11 Best Tips For Saving Money On Groceries

tips for saving money on groceries

It’s no secret that prices are increasing and we need to save money in every way we can. Groceries are one of the categories where people have felt the most impact. 

Nearly all prices have increased since last year, leading to panic buying and shortages. Data shows that many products have grown by at least 11% in price in the past year alone.

When it comes to groceries, you want to have more than enough and still save money. While it can be challenging to do so, it is not impossible.

In this article, we are going to talk about the 11 best ways to save money when you're grocery shopping.

Let's dive in!


1. Use a Rewards Card

Most grocery chains have rewards cards offered to their customers. It’s advantageous for them because it allows people to stay loyal to the brand through points rewarded with each use of the card.

It can be an appealing option, especially if you frequent a certain store often. There are many ways a rewards card can help, such as:

  • Providing cash back: Many cards offer a 1% or 2% cash back on grocery purchases. On occasion, these can be even higher depending on the store promotions.
  • Cash-back cards can also work in tandem with credit card rewards for even more savings.
  • Membership Points: Membership points allow customers to earn an alternative currency that can be redeemed for discounts. However, you can also purchase items using them or redeem other rewards.
  • Exclusive deals: Some reward cards offer exclusive features to holders. For example, members may be able to purchase specific items or brands in advance compared to the general crowd. It’s also possible to receive exclusive discounts and promotions.
  • Usable with other purchases: Depending on the grocery store’s partnerships, they could have other uses. For example, a store may have a deal with a gas station. That way, you can earn points when using the card for both.
  • Credit card partnerships: Some membership cards have direct ties to credit cards. That means you can use the credit card and still get the benefits like a rewards card. The terms may vary, so it’s best to research them before getting one of your own.

A rewards card can help you save money on your purchases and potentially get more value for your money. Even small 1% discounts can add up and save you more each year.


2. Use Coupons

Many of us have heard of serial couponers. These people search for these discount stubs and gather them to save significantly on their grocery purchases.

While you don’t have to be like them, they prove a point. Coupons are one of the best ways to save money when grocery shopping.

There are multiple ways you can acquire coupons. They could be part of a promotion through a local publication or you can find them on the store’s website. 

One of the most common ways stores give out coupons is by tying them to a membership program. This reduces paper waste and allows loyal members to get discounts.

To take it a step further, combine all the possible methods and get as many coupons as possible. Just note that each store may limit how many coupons you can use during purchases. 

You can check the mail and other publications to find and gather coupons. From there, you can plan your buying and enjoy your savings. 

Here are a few more ways you can get coupons:

  1. Grocery store mobile app.
  2. Digital loyalty cards.
  3. Discounts found online.


3. Plan Your Next Grocery Shopping Trip

One of the reasons why people tend to overspend when they go grocery shopping is because they lack preparation. Planning the meals for the week can save you anywhere from tens to hundreds a week. 

You’ll avoid buying ingredients you won’t use, and focus more on price and quality with your purchases.

With a plan, you can craft a grocery list of all your needs. From there, you can adjust your budget to see if you can accommodate more or if you need to cut some items.

You’re effectively putting a ceiling on the amount you need to spend to complete grocery shopping.


4. Buy Wholesale Instead

Buying wholesale is something that many do not consider. You’re essentially buying months or years' worth of supply in advance, meaning you’ll likely spend more in the short term. 

However, you’ll save lots of money in the long term if you consider the price of each piece. Considering that inflation affects prices annually, you’ll be thankful you’re buying in bulk.

Even with smaller discounts on individual pieces, the costs do add up. Buying wholesale is also beneficial if you have a large family or many people at home.

It’s not for everyone, so you’ll have to consider if your funds can accommodate it at the moment.

The best way to approach buying wholesale is to join a club or store that offers wholesale products. These usually require memberships, but they can be worth it if you plan on stocking most of your groceries from that store.

Many of these stores have tie-in promotions with credit cards for even more savings.


5. Check Sale Items First

All grocery stores put items on sale. This is to help sell items that are near their expiration date. It’s also a way for them to clean inventory and open up more space for new things. 

When you’re looking to save money, it’s easy to consider brands first, but they may not always lead to savings. Instead, what you should be looking for are similar items that are on sale.

