28 Tips to Save Money on Groceries in 2021

As different as we all are, I’m betting you can’t swing your grocery bag right now without hitting someone who would agree that saving money on groceries is one of the best feelings. No matter your income or budget, spending less on necessities like food is crucial for monthly finances.

But saving money on groceries doesn’t have to be difficult – there are so many ways to go about it that you can find what works for you and your family. And, just think of what you can do with the money you save!

Try these 28 tips to save money on your groceries and I guarantee you’ll be happier for it!

1. Plan Ahead by Creating a List

There is something to be said for making a list and sticking with it. Jotting down what you need not only keeps you from forgetting something but helps you to stay on track. When making your list, arrange it efficiently so you don’t have to wander around for an hour.

You can do this the old-fashioned way with pen and paper, or go digital with apps like AnyList, Mealime, or Our Groceries — all of which are available on iOS or Android.

2. Shop for Sales to Stock up

I know, this sounds counterintuitive to the first tip, but hear me out. If you know your family chows down on tortillas every week, and you seem to run out, why not stock up when they’re on sale? 

Grabbing a few extra non-perishables when they’re marked down can help you keep your pantry stocked, and save money on your next grocery bill.

3. Use Online Sites that find Deals for you

When I first entered the world of couponing, I had no idea where to start and was quickly overwhelmed. Then, I found a site like Southern Savers. It’s actually their job to find deals for you! This example is regional, but find a site that caters to your area.

You can quickly search the store you plan on shopping at to find what the best buys are and which coupons to use. The hard work is done for you! Scroll through to see what the good deals are, make your list, and prepare to get more for less.

Speaking of coupons…

4. Search for Coupons

Whether you cut them out of your local newspaper or go all digital now, there are numerous ways to find coupons for your groceries. Some sites have a ton of manufacturer’s coupons and rebates that are updated weekly. 

Scour for what you usually buy first, then see if there are any that catch your interest. And, make sure you have noted when they expire so you don’t miss out! Search for coupons at grocers like Walmart and Target near you.

Why not make this a weekly thing you do while catching up on your favorite shows, so you have them loaded and ready to go before you leave the house. And, don’t forget sites like Koopy.com for all of your couponing needs!

5. Grab a small cart or handbasket

Larger shopping carts make you feel that you need to fill them to the brim. Keep your basket small and you’ll be less tempted to throw in things you don’t need. Those extra snacks add up to bigger grocery bills!

6. Get Cash Back with an App

Apps like Ibotta or Swagbucks give you cashback for using their apps or uploading your grocery receipts. Why not get rewarded for shopping you absolutely have to do anyway? Take advantage of getting some of that money back!

7. Try Grocery Delivery Services

If you are someone that struggles with making wise food choices or tends to overspend at the grocery store, consider a grocery delivery service like Instacart, Shipt, and Amazon Fresh. Plus, you can find first-time discounts or other coupons for their services. 

Delivery ServiceMinimum OrderDelivery FeeMembershipOther Notes
Instacart$10Starts at $3.99 for non-membersOptionalAdditional fees may vary, including one-hour deliveries, club deliveries, or orders under $35
ShiptNo minimum order$7 for orders below $35
Free for orders $35 or more
$14 for a monthly subscription or $99 for an annual subscription
Can bundle 5 deliveries for $40
They offer a one-time delivery for $10 without membership and you can get unlimited deliveries with an annual subscription
Amazon FreshNo minimum order$10 for orders below $35Free for Amazon Prime Members
May not be eligible for non-Prime members

This can also be something you try every once in a while when you’re pressed for time and would otherwise spend way too much eating out. Take a look to see if this is a good option for you.

8. Sign up for Store Rewards Cards

Signing up for store rewards cards is free and is very well worth it. Back in the day, stores were more lenient on letting cashiers swipe their cards if they did not have one, but they are starting to cut down on that more and more. 

Go ahead and sign up at the stores you frequent and let those points add up! You also can get discounts not privy to the general public. Don’t leave money on the checkout line!

Sign up for rewards at stores like Kroger, Wegmans, Albertsons, or Publix. If your store isn’t mentioned here, don’t sweat – they more than likely have a rewards card. Search online or stop by their Customer Service desk on your next visit!

9. Buy in Bulk

This can be controversial, but most of the time, buying in bulk will save you more money. This can be bulk bins, a warehouse club, or even buying the largest package available at the store. 

