How to Save Money at the Grocery Store

In our house, saving money is the only option. It’s either sink or swim! Living on a pastor’s salary is not easy unless you implement some great money saving strategies. Today I’m sharing lots of tips on how you can save money at the grocery store.

35+ Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store @
Originally published May 2015. Updated March 2023.

Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Grocery Shopping is one item in our budget that is flexible – meaning we can spend less if we need or want to. So here are a few tips we use each month when grocery shopping to get the most for our money.

It’s important to pay attention to how much each item costs and compare! Store brands are generally cheaper than name brand products. No, the grocery store does not make their own foods, they contract out to a company who does.

Many times one company will make a food and package them differently for different companies, yet what is inside the package is the same! Don’t assume that the store brands won’t taste good.

1. Stockpile items you use on a regular basis. This is smart for several reasons. First of all, you can purchase your stockpile items when they are on sale, meaning you won’t ever have to pay full price for them. Secondly, you have items on hand for a quick meal when you can’t get to the grocery store. Thirdly, having a small stockpile of items you regularly use insures that in the event of an emergency you aren’t scrambling to feed your family.

2. Use coupons when it makes sense. Also, use coupons on items that are on sale. But check to make sure that it is the best deal before putting it into your buggy! Just because you have a coupon does not mean you really need the item. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this a product I will use?
  • Can I purchase a different brand or off-brand for cheaper?
  • Can I wait until this product goes on sale and save even more money with the coupon?

3. Don’t be Brand Loyal. I know lots of people love their favorite “brand” of a particular product and can’t imagine using something else. But, in my experience, many “store brands” are just as good – or better – than nationally recognized brands. Lots of stores guarantee their brand against the national brand of the same type – so trying out a new store brand certainly can’t hurt!

4. Subscribe and Save. There are a number of food products that my husband and I purchase on a regular basis through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save option. We are Amazon Prime Members and get free two day shipping. Not everything on Amazon is a the best price available, but if you know your prices, you can find a lot of great deals. I subscribe and save to things like Organic Spelt Flour.

5. Use Store Loyalty Cards. It only takes a few minutes to sign up, but the savings are definitely worth it.

6. Shop at Big Lots. Big Lots is a great place to find groceries. We regularly shop at Big Lots for food and other items. Every few weeks, Big Lots will have a 20% off everything in the store sale. We like to stockpile canned goods like black beans and other good deals during the sale. I also recently noticed that Big Lots now accepts EBT cards.

7. Plan your weekly menu. When planning your menu consider what you already have in your pantry or freezer that needs to be used. I like to make my meal plan, inventory my pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, and then make a list. This helps me use up food we already have in the house so it doesn’t go to waste.

8. Plan your menu from the weekly sale flyer. Then make your list.

9. Use a Grocery Price Book. Unless you’re like my husband and have every good deal price already in your head, a price book will help you track sales, learn what is a great deal and what is not, and compare prices at different stores.

10. Shop at Salvage Stores. Salvage stores are like little known treasures. My husband and I buy a large percentage of our groceries at salvage stores. If you’ve never shopped in a salvage store you may not think it’s a place you want to shop. So, here are some things I’ve learned about salvage stores:

  • Salvage stores are not fancy – in fact they may look dingy.
  • You can find organic foods and name brand food your family loves.
  • I often find gluten free products.
  • Some salvage stores do sell produce.
  • Salvage stores sell some items that are near their expiration date or already expired. Read the dates. Just because an item has passed it’s “best if used by” date does not mean it’s inedible or unsafe to eat.
  • They sell products that have been scratched, dented, or boxes that are torn {but the bag is not punctured}. Use your common sense when shopping at a salvage store.
  • You can even find Costco liquidation stores near you, if you look around!

11. Bulk purchase sale items. When something goes on sale for a great price, buy enough to last until the next sale. This ensures that you will pay the lowest possible price for that item. You won’t have to purchase it again at a higher price.

