If I tell you there are ways on how to save money on groceries, and that you can save $500 or mire (monthly or annually), would you believe me?
Let's face the fact: We love food. We love to eat.
Some may think that good food equates to a good chunk off on your budget. Trust me, I’ve been down that road before.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American household spends 12.5% or just over $7,000 on food budget alone, annually.
Buying groceries and cooking homemade food instead of always going out to your favorite restaurant or diner or fast food chain can save you more money. Plus, you get to show off your cooking skills.
Best Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Have you gone to the grocery store, bought the items you need, looked at your receipt, and saw that you spent over than you what intended to do? Well, you are not alone.
This post is broken out into 3 categories:
- Easy, Actionable Money-Saving Grocery Shopping Tips
- Medium-Difficulty Tips for Saving Money At The Grocery Stores
- Challenging But Save More Money on Groceries
- Other Ways On How To Save Money On Groceries
So, here are 21 ways on how you can save money on groceries:
Easy, Actionable Money-Saving Grocery Shopping Tips
If you are looking for ways to save money on groceries fast without putting extra effort, these are the ways you need to look into.
You could literally save a few hundreds of dollars by following these steps:
1. Use this site when buying groceries online
The next time you buy something online, whether it is from Walmart.com, Amazon, or somewhere else, make sure you use the site called Swagbucks.
Swagbucks – one of the best grocery shopping apps – will pay you to do almost anything you do online including buying groceries.
On top of discount offers you may already have, Swagbucks offers additional cash back and coupons.
For example, Walmart has a storewide 20% off on groceries, Swagbucks has an offer of 10%, and you have a coupon of $15 off. If your total bill is $100, then, you'd only be paying $55. That's a savings of 45%.
Imagine doing that several times a year.
Best of all:
You can earn extra by taking surveys, reading news, using it as a search engine tool, and just anything you do online. Plus, you get an extra $5 bonus for signing up.
2. Earn cash for your food thoughts
Packaged food companies are data-hungry for your thoughts regarding their products. Some are even willing to pay you for it.
Believe it or not, paid food panels are now starting to become a trend.
Most of the surveys you answer can easily earn you between $3-$4 for just 20 minutes of your time. What’s better is that you can take the survey while you’re watching TV.
Sometimes, you get products for FREE to use. When this happens, you save money on groceries automatically. If you do grocery shopping on a budget, you exactly know what getting free products mean.
Some of my favorites are the ones below because they are not only limited to paid food survey:
- Survey Junkie: Earn points by answering surveys that are less than 1-minute redeemable for cash. With points ranging from 500 to 700 per surveys, easily earn over $10 in just a few minutes.
- Survey Club: Earn as high as $115/surveys on food focus groups. One member made over $4,000 in one month.
3. See what’s in your fridge
Neilsen Consumer Panel wants to know what’s basically inside your fridge. Sounds creepy? No. This is to help companies understand how you buy & use their products.
What’s in it for you?
Not only does Neilsen reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for household items, electronics, or toys for your kids, but Neilsen also gives out prizes such as brand new vehicles & vacations.
You can download & run the app using your smartphone or Neilsen can provide you a free barcode scanner.
So, for every time you go shopping, you just simply scan the barcode on the back of the products and the data will automatically be sent to Neilsen’s database.
4. Reduce food budget without being a cheapskate
Food is life and expensive. Actually, it's the third biggest expense for Americans.
To save money on food, we only cook what we can eat and any leftover, if there's any, is used as my lunch food at work. This trick has saved us a ton of money.
PlateJoy is a service that sends a yummy meal plan and shopping list per week for just $7/mo with my coupon. Each meal costs around $2 or less a person.
It is one reason our grocery bill is just $150/mo for a family 6.
It has made a big impact on our food choices, food quality, and food savings. It could do the same for you, too.
Start your 100% risk-free trial membership here with the PlateJoy Plan.
Note: Subscription is as low as $8.00/mo for 12 months. With the exclusive discount code PRACTICAL10 I negotiated for my readers, it's even way less as you get $10 off. We end up paying $7.00/mo.
Medium-Difficulty Tips for Saving Money At The Grocery Stores
To save money on groceries, even more, you can do the following tricks. While the effects aren't immediate, you'll find that they will bring in more money later on.
Truth be told, some of those people who do grocery shopping on a budget do the majority of the tips here.
5. Take a snapshot of your receipt
Not a lot of people will take a look at their receipts twice after they’re done with their purchases.
Interested? It’s very easy that I even made over $300 in just a few months. It's not a whole lot of money but it's savings I did not expect to get anyways.
All you need to do is search within the Ibotta app for items on your grocery list. Go out to the market & buy those products. Then, when you get home, take a picture of your receipt & scan the barcodes of the items.
