How to Save Money on Groceries With 38 Smart Ideas

Wondering how to save money on groceries
Well let me tell you
I enjoyed writing this blog posts
Because I learned 5 new grocery saving tips

I wrote this article assuming
What would be the grocery savings for a family of four
Like me with my wife and my 2 kids

There are few affiliate links, if you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you

save money on groceries

Also suggesting the amount of savings
Based on real calculations
Which I made using estimations on my previous grocery bills
I slashed the grocery savings to prove my estimates
Remember this is hypothetical grocery savings

Now let me begin with

How much do you spend a month on food?

According Global News in Canada
A family of 4 spends around $220 Canadian dollars per week on groceries
Also, according to USDA Center for Nutrition Policy
An average of $770 US dollars per month ~ $192.5 per week on groceries

1) Search for grocery items on sale

I know it is not only about me
We all hate checking weekly stores flyers
With the daily activities I am fully packed
I need someone to tell me
Hey this item is on sale this week

That’s why I fell in love with an app called Flipp

What is Flipp?

Flipp is a mobile app that lets you browse all shopping items
It can list the price of any item for all stores
This can help you find the cheapest price for your favorite items
You can click on the cheap items to clip them – encircle them with yellow for price matching
Also on top of Flipp app all items are categorized by types for easy navigation
You can also bring all coupons from different stores to use them too

Flipp mobile app searching for prices to save money on grocery

Flipp for iPhone / Flipp for Android

What is reebee?

reebee can save money on grocery
It is an alternative to Flipp
I have both apps on my cell phone
It does something similar to Flipp by searching all items
You can find the cheapest and add it to your shopping cart
Once you add it to shopping cart, it stays there
It is similar to clipping in Flipp

reebee for iPhone / reebee for Andoird

I think what reebee is missing
You cannot find coupons and offers

reebee mobile app

Now if you check your regular items weekly
You can save easily around $1 per week
Assuming your are doing weekly grocery shopping
This is $4 per month, let me consider it as $2 only

You will be saving $2 x 12 ~ $24 yearly

2) Write your grocery list

Having a shopping list is a smart way to save money on grocery
It is better than roaming through grocery isles
If you stick to a shopping list
When you go to the supermarket
Just find what is on your grocery shopping list

I find a mobile app called Bring
Bring is easy to sign in using Apple, Google,
Facebook or create your own account
It is easy to navigate through all grocery items
They are categorized by type
Under each type you can find and select your items

Bring mobile app helps you find which groceries you need

Bring app also has something called Inspiration
You can add multiple collections
Where under each collection
You can add part or all of your grocery items list
What is really amazing in Bring mobile app
you can share your shopping list with family member
Using WhatsApp, SMS or email

Bring mobile app helps you share your shopping list saving money on grocery

Assuming by sticking to your list
You will be saving 50 cents per week

You will be saving 50 cents x 4 weeks x 12 ~ $24 yearly

3) Get to know the food prices well

Nothing is better than memorizing all the grocery prices
It does not take long time
Usually Banana is 67 cents
At Walmart it is 57 cents
Prices are going to stick in your head

Again a mobile app like Flipp helps you knowing the right prices
Assuming you can save 25 cents on your weekly grocery list
That's $1 monthly, I will say 50 cents

You will be saving 50 cents x 12 ~ $6 yearly

4) Don't overspend on grocery coupons

Don't be lured by using all your coupons
Some grocery items you have to store in room temperature
Buying with extra coupons cause extra ripe fruits to get rotten
Beside rotten fruits infect other ripe ones

5) Plan your meals for one week ahead

Actually planning for a week of meals makes
Your grocery shopping process way easier
It is good to have all your grocery items written before you go shopping
That's why using a mobile app like Bring will help you

planning your meals save you money on grocery

I consider Bring to be top best app on how to save money on groceries
Because you can create all different meal courses under collections
Every meal contains its grocery items to buy
You can review your collections weekly
Choose your meals and select all grocery items within those selected meals

 

6) Visit your supermarket weekly

Again it is awful feeling to realize that
You have to visit your supermarket again
Because you forgot a couple of items or
You went short during the week on regular items
Like milk and egg

Assuming you avoid only one extra trip per month to the supermarket
That's $1 monthly at least saving on gas
I will say 50 cents

You will be saving $1 x 12 ~ $12 yearly

7) Monitor grocery prices during the week to find best day

I know everybody loves the weekend grocery shopping
But go and visit your supermarket during the week and the grocery prices
You will be surprised that you can definitely make some savings
In fact grocery prices go up in weekend
Because supermarkets get packed with customers like you and me

8) Use calculator or at least round up prices for good planning

Rounding up prices is very easy
If an item is $1.69 make it $2
If another item is $6.75 consider it $7
Nothing is wrong about rounding down
If an item is $1.15 consider it $1

Rounding down will be compensated by up one
Now you can sum all your items easily to $2+$7+$1 ~ $10
By doing that You will never find surprises on checkout

9) Don't be shy to cancel items when checking out

Did it happen to you that you take one of the items to checkout
Just to find that it was scanned with a higher price than
What you expected or saw on the shelf

