Simple Ways to Slash Your Grocery Bill

Struggling with a too-big grocery bill? Here are simple ways to slash it down to size. Use these tips to cut your weekly costs by as much as half. 

Only Buy on Sale

Woman talking on cell phone by vegetables in supermarket
Paul Burns/ Digital Vision/ Getty Images

Start a stockpile, and only buy items when they're on sale.

Plan Your Menu Around the Sales

Food. © Flickr user Michael Stern

Enjoy cheap meals throughout the week by planning your menu around the weekly sales flyers.

Be Willing to Substitute

Spray Starch Recipe
Spray Starch Recipe. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Have a recipe that calls for an ingredient that you don't have? Then, see if you can substitute it for an ingredient that you do have. It'll save you money at the store and space in your pantry.

Buy Ingredients Instead of Prepared Meals

Chicken Nugget Ingredients. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Frozen dinners and boxed mixes may be convenient, but they're also more costly. Get in the habit of buying the ingredients that you need to prepare the foods that you eat, and watch your grocery dollars go further.

Shop Seasonally

seasonal vegetables in basket
Hinterhaus Productions/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Fruits and vegetables are cheapest when they're in season, so learn when all of your favorites are in season, and buy them then.

Switch to Generic

Cereal. © Flickr user Y'amal

Make the leap from name brand to generic brand, and you'll shave an easy 25% or more off of your grocery bill. Some generics worth trying: cereal, spices and baking supplies.

Buy Reduced-Price Items

Cheap Party Foods. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Want a true bargain basement price? Then, scour every aisle of the store for reduced-priced groceries. Ultra-ripe produce, scratch and dent items, closeouts, food at or near its use-by-date – it's all reason for a reduced-price sticker.

Not sure you'll be able to use something before its use-by date? Then, toss it in the freezer, and you won't have to.

Shop at Drug Stores

Getty Images

Grocery stores aren't the only place to look for grocery bargains. Get in the habit of checking the drug store ads for deals on cereal, oatmeal, raisins, spices, baking supplies, soda, paper goods and more.

Cherry Pick

Sale Shelf. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Stores tend to sell a few items below cost each week to entice customers to shop. Learn to spot these bargains, and snatch them up — even if it means going to more than one store.

For help spotting the bargains:

Stack Discounts

Clipping Coupons
Clipping Coupons. Jose Luis Pelaez Inc.?Blend Images/Getty Images

A sale is nice. A sale combined with a coupon and a rebate? Well, that's even better. Look for any and every opportunity to stack discounts, and slash that grocery bill right down to size.

Shop Locally

Grocery Bags in Trunk
Grocery Bags in Trunk. Yello Dog Productions/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Local produce stands, farmer's markets and u-pick farms can be a great source for low-cost, high-quality produce.

Grow Your Own Foods

Senior man selecting vegetables for harvest in vegetable garden
Gary John Norman / Getty Images

Fill a few containers or a garden plot with the fruits, vegetables and herbs that you use most. It's a great way to reduce your produce bill, and a great way gain control over how your food is grown.

Check Your Receipt for Mistakes

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Mis-rings are common and costly. Bring all receipt errors to the store's attention, and you may just get your mis-rung items for free!

Make Your Own Ingredients

Homemade Spices
Homemade Spices. Helaine Weide/Moment/Getty Images

Baking powder, brown sugar, even flour can be made at home. Challenge yourself to make more of the ingredients that you need, and enjoy tastier foods at a fraction of the store-bought price.

Never Pay Full Price for Meat

Meat. Photo &copy Erin Huffstetler

Something is always on sale in the meat department. Focus in on those items, and you'll shave an easy 25% off of your tab.

Go Meatless

Vegetable Soup

Add more meatless meals to your menu, or experiment with recipes that use less meat.

  • Create Meatless Meals with TVP