My wife & I noticed some of the cash back related to groceries aren’t tied to any brand at all, just your typical grocery finds.
Sign up for a free Ibotta account. Upload your first receipt & you’ll get a $10 sign up bonus.
6. Shop groceries online and earn money from it
Need to buy something online? One of my favorite ways to save money is through eBates. It’s a cashback site that shares ita commissions to you from ira partner stores.
eBates rewards you every time you purchase from its affiliate shops.
For example, if you buy something from Walmart, eBates will give you 10% cash back & get a free $10 gift card for just trying out its store.
You can get your gift card in these 3 easy steps:
- Sign up in eBates using either your email address or Facebook account
- Log in to the eBates site every time you need to buy something. eBates has over 2,500 partner stores. On your first purchase, you’ll only need to spend at least $25 within 90 days upon signing up.
- Your account will be credited with rewards points that you can use to convert for your $10 Walmart gift card.
7. Get paid just for walking into stores
Yes, you read that right. You can get paid to walk.
Shopkick is a mobile app that you can use to earn points or “kicks” while having fun walking into physical or online partner shops to select products, view offer, or make in-store & online purchases.
There are 7 easy ways to earn kicks & you don’t have to spend cash on some of these:
- Walk into physical or online stores
- Scan barcodes of select products
- Make a purchase with a linked credit or debit card
- Submit a purchase receipt
- View online products
- Make online purchases
- Watch videos
Start using Shopkick to earn kicks & redeem gift cards to Starbucks, Sephora, Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.
8. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on your grocery purchases
Using a rewards card for your groceries has awesome perks that can also save you more money.
My preferred rewards card is Capital One QuickSilver.
You get to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. Plus, if you spend $500 on purchases within 90 days upon opening an account, you get to have a cash bonus of $150.
This is perfect for me because I hate paying for unnecessary charges. There’s no annual fee and no transaction fees when I purchase outside of US.
Also, the cashback has no expiration so you can redeem it at any time as long as the account is active.
Last year, my family spent $150/month on groceries alone & I earned around $23 cash back for that year. Imagine the fact that you can save extra money when you use Capital One QuickSilver for your other purchases.
Challenging But Save More Money on Groceries
Then there are other ways to save money on groceries that are more difficult to execute, but they will help you save more money in the long run.
They are worth a try. If you want to get cheap groceries (cost wise not quality), try these tips.
9. Get as much as $30 discount on your next prescription refill
Running low on your prescription refill and don’t have time to go to your pharmacy?
You can sign up or download the app from Phil, a prescription refill service. It delivers your medications every month right in front of your doorstep.
Phil has partnered up with some of the top-rated, locally-owned, community pharmacies in all major states in the US.
All you need to do is ask your doctor to send your prescription to PhilRx. Phil will ask for your insurance & delivery information and it will also be the one to coordinate with your insurance company regarding payment. All that’s left to do is wait for 1-2 business days for your prescription meds to arrive.
10. Save more cash on online bulk shopping
You'll never fail to save money on groceries when you buy things in bulk. If you want to buy cheap groceries (meaning the cost is less), try this tip.
When it comes to budgeting food expenses, it’s always better to look for cheaper alternative ways of purchasing your groceries.
Buying in bulk or wholesale groceries online is often cheaper compared to in-store warehouse clubs.
My favorite alternative is Amazon Grocery’s bulk items section. Not only you’ll be saving roughly $50 per year in annual membership fees, but Amazon will also ship your purchases for free.
Also, Amazon posts coupons weekly that you can use to get cheaper items. All you need to do is add the items you want to purchase into your cart & before you check out, Amazon will automatically apply the discounts to your bill.
11. Don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry
Have you heard the saying “Don't go to the grocery when you're hungry”?
Sound silly and shallow but it is study-based.
According to two studies led by the Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab research team, heading to the supermarket when hungry may lead to the purchase of high-calorie foods.
Although the studies point out that hunger negatively affects short-term food choices, my own personal interpretation (not that I am an expert on this subject matter) is if you go to the store hungry, you may be buying more junk foods and these junk foods can add up to your grocery bills.
Eat snacks like chips and burritos and drink plenty to get full. I personally like Gatorade because it's really filling and good for your body as well.
12. Do stay away from long checkout lines
Ever wonder why checkout counters have small section right next to them for small items that you can pick up and add to your cart.
I have a theory that they are there for you to buy impulsively. I have seen people pick up items there while they wait in line and buy them afterwards.
If possible, stay away from these long checkout lines because waiting might tempt you to just grab and pay for items that shouldn’t be in your carts anyway.
Plus, you are more likely to realize you want something else from the store and end up going back to the aisles and grab those products.
Next thing you know, your grocery bill is not what you expect to get.