Some stores help you identify these items by placing them in one section or putting colored tags on them. Buying sale items whenever possible can help you save money while keeping things you enjoy in stock at home. 

You may even find the occasional sale where you can afford higher-priced brands.

Always check the entrances, aisles, and the areas people frequent the most. Grocery stores know that these are hotspots for selling and displaying their sale items there.


6. Compare the Prices of Pre-Packaged Items with Individual Ones

You’ll often find an area in the grocery store where you have all your essentials packed conveniently into one place. The most common example of this is pre-cut vegetables and fruits.

While they can be convenient and make it easy for you to eat, they come at a hefty price. Often, they are more expensive than buying the individual pieces yourself.

You’re essentially paying more for someone else to cut it for you. Why spend the extra money when you can cut and prepare them yourself? 

You’ll also have more freedom of choice when choosing the pieces you desire. Doing this can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Other items are packaged like these to make it easy for those who want to spend less time in preparation for cooking. Avoid prepared cheese and similar items to save more. 

Buying them whole usually means they're closer to freshness, and you can always freeze them while storing them at home.


7. Check More Than One Store

Before committing your money to groceries, a quick check of the items available in a store will help you understand their pricing. Some stores price higher, while others may offer seasonal offers you want to capitalize on. 

Today, it’s even easier to compare prices because most are available online. You can check a store’s pricing when shopping online or have a quick browse before personally going to the store.

You’ll also save time as you can scout for the items you want to buy from a store before going there. Checking for sales and prices will only take a few minutes of your time, but the savings you get can be significant.

You’ll notice the difference if you’re accustomed to shopping at high-end or luxury grocery stores. You’re paying a higher price to access luxury items, but they may not be what you need if you’re saving money.


8. Don’t Be Afraid of the Generic Brands

A lot of well-known brands have strategic placement within grocery stores. You’ll often find them in the most-frequented aisles, and at eye level on the shelves.

Before getting your desired item, you may want to check similar brands to see if they have a lower cost. Most of the time, they’ll have the same quality, but the other has a lower price. 

Many brands mark up their pricing because of the prestige associated with their name.

One of the most common ways to save money is to look for generic brands. The easiest one to find will be a store-branded one.

It’s a way for the grocery store to earn more money while offering lower prices. Rarely are popular name brands worth more than the generic in terms of price and quality.


9. Bring a Reusable Shopping Bag

Some stores promote reusable shopping bags as a way to protect the environment. Check if your store offers discounts when you bring a bag.

This can also save you money if the store charges for their bags. It may be a small price, but these add up over time.


10. Try Shopping Alone

You may be used to bringing the entire family, or at least several members, when going out grocery shopping. While it can be fun or convenient, it can also cost you more. 

When you’re bringing people with you, they can coax you into buying products outside your budget. You may not have much choice if your child is crying because of an item they want you to buy.


“I like my freedom. I like to do my own grocery shopping.” - Joni Mitchell


Shopping alone can lead you to make more logical decisions. When you enter with a plan, you’ll know what to buy and won’t have to feel pressure from others. 

Even if it is a significant other, you may not want them to join if you know they affect your shopping. It’s a small sacrifice to ensure you’re saving money on each trip.


11. Keep Your Calculator Open

Grocery shopping can often lead to surprising totals because people don’t account for them in the first place. Even if you’re shopping for multiple low-valued items, they can amass and bring your total over your budget.

One thing you can do is to bring out your mobile phone while walking around the store. Have the calculator app ready, and calculate the prices as you add them to your cart.

By doing this, you’re keeping track of your total and will likely stay within budget. You’ll figure out what items to cut or save more money by buying another brand. 

By the time you reach the counter, you’ll already have a close estimate of your total. This will help you make better decisions when shopping, leading to savings.


All It Takes Is a Bit of Preparation

The hardest part about saving money is getting started. Once you build a habit, you’ll naturally begin saving more each month.

All of these things can help you stick to your budget and reach your financial goals. Try any of these during your next visit and see the results for yourself.

If you want to plan your financial future, consider becoming a 121 Financial Credit Union member. We prioritize our members’ well-being and ensure they're ready for the future.

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