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How to save money on groceries

In this day and age, knowing how to save money on groceries is a great skill to have. 

Prices are up, some items are harder to find, and since the job market is so volatile, you might have financial problems, so every penny saved is welcomed. 

Anyone can save money on groceries, it’s just a matter of knowing some tips & tricks to help them know when to save, when to buy, where to go and so on. 

I’ve compiled a list of 6 tips & tricks that have helped tremendously in the last year. The covid pandemic helped me learn how to budget and how to save money on groceries, mostly because I could only go shopping once a week. That was the turning point to my smart shopping when it came to groceries. 

I want to share with you what I’ve learned in the past year, in the hopes it can help you, too. Even if you don’t need to save every penny, that doesn’t mean that you should spend your money erratically. 

So here is how to save money on groceries:

1. Meal Planning.

This is probably the most important tip in the whole list. This will actually save you a lot of money. 

Why? Because knowing what you will eat every meal for a week will let you create a grocery list with just the right ingredients. That way, you buy what you need, and you can avoid randomly picking things off the shelves, not knowing if you will eat them or not. This will also contribute to less food waste, because you will use (almost) everything in your fridge. 

So grab a pen and paper and write down at least 3 or 4 dinners ideas. You can double the recipes so you can have leftovers for lunch, or you can write down another 3-4 lunch ideas. Your choice!

Extra tip: meal prep on Sunday or Monday. It will save you time and energy!

2. Shop only once a week.

This rule was forcefully set in stone for me during quarantine, but it became a habit and I still do it to this day. 

I only shop once a week. It forces me to be organized, to plan ahead my meals and make a list, and most importantly, to stick to it at least a week. This way, even if I made a mistake and realized I forgot to buy tomatoes, for example, I will have to substitute them with something on hand, or not use them at all. 

Sticking to one shopping trip a week helps you stay within budget and not overspend. Do you remember the days of going almost every night to the grocery store and coming back each time with at least one extra item you didn’t need? Well, by sticking to this rule, you won’t do it that often, so you will spend less money. 

3. One item for +2 meals.

This is not an obvious tip on how to save money on groceries, but hear me out. 

Let’s say you plan to eat chili with rice, and fried rice with vegetables, so obviously you will need more rice. So instead of buying a small bag of rice, you will have to go for the bigger bag of rice. That means you will pay a better price for the product, because bigger quantities usually mean better prices per pound, for example. 

You’re shooting two birds with one stone: you already have 2 meals planned out, and you are spending less money. 

4. Less Pre-Cooked Meals / Take out.

This one might hurt, because I know we all love the convenience of pre-cooked meals. But trust me, in the long run, it will save you money. 

Try to buy less pre-made, pre-packaged food, like already cut vegetables, or frozen burritos, or fresh store salads. It also applies to take out. Although they might save you time and energy in the moment, they will dramatically increase your groceries costs over time. It’s fine to do it once every two weeks, when you really don’t have the time to cook, but don’t spend half of your grocery budget on them. You could save so much just by meal prepping your food instead of always eating out. 

5. Shop at the store with lower prices.

If you want to know how to save money on groceries, you have to make an effort to actually know the prices of items you usually buy, so that you know when and where you can actually save. 

Let’s say, for example, you buy turkey breast for sandwiches every week. It’s always in your grocery list. Start by researching the price for it in at least 3 different stores in your area. Let’s say Target, Trader Joe’s, and Costco. You can find the price online, on their website, or in store (check for it on your next visit there). Where is turkey breast the cheapest? Probably Costco. So next time you go to Costco, you know you can find turkey breast at its cheapest price, and you can buy it in bulk and maybe freeze some of it. That way, you don’t have to go to Costco every week. 

6. Don’t always go for the BRAND. 

I learned this from a YouTuber and it helped me save a lot. 

For some items, it doesn’t really matter the brand. It will probably taste the same, no matter the label on it. Like normal rice or pasta. There is no huge difference in taste between Walmart Great Value pasta and the Barilla one. Same goes with products that are made in the same factory, and the only difference is the label, like cans of beans, corn, etc.

This rule doesn’t apply to allergy friendly products, or sweets, for example, there are differences betweens brands in these types of products. Choose what you like / are used to. 

These are my top 6 tips for how to save money on groceries. What do you think? Are you already implementing some of them? What else are you doing to save money on groceries? Let me know in the comments!

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