Groceries can be a significant expense for many households. In fact, according to the Consumer Price Index, the cost of buying groceries and eating at home rose 11.4% between 2001 and 2022. However, there are several strategies to save money at the grocery store.

Plan Your Meals and Make a List
Before heading to the store, plan meals for the week and create a detailed grocery list. Doing so will make it easier to avoid impulse purchases.

Shop on a Full Stomach
Avoid shopping on an empty stomach, as hunger can lead to overspending on tempting snacks and treats. Eating a filling meal before shopping will make it easier to make more rational decisions.

Utilize Grocery Store Loyalty Programs
Most grocery stores offer loyalty programs that reward customers with points or discounts based on their spending. Sign up for these programs and take advantage of the benefits they offer.

Shop Generic Brands
Generic or store-brand products are often just as good as their name-brand counterparts but can be significantly cheaper. Consider switching to generic brands for non-perishable items like cereals, canned goods and cleaning supplies.

Buy in Bulk Strategically
Purchasing bulk items can save money, but only if the product can be used before it expires. Shoppers should stick to bulk items with a long shelf life that their household consumes regularly.

Compare Prices Across Stores
Prices can vary significantly between grocery stores. Check the weekly ads or use online price checkers to compare prices and find the best deals.

Shop the Perimeter of the Store
The outside lanes, or “perimeter,” of the grocery store typically house fresh produce, meat, dairy and other foods that are generally healthier and often more affordable than processed foods in the middle aisles.

Choose In-Season Produce
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically fresher, more flavorful and less expensive than out-of-season produce.

Consider Frozen or Canned Options
Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can be a great way to save money by reducing food waste. They are often just as nutritious as fresh produce and can be stored longer.

Utilize Coupons and Promo Codes
Many grocery stores offer coupons and promo codes. Check the store’s website, mobile app or weekly ads for available coupons.

Avoid Pre-Packaged and Pre-Cut Items
While pre-packaged and pre-cut items may offer convenience, they often come with a higher price tag. Opt for whole items and prepare them at home to save money.

Store Food Properly
Proper food storage can extend food’s shelf life and reduce food waste, which saves money in the long run.

Plant an Herb Garden
Shoppers with green thumbs can consider growing their own herbs. Doing so can save money on fresh herbs and add fresher flavor to meals.

How Much Should the Grocery Bill Be?
It’s hard to determine how much a household should spend on groceries. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that most U.S. consumers spend an average of 11.3% of their disposable income on food in 2022.

The USDA publishes a household food budget guide that estimates monthly and weekly spending. The food budget is split into a thrifty plan, low-cost plan, moderate-cost plan and liberal plan. It considers a family of four with two children and two adults.

  • Thrifty Plan – A family on a thrifty budget might spend $225.10 per week or $975.20 monthly. This plan determines benefit amounts for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), also called food stamps.
  • Low-Cost Plan – For a low-cost budget, a family of four might spend $243.80 weekly or about $1,055.80 monthly.
  • Moderate-Cost Plan – On a moderate budget, shoppers might spend $302.80 per week or $1,311.50 per month on groceries.
  • Liberal Plan – A family on a liberal budget might spend $365.20 per week or $1,582 per month on groceries.

These plans do not consider the amount of food teenagers eat and that boys and men tend to eat more than girls and women.

Use These Tips to Save Money on Food
Cooking food at home is much more cost-effective than eating out. However, groceries are still expensive. The amount a household spends on groceries will depend on the family’s makeup.