34 Ways Frugal People Save Money on Groceries

How to save money on groceries?

With prices rising and rising, our food bill seems to be getting higher and higher every week; these tips will show you how to save money on groceries.

Even being a little more frugal each time you go food shopping can save you a significant amount of money each year. The savings can add up even if you make a conscious effort to be a little more frugal each time you go to the store.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you save money on groceries and help you save a bit of money on one of your biggest expenses!

34 Ways To Save Money on Groceries

Use Coupons

Coupons are a great way to save money! You can look online or leaf through circulars to find coupons for items that you need or want. Many stores have flyers with coupons in them at the entrance to their stores, so you don’t even need to plan in advance.

Sign Up for the Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a great way to save money! If a store has a loyalty program that is free to join (and many do), you can sign up for discounted prices and get loyalty points, which you can use for food or gas.

You also can sometimes get coupons on some of your most-purchased items, so it’s a great way to save money.

Join a Wholesale Club

Wholesale clubs often have items for significantly cheaper than regular grocery stores, but they have two major caveats. The first is that most have a membership fee, and the second is that it is very easy to overspend.

However, certain items can certainly offset the membership fee, and being strategic with your choices can offset the overspending. Make sure to go shopping with a list and make a specific decision about whether the prices at the wholesale club are worth it for your family.

Go In With a List and Stick To It

If you struggle with overspending, then make a list before you go and stick with it. When you have a specific list in your hand, then you are much less likely to overspend or indulge in any impulse purchases.

Buy Items on Sale

Look at circulars or on store websites to see what items are on sale and plan your meals around the sale item. For example, when you head to the meat department and notice that ground meat is on sale, you can plan a meal or two around ground meat.

Be open to trying and adapting recipes so you can use sale items.

Avoid Pre-packaged Food Items

While pre-packaged food items are easy and hassle-free, they usually come at a premium. Stay away from these items and try to find alternate solutions that are cheaper (and often healthier).

Compare Prices Between Stores

Just switching grocery stores can save you a lot of money on each trip to the grocery store. Prices vary wildly between stores, so check out different stores and see what the prices are on the items you purchase the most.

Then you can shop at the one that has the cheapest prices for the items you spend the most money on.

Buy Generic Brands

Generic brands are often much cheaper than brand-name products and are usually just as good! You can always try a generic brand; if you don’t enjoy it, you can go back to buying brand-name products.

I can safely say that some generic products will be just as good, perhaps even better, than the more expensive brand-name items you are used to.

If the taste does bother you, consider buying generic brands for large recipes where the flavor of one ingredient is overshadowed by the others.

Bring Your Own Bag

Some stores charge for bags, and others give you credit for bringing your own bag. If you have a car, you can keep a bag full of grocery bags to bring to the store so you can save money on your final bill.

Use a Rebate App

Did you know that you can get cashback on groceries and toiletries? Rebate apps, like Ibotta, allow you to scan your receipt and get cashback bonuses on certain items. Sign up and download the app, and make it a habit to scan your grocery receipt as soon as you leave the store.

Rethink Your Dinner Definition

Dinner does not need to be a full meal filled with heavy meats or chicken. Experiment with lighter (and cheaper) meals instead of a full heavy supper.

Make a Plan

Struggling to figure out what’s for dinner can lead you to rush to the grocery store and buy whatever food seems to be the easiest to cook.

However, doing that will absolutely make your grocery bill rise. To save money on groceries, plan a rough menu in advance. This way, you can grocery shop in peace and decide which stores to shop in for the best possible price.

Shop in Season

In-season fruits and vegetables are usually much cheaper than their imported counterparts. They’re also usually a lot yummier! Switch your food habits to adjust to what is in season and save some serious money on fruits and vegetables

Order Curbside Pickup

Have trouble resisting the urge to overspend or grab a chocolate bar from the checkout lane? Order curbside pickup to resist the shopping urge. I find that shopping on an app makes it easier to stick to my list.

Try Going Meatless for a Meal or a Week

We are very used to eating animal-based proteins such as meat, chicken, or fish for meals. However, going meatless and switching to a plant-based meal will save you a lot of money in a short amount of time.

Just swapping one meat meal for lentils or beans will easily cut your grocery bill by a lot! Not only will it save you money, but those meals are healthier for you and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Eat Leftovers

Pack your dinner leftovers for lunch the next day or serve them again the next night to reduce food waste and save money!

Cut your chicken or fish into a salad, make a sandwich or wrap, or experiment with any other leftovers. There are so many ways to be creative and use the same food in a different way.

If You Buy It—Use It!

The rule in my house is, “if you buy it- use it!”. This means that we don’t waste something if we decide we don’t like it. Using Google, we figure out ways to use any ingredient in a way that we will enjoy.

