13 Creative Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Food prices are on the rise and getting out of control. I'll show you many ways to save money on groceries right now. These tips on saving money help me to keep thousands of dollars in my pocket every year when I’m shopping for food for my family.

Shopping in your own kitchen

1. Shop your kitchen first

I shop my kitchen first. like to go through everything in my pantry, fridge, freezer, and even my spice cabinet to see what I have in store and to see if we are missing anything. But hopefully, there will be enough in my pantry to create a meal plan so I don’t have to go to the store.

If I do have to go to the store, I’ll have a list of what I need. I also keep a recipe binder I refer to plus a recipe tab on my phone.

I look to see if we have the ingredients for our tried and true favorites. Or, I can take the ingredients I do have and search online to find recipe generator sites that incorporate them.

Meal plan from the pantry

2. Create meal plans from the pantry

I will make a meal plan based on things I already have in my pantry. I do try to keep an inventory of what I have in my pantry for meal planning. I put it all on my whiteboard, including the day we go to my parent’s house for dinner.

We have veggies that need to get used so I’ll plan quinoa bowls that we like, some chili I had in the freezer, and I’ll leave a few days open because I might get some great deals on meat for those days. 

Planning meals around supermarket sales

3. Plan meals around the sales circular

My meal plan also revolves around the store’s circular for the week. If there are holes in my week, I’ll look at the store’s sales circular to see if there are any items there that we could use to fill in those holes. I also take advantage of digital deals and coupons.

We will see what vegetables or fruits are on sale, for example, to fill in the side dishes for meals.

Asparagus in a supermarket

Sales circulars for groceries

4. Study the sales circulars and apps

I always look for the weekly sales on all the store’s circulars. Sales are usually listed on the front page. For example, I saw bacon, asparagus, butter, and chicken have great prices so I took advantage of the asparagus.

I’ll evaluate whatever looks like a decent price and add that to the list if it works well for our family. I know that people will say to look only at the front page of a sales circular but sometimes there are little hidden deals inside the circular and also listed on the store’s apps.

How to save money on groceries

5. Buy only what you like

Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. It will be a waste of money to buy something that’s on sale but your family doesn’t like eating it. We love cheese so when it’s on sale, we stock up.

Clearance food

6. Buy clearance food

When you’re shopping at any store, look for the clearance areas of the store to find great deals on random clearance items. Clearance items range from canned items to bread and more.

Checking the price per ounce vs sale price

7. Check the price per ounce vs sale price

Sometimes the price per ounce may not be the best price even though the regular price or sales price looks appealing.

Visiting multiple stores

8. Visit multiple stores

It pays to go to more than one store for the various deals they offer. However, it may cost more in gas or the stores may be very far apart.

Luckily for me, both stores I frequent are located within about 10 minutes of each other. But I also shop at the cheapest store of the week. If one store is having fantastic sales, I’ll stick with that store. 

Comparison shopping

9. Know the prices in your area

I used to keep a little journal with all the prices of the items I normally bought. When the item went on sale I’d write down the sale price, too. But nowadays I know what the costs are in my head.

This way you know when something is a good deal to stock up or if it’s too expensive to buy at the moment. 

Using cashback apps

10. Use cashback apps

When I get home from shopping, I use the cashback apps Fetch, Ibotta, and Receipt Hog. When I use Fetch I don’t need to buy anything specific. I just scan my receipt and it will give me the number of points and bonuses I’ve earned and redeem them in the form of gift cards.

On Receipt Hog I can redeem points using PayPal. With Ibotta I do need to buy specific items so I don’t look at that app before I go to the store so I won’t be tempted to buy those deals.

I used to play that game where I’d buy a couple of items that I didn’t need or even want just to get that bonus but then we’d waste money on the items no one wanted to eat! 

Limiting eating out

11. Limit eating out

We have a separate and very strict budget for eating out. For example, if I have a budget of $50 for the month, we will make a nice meal once a month. We don’t go out very often. And we often make restaurant-worthy meals at home!

Freezing food

12. Freeze what you can

Most things can be frozen. Not everything, but most things. If an item is getting close to its “best by” date, toss it in the freezer.

This especially works well with butter, cheeses, and meats. I even found out you can freeze celery, onions, chopped carrots, and I just pull things out of the freezer and it makes it easy to prep dinner.

Ways to save money on groceries

13. Meal sharing

This may be an unconventional tip, but meal sharing saves money. When it was just my husband and I we would trade off dinners with friends. We didn’t need a full week of food so we weren’t buying excess items. These days we go to my parents once or twice a week and share with them. 

Ways to save money on groceries

If you are struggling with food insecurities, reach out to your local resources, such as churches and police stations to see local options. I hope these tips on how to save money on groceries can be useful to you.

Please share in the comments any other money-saving tips for grocery shopping.

Join the conversation