If you have a small kitchen or little cabinet space, look for other places in your house to store canned goods. Under the bed, in a little used closet, under that accent table covered with a table cloth, etc.

12. Don’t buy non-food items at the grocery store. The prices are often inflated. The store gets you for the convenience of buying it there.

13. Go over sale flyers weekly and purchase loss leader items. Loss leader items are offered at a price below its minimum profit margin—not necessarily below cost. These are popular items that stores will use to get you in the door hoping you’ll buy more products while you are there. This is a good time to use those coupons!

14. Get a supermarket discount card if your store offers one. We have a little key ring with all the different store’s cards for our area. Keep it in your purse or in the car.

15. Don’t buy convenience foods. Bake cakes, biscuits, pasta salads, etc. from scratch. You may feel that you do not have time to bake. But think about the amount of time you spend in the grocery store purchasing these convenience foods!

If you aren’t a great cook, practice! Get a good basic cookbook and follow the directions precisely. Easy! Just pay attention to what you are doing. Besides costing less, homemade foods taste better and are healthier for your family.

16. Use up leftovers. Do your best to never throw away left overs. But don’t let food go rotten in the fridge. Make sure leftovers are used up. Before cooking, take an inventory of what needs to be used up.

17. Buy bread at your local day old bread store. You can find loaves of wheat bread for as little as $0.25 a loaf!

18. Shop at wholesale warehouses – like Costco or Sam’s Club – where you can bulk purchase items. But as with any other type of store, compare prices. Bulk items are not always the best deal! Be aware of what you are spending.

19. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry and don’t impulse buy! Stick to your list. If you are really craving something, drink a large glass of water and resist the temptation. And it can be helpful to create a cheap monthly grocery list.

20. Plan to eat dried beans two to three times weekly. At as little as $1.50 a bag, a pot of bean soup is a fantastic way to feed your family cheap and healthy at the same time!

21. Grow a garden and freeze or can the excess. Gardening can save you lots of money on fresh produce. If you find a source of inexpensive produce (free is best!) spend a few days canning and freezing for later. It is easy enough and, although it can be time consuming, is well worth the effort.

We canned 50 lbs. of tomatoes this May. We would have canned more except that we had to go out of town. Someone gave us enough peaches to make a few jars of peach jam. And my mother in law gave us 15 flats of strawberries!

Boy, were we busy canning them! But the jam and frozen fruit is so nice to have on hand. And they make nice gifts for Christmas! Add a loaf of homemade bread and its a great gift.

22. Keep a record of how much items cost and how much you spend each week. Note how much you are spending on WANTS (chips, soda, etc.) and how much you are spending on NEEDS (beans, produce, soy milk, etc.). The first time I did this years ago, was I amazed.

23. Don’t buy sodas. They are bad for you, make your kids hyper, promote loss of calcium from your bones, and are empty calories that nobody needs.

LOTS of ideas for saving money on groceries!

Where to Find Coupons

  1. Passion for Savings – Coupons, Deals, and a Free Stockpile Price List
  2. – The name says it all.
  3. Retail Me Not – Type in the store your at and find a coupon!
  4. Money Saving Mom – Lots of great resources for saving money.
  5. Groupon – We use Groupon all. the. time.
  6. Grocery Shop for Free – Coupon Database
  7. All You Magazine – lots of coupons!
  8. Today’s New Coupons – Updated Daily at the Coupon Closet
  9. – Coupons on popular brands.

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

So what could you do with all the extra money you save? Be wise and your family will benefit in the long run.

  • Begin paying extra toward the principle on your mortgage.
  • Put the money into a savings account and leave it there.
  • Cut up that credit card and use this money to pay off your debt.

Use the savings to purchase something that will help you save even more money, such as your own lawn mower so you don’t have to pay the boy down the street. Or an ax so you can cut your own fire wood instead of buying it from someone else.

Think about how you spend your money. There are thousands of ways to cut back, use less, and save more!

Do you have and tips or tricks to add to this list? Share in the comments below!

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