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Save Creative Ways to Save on Groceries

Creative Ways to Save on Groceries

Wondering how to save money on groceries? Use these 10 simple tips to decrease your grocery bill and save money when you shop. Check out our blog for details.

Creative Ways to Save on Groceries

Know what's just as delicious as those tasty samples in the grocery aisle? Shaving dollars off your supermarket bill. 

If you’re like most Americans, you probably spend around 5% of your income on groceries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). We need to eat to live, but groceries are getting more expensive. In 2020, food-at-home prices increased 3.5% from the previous year.

If you’ve wondered how to save money on groceries, there are plenty of ways savvy shoppers like you can lower the grocery bills and still whip up delicious meals at home. With a little strategy using the 10 tips below, you can make the most of your food budget. 

1. Befriend your pantry

Before you write your grocery list, peek inside your pantry, fridge, and freezer. What ingredients do you already have on hand? Then plan your meals based on those things.

Google’s a lifesaver for home cooks these days. Type in a few of your home ingredients plus the word "recipe." You'll get a huge list of ideas starring those items.

At the store, pick up whatever you're missing. You might only need a few pieces of fresh produce or some herbs to complete the meal.

2. Clip coupons from Save’s direct mailer

Get inspired with Save’s weekly direct mailer full of grocery deals delivered right to your door. Families that use coupons can save up to $2,600 a year

Another perk of couponing? You might even expand your palate. Save mailers offer discounts on loads of ingredients and meal ideas. You can save on what you normally shop for and on new things to try, too.

3. Eat before you shop

Ever felt the heavenly pull of freshly baked goods or drooled over the deli counter while you’re shopping? We can relate — those mini donuts are delicious. If you go to the grocery store hungry, you're more likely to stock up on things that smell or look amazing at the moment but you don’t need for your weekly meal plan. 

And did you know? You’re also more likely to shop for non-food items when you’re hungry too. One study found hungry shoppers were more likely to buy greater quantities of non-food goods.

So grab a snack before you hit the store to avoid turning into the Cookie Monster. 

4. Discover the discount shelf

Most grocery stores have a “today's special” section within the store. It's fun to see what tasty surprises pop up. Maybe it's yesterday's fresh bread that's still soft and perfect with soup. Or canned goods that have been dented, but their contents are perfectly fine. Freshly packaged foods in the produce section like pasta salads and potato salad may also be marked down if they're near their sell-by dates. 

5. Get to scoopin' 

Get things like nuts, grains, seeds, or candies from the bulk bins section. Here's why:

  • You decide the exact quantity. If you want to try out a new ingredient, you can grab the exact amount you need for the recipe. Then, you won't be stuck with extra if you don't like it. 
  • Save money (and the planet) with less packaging.
  • Bulk bin items are generally less expensive per pound compared to similar packaged things.

6. Outsmart the grocery aisles 

There’s a money-making strategy to grocery store merchandising. Many store designers position more expensive brand names at eye level because shoppers are more likely to notice or choose them. But not you, savvy shopper! You know that generic and less-expensive brands may be on lower or higher shelves. By all means, indulge in your favorite one-true-love raisin brans and ketchup. But for less specific and more prolific staples like canned corn or rice, give some other brands a chance! 

7. Embrace store brands

Speaking of generic brands, if you’re not loyal to a particular company, branch out and shop store-brand items. For basic ingredients like canned vegetables, you probably won't notice a difference between a $1 can of beans and the $2 name brand. 

Exploring lower-cost brands gives you a chance to broaden your tastes, as well. You may find you and your family even prefer a less expensive brand. Experiment to see what you like.  

8. Shop based on the season

Let your calendar influence your meal planning. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms produce costs less when it’s in season. Consult the USDA's handy guide to see what’s bountiful each season, depending on the weather and growing conditions. There are dozens of fresh fruit and veggie options to plan your meals around.

Plus, peak-season foods might be more nutritious because they're picked at top ripeness when nutrient levels are highest. 

9. Stock up smartly

Do you rotate regular weekly meals like Meatless Mondays or Taco Tuesdays? Buy frequently used ingredients in bulk! You can save more when purchasing larger quantities of items like:

  • Pantry staples like rice, pasta, and pulses
  • Frozen fruits, veggies, and seafood such as shrimp
  • Tortillas (also freezer-friendly)

Don’t be afraid to spend a little more in the short term if you know you’ll use it up before it expires. It's much more cost-effective (and time-saving) than continuously buying smaller quantities of the same thing.

10. Become a kitchen prep pro

Say it with us ... convenience is king! Pre-packaged and pre-cooked foods save time but almost always costs more.

Cut expenses by embracing your inner prep cook. Think:

  • Soaking beans instead of buying them canned
  • Washing and cutting lettuce rather than going for bagged salad
  • Grating blocks of cheese vs. paying more for pre-shredded

You can also explore new kitchen hobbies, like canning and pickling. Try creating your own ingredients instead of buying ready-made, which helps you save money and have fun in the process.

See how much you can save at the grocery store

With a little planning, you can make the most out of your grocery budget and lower your monthly spending.