Other Ways On How To Save Money On Groceries
These are other different ways to save on groceries. Some of them are easy to execute and some are difficult to put into action.
That said, if you want to learn how to save money on food, try to use some of them.
13. Don't forget to use your coupons
Save money with coupons. That's right.
Coupons are always to the rescue if you wish to save money. Some people are really good with using coupons that they end up not paying anything for grocery or getting some money back.
I particularly like Grocery Coupon Network and my coupon database. Why? I am able to find rare coupons, at times, that I couldn't find elsewhere. Between those two coupon sources, we've saved over $900 this year to date.
There are many sites that provide coupons like coupons.com and some stores have coupons that can be directly linked to your store member cards. There are also several stores like Giant and Stop & Shop that double your manufacturer’s coupons up to $0.99.
If you want to learn how to save on groceries with coupons, click on this link to learn how to become an extreme couponer.
14. Don't forget to ask for a rain check
Since stores only stock a limited quantity per item, you may end up not getting the items you need when you do your shopping.
Most of the times, this happens when such items are on sale or in deep discounts.
Fret not for a lot of stores allow rain check, which allows you to buy the items for prices that they currently are at.
What’s better, in the event you want to use your rain check and found yourself having coupons for those items, then, you can use both at the same time. We are, then, talking about big savings.
When I went to Shopper's one time, the KIND granola bars
15. Do buy store brands
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is buying store brands.
Store brands can be your best alternative to your branded items. Personally, store brands are as good as the branded items.
Whenever I do my grocery shopping, I always make sure that I visit the store brand items first before I go to the branded ones.
For example, instead of buying cheese, I would buy the store brand instead. It saves me money by doing that.
In general, store brands at 5-10% less than the branded counterparts and, sometimes, more than 10%.
Truth is, when comparing those two brands, you’ll see that the store brands are not only cheaper but they contain more or are bigger than the branded ones.
In a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the more informed a consumer is, the more likely he/she will buy the generic/store brand over the branded counterparts.
I think the study speaks volume to allowing a consumer to be informed of the store brands by basically trying the store brands for the purpose of knowing if they fit the needs and the requirements of the consumer.
16. Don't fail to visit the clearance section
Just like the department stores, many grocery stores have a dedicated clearance section. It’s most likely a small section but it’s still worth a visit.
You can find closeout products, deep-discounted items, and soon-to-expire merchandises.
When you buy products from clearance section and use your coupons, you are going to get the products for dirt cheap. Trust me on this.
Do you know you can Amazon has a clearance section for grocery and other essentials?
17. Do buy in-season items
Always look for in-season items.
Some produce items are seasonal. When they are in-season, they are cheap. However, when they’re not, you can pay double or triple of what they would cost when they are in-season.
The lesson here is really not to buy out-of-season products but to try to adjust your cravings or desires for seasonal items based on the season.
18. Do make a grocery list and stick with it
Few of us go to the grocery stores with an accompanying list. Many of us, on the other hand, go to the grocery stores thinking that we have our list embedded in our minds.
A list comes in handy either as a reminder of what other products you are missing or a cross-check to make sure you do not have unlisted products in your shopping cart.
19. Do buy on sale
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to always buy on sale.
This statement should not come as a surprise from me.
Whenever you can wait for products to go on sale and if you know they always go on sale, please do wait. If the products are on sale and are not perishable, then, buy in bulk.
You may not see the savings in your grocery bills right away but you will see the changes later on.
When there's a big sale or holiday sale going on, make sure you check different stores (online or not) to see where you can best get the products for the cheapest place.
I always visit Amazon for sales and clearances first to get pricing before I go to each individual stores.
Sometimes, I end up buying from Amazon using my Amazon Prime because products there are much cheaper.
20. Do shop at different stores
Try to find the cheapest place to buy groceries.
If you have been shopping in many stores, chances are you know where the best places to get the cheapest prices for different products.
Do not stop and continue what you are doing. Though it may make you jump from one store to another, you may end up saving more than if you stick with just one store.
This is in line with what I said about using Amazon first to get price checks before heading to other stores (online or off).
21. Do buy discounted gift cards
If you want to learn how to grocery shop on a budget is to never take for granted the gift cards.
There are plenty of websites that sell you gift cards at a discount.
The popular ones include Raise, Gift Card Nanny, and Card Cash. In addition, a few select credit cards like Discover It allows you to buy gift cards for less than the face value using your earned cashback dollars.
Final Thoughts On How To Grocery Shop On A Budget:
Budgeting your food and grocery expenses doesn’t have to be really hard and complicated as long as you know what options are available to you. You can keep your expenses to a minimum & save more money when you try the options mentioned above.
Let me know what you think. What options have you already tried or willing to try? Which of these do you think will help you save on groceries?
Sharing is caring. Who knows, someone might also find these tips handy.