Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

  • Get Organized!

    Food prices continue to increase, even while our salaries stay put. It might seem impossible to keep our pantries stocked, but we’ve dug up lots of ways to keep those grocery bills as lean as our pocketbooks now are. The first step is to get organized. A little planning can be a really good way to stick to your shopping budget. If you find writing out a list to be a pain, try making a master list on your computer with check boxes next to the items you buy regularly. This way you just fill in which of those items you need on each trip. Even better yet, add another box next to each item to indicate which ones you have a coupon for and keep the list with your coupon file. Photo Credit: david_shankbone
    Clip Coupons
  • Clip Coupons

    It may seem obvious, but a lot of people don’t even bother to clip coupons because it can be time consuming and difficult to keep organized. It doesn’t need to be, though. Sites like couponmom.com can teach you how to use coupons effectively. Couponmom.com also has great coupon resources organized by state. Check out the other resources on MyCoupons, ValPack, Coolsavings, Shopathome. and Smartsource. Photo Credit: hotcouponworld.com
  • Rebates

    Taking advantage of mail-in rebates may seem to be just another time consuming practice, but the rebates are usually quite generous and at least worth looking into. Sometimes items are even free after rebate, so you could end up with useful products all for the price of a postage stamp and some sales tax. Check out RefundCents and SavingMoneyWisely for refunds and free stuff. Photo Credit: refundcents.com
    Buy Store Brands
  • Buy Store Brands

    Any thrifty shopper will have long ago made the switch to generics or store brand versions of popular medicines and food products, but for many of us there is still a stigma associated with no-name brands. Generic and store brands often have an ingredient list identical to name brands, and they are substantially less expensive. Also, grocery stores will often discount their proprietary brands more regularly than name brands. Photo Credit: philsown
    Pay with Cash
  • Pay with Cash

    Try to set a grocery budget and stick to it by only bringing cash to the store. It has been proven that paying with a credit card leads you both to spend more than you otherwise would and leads to more impulse buying. Also, so many of us end up paying more for our groceries by using a credit card because unless you pay your balance every month, you add those interest and finance charges to your regular grocery budget. Photo Credit: quaziefoto
    Buy Seasonal Produce
  • Buy Seasonal Produce

    If the fruits and vegetables you buy are in season locally, they will be less expensive. Produce that is not in season in your area will be more expensive because it has to be shipped from elsewhere. Also, some produce suffers in taste and texture if not bought in season. Photo Credit: Photofarmer
    Always Check Unit Prices
  • Always Check Unit Prices

    Unless you check unit prices, you actually have no idea what you’re spending or whether you’re getting a better or worse deal than you can get at a different store or with a different product.  Granola is a great example of this. You would be shocked by how widely the price of granola can vary from brand to brand. Also, bigger isn’t always necessarily cheaper. Just because you’re stocking up by buying in bulk doesn’t mean you are getting a more favorable unit price. Photo Credit: hotcouponworld.com
    Ignore the Treats Near the Register
  • Ignore the Treats Near the Register

    Unless candy and gum are on your shopping list, walk on by… Make sure you eat before you shop so you are less tempted by these impulse buys. Also, it’s a good idea to cut back on junk food in general. Not only is it good for your health, but it’s also good for the wallet.  If you like a sweet treat every once and a while, try baking your own. Photo Credit: s2art
    Keep an Eye on the Register
  • Keep an Eye on the Register

    People make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean you should pay for them. At checkout, always watch your items being rung up, just in case an error is made. If your cashier makes a mistake, be nice about pointing it out. Also, it may only be five or 10 cents, but if you bring your own bags, many stores will give you that little bit back. And you’ll be using less plastic! Photo Credit: j.reed
    Grow Your Own
  • Grow Your Own

    If you have space for a garden and little time to devote to it, there are lots of things like herbs and vegetables that can easily be grown in most climates. If you buy fresh herbs from the grocery store, you should strongly consider growing your own. Many like mint, sage and oregano can be perennial, so you can save money and have herbs at your fingertips whenever you need them. Things like tomatoes and lettuces are quite easy to grow as well, so get those green thumbs to work! Photo Credit: Mountain/\Ash
    Stock Up
  • Stock Up

    If something you use regularly is on sale, buy a few of them. As long as it’s not perishable and you have the space, it’s a good idea to take full advantage of sales when they happen. You could wait months for that price to come around again. Photo Credit: EvelynGiggles
    Price Clubs
  • Price Clubs

    Many items like dry foods (rice, beans, etc.) are much less expensive when bought in bulk.  Be careful when buying meat in bulk, though. Some are more expensive per pound at the local price club than they at the grocery store. Other great things to buy in bulk are non-perishable items like those in cans and jars likesauces, pickles, tuna, soup, etc. Beware of buying snacks in bulk, though. You might find yourself stuffing your face simply because you have a gigantic bag of Cheetos to finish. Also, compare individual shopping club memberships to family memberships. You might want to look into sharing a family membership with friends/family, which you can do as long as you use only one address. Photo Credit: bdunnette
    Bathroom Staples
  • Bathroom Staples

    Don’t buy your shampoo and other toiletries at the grocery store unless they are on sale or you have a coupon. The prices are always higher than at the drugstore or superstore (Target, Wal-Mart, etc.).  Speaking of superstores, they will often match sale prices at other locations, so you are guaranteed to always get the lowest price. Photo Credit: Patrick Hoesly
    Loyalty Cards
  • Loyalty Cards

    Sign up for a loyalty program at every store you shop in. Add them to your key ring so you always have them with you. If you use loyalty cards, try to shop consistently at only a few places, as many of these programs reward frequent shopping. Photo Credit: joelogon
    Other Ways to Save
  • Other Ways to Save

    Pack your lunches – bringing a bag lunch to work/school won’t necessarily make for a lower grocery bill, but you will be amazed how much you’ll save by not spending $7.99 for a sandwich at the deli near the office and instead dropping $2.00 for the sandwich you make at home.  You do the math. And if you’re bringing your lunch, try to avoid buying pre-made and pre-packaged foods. This is a less expensive option than going to the deli, but it’s still much cheaper to make food at home (never mind healthier). Be sure to bring your lunch in tupperware or other containers from home so you don’t need to waste money on baggies, plastic wrap, tin foil, etc. While we’re on that topic - Make your own coffee/tea and bring it in an insulated travel mug.  $3.59 for a latte at the local coffeehouse or $0.35 from home? Eat out less and when you cook at home, cook in large batches so that you can enjoy the leftovers. When you do eat out, take advantage of early bird specials, two for one deals, and coupons. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall
    Join us on Facebook
  • Join us on Facebook

    Join the MainStreet team and other readers on our lively Facebook page! Discuss our newest stories and get links to breaking content, automatically. Click here to add us. Photo Credit: lawtonchiles
Show Comments