80 Cheap Foods To Buy To Save On Groceries

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Do you know how much money you spend on groceries each month? The average American household spends around 10% of its monthly budget on groceries. 

Because of this, it makes sense to find good cheap food whenever you’re trying to stick to a budget.

In this article, we’ll go over the best cheap food you can get and how you can save even more money when buying this food when you go shopping at the grocery store.

This enormous list of cheap food is in alphabetical order to make it easier for you to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Let's jump right in.

What's In This Article

Best Cheap Food

Here are 80 foods you can buy at a relatively low price and make some meals for $1 per serving or less.

1. Almonds

Almonds are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium. Additionally, almonds have calcium and phosphorus, which, according to WebMD.com, improve bone health and help prevent fractures.

You can sometimes find almonds for as low as approximately 49 cents per ounce at stores like Walmart.

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2. Apples

Apples are a healthy, affordable fruit that have a long shelf life. According to Healthline, they have fiber and antioxidants, and eating apples regularly has been linked to a lower risk of chronic conditions.

Apples are great as a snack, cooked with a meal, made into pie, eaten with peanut butter, and more. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find apples at a reasonable price so that you can stick to a tight grocery budget.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is useful in baking, and it works as a great cleaning agent for tough stains and odors. As a basic ingredient in many things, you can use baking soda for baking delicious foods such as cakes, muffins, and cookies.

Considering that you can get a pound of baking soda for $1 or less generally, it’s a very affordable option to have around for both baking needs and when you need to clean.

4. Bananas

Bananas are a cheap fruit jam-packed with vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. 

You can enjoy a banana buy itself or have them with things such as peanut butter, in yogurt, banana bread, or even mix one in a smoothie.

According to Statistica, bananas averaged 61 cents per pound in 2021.

5. Beans

Beans are a popular dish that most cultures in the world eat. This is because they contain a great source of dietary fiber.

Beans are great as a side dish or mixed into other dishes. 

Dried pinto beans are an excellent cheap food, sometimes running as cheap as 15 cents per serving, according to The Bean Institute.

Beans and rice are often considered the main ingredients of the cheapest meals out there.

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6. Blueberries

Blueberries are another cheap healthy fruit, and blueberries contain very high levels of antioxidants. They also contain Vitamin K, which promotes heart health, according to WebMD.

Blueberries are delicious on their own but also go great in smoothies, yogurts, and more.

You can generally find a pound of blueberries for 60 cents.

7. Bologna

Bologna is a cheap food that’s great in sandwiches, though it may not be considered healthy when compared to other items mentioned so far. 

It serves as a delicious lunch option, especially when mixed with your choice of cheese and mustard.

8. Bread

Bread is a go-to food for any meal of the day. Whether you have toast in the morning, a sandwich in the afternoon, or used to dip in your soup at dinner time, bread is a versatile food with so many uses.

Whole grain bread is a healthier option than white bread and will keep you fuller longer too. To save even more money on bread, consider buying the store brand.

A 20-ounce bag of Walmart’s Great Value wheat bread costs around $1.60.

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9. Broccoli

Brocolli is a healthy vegetable that contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, and antioxidants. 

Healthline reports that broccoli can promote healthy digestion.

Aside from its health benefits, broccoli can be enjoyed in a number of different ways, including raw or cooked, alone, in a salad, or in meals.

One popular dish that includes broccoli is chicken and broccoli alfredo.

10. Cabbage

Cabbage is a cheap food that you can buy for less than 50 cents per pound. It’s great raw or cooked with many dishes, including corn beef and cabbage, a popular dish eaten on St. Patrick’s Day.

You’ll also reap potential health benefits of cabbage from the many vitamins and minerals that it contains.

11. Candy

While candy is not very healthy, it serves as a very cheap food that you can eat as a snack and for dessert.

Some local candy stores sell candy by weight, meaning you can get all sorts of tasty goodies at a low price.

12. Canned Corn

Canned corn is a cheap food to lower your grocery spending. According to Livestrong, canned sweet corn contains almost all B-vitamins that are required for energy production. Additionally, canned corn contains natural sugar.

Canned corn can be used in recipes such as corn chowder, corn bread, and corn fritters, to name three.

13. Canned Fruits

Canned fruits aren’t as great as fresh fruits, but that said, they’re a great cheap food for your budget grocery list. 

Some delicious uses for canned fruits are being added to yogurt, oatmeal, muffins, and cottage cheese, to name a few.

You can get canned fruit for under $2 per can at stores like Target.

