Everyone faces the issue of grocery shopping, but those on a tighter budget may feel particularly overwhelmed.
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to discover methods of reducing one’s food bill in light of growing costs and general living expenses.
Luckily, you can use many hacks and strategies to stretch your food dollars further.
From meal planning and store loyalty cards to online shopping for non-perishables to locating cheap goods, this piece will cover some of the finest tactics for saving money while grocery shopping.
My father worked his entire career at a grocery store. I’m going to share many tips he taught me.
If you’re a frugal shopper searching for grocery store savings tips, read on.
Table of Contents
What Is the Best Day To Shop At Grocery Stores?
Based on the information I found, it seems that the best day to shop at grocery stores to save money is typically Wednesday. This mid-week day often offers fresh produce and double the deals, making it an ideal time to score some savings.
In addition to being less crowded, which can make for a more relaxed shopping experience, Wednesday is also known for having the freshest items available.
If you’re looking to save on specific items, Wednesday and Thursday are cited as the best overall shopping days. Moreover, reduced prices on soon-to-expire products frequently occur on Wednesdays.
While Monday has been noted as the least busy time of the week for grocery shopping, most sources agree that Wednesday is the top choice for both discounts and freshness.
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It’s advisable to avoid grocery shopping on Saturdays due to high customer traffic and potentially fewer deals.
Keep in mind that while these trends generally hold true, they may vary depending on your location and the specific store’s policies.
Just ask anyone at your local grocery store the best day to save on groceries and they will tell you. If they don’t ask someone else there.
Always check your local store’s weekly ads and consider shopping in the middle of the week for the best potential savings.
Skip the Snack Packs
Buying snack boxes with predetermined serving sizes is tempting, whether for your kids or yourself.
They may look like a good choice for your health, but in reality, they are only sometimes as good for you as they promise to be and are usually more expensive.
You may make your own “snack packs” from whatever you like, including fresh produce, nuts, dried fruits, cheese, and more.
You may still have the “portion regulated” benefit by storing them in individual Tupperware containers.
The Best Fruit Can Be Found at Farmer’s Markets
If there is a farmer’s market in your area, you should visit there for fresh vegetables. In addition to helping the community, buying locally grown food has many advantages, including lower prices and less pesticide use.
You can turn the trip into a memorable family adventure if you have children. If you have a dog, you can bring him along and make it a family outing.
Most fruit stands include free samples of their wares, so bring the kids along to try something new while you shop for their favorite fruits and vegetables.
Join Grocery Store Email List
Join the grocery store’s email list to receive coupons in your inbox.
Coupons and deals for grocery delivery or in-store pickup can be found in the many emails you receive from various retailers. Some discounts are better than others.
Avoid buying something you don’t need just because there is a discount. It’s a bad deal to buy anything you do not need.
The electronic newsletter might also provide details on in-store discounts based on previously purchased items.
Purchase only as many of these items as you know you will use them immediately because they spoil quickly.
Lost food costs you a lot of money, especially if you don’t eat it before it goes bad. Bananas and grapes, for example, can be cut into halves or quarters depending on your needs.
If you can’t use the food before it goes bad, don’t buy it in excess.
Most people who purchase bakery items in bulk at Costco do so because they think they are getting a better value, but then they find themselves throwing away half the stuff a week later because it has gone stale.
That’s not even close to a fair exchange. If you know you won’t be able to eat all of the fresh vegetables you buy within a week or so, consider buying them frozen instead.
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Try Different Stores, Not Just One, to Save Money
Most grocery stores in your neighborhood probably have some sales going on right now. Feel free to if you find a lower price on an item elsewhere than where you usually shop.
Take advantage of the healthy competition amongst grocery stores, allowing you to score the best discounts. There are many ways to cut costs, but one of the best is shopping and using the available options.
Stock up on the basics by purchasing in large quantities
Buying in bulk is a great way to cut costs over time. Your basic necessities can be found in quantity if you shop at a warehouse club like Costco or Sam’s.
You should stock up on necessities like meat, cereal, toilet paper, and paper towels by buying in mass quantities.
Tenderloins can be purchased in whole and then sliced at home. You can get multiple fillets from a single tenderloin if you know what you’re doing.
A second great bulk-buying staple is oatmeal. Besides being more expensive than buying oats in bulk, pre-made oatmeal packets are full of unnecessary sugars.
Try to Limit Your Purchases to Store-Branded Products
Most supermarkets offer store brands at lower prices than national names.
Products sold under the store’s own label are manufactured and marketed only by that retailer.
While store brands of cereal, canned goods, and condiments may not be interchangeable with their name-brand counterparts, they are available for most other common foods.
Stop Buying pre-made foods and TV dinners.
