13 Budget-Friendly Food Swaps To Help Cut Your Grocery Bill

Hello everyone. My name is Aimee. If you’re looking to save money on your grocery budget, then check out these budget-friendly food swaps to help cut your grocery bill. There are 13 tips total to help encourage you on your frugal journey to being wiser with your money. Let's get started!

Oyster crackers

1. Oyster crackers

Instead of purchasing specialty crackers, buy oyster crackers or pretzels. There are tons of expensive crackers, like Goldfish, Wheat Thins, Ritz crackers that are much more expensive than a bag of oyster crackers. This easy food swap gives you more for your money.

Frozen strawberries are cheaper

2. Frozen berries

For a healthy food swap, instead of purchasing fresh berries, buy frozen berries. I love frozen berries, because they are still at their peak of freshness, with all the fantastic antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

During berry’s off-seasons, frozen will always be cheaper. However, when berries are in season, this tip may not technically apply. Then, it’s a great time to stock up on fresh berries and freeze them yourself.

How to make pizza toast

3. Pizza toast

Instead of purchasing frozen pizzas, we love making pizza toast instead. I use leftover sandwich bread, the easy pizza sauce recipe on my website, vegan or dairy cheese, olives, or whatever toppings I have in the house. Then I pop them under the broiler.

You also buy English muffins or bagels on sale and use them. You might be thinking, “yes, but I can purchase a pizza for three dollars at Walmart.” Well, that’s not going to get you very far. With this easy food swap, you can get more for your money than a frozen pie that doesn’t even fill you up.

Buying local eggs

4. Buy local eggs

Instead of buying high-priced eggs at the grocery store, find someone locally who raises chickens and sells the eggs for cheaper. Facebook is probably the place to go to find this.

Health food stores sell eggs for around ten dollars a dozen, and claim that they’re free-range and grass-fed. But, you can find that locally. If this healthy food swap isn’t available in your area, I recommend purchasing eggs from Costco.

Azure Standard kernels

5. Popcorn

Instead of purchasing chips, we purchase corn kernels, pop the corn ourselves, season it, and enjoy a healthier snack. We like the Azure Standard kernels; they have a rainbow variety that my kids love, with white, yellow, red, and blue kernels.

It’s fun to get creative with toppings. We add Parmesan cheese with Italian seasoning and pepper flakes. Cinnamon, sugar, or honey are other toppings you can use. My kids like ranch seasoning.

Save buying chips for special occasions, so that you don’t feel tempted to buy them every week.

Lentil shepherd’s pie

6. Lentils

For an easy food swap, swap Italian sausage for lentils. I have a recipe on my website for meatless zuppa toscana that my meat-eating family loves. Last weekend I made lentil shepherd’s pie that I brought to a family function. They all loved it.

So, don’t bash on lentils. Lentils are an amazing food swap. You can use fennel and Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to flavor a recipe without Italian sausage.

How to make homemade popsicles

7. Homemade popsicles

Oh my goodness! People spend so much on popsicles in the hot, summer months. We purchase silicone popsicle molds from Amazon and fill them with apple juice or orange-carrot juice or even chocolate, peanut butter, banana, and almond milk smoothie.

It’s such an easy way to save money on food. Apple juice is like $1.50 a bottle at Aldi’s (and 99 cents on sale). This healthy food swap saves you so much money.

Homemade breakfast bars

8. Homemade breakfast bars

We were going through about a box of Cliff brand breakfast bars a week, which cost about $25 a month. How could I save some of that cash?

I bought a silicone mold in the same shape and size as a breakfast bar and made an oatmeal Cliff bar from only four ingredients. The recipe is on my website, along with a pumpkin version and a trail mix version.

How to make homemade fruit cups

9. Homemade fruit cups

Instead of buying fruit cups for school lunches, make a food swap with frozen fruits that you package yourself. It’s cheaper to purchase frozen mango or pineapple, and put it inside a little container from Dollar Tree (don’t get frozen bananas for this).

If you pack them in the morning, they are thawed by lunchtime. Another option is to make a jello salad because jello is inexpensive and goes a long way.

How to make homemade pasta sauce

10. Homemade pasta sauce

I use the same recipe for pizza toast sauce as I do for pasta sauce. I take two cans of tomato sauce, and sometimes a can of diced tomatoes. Then, I grind up dried fennel seeds, oregano, basil, and rosemary, with my mortar and pestle and mix them in.

It’s so much different than just adding the seasons directly to the pot without pre-grinding. This homemade version is an easy food swap that is much cheaper than a good quality store-bought pasta sauce.

Dried beans are a great food swap

11. Dried beans

Instead of buying canned beans, cook your own. A can of beans typically costs between 50 cents to one dollar. But I can buy a pound of dried pinto beans and get four cups of beans once they are cooked, for the same price. It’s a fantastic way to save money on food.

12. Whole lettuce heads

Instead of buying bagged lettuce, purchase the whole romaine lettuce (or whatever lettuce you want) and wash and cut it up yourself. A pre-washed container is about three dollars (slightly cheaper for iceberg lettuce, but we are talking about better quality lettuce). I can get a whole head of organic romaine lettuce for 99 cents. 

Homemade granola

13. Homemade granola

Instead of buying expensive granola, make your own. I was shocked to see how much store-bought granola costs, and it has so many unnecessary ingredients. Homemade granola usually costs less than a dollar to make. I make a super-simple recipe with only four ingredients.

Budget-friendly food swaps

My goal is to inspire you and teach you how to save money on food. These 13 food swaps are perfect for helping you save on your grocery budget. What do you do to save money at the grocery store? Let us know in the comments.

Join the conversation
3 of 7 comments
  • Eve Eve on Oct 06, 2022

    I buy my meats when on sale,for instance I got 2 really nice NY strip steaks for $10.00, I cut them in 1/2 and small bites then froze them . I will add rice or veggies and get 4 meals from those 2 steaks . I also buy rotisserie chicken debone it and separate in freezer bags for meals or make small bowl chicken salad. . I always buy my meat on special thing to remember is you have to use and rotate your freezer foods . In winter I buy frozen fruit.

    Cook my own lentils/ beans you can season those ,add chili powder and beans fool people to think it has meat in it . NO Joke !! Then freezer bag it lay flat, stacks great in freezer. This is how I do it .

    • Paula Paula on Oct 20, 2022

      You're right. Rotisserie chicken isa good deal. Be sure to simmer the carcass for great chicken broth which I freeze.

  • Marna Marna on Oct 11, 2022

    A meat tenderizer with a lot of "teeth" is your friend. For example, buy pork chops or round steak pieces on sale that are 1 1/4" thick and ask if the person behind the meat counter can cut the pieces horizontally in half (or do this yourself). Now you have twice the pieces if meat that you take home and pound out with your tenderizer until it is very thin and stretched out. You can cut each piece in half again. Depending on how many servings you need that day, you should have enough pieces for one meal and can freeze the rest (use waxed paper, plastic wrap or parchment between each piece). Use these to make breakfast steaks, pork fritters or schnitzel, or chicken fried steak. Round steak can be further tenderized using a sprinkling of commercial tenderizer.