6 Smart Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

By Myles Leva


Last Updated: May 20, 2022


Continuing the important theme of budgeting, we are always looking for practical and easy ways to save money. The grocery store is full of low-hanging fruit if you’re looking for easy ways to save money on groceries.

We have to come out honestly from the start by stating that some of these tips require changes in your dietary habits. However, these methods aren’t radical or unhealthy. In addition, there are a few simple tips that can save you money without changing your grocery list at all.

To make matters clear, we will split the 6 ways to save money on groceries between those that change your grocery list and those that don’t.

Let’s dive right in.


Grocery Shopping on a Budget: Spending Less Overall

These tips may change your regular grocery shopping lists and habits in order to save you money.


Go for it When You see a Sale

There are good reasons why grocery stores are constantly running promotions. There are always promotions on items at all ends of the agriculture industry and all the food groups.

Whenever possible, it’s best to take advantage of these sales, especially when the costs are normally high. Seasonal and logistics changes make a big difference in grocery stores, enabling them to charge far less for the same item at different points. Even promotions can end up saving you a lot

Items on sale are normally displayed prominently so you can’t miss them.


Don’t get pre-packaged Items

Do you ever look at the price of an item in a grocery store and compare it to the weight of the item? If you do, you’ll start to notice that most pre-packaged items come with a hefty premium for the convenience they offer you.

It’s a simple trick grocery stores use to make more money. They pay a minimal expense to package your groceries more conveniently for you, then charge you far more.

Avoiding these items will save you money at the grocery store over time.



Avoid Big Brands

The big brands are more widely known to consumers, and grocers know this. So, the biggest brands’ items are normally placed wherever customers will see them more easily. This is done intentionally.

If you build the habit of naturally skipping past the big brand items, you can open the door to far more savings. Generic brands don’t necessarily come with lower quality, either. Branding has a greater effect on consumer decisions than inherent quality, a fact that large companies understand and take full advantage of including with higher prices.



Saving Money Without Changing What You Eat

Want to save money on groceries without changing your shopping list/habits at all? Here are a few ways to do it…


Grocery Rewards Cards

Some choices of payment methods can offset your grocery payments. The most obvious choice would be a credit card with cash-back rewards. But there are more efficient options as well.

Normal cash-back rewards normally rest at 1%, or perhaps 2%. The key here is to choose the card that provides special rewards for the grocery store you go to. Many cards provide even higher rewards for grocery purchases.

One great example is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. The card provides 6% cashback, but in statement credits for qualifying American supermarkets. This offer is limited to up to $6,000 per year, then drops back to 1%.

The above example is a more generalized option. Look into the cards that provide the kinds of rewards you are looking for and apply to where you shop.


Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs may seem salesy, but they are seldom a bad idea if you’re going to the same grocery store most of the time anyway.

Most grocery store loyalty programs are free. You just sign up and benefit from the discounts they offer. These discounts are normally automatic and applied at the checkout without a specific card or any coupons. Even if you go to 2 grocery stores, loyalty programs can easily become worth it.


Buying from Wholesalers

Lastly, if you haven’t signed up for a wholesale grocery club, you may want to consider doing so. You have to pay membership dues, but then you spend less when you go grocery shopping. If you go grocery shopping most of the time and don’t eat out very often, the membership dues are more than offset by cheaper groceries.


Conclusions: How much should you spend a week on food?

This is a matter of personal tastes, health requirements, and income. The USDA recommended that a “thrifty” family of four spend between $131 and $150 per week. Anything above $299 per week would be defined as “liberal” spending, according to the same agency. The USDA updates its recommendations monthly to keep up with economic changes.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin


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