It’s normal to get tired of cooking every once in a while. Nonetheless, the cost of buying a ready-made meal is always more than the cost of making the same dinner at home.
Preparing meals in advance is an excellent strategy for saving time and work in the kitchen during the week.
Preservatives and extra sugar, and salt are also prevalent in ready-to-eat foods. You and your family will be considerably healthier if you shop for fresh ingredients and prepare meals at home.
It’s essential to know how to store your groceries properly
Many perish quickly after being purchased, especially fresh items. But, there are several methods you may use to prepare your food to increase its shelf life and decrease your likelihood of throwing it out.
Vegetables like celery and carrots can be stored in water in a mason jar. They will only dry out if you keep them submerged in water.
Always store your fruit in airtight containers after a good washing. It’s important to reseal frozen meals before putting them back in the freezer to avoid freezer burn.
My dad’s entire career was in a grocery store. He’s explained many times how important it is to store food the same way at home that they do at the grocery store.
No one wants to throw away food less than a grocery store.
Make the Most of Your Scraps
Leftovers from one dinner can be used in another meal later in the week. Tomorrow night’s dinner’s leftover vegetables can be warmed and served with breakfast.
The leftovers are great for making casseroles and soups. You can use the internet as a source of ideas to help you make the most of your leftovers.
Cash Only, Please
When given access to a debit card, consumers are more likely to spend lavishly (especially a credit card). Cash makes it obvious how much money you have, so you can’t spend more than that without giving yourself a hard time.
Make Use Of Loyalty Cards
Signing up for a rewards card at a supermarket like Safeway is usually free of charge. As a member, you’ll be eligible for special discounts and perks.
In many cases, the discounted price displayed is valid only for reward members, who must sign up to take advantage of the offer.
Be on the Lookout for Discount Coupons From the Manufacturers
Numerous supermarkets and discount businesses post-manufacturer coupons on their websites or through third-party sites like coupons.com, mysavings.com, and redplum.com.
Use these grocery coupons in-store or online to save big at your favorite retailers.
Discount or “Outlet” stores are where you should be shopping.
Shopping at places like day-old bakeries may save a lot of money on food. Some goods may be up to 50% off.
Bread items can be frozen and used later in a variety of ways.
Fruits and vegetables are at their healthiest and most nutrient-dense when purchased in season.
Local farmers often supply seasonal fruits and vegetables. Hence, this is a fantastic option if you prefer to support local farmers.
You can easily find out what kinds of produce are in season at any given time by searching on Google. A list can be printed and posted on the fridge to serve as a reminder when grocery shopping or making an internet purchase.
Make Cheap Healthy Snacks
Having healthy snacks to eat during the day can help you keep your food budget down and give you an extra boost of energy throughout the day.
Still, coming up with ideas for snacks that are both healthy and affordable can be time-consuming.
28 Healthy Snacks You Can Make
Here are 28 cheap and healthy snacks to get you through the day.
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a protein-rich dairy product that comes in a variety of flavors. At 20 grams of protein per 7 oz serving, this quick, nutritious snack is an excellent source of protein, and it pairs nicely with a serving of fruit or granola!
2. Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard Boiled eggs are a cheap, healthy, nutrient-dense snack. You can prep these and have them ready to go in your fridge, making them a great option to take to the office or school.
Bananas are very versatile and very inexpensive. You can throw them into a smoothie, serve it sliced on toast with peanut butter, dip them in dark chocolate, and freeze.
Fresh fruit is always an excellent healthy snack idea. And watermelon isn’t just a sweet and juicy treat; it’s packed with nutrients and not super expensive. You can slice it and serve or throw it into a smoothie!
Apples are an incredibly nutritious fruit that offers multiple health benefits. They’re rich in fiber and antioxidants. Apples are great on their own or paired with nut butter or cheese.
Grapes are rich in several powerful antioxidants and are an easy cheap snack. You can eat grapes either on their own or pair them with cheese for an extra bit of protein for a more filling snack.
A loaf of bread is inexpensive, and you can add your own twist with toppings like avocado, cream cheese, nut butter, seed butter & banana. There are so many delicious combinations available.
Almonds, cashews, and macadamia nuts are all loaded with healthy fats and protein to help keep you full between meals.
They’re also shelf-stable, making them an excellent choice for snacks to take to work or school.
Cheese is a protein-packed snack. You can grab a quick on-the-go string cheese, rollup cheese, and sandwich meat together or have it with a piece of fruit.
Muffins are a sweet snack that is perfect for on the go.
There are many recipe variations; banana muffins, chocolate chip muffins, and applesauce muffins. There is something for everyone.
Plus, you can make these ahead and freeze them until you are ready for a quick breakfast or snack on the go.
11. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is inexpensive and is a low-fat, protein snack. It’s an excellent high-protein snack to incorporate with fresh fruit or can be enjoyed on its own.
