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13 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

woman shopping for groceries in a store

Americans continue to spend more on food each year. Cooking at home can help your hard-earned dollars go further, but as you’ve probably noticed, grocery store prices are climbing, too. In fact, the cost of food prepared at home rose by 8.4% in 2022

Luckily, food spending doesn’t have to take a major bite out of your budget—especially if you know how to save money on groceries using the savviest tips and tricks. 

Here, we’ve put together a smorgasbord of 13 grocery shopping hacks that will have your wallet just as well-fed as your family. 

1. Set a spending limit (and stick to it)

Have trouble sticking to your weekly grocery budget? Try going to the store with only that amount of cash in hand. Prefer the convenience of a card? Try purchasing a reloadable gift card for the exact amount you want to spend. 


Pair this strategy with a RaiseRight gift card fundraising program. Whenever you purchase a gift card for your favorite grocery store chain or delivery service through a RaiseRight program, you’ll instantly earn money back towards your cause or organization.

Learn more about how RaiseRight works or check out all the grocery brands available on our platform. 

2. Embrace digital tools 

These days, modern shoppers can use technology to get the edge over ballooning grocery prices. Some apps can help with every aspect of cost-effective grocery shopping, including:

  • Finding the best prices in your area – Try apps like Flipp and Is That a Good Price to see if those sale prices are really a steal or just a mark-down on a mark-up.
  • Meal planning using what you have on hand – Supercook and Mealtime are just two of the many apps that help you build recipes around what’s in your pantry.
  • Earning cashback, rewards, and rebates – Try Upside, Fetch Rewards, Ibotta, or BrandClub to find rebates and earn points on your purchases.
3. Use curbside pickup and delivery wisely

You might assume that the convenience of curbside pickup and home delivery would cost more, but savvy shoppers may find they can save on food without leaving home. 

If your grocery store offers free online ordering and pickup, you can put your order together at home and check each item’s current price against competitors to be sure it’s a good deal. Best of all, shopping from home lets you avoid all those tempting impulse buys.

The savings you rack up by shopping this way may even cover the delivery cost—check your local store’s fee to be sure.

4. Plan your meals

woman writing down a weekly meal plan

Planning meals in advance lets you sidestep unnecessary purchases while ensuring nothing goes to waste. Meal planning also encourages you to skip eating out or getting takeout, which leads to big cost savings over time.

To plan your meals efficiently:

  • Make a list of what you already have on hand
  • Brainstorm recipes using mostly those ingredients, then add any missing items to your list
  • Plan meals that incorporate the same ingredients in different ways to avoid letting anything go to waste
5. Leverage coupons and discounts

You may not clip them out of the Sunday paper anymore, but couponing is still one of the best ways to save serious coin. 

Wondering how to save money on groceries with coupons? Here are a few tips:

  • Check for coupons first, then build your meal plan around what’s on sale
  • Use a coupon app like the Krazy Coupon Lady to coordinate your shopping list with available coupons
  • Add a browser extension like RetailMeNot or Cently to automatically search for discounts when shopping online
6. Join rewards programs

Most major retailers, as well as online brands, offer loyalty programs or discounts when you sign up for their mailing lists. It may seem gimmicky, but those members-only offers can add up over time.

However, there is a catch: you can’t let discounts tempt you into buying items you don’t need or won’t use.

7. Take advantage of store apps

Most major retailers offer member-only coupons and deals via their proprietary apps. A few that are known for offering big savings this way include:

  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Publix
  • Meijer
  • Sprouts
8. Buy generic

When learning how to shop for groceries on a budget, remember that many generic or store-brand items are identical to the name brand. In some cases, generic items are processed in exactly the same plants as their name-brand cousins, and only the labels differ.

Just how much can you save buying a generic version? One financial advising firm found that using generic items for three dinners a week could save more than $500 a year for a family of four.

9. Shop seasonal and local

woman shopping at a local farmer's market

Financial experts and eco-conscious shoppers alike champion this tip for being both cost-effective and sustainable. Seasonal produce tends to be more affordable, better tasting, and closer to peak freshness. 

Tip: Look for farmer’s markets or local groceries that buy from regional farmers—it’s often cheaper because transportation costs are lower.

10. Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk can help you save by reducing the per-unit cost and minimizing the frequency of your shopping trips. Items that are likely to be cheaper in large quantities include:

  • Non-perishables like canned goods and dry goods
  • Coffee
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Batteries
  • Pet food
11. Avoid individually wrapped or prepared foods

While convenient, prepared foods are nearly always more expensive (and often less fresh) than preparing foods at home. Prepped foods that can bloat your bottom line include:

  • Shredded or sliced cheese
  • Prepared deli foods (salads, meats, soups, etc.)
  • Pre-washed and cut fruit and veggies
  • Packaged salad greens
12. Avoid impulse buys

You know what we’re talking about: Chips to eat in the car, a quick sugary beverage, and day-old cookies at a can’t-beat-it price. Here are some tricks to avoid the dreaded impulse buy: 

  • Stick to the perimeter – Fresh foods like bread, produce, dairy, and meat are located along the outer walls of most stores. Interior aisles are where you’ll find processed foods and snacks. So when you venture into the middle aisles, stay on mission and buy only what’s on your list.

  • Don’t shop hungry – It’s harder to resist an impulse buy if your stomach is grumbling. If you must shop when you’re hungry, grab a bottle of water and be sure you’re well-hydrated.
13. Know what expiration dates mean

Don’t lose money by immediately disposing of food past its sell-by or best-by date. Per the USDA, these dates are “for quality, not for safety.” As long as you handle the food safely, it should be safe to consume if you don’t see or smell signs of spoilage.

The one exception? Infant formula. After its use-by date, baby formula may not contain adequate nutrients for infant health.

Use RaiseRight to shop for groceries on a budget

By incorporating these helpful tips, you can effectively expand your grocery budget without compromising taste or nutrition. 

To elevate your savings game and make even wiser financial choices, be sure to use RaiseRight gift cards for all your grocery needs.

After determining your weekly or monthly grocery budget, buy a grocery gift card via RaiseRight that matches your estimated total grocery cost. Commit to using that specific gift card for your purchases so you can manage your budget seamlessly.

This not only ensures efficient budgeting but also allows you to contribute funds towards your child's school, sports team, music program, or support your chosen church or nonprofit organization!

Here are some next steps to get the ball rolling:

  1. Learn more about how gift card fundraising works.
  2. Download the Gift Card Fundraising Playbook and share it with others who might be interested.
  3. Start a free program by completing a short, online enrollment form.  

If you're already part of an organization that uses RaiseRight, you just need your enrollment code to create an account and begin earning right away.