According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American family spends more than $330 per month on groceries — the fourth biggest budget priority behind housing, transportation and insurance. And with that being the average, that means many families likely spend a lot more on food for their home.
But by applying a few strategies to your grocery shopping routine, you can cut your spending by 50% or even more.
Here are 15 tips & tricks to save money on groceries
1. Change where you shop
You can save more than 30% on groceries simply by changing your routine. Check out non-traditional channels like warehouse clubs, dollar stores, Aldi and Walmart for big savings on groceries and other items you may be purchasing at the grocery store at a higher price.
- Grocery staples: Check out and Walmart Aldi
- Organic: Try Trader Joe's instead of Whole Foods
- Bulk items: Warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam's Club or BJ's
Read more: Secret pricing hacks at the warehouse clubs
2. Save money with store brands
Buying store brands instead of name brands can save you an average of 25%!
There are some items at stores like Trader Joe's that are actually brand-name products repackaged for half the price — no coupon needed!
When it comes to general debate of store brands vs. name brands, depending on the store, the store brand can be just as good — or even better — than the more expensive name brand. Check out this report from Consumer Reports on the best store brands out there.
3. Compare prices
Figure out which store has the best prices on the items you're looking for — stopping at two, or more, stores can save end up saving you a lot of money, especially if you can stock up on the items you buy regularly by getting them at a cheaper price.
4. Use a cash-back credit card
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card offers 6% back on groceries, up to a max of $6,000 annually. Also, make sure to check out the rewards your current card has to offer.
5. Use apps that find the best prices
- Ibotta: Provides rebates on a number of retail items, but you’ll find the most savings opportunities at national and regional grocery stores.
Checkout 51: Features a new list of about 20 offers every Thursday morning. They include rebates on items you don’t normally find coupons for, such as tomatoes, strawberries, and bananas.
Shopmium: Like Checkout 51, the rebate offers on Shopmium can be redeemed at any store where the products are sold.
Cellfire.com: Sends coupons directly to your loyalty cards.
Coupons.com: Add grocery and drugstore coupons to your store loyalty cards and automatically save when you use them at the register.
Favado.com: Aggregates sales data for your local grocery, drug, and big box stores. Compare and save up to 70% on everyday items.
GroceryIQ.com: Create and organize grocery lists quickly and easily.
KeyringApp.com: Digitizes all your loyalty cards and stores them on a smartphone so you never have to fumble for the physical cards again.
SavingStar.com: Get grocery and food coupons, which convert into store savings or actual cash back.
6. Salvage stores offer cheap food
This may be a little more extreme, but these stores sell dented cans and food that is near or past expiration date (and many foods are fine to eat well past the expiration date).
7. Buy items when they are on sale
You can save a lot over time by stocking up on the items you buy regularly when they are on sale. If one of your favorite items is marked down — and it will last a while (or you can freeze it) — then buy a few. Another great strategy is to tweak your meal plans around what's on sale. By working your weekly menu plan around what’s on sale, you can easily cut grocery spending by 30% or more.
8. Make a list
And stick to it! If you have a list, you're much more likely to avoid spending extra money. And these apps make it easy for you.
9. Find coupons before you head to the store
You don't have to get crazy with coupon clipping to save big bucks. Once you have your list, find available coupons to save on those items. There are tons of apps that make it super easy for you. Check out this list from Consumer Reports of the best coupon apps for grocery store shopping.
10. Use cash
If you bring a certain amount of cash to the grocery store, then that's all you'll be able to spend — avoiding the last-minute, unnecessary purchases. So make a list and budget for it before you go — and only bring enough money to cover it.
11. Price match
Many stores in today’s world have implemented a price matching policy in order to gain more of your business. Research the different price matching programs at grocery stores in your area, and take full advantage of them in order to pay the least amount of money possible for the groceries you need.
Read more: These apps find you the best prices
12. Don't buy prepared foods
Yes, it's convenient, but it's also more expensive. These convenience items could be marked up as much as 40%. So if you want to save, avoid the packaged/pre-cut/prepared sandwiches, salads and produce. Instead, buy the ingredients (which will last you longer) separately and cut your fruits and veggies yourself at home.
13. AARP membership
If you're 50 or older, the annual $16 AARP membership is totally worth it for the savings you get throughout the year. Most AARP members know about the available savings on travel and other big expenses, but an AARP membership can also save you big bucks on everyday expenses like groceries. Here's a list of discounts available to all AARP members.
14. Save on meat products
Buying meat in bulk is a great way to help reduce your monthly spending. If your family eats a lot of meat, buy bigger quantities — which will cost you less per pound — and freeze what you don't eat immediately for later.
15. Don't rule out organic
Buying healthier options doesn't necessarily mean spending more money these days. Sometimes organic foods can be healthier and cheaper! Here are a few examples.