We also don’t buy things unless we are pretty sure we have a use for them. If something catches our eye, but we aren’t sure what we will do with it- we leave it in the store until we have a plan for it. We can always come back and buy it the next day.

Shop the Farmers Market or Grocery at the End of the Day

If you are lucky enough to live near a farmers market, then you may as well know that the end of the day is the best time to shop if you are looking for good deals. At the end of the day, the vendors have to clear out the food that hasn’t been sold and will usually give you a discount and a good deal.

While the produce may not be the first pick of the bunch, there is nothing wrong with some fruits and veggies that are banged and bruised.

While grocery stores don’t usually mark down fruits and vegetables at the end of the day, they do mark down bread, deli, and cheese. Ask the stockers or the people behind the counter when they mark down the bread and return to stock up.

Leave the Over Spenders at Home

Is there someone in your house who often overspends? Delegate the shopping trip to the person who finds it easier to stick to the list. Make a list and send someone who can go in and out without spending too much.

Shop Alone

Have kids who beg for everything? Leave them at home! When you go shopping alone, it is much easier to resist temptation.

Kids ask for too many things, and spouses sometimes can convince you to buy more than what you need. My husband and I can each shop alone and not overspend, but when we go together, we convince each other to buy too many things!

Limit Your Shopping Trips

The less time you are in the store, the less chance you have of spending more than you intended or budgeted for. Plan your lists and trips to reduce the number of times you have to go to the store. Make a shopping day and try to resist running to the store to buy “just one more thing.” You can usually do without it!

Use Credit Cards Smartly

If you use credit cards smartly, then you can save money on groceries and even get some cool perks. While I don’t recommend relying on credit cards, credit cards are a great tool if you pay them off right away.

Some credit cards offer 5% cash back on groceries during certain months of the year. If you do your research, you can switch which credit card you use to make sure you are always getting the most cash back you can.

Pay Attention to the Price per Unit

Smaller items can often cost less, but you end up paying more per ounce or pound. When you shop, look at the labels on the store shelves; they often have not only the total price but the price per unit.

This will give you a better look at which items give you the better deal and make it easier to compare different brands if they come in different size packaging.

Buy Ungrated Cheese

We love cheese, but shredded and grated cheese can add up very quickly. Buying a block of cheese if usually cheaper than buying cheese pre-grated, and a cheese grater is a one-time, inexpensive purchase.

Stock up on Staples

When staples go on sale, stock up! Don’t overdo it, but certain items can last a long time in the pantry or freezer. When there is a good sale on canned goods, baking goods, or other staples, then buy a few to save money and reduce shopping trips.

Get Dried Beans Instead of Canned

Think about how you can save money even on very cheap items. For example, dried beans are cheaper than canned beans, and you can make a very cheap meal when you buy dried beans and lentils.

If you have an Instant Pot, you can easily cook dried beans, but even if you don’t, you can soak them in a pot or a croc-pot and save yourself some money!

Ask for a Price Match

Did you find an ad for the same item somewhere else at a lower price? Ask for a price match instead of wasting gas schlepping to another store. Many stores have price-match policies and will be happy to give you the price of the other store.

Get a Raincheck

Found a popular item on sale, but they ran out or don’t have enough for you to stock up? Go to customer service and ask for a raincheck. Depending on the deal, they will often give you a raincheck so you can get the sale price when the item comes back in stock.

Look at What’s Available at the Dollar Tree and Amazon

A great way to save money on groceries is to skip the grocery store altogether. Dollar Tree often has cheap food items and snacks that can help you save money, especially on treats. Check out the store near you and see what you can buy.

Amazon also sells food items (not just on Amazon Fresh). You can often find basic staples and snacks for a good price without entering a store!

Don’t Shop Hungry

Shopping when hungry is a dangerous scenario! You are likely to spend a lot more than you need.

Make sure you have had a good meal before you go shopping; this way, you are less likely to make impulse purchases out of hunger.  This will stop you from buying more than what you really need, and you are also going to pay a premium for “fast” food you can eat at the store.

Eat at Home More Frequently

Take-out is expensive, as is food from the hot bar or the salad bar at the grocery store. Instead, push yourself to eat at home more frequently to save money on food. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can make delicious, healthy meals at home that will save you money.

Cook in Bulk

If you are busy, you know that preparing and cooking food takes awfully long! When you do have time and energy to cook, cook in bulk and freeze the items so you have them for later. Cook food in size and freeze or store it so you always have something (almost) ready to eat.

Plan a Meal With What’s in Your Pantry

We all have items in our pantry that are just “there.” Now is the time to use up those odds and ends without going to the store to buy more groceries. Instead, plan at least one meal just made from ingredients you already have in your pantry.

How To Save Money on Groceries

Groceries are a necessary part of life and an expensive part of your budget! Hopefully, some of these tips will help you save some money!

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.