The price per unit is usually lower, and it’s worth it to get the best possible price for something you may consume a lot of. You can find small and local stores in your state that offer bulk bins on Litterless, but also know that there are larger corporate stores, as well.

Stores like Wegmans, Whole Foods offer bulk bins in-store, and you can do a quick online search of stores near you to see if bulk bins are offered. Another way to save is to take your own containers. Simply get them weighed first by an associate (see Customer Service).

Once your containers are weighed, it means you won’t pay for the weight of the jar! You may find that your store will give you money back for not using their plastic packaging, as well.

10. Check Your Pantry First

How many times have you come home from the store and opened your pantry or fridge to find you already had something you just bought? This is worse if it’s perishable and you can’t finish it all. Check your pantry first to see if you really need to buy it.

Even better, check your pantry before leaving your house. You may find it’s time to cook what you have and spend a few minutes getting creative to make some fulfilling meals, instead of going to the store at all. 

This also helps you rotate your food, ensuring what you buy will last a bit longer.

11. Find Out When Produce Arrives

It’s a fact that grocery stores get deliveries every week. Do you know what they do with older produce when they get newer boxes? They mark it down or package it for a quick sale. Don’t miss out on perfectly fine produce because it’s a week old! 

Freeze it or use it first – I promise, your kids will never know.

12. Buy In-Season Produce

Also, on the topic of produce, buying in season is a big way to save more money when buying groceries. Plus, it just tastes better. Produce grown out of season usually takes more work (which means higher prices) and it just isn’t as rewarding. 

Buying in-season gives you the best flavors and is more sustainable, and it’s cheaper.

13. Consider Curbside Pickup

Check out the store of your choice to see if they offer curbside pickup. If you’re not wandering the aisles grabbing everything your grumbling stomach wants to consume, you’re less likely to jack up your grocery bill. 

Curbside pickup can usually be ready in a few hours and they bring it out to you. Plus, if this is one more chore on your list that can get done even faster, you can use that time to put dinner together. 

14. Stick To a Budget

Doing some math at the beginning of the month can help you plan ahead for how much you can spend on groceries. This helps you save money by keeping you focused, and keeps you from cringing at the checkout line when you realize you just spent $120 on snacks. 

A budget may differ from one person to the next, but spending what you’ve allotted for (or less) can help you dial back one of the biggest expenditures households face. There are a few different tools you can use to make it a bit easier and less stressful.

You can use a simple spreadsheet on your computer if you like it longhand, or you can use apps that offer free versions like EveryDollar, PocketGuard, or Goodbudget.

15. Make It Yourself

The inner aisles of the grocery store are where the money suck begins. Not only are you spending way more per ounce on items like dips and dressings, but you’re getting a lot of preservatives, too. 

You would be surprised at how quick and simple it is to make some of these foods yourself from the raw ingredients. Take a look at some of your condiments and snacks to see what you can make in your kitchen to shave significant dollars off your bill.

You can do a quick online search to find recipes for condiments, salad dressings, or dips. I bet they taste so much better, too.

16. Take a Survey

The next time you checkout, grab your receipt and check the bottom. You may be eligible for a survey that can provide a few dollars off your next grocery bill, or a chance to win a prize. Also, coupon sites will offer surveys from time to time, as well.

If you really like surveys and have a few extra minutes, you can use your receipts for sites like Swagbucks. Do a few surveys while you’re there to gain points that you can convert to gift cards to places like Safeway or Walmart where you can then buy more groceries.

17. Say Bye-Bye to Brand Loyalty

Times have changed, and (for the most part), generic or store brands can be just as good – or better – than name brands. Oftentimes, comparable foods are actually manufactured the exact same way, with just a different label slapped on the can. 

When it comes to big brands, pause and consider the store or generic brand instead. They’re often significantly cheaper for the same quality.

18. Buy “Reduced For Sale” Meat

Meat has a sell-by date and stores usually don’t sell meat past that particular date. When shopping the meat section, check around to see what has been reduced for a quick sale and (as long as it looks good) grab it fast!

Take it home and cook it right away, whether you plan on eating it for dinner or letting it cool and freezing the cooked meat for later. Either way, you can get a pretty good deal on meat, and it’s one less thing to buy later in the month.

19. Go Meatless A Few Times Per Week

Can you really buy meat on sale and go meatless? Yes – no one said you have to stop eating meat altogether! Meat is one of the most expensive items per pound that you purchase, especially if you – and your family – eat meat three meals per day. 

