belly will be full.