You have 2 options here
Either the price on the shelf is correct and they have to match it or
You read a wrong price
I used to be embarrassed and take them
But now I am OK to cancel the item

10) Consider buying some groceries in bulk – Costco

Bulk stores like Costco can save you some money on groceries
If it happens that you visit Costco store
It doesn’t hurt to grab milk and eggs

Check their expiry date
Sometimes you will still have time to consume them before expiry

 

11) Don't visit supermarket on empty stomach

Although you may have a shopping list
But I noticed that if I visit the supermarket while I am hungry
I get tempted to buy extra things I won’t need

12) Look around the middle shelves – High and Low rule

Always look higher and lower not only at the middle shelves
Grocery stores place high price items in the middle shelves
Some shoppers don’t look up or down for different options
Consider checking alternatives below or above your items

13) Consider buying the no brand product

Without thinking I know
There are no brand products or the label store brand like Great Value at Walmart
They are way cheaper
You can really save good money replacing your brands with the label store brand

Assuming you save $5 for each weekly visit
I would say $5 x 4 ~ $20, I will consider it $15 x 12 ~ $180 yearly

14) Buy vegetables and fruits at different stages of ripeness

Remember you are buying vegetables and fruits for the whole week
Not all fruits ripen at the same time
For example Green bananas take 3 days to turn yellow
So buy bananas at different stages of ripeness

15) Consider looking at expiry or best before dates

Not all grocery items on sale are good to buy
Some items are expiring very soon
That’s why they are listed on sale
So check the expiry date and buy what you will consumer before that date

 

16) Always check reduced items

I love math and so I leaned this lesson one time
If I buy diced tomatoes in certain size
It happens that I find the smaller one reduced in price
I realized it will be cheaper if I buy multiple packs of the small ones

Lesson learned and I always check any reduced items to save few cash

save money on grocery

17) Check unit price for similar items

Always check the price per unit to find out
What is cheaper for you to buy
I always do my math when I look at different products for the same item

If you see orange juice pack 3.89 L for $5.97 and
Another pack 1.75 L for $2.48
The first one is 23¢/100ml
The second one is 14¢/100ml
The second one is cheaper although it is less quantity

18) Stock up on dried legumes and long life food

There are lot of non expiry items to buy in bulk
When they go on sale like Rice, Pasta, Sugar and Tea
Buy them and stock them in kitchen cupboard or in the garage

Assuming you save $5 each month
I would say $5 x 12 ~ $60 yearly

19) Store food properly at home

You have to learn the right way to properly store food
Ready to eat food can be stored at the top of the fridge
Raw meat, poultry and fish should be sealed and stored in the freezer
Vegetables and legumes should be stored in plastic bags in crisper of your fridge

Fruits should be kept outside but keep an eye on them so they don't get rotten
If one fruit gets rotten and touching other fruits, it will infect them all
Get rid of the rotten one immediately

 

20) Prepare your own meals

Preparing all your meals for dinner
Save you money from eating at restaurants

Assuming you save two nights dinner at restaurants per month for a family
I would say you could save $40 for each dinner ~ $80
Saving $80 x $12 ~ $960 yearly

21) Take your leftover dinners and eat them for lunch

Always keep the dinner leftover for next day lunch
This will save you money from buying lunch at work

Assuming you save $5 for lunch x 5 days a week
That's $25 x 4 ~ $100 per month
You would save you $100 x 12 ~ $1200 yearly

22) Compare packaged vegetables and fruits when buying them per weight

Sometimes buying large package of oranges saves you money
Than buying individual oranges per weight

Same thing for green and colored peppers
For small cucumber it is the other way around
Buying individual per weight is cheaper than buying packages

There is no rule you have to compare the prices and make up your mind

23) Plant your own vegetables and fruits

If you are into gardening
Sometimes planting the seeds for Tomato and peppers in spring
Picking them from your garden in Summer can save you few cash

 

24) Stick to buy essential products from supermarket

Food items like milk or egg is not recommended to buy them from convenience stores or gas stations
They are expensive there

Always check your fridge for regular recurring items like Milk or eggs
Make sure you have got enough of them for the next weekly trip to your supermarket

25) Pay with cash back credit cards

Some credit cards give you cash back up to 4% on grocery items
It is better to pay with these cards

Assuming you pay $450 per month for groceries
That's $450 x 12 ~ $5400 yearly x 4% ~ $216 savings of groceries
If you pay $90 annual fees then you save $216 – $90 ~ $126 yearly

26) Consider upgrading your Costco membership for better saving

This one I did not think about it
Until one day at Costco while renewing my membership card
Associate there suggested to upgrade to Costco executive
I asked what if I make less than $120 ~ $135 after tax
He told me Costco will pay the difference between both memberships

This year I made 101$ so I paid $34
Think about it this way
If I pay $67.5 and I don't get any cash back rewards
While I can pay $135 and I get back whatever
So I am renewing my membership with less than $67.5 yearly

Assuming you collect $75 cash back from executive membership
Then you save $10 yearly when renewing your membership

27) Buy non grocery items like detergents from discount or bulk stores

Not only detergents but shampoo, body wash, creams and diapers
These items are recommended to buy from Costco
You can stock whatever quantities you would like if they are on sale