Start small, especially if you’re not used to big changes. There are a ton of protein options out there like tofu, beans, and pulses, and they’re just as tasty with the right spices. Go meatless a few meals (or more) per week to cut back on your grocery bill. 

Sites like Budget Bytes offer Vegetarian sections (and focus on saving you money), or you can search for meatless meals on Pinterest for more ideas. If you want to start in more familiar territory, take one of your favorite meals, replace meat with a bean, but add the same spices.

20. Stock Up On Spices

If you’re not careful, spices can get expensive. However, spices can provide enough variation that encourages you to dress up your dishes, so you’re not bored with your food options. Boredom is what can lead to overspending at the store. 

Think about it – oregano can make chicken into an Italian dish, while chili powder turns it into a Mexican dish. Eating what you already have is the first step in reducing what you spend later. 

Budget for one new spice each month and try new flavors to jazz up those boring foods! 

21. Buy Local Instead of Imported

Local foods are significantly less than foods that are imported, whether it be from across the country, or around the world. Why not consider a farmer’s market or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box from a local farm (that can even deliver to your door) as a way to save?

Some CSA’s are even offering items other than produce so you can really round out your week nicely and limit any additional shopping. Plus, you’re supporting local farmers. And, you’ll be hard-pressed to find food that tastes better than being picked that same week! 

They may seem pricey upfront, but consider the wasted food you currently produce, as well as time spent shopping and going to the store. This may be a better option!

22. Plan Efficiently for Batch Cooking

When I finish a round of batch cooking, I feel so relieved! Batch cooking is when you cook large portions to freeze or eat throughout the rest of your week. This can be the same meal or using one ingredient in a few different meals.

This is a tremendous way to save money, and a great way to take one ingredient and vary it for different dishes, so you’re not bored eating the same thing every time. Plus, as you progress through the week and get tired, you know food is ready and waiting!

Check out videos on batch cooking to make the most of your weekly groceries!

23. Shop During Off-Peak Hours

One of my favorite times to go grocery shopping is during a weeknight after dinner. There isn’t a crowd, and I can get in and get out quickly. This also means less time staring at the candy and snacks in the checkout line – that stuff adds up fast!

24. Meal Plan for the Best Savings

Meal planning by using an app or printout can really save you when it comes to planning effectively for your groceries. Check the ads to see what’s on sale, double-check your coupon stash (digitally or paper), and then make your list. 

Plus, you know that everything you buy will be used, and you’re not literally throwing your money away.

25. Research Your Grocery Stores

My local newspaper did a recent cover story on grocery store prices in the area. Color me surprised to find out I was shopping consistently at the most expensive one! Don’t be afraid to look around to see who’s got what on sale, or compare prices every now and again.

If you want to try an app, consider Basket, Flipp, or Grocery King, all of which lets you compare in-store and online prices. This is a great way to prepare ahead of time and ensure you get the lowest prices near you!

26. Shop at International Markets

If you have not frequented your local Latin/Indian/Asian (or other) markets, you are not only missing out on great, authentically sourced foods, but you’re missing deals, as well. These local, international grocers carry produce and meat cheaper, as well. And, it’s usually fresher. Try it out this week!

27. Freeze Herbs So They Last Longer

I love fresh cilantro, but if I really need to save money that week, it just doesn’t make the cut. However, I recently heard about freezing fresh herbs in olive oil to have that great, fresh taste anytime I want. 

To freezer herbs in water, simply take an ice cube tray, chop herbs and pour in water, and pop it in the freezer! There are also other recommendations for using oil or bare herbs. This is a great way to stretch those few dollars into a month of savings.

28. Consider Online Shopping

It may be worth a peek to see if online shopping for your groceries is a step you’re willing to take. The bonus is you don’t have to change out of your pajamas, and it comes right to your door. Make sure you find a coupon for the service and weigh out if the delivery is right for you.

If you don’t want to get fresh groceries, don’t overlook those “middle aisle” goodies and if they are cheaper online. They’re more shelf-stable and can handle shipping. Plus, with a larger marketplace (i.e. the internet), there’s more competition. And, competition can be good for your wallet.

Check out Boxed, Thrive Market, or Amazon to see what deals you can find.

Let’s Go Grocery Shopping

Hopefully, you found some new, useful ways to save on your next grocery bill. Don’t forget to check out what Koopy.com has to save even more the next time you shop!

Leslie Roberts is an experienced writer, Salesforce consultant, and koopy.com contributor from North Carolina who enjoys writing about a variety of topics and hates overpaying for things. She also loves traveling, spending lots of time outdoors, and reading.

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