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7 Smart Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Ever wondered if you can save money on groceries enough to make a dent on your overall savings?

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Just about anyone could cut down on the price of their monthly groceries if they tried. Armed with an open mindset, willingness to try and some effort, it is definitely possible.

So how do you do it?

7 Tips to Lower Your Grocer Bill

Here are 7 useful tips you can make incorporate into your day-to-day lives from 2020 and beyond…

1. Learn the Art of Choosing Coupons

Here’s the thing about coupons – there is an unlimited supply of coupons everywhere.

  • You can download multiple coupon apps and be updated with the newest coupons by the hour.
  • You can visit hundreds of websites that exclusively organize these coupons for you.
  • You could get coupons straight off the racks of your favorite grocery stores.
  • You can even do it the old-fashioned way and strip them off magazines and other coupon booklets.

If you’ve ever been hooked to extreme couponing (I have a guide to do that here), you probably know how overwhelming it can be. Like anything done in excess, couponing can consume your time.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of coupons. If done right, couponing could save you money that would’ve have been wasted if you paid for items full price.

There is no right or wrong way to use coupons, but choosing which ones to focus your time on is important. If your household has a baby or two, make coupons of baby essentials a priority. If you have pets, then filter coupons that are known to showcase pet-related deals.

Simply put, the coupons you choose now should benefit your unique situation.

2. Coupons vs. Sale Prices

Here’s a tricky scenario: if you have a choice between using coupons or sticking with sale prices, which route do you take?

On one hand, coupons could help you stock up on grocery at home while they’re still discounted or having a type of promotion. However, if you’re using coupons to buy beyond your grocery list can quickly blow the lid off your budget and leave you with a surplus of that item but not much of others on your list.

In cases like these, buying your intended quantity but with sale prices can be the better move.

3. Get Modern with Apps

Those who are responsible for budgeting and grocery shopping should definitely find an app that would best fit their needs. Know that there are thousands of apps for grocery-shopping alone, so you have be specific with your goals before diving into Google Play or Apple Store.

  • Price comparison – Compare prices of the same products between two or more stores. Use apps like Basket Savings or Price Cruncher to make the decision easier for you.
  • Getting cashbacks – This doesn’t technically save you money as you shop, but you earn some of your cash back if you follow specific tasks, such as taking a photo of a receipt and uploading into an app. Ibotta and Fetch Rewards are two good examples of this.
  • Grocery list – One of the simplest, yet decades-old advice when it comes to budgeting is making a grocery list. Fortunately, apps today help not only in making sure that you’re on top of the household and pantry items that run out, but also help you stick to your budget. Apps like MealBoard or AnyList (with its shareable list) were designed for this purpose, but most other grocery-focused apps include a type of list-making capability.
  • Coupons – Don’t be consumed by hunting for coupons. Be smart and choose apps like Flipp and Grocery Pal feature coupons from brands you love, your favorite stores, or other relevant coupons based on your interest or lifestyle.
  • Grocery delivery – If the chore becomes expensive in terms of gas, snacks for the kids on the way to the grocery, parking fees, and other expenses that add up from the time you leave your house, go shopping and back home, then grocery delivery may be a money-saving option for you. Sort through apps like Instacart or Shipt and see if your area is included within their delivery zones.

There are also apps like Key Ring that save your store membership details for easier swiping.

4. Skip Branded for Store-Brands

Many household have favorite brands of food, cleaning products, toiletries, or other day-to-day needs by now. It’s a pretty common thing – from your toothpaste to breads, and everything else under the sun.

Sometimes, we’re left out with better, newer brands because of our own biases.

If you really want to save money on grocery, try to skip some of your favorite branded items for their store-branded alternatives.

There’s a good chance your grocery store has sampled quite a lot of brands for that particular product (for example: peanut butter). The one grocery stores may pick to be branded as their own have gone through varying levels of testing (for quality, taste, consistency and other considerations), so the possibility of getting a product that meets your preference is high.

5. Try Something New

Like the advice above, trying something new will open up many doors you were unaware, weren’t checking out, or simply didn’t care for before.

When it comes to grocery shopping, here are some ways you can try something:

  • Reduce the amount of meat or produce you buy
  • Check out a new grocery store
  • Instead of ready-made, make from scratch
  • Change grocery schedules. Early grocery shopping can be a good idea if the store you frequent pushes clearance items as soon as they open up. Saturdays are always busy, so stores stock up on all products and less clearance items are available.
  • Reduce the frequency of grocery-shopping per week. May it once or twice a week for better planning.
  • Bring your own bag, especially if your grocery store charges you for each bag.
  • Avoid last-minute grocery runs. Don’t grocery-shop when you’re hungry because studies have shown that not only do you choose unhealthy food when you’re hungry, the probability of just randomly getting stuff NOT listed on your grocery list (and breaking your budget) is very high.

Even the simplest of change can save you some money on groceries.

There’s no harm in trying.

6. Plan and Prep

How well you plan your grocery-shopping could affect how much money you can save.

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For example:

  • Frozen vs. fresh – Know when choosing frozen meat is ideal and when to go with fresh produce. Your choice will directly affect your meal prep, since you might need to clean, cut and store fruits and vegetables, or even meat as soon as you buy them.
  • Seasonal sales – Your plan should also change by season and depending on the sales cycles of local grocery stores. It’s okay to switch between stores throughout the year.
  • Plan for bulk shopping – If you’re a member of wholesale clubs, visit at least once or twice a year for products you’ll be using the entire year. Make sure to separate a budget for your scheduled stock-up, so your regular weekly or bimonthly grocery-shopping wouldn’t be affected.

Of course, this can be hard at first, but once you’ve got it down for an entire year, the following years would be easier.

7. Create a Realistic Budget and Stick to It

This is the hardest advice to follow, but it is possible. Just set a realistic, grocery budget and stick to this budget as much as you can.

The savings you earn will add up eventually. Be patient.

Do One or All, Save Money on Groceries Either Way

Whether you’re looking for ways to save money to be used for something else, or add to your grocery fund, these 7 tips are pretty solid advice.

Use them all, or pick just a few. I bet as long as you incorporate some of these tips to your regular grocery shopping, it could still result in something positive financially.

And if you’ve got this grocery-shopping, money-saving thing mastered, you can even turn this into a side gig and offer your personal grocery shopping service to others.