How to Reduce Your Grocery Bill for Good

Follow these 10 tips to stock your kitchen without splurging.

sales on grocery store shelves
Photo: FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

Even if you're shopping sales and buying in bulk, the cost of groceries can easily add up. While no one wants to hear that they're likely spending more than necessary at the supermarket, the good news is that there are measures you can take to cut your grocery bill.

Follow these tips to learn how to score better deals for your budget and steer clear of the subtle ways that stores get you to spend more money than you bargained for.

1. Comparison shop

Comparison shopping once meant browsing multiple grocery stores and paying close attention to prices. Now, you can use apps like Basket to figure out where you'll find the best deals across supermarkets in your area.

2. Meal plan around sales

Check your supermarket's website for significant sales on protein and produce before you shop so that you can find recipes using these main ingredients. Items nearing their expiration date will get a significant markdown, and you can even reach out to your grocery store to ask when these prices change.

3. Base your list on budget recipes

Of course, cooking a dish because it uses a discounted ingredient doesn't mean you'll save money if the recipe calls for some costly ingredients, too. Refer to our collection of Budget Cooking Recipes for meals that really will save you money.

4. Collect coupons

You can gather coupons in a handful of ways: in the Sunday paper, on websites like RedPlum and, and straight from the manufacturers of many food products by visiting their websites. You can also subscribe to the email lists of your favorite food retailers for special promos and sales.

5. Go with generic goods

Generic and private label products (which use the name of the store) bear a close resemblance to brand name goods. In fact, sometimes the only difference lies in the name — and the cost. Brand name products will run up your bill.

6. Pass up prepared food

The convenience of prepared, pre-made, and pre-cut foods is certainly appealing, but it will cost you. You'll save money buying a whole head of cauliflower versus a microwave-ready bag of cauliflower florets, and you'll likely end up with more of the veggie. This also applies to vegetables or meat in a marinade.

7. Prioritize in-season produce

Growing produce out of its natural season costs farmers more, so it's naturally more expensive at the grocery store. On the other hand, the abundance of in-season produce often results in sales.

8. Fresh isn't always best for your budget

The sight of glossy fresh produce may be tempting, but sometimes, its price tag just can't compare to frozen, canned, or dried alternatives.

9. Pay attention to unit prices

The unit price (usually displayed on the store's price tag) refers to how much an item costs per ounce or pound. So, a large container of yogurt can cost more than a smaller container, but if it has a cheaper unit price, it's actually a better deal (so long as you'll eat it before it's out of date).

10. Stick to your list

This one isn't as easy as it sounds! Grocery stores are literally set up to get you to spend more money. Adding a few marked-down items, a croissant, or a bag of seasonal candy to your cart may seem insignificant, but the cost will add up before you realize it. Hold yourself accountable to your shopping list to avoid unnecessary purchases.


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