How to Save Money on Food +7 FAQs Answered
Sometimes it seems impossible to save more on food than you already do. Unless you’re a penny-pincher extraordinaire, you’re bound to run out of ideas.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Let’s discover how to save money on food when you buy it, eat out, or cook. We’ve included only tips and precautions we’re comfortable using ourselves and that we find useful and efficient.
How to Save Money on Groceries
We have collected an excellent selection of money-saving tips on grocery shopping. They’re not in any particular order, but each of them will help you save money every month.
Here they are:
Ways to Save Money on Groceries
Research where to shop
You probably have several options for grocery shopping close to where you live. Visit all supermarkets in your area to find which of them offer the best deals and promotions. Try to find one within walking distance so you don’t waste money on gas.
Come up with a meal plan
Always prepare a meal plan if you’re buying groceries on a budget, and bear in mind it’s generally very unwise not to budget. We suggest that you prepare your plan weekly, either on Sunday or Monday. Make sure it suits your dietary needs, especially if you’re trying to lose or gain weight.
Research which macronutrients you need and in what quantities, then work around the ingredients fitting your criteria. There’re hundreds of apps and websites dedicated to meal planning. We recommend Eat This Much since it’s easy to use, even on the go.
Make a list
Lists make it much easier to go grocery shopping on a budget. Make sure you’ve listed everything you need, including quantities and brands.
Eat before you shop
Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry or you’ll be much more likely to overspend on foods you don’t need.
Sometimes, the more you buy, the more you save.
Don’t compare price tags directly when figuring out which product is the most cost-effective. Instead, to find the best option, compare prices per unit. You may buy a larger package that costs more, but you’ll save money because it’ll cost less per unit.
This tip is especially useful for long shelf-life products like flour, pasta, dried fruits, canned food, honey, and fruit preserves.
1. How Much Should I Spend on Groceries?
The amount of money spent on groceries varies from household to household, depending on income and the number of people.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average American family spends around 10% of their monthly budget on food, divided evenly between groceries and eating out.
When monitoring the national average monthly grocery budget, the USDA publishes how much American families spend monthly on groceries on average for each family member. It divides budgets into three categories: low-cost, moderate-cost, and liberal.
Overall, the data shows that a family of four on a moderate-cost budget spends $1,112 a month on groceries alone. Naturally, your mileage may vary, depending on your situation.
If you follow our tips on how to save money on food, you’ll manage to spend under 10% of your monthly income on groceries. Keep reading, if you aim to stay under that threshold.
2. How to Spend Less on Groceries
You may be wasting money every time you shop for groceries. Let’s look at several methods to curb your expenses and keep you healthier, happier, and richer.
Buy store brands
Every supermarket has at least one store brand. They’re a lot more affordable than name brands and sometimes even cheaper than unaffiliated off-brand products. Once you try them, you’ll see they’re not that much different—name brands seldom contain higher-quality ingredients.
Buy long-lasting products in bulk
Crackers, cookies, pasta, lentils, canned tuna, and beans are examples of products that’ll last a long time in the cupboard. Make sure to stock up on such items when they’re on sale or if you can get a hefty discount buying them in bulk.
Buy clearance products
Buying clearance and reduced-price items makes saving money on groceries easy. Just check their best-before dates and cook them as soon as possible.
Replace red meat with substitutes
Learning how to save on groceries every month is not just about finances but about changing your eating habits as well. Red meat is not only costly, it can be carcinogenic if consumed too frequently, as stated by medical sources such as Cancer Council Australia. We suggest replacing red meat with cheaper and healthier substitutes such as white meats, mushrooms, beans, lentils, or tofu.
Look at the bottom and top shelves
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is simply by looking up and down. Supermarkets put their most expensive name-brand options on the middle shelves and place cheaper products on the top and bottom ones. Make sure to check those shelves if you want to get the best possible deals.
3. How to Save Money on Groceries With Coupons
Before taking any action, check out our ultimate guide on couponing and learn how to get the best possible deals and even organize coupon collections.
Get your coupons
We recommend that all who want coupons check SaveMyCent’s coupon page and find the most suitable ones.
Combine coupons with cash-back apps
Cash-back apps like Fetch Rewards, Ibotta, and Receipt Hog will save you money on hundreds of purchases at the supermarket.
Research coupon policies
Checking coupon policies at your supermarket of choice may provide you with even more ways to save money at checkout.
Organize your coupons
Organizing coupons in a dedicated wallet or digitalizing them with apps make the process very convenient.
Don’t hang around the supermarket
Don’t spend more time than you need to at the supermarket, or you may fall into their marketing traps.
4. How to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons
Many of our tips for grocery store savings don’t require any coupons. There’re still some tricks, however, that you should know if you want to save money on groceries without using coupons. Let’s check them out:
Sign up for a store savings card
Chances are your supermarket has a store savings card or some other kind of customer loyalty program that lets you take advantage of premium deals and promotions. If you still haven’t signed up for one, you should do so at every supermarket you regularly visit. Always keep these cards with you.
Stop wasting food
Leftovers are a godsend for anybody on a budget. They can be turned into tasty new dishes or frozen and eaten later. Either way, using leftovers can reduce your trips to the supermarket and result in a lower average cost of groceries per month.
Learn your supermarket’s markdown schedule
Take some time to understand how your supermarket of choice schedules markdowns. Keep track of these price reductions, and when they happen, make sure you visit the reduced section and grab what you need.
5. How to Save Money on Groceries at Walmart
There’re numerous ways to save money every time you go grocery shopping at Walmart.
Subscribe to Walmart Plus
A Walmart Plus subscription is an effective way to save time and money. It’s a subscription service that essentially makes online grocery shopping much more convenient.
Download the app
Download the Walmart app to receive deal notifications, promotions, early offers, etc.
Buy Great Value products
There’s nothing wrong with Walmart’s Great Value products, and they’re much cheaper than competing offerings since Great Value is an in-store Walmart brand.
Take advantage of price-matching
If you can find a product sold elsewhere at a lower price, you can take advantage of Walmart’s price-matching policy.
6. How to Save Money on Food in College
While you can still treat yourself to a cold one with the boys or girls, try and drink more tap water. It’s cheaper and better for your health.
Learn how to cook
If you make the effort, you’ll see that cooking is easy to learn and rewarding both mentally and financially. It’s a soothing experience that provides you with tasty food and can be learned quickly.
Look for student discounts
Student discounts can make saving on food much easier. Coffee shops and supermarkets often have numerous deals and discounts for students. If you don’t see student discounts mentioned anywhere, don’t be afraid to ask if they offer any. There are more ways to save money in college, so do not neglect them!
Limit eating out
We know how hard it is to study, and sometimes it’s OK to go the easy route and just eat out. Make an effort to limit this as much as possible, though. We suggest you take a couple of hours a week and batch cook meals to freeze for later. You won’t go a day without having something quick to eat at home if you do that.
7. How to Save Money on Food on Vacation
Stay away from tourist traps
Not a single local eats in these places, and you’ll soon discover that their prices are seriously bloated.
Rent lodging with a kitchen
Lodgings that have a kitchen may be slightly pricier, but you’ll end up with fewer overall expenses.
Bring your water
Purchasing bottled water at cafes and souvenir shops can be extremely expensive. Buy water at a supermarket instead, or fill up your bottle from public water fountains.
Saving Money on Groceries: Conclusion
Abroad or at home, as a student or an adult, you can always save a few dollars off your groceries every time you shop.
Keep in mind our tips above, and happy saving!