Oatmeal is a filling snack rich in fiber. Grabbing the oatmeal instant packets is great for shortening this snack to perfect portion sizes.
13. Oat Balls
Besides oatmeal, you can also use oats as the base ingredient for energy balls.
Oat balls are super simple to make, and most of the ingredients are items frequently found on hand in your pantry.
Choose your favorite combinations to create your favorite energy bites. For example, nut butter of your choice, like natural peanut butter, to bind everything together, honey for a touch of sweetness, a few chocolate chips or nuts, and you’ve got a quick healthy snack.
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern dip, typically made by blending chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor. It’s a great plant-based protein and is super versatile.
You can serve it with carrot sticks or other raw vegetables, with pita chips, or even spread it onto a sandwich.
Carrots are nutrient-rich, a source of fiber, and inexpensive.
Baby carrots are a great kid-friendly snack. You can pair them with hummus, cheese, or eat them plain.
A common misconception is that cucumbers are a vegetable when they are, in fact, considered a fruit. Cucumbers are high in nutrients but low in calories, making them a healthy snack idea.
They are refreshing and incredibly versatile. You can eat them plain, in a salad or on sandwiches.
Celery is an excellent snack if you are looking for low calories with a crunch. It’s a great source of important antioxidants and a budget-friendly snack.
Celery is excellent served with nut butter, with cream cheese, cut up in a salad, or just on its own.
18. Cherry Tomatoes
These small juicy fruits come in a variety of colors and are full of flavor!
Cherry tomatoes are sumptuous in pasta salads, crudités, and as a salad topper– there are so many delicious options.
Popcorn is a simple snack that’s high in fiber and low in calories. It’s a delicious snack if you want to add a little fiber into your diet or need a quick pick-me-up snack.
If you are looking for a crunchy snack option, look no further than seeds. They are a good source of healthy fats and vegetarian protein.
Flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are some healthier seed options you can incorporate into your weekly snack menu.
Smoothies are a great way to ensure you’re getting your fruit and veggies in for the day. Throw some frozen fruit or veggies, almond milk, almond butter into a blender, and you’ve got a fast, healthy snack ready to go in just minutes.
If you’ve got leftover fresh fruit or vegetables that are starting to turn, smoothies are also an excellent way to use up what you have on hand, saving you money and cutting down on food waste.
22. Nut Butters
Nut butters are full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber, which will help you feel fuller for extended periods.
You need to be careful with portion control as nut butters calorie count can reach as high as 200 calories per 2 tablespoons.
Nut butters are great stirred into oatmeal, made into muffins or pancakes, muffins, smoothies, toast, celery, bananas, or apples.
23. Bell Peppers
Slice up a bell pepper or two, and you’ll have a cheap healthy snack ready to go!
These crunchy veggies are full of vitamin C and fiber, so if you are looking for a healthy snack with a crunch, don’t hesitate to grab a pepper or two the next time you’re at the grocery store.
Edamame is a super quick and easy snack.
You can even shortcut the preparation process by buying a pack of frozen edamame, heating it up in the microwave, and you’ve got a rich source of protein and fiber.
Check your favorite cheap grocery store to stock up on what is sure to be your next favorite frugal snack.
25. Sweet Potato Chips
Baked sweet potato chips are a crispy, delicious salty snack. Slice your sweet potatoes into thin slices, coat with olive oil and spices, and bake.
26. Homemade Granola
Granola can be made with tons of variations in ingredients. Some popular healthy ingredients are oats, almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, dried fruit, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds.
These ingredients are loaded with good fats and belly-filling fiber.
The cost and health benefits depend primarily on the ingredients chosen.
Related: The Easiest Homemade Granola Recipe
Rolling up your favorite sandwich meat and cheese or veggies, is a super quick and easy snack on the go. This is the perfect snack for work or school and is super easy to make ahead of time.
You can get creative with your rollups. Start by layering lettuce, tomato, turkey, and cheese. You could even add some fresh avocado to the mix for another healthy fat!
28. Homemade Banana Bread
Banana bread is a comfort food that is great to have at any time.
Unlike traditional banana bread recipes, you can give this dish a healthy spin by substituting refined flour and processed sugar with ingredients like 100 percent whole wheat flour and using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
One of the best parts about baking homemade banana bread is that it freezes beautifully.
You can slice and freeze it, making this an excellent option for make-ahead snacks.
Eat healthily without breaking the bank.
Grocery shopping on a tight budget is manageable with the appropriate information.
The money you save on food bills can be used to achieve other objectives. A down payment, a new automobile, or a family trip may all be paid for with the extra cash.
Mastering the art of frugal living can do wonders for your long-term financial stability and independence.
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Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.