Do you pinch pennies to pay high grocery bills every week? Are you afraid you and your family will go hungry if you just can’t scrape by? Groceries are one of the most important expenses, but can also be one of the biggest. We’ve been there and now we’ve found the best tips to help you save money on groceries!
1. Get Help If You Need It
Programs like SNAP and WIC are available for you if you need them. The benefits can help offset the cost of your grocery bill. You may even be surprised to find that you can purchase most of the things you would normally purchase by using the benefit. Take all of the other tips into account to make the most out of your SNAP benefit.
Did you know EBT cardholders can also get free stuff? From Amazon Prime discounts to zoo admission, you can find every EBT discount and freebie in this list.
2. Plan Ahead
Planning out your groceries ahead of time will help you stick to what you need for the week. Take it one step further and plan out your meals for the week. Having a dedicated menu will help you stay on track, can help you know exactly what you need from the store and will certainly help deter you from picking up dollar menu food for dinner.
If you plan your meals using similar ingredients, you could save even more money by buying in bulk and using leftovers! For example, you can have taco chicken early in the week and use the leftovers in enchiladas or salads later that week!
3. Leave the Kids at Home
If you can swing it, leaving your kids at home is one of the easiest ways you can save money at the grocery store. Children often want to buy new and exciting things while grocery shopping. As a parent, it can be hard to say no even if you know you definitely cannot afford it. Leave them at home and you won’t run into this problem.
4. Create a Budget…And Stick to It
Have a clear idea of what you want to spend each time you go grocery shopping. If you only go grocery shopping once per week, you will save more money than if you pick up a few things here and there. When you know what your grocery budget is for the week or even for the whole month, you can plan ahead. Make your list using approximate prices on items you typically buy in the store. Then, keep track of what everything actually cost.
5. Use Coupons Wisely
Unless you know how to use coupons to get items truly for free, coupons may not be the best way to save money. If you want to use coupons, create a list first of everything you need. Once you have your list, look through your coupons to see what matches up with the items you need. A coupon is only good if you’re using it for a product you would already be purchasing!
6. Consider Discount Grocery Stores
As prices rise and incomes stay the same, discount grocery stores are taking the opportunity and expanding to even the most remote areas of the country. If you want to truly save money, consider a discount grocery store. These stores are often able to help you save money by cutting back on staff and “frills.” Despite popular belief, most of them don’t skimp on quality to save money. Whether you have to bag your own groceries, have to deal with dim lighting in a store or a longer line, you could cut your grocery bill by as much as half by shopping at a discount grocery store. Some of the best low-cost grocery stores:
- Aldi – predominantly on the East Coast, but expanding to the Midwest and West
- Trader Joe’s – “low cost” by city standards
- Grocery Outlet – West Coast-based, but expanding to the East, has many name brand items at reduced prices
The retailers we’ve listed primarily sell overstock from other grocery stores. There is another type of discount grocery that primarily sells items after their “best buy” or “use by” date. These are usually very local stores that don’t franchise. If you shop at one of these stores, be a savvy shopper and know ahead of time what items can safely be used after those dates.
7. Make the Most of Your Shopping Trip
By thinking smart about your shopping trip, you can save a lot of money. If you go when the grocery store is busy, you may feel like you are rushed. Feeling rushed can make you choose an item that is pricier just because it is the first one you see on the shelf. If you can take the time and look for the brand with the lowest price save money. Also, keep in mind to go to the grocery store when you’re not hungry. Eat a meal before you go grocery shopping or you might end up grabbing everything off the shelf that looks tasty!
8. Don’t Always Buy in Bulk
A lot can be said for buying in bulk, but what are you going to do with all the food you purchased when it expires? Only buy things in bulk that you are going to use in a reasonable amount of time. Generally, things like toilet paper and soap are great options for buying in bulk. If you’re going to buy food in bulk, make sure it is non-perishable items or food you will use up before it expires!
9. Take Advantage of Apps
Most grocery stores have apps that will give you a good idea of what they have on sale. These apps can help you save money, too. In addition to store apps, using national apps can reward you with money back. The best free apps that can help you get money back on your grocery bill are:
- Walmart – will automatically price match and give you the difference back in the form of credit, just scan your receipt.
- Ibotta – can be used anywhere, just scan your receipt! You can cash out your rebates. Sign up using this affiliate link and you’ll earn a $10 bonus!
- Checkout 51 – similar to other apps, but requires you to scan barcodes.
We love apps! You can click here to find even more apps that will help you save and earn money!
10. Visit Multiple Stores…Sometimes
If you chase the best deals around your whole town trying to find the grocery store that will save you the most money, you might actually not be saving any money. If you are going to save more than a few dollars, if all of the grocery stores are close to each other or if there is something specific, it may be worth it to visit multiple stores. Otherwise, traveling all over town might be costing you money in gas and your valuable time.
Bonus Tip: Skip the Grocery Store
Growing your own food is affordable, easy and can even give you healthier options. While you may not be able to raise a cow or a chicken for meat or eggs, you can grow your own vegetables. As long as you have at least a small space outside, you can have a successful patio garden! Even better? Packets of seeds are affordable (they average around 25 cents each) and you can use SNAP benefits to pay for them!