You will pay more if you get them from supermarket stores
Assuming you save $20 per month difference between Costco and supermarket stores
You would save $20 x 12 ~ $240 yearly

28) Shop in supermarkets that do price match

As I mentioned earlier some supermarkets like Walmart they do price match
I recommend you check for your grocery items to see their prices in different stores

Yes I know it sounds unrealistic and I wouldn’t ask you to do that
If I find it hard but with Flipp or reebee searches are super easy

If you manage to save 50 cents per week That's 50c x 4 ~ $2 per month
You would save you $2 x 12 ~ $24 yearly

29) Try grocery shopping alone without kids

Not only because kids can nag for candies and chocolates
But sometimes they can be distracting

If you have the option to leave the kids with the spouse and you go and finish your grocery shopping
That would be great and convenient for you

30) Bring your own bags

Every time you buy groceries you need at least 2 bags
Grocery stores charge now 5 cents per bag

If you can bring your own bags
You would save 10 cents per week

That's 10 c x 4 ~ 40 cents per month
You would save you 40 cents x 12 ~ $5 yearly

 

31) Choose one or two days to go meatless

Although going vegan started to be popular
Some people started to try meatless meals at least once per week

If you are eating meat, poultry or fish for 6 or 7 days a week
Take it one day down and you will not feel it

If you save one day going meatless
That’s $10 per week x 4 ~ $40 per month
You would save $40 x 12 ~ $480 yearly

32) Buy large freezer to stock meat when on sale

This is a weird advice as I suggest to cut items
Here I am suggesting you to buy extra large freezer

You have to think why I am telling you that
Usually your fridge comes with an upper or lower freezer attached to it
It won’t be enough to stock all you need
By having an extra large freezer you will be able to buy meat, poultry and fish in bulk
Buy more when they go on sale and stock them

33) Buy the cheap cut meat

Some special cuts for meat are expensive
I know you may know that
But If you are buying your meat to cook with legumes
It won't make any difference if you buy the cheap cuts of meat

34) Save money by cutting alcohol

I know it is tempting to grab wine bottles or pack of beer
When doing your grocery shopping
In Canada recently it started to have wine and beer in all grocery stores
While in US they are always selling alcohol everywhere

According to National post in Canada, roughly 80% of Canadians drink alcohol and
According to Washington post 12.7% in U.S. are diagnosed with alcohol use disorder

35) Save money by skipping nuts and junk aisle

Nuts are expensive and some junk like chip bags
I personally don't buy unless I have a party
I am telling you that because when you come back from work
You will take sometime to prepare your dinner
It can be tempting to eat chips and nuts till your dinner gets ready

36) Save money by drinking tap water

There is nothing wrong if you get used to drink tap water
Unless you live in an area with high sodium level
You will not save much but it is just good practice

37) Save money cutting soda, soft drink and sparkling water

I am not against soft drink but I ask you to control the amount you consume
Long time ago I bought a pack of 32 from Costco and I don't remember how long it stayed in my garage
I would say easily 6+ months
I even control my kids drinking pops

38) How to save money on groceries using grocery rewards mobile app

Before the great jump in mobile technology
People used to search flyers and cut coupons

Now with mobile apps, you can search for all coupons across all nearby supermarkets
Find what suits you and save it for redeeming in grocery stores

 

There are more mobile apps than what I listed below but these are considered top grocery rewards
I will describe them in brief to show you how to save money on groceries

Ibotta

Available in the US only
It works by looking for coupons for things
You want to buy in specific store
You go and purchase them then
Scan the QR code at the bottom of the receipt
Don't worry you can use your mobile camera to scan the QR code

Ibotta for iPhone
Ibotta for Android 

how to save money on groceries by scanning QR code on a receipt

SavingStar – discontinued

Available in the US only
It works by finding offers for your favorite grocery store
You buy and pay then upload the receipt by camera
You will be paid in your mobile app account in hours

Checkout 51

Available in US and Canada
Checkout 51 works similar to Saving Star but offers are across all grocery stores
Meaning if you find cash back on apples
It would be across all supermarkets

Same thing you pay for your items
Scan the full receipt using your mobile camera
You will be paid on your account in hours
You can request payment by check when you accumulate $20

Checkout 51 for iPhone
Checkout 51 for Android

Receipt Hog

Available in US and Canada
Receipt Hog is similar to Checkout 51
But no specific offers there
You just scan your receipts
Take a picture from your mobile phone camera and upload it
Receipts cannot be older than 2 weeks

Also Receipt Hog provides you some little cash
When you answer some surveys

Receipt Hog for IPhone
Receipt Hog for Android

Krazy Coupon Lady

Available in US and Canada
You choose the grocery store near you
Browse through coupons
Add them to your shopping list
Collect your savings by clicking on Post a Brag on the app

Krazy Coupon Lady for iPhone
Krazy Coupon Lady for Android

Finally I hope I managed to show you how to save money on groceries
If you believe I missed anything please I would like to know about it
Just comment below to notify me and don't forget to share it with your friends using social media to the left or mobile (bottom)


Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.