14. Canned Pumpkin

Canned pumpkin is packed with iron, potassium, and vitamin A, making them a healthy and affordable food to add to your grocery list. They go great in smoothies, mixed up in coffee creamer, as pumpkin hummus, and can be baked into cookies.

One place to get canned pumpkin is on Amazon, where it’s currently around 23 cents per ounce.

15. Canned Soup

Not all canned soups are as affordable as others, but some canned soups can be bought for around $1. Canned soup is easy to make, too, as it generally just requires heating up as the only step to prep it. 

Of course, you can add more to the soup if you’d like. Canned soups can be high in sodium, so be sure to look at the nutrition label. 

16. Canned Tuna

While fish isn’t the cheapest option on the market, canned tuna fish is cheap, coming in at around $1.10 per can. 

Canned tuna fish has loads of iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have all sorts of health benefits.

You can create tuna sandwiches, wraps, casseroles, and salads. These are all affordable meals that save you money on groceries.

17. Carrots

Carrots are full of vitamin C and make a great snack or can be added to soups and stews. Baby carrots are great to munch on when you’re feeling hungry throughout the day. 

You can dip them in hummus to add some additional flavor.

Buy yourself a pound of carrots from Walmart for around 70 cents per pound.

18. Celery

Celery is a cheap food to buy when you’re on a tight budget. You can use it in soups, slaws, dipped in peanut butter, with cream cheese, and much more.

According to WebMD, celery is widely regarded as one of the healthiest snacks out there, containing an excellent source of fiber. WebMD continues to say that celery is low calorie, which makes it a good snack for people trying to lose weight.

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19. Cereal

Bulk cereals are among the cheapest foods on the planet. For example, two pounds of oatmeal will set you back less than a dollar. 

Grains contain ample B-complex vitamins, fiber (if they are whole grain), and nutrients, such as beta-glucans that support heart health. 

20. Cheese

Not all cheeses are expensive. Cheap cheese options include cream cheese, cottage cheese (which is minimally processed and can be bought in bulk), and cheddar cheese. In addition, dairy contains ample protein and calcium per serving. 

21. Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks

Chicken thighs and drumsticks are cheap because they are not consumers’ favorite meat cuts, containing more dark meat than breast. However, they still offer plenty of nutrition. Chicken thighs are a source of iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and cobalamin (B12), which are often lacking in standard diets. 

22. Chickpeas

The US wholesale chickpea price is between $0.29 and $0.38 per pound, making it one of the most affordable legumes. 

Chickpeas are a source of phytonutrients and fiber and have unique diabetes-fighting properties. 

23. Chips

According to the St. Louis Fed, average chip prices have been rising with inflation. For example, the cost of 16 ounces of potato chips was $5.77 in June 2022. 

Chips provide ample calories but only modest nutrition. 

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24. Chocolate

Chocolate is a delicious treat that many people love. Dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate because it contains less sugar and non-cocoa ingredients. It is also inexpensive. Approximately 20 percent of Hershey’s products are below $2. 

25. Coffee

Coffee gives many consumers the caffeine kick they need to get started in the morning. Plus, it tastes great, too. The average cost of a pound of coffee is $8.50, which translates to around 3.1 cents per ounce.

26. Cooking Oil

Cooking oil prices are going up, but even so, it remains cheap. Canola oil is highly affordable in the US because of heavy government subsidies. 

27. Condiments

Mass-produced condiments, such as ketchup and mustard, tend to be inexpensive because of their long shelf life and ease of transportation. As a result, they are a great way to make bland meals taste better. 

28. Cornmeal

Cornmeal goes well with roasted meats and vegetables. 24 ounces will set you back around $2.32. Fifty pounds costs as little as $22 in some outlets. 

29. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a simple cheese that contains abundant protein (25g per cup), vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and a small amount of vitamin D. You can pick up 24 ounces of cottage cheese for less than $2.58 from Walmart. 

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30. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a delicious salad vegetable high in vitamin K (57% RDA per cup), magnesium (9% RDA), and vitamin C (10% RDA). 

They are cheap, too. A pound of fresh cucumbers with peel is just $1.26.

31. Eggs

Eggs are one of the world’s most versatile foods, great for omelets, baking, and on their own. A regular chicken egg offers 75 calories, 7 grams of protein, iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids from chickens’ diet. The average cost of a dozen eggs is around $2.05. 

32. Flour

Flour is made by grinding dried wheat berries in a mill. White flour is usually fortified with folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and iron (nutrients found in wholemeal flour). Flour is incredibly cheap, with a pound of wheat flour selling for as little as 39 cents.

33. Frozen Chicken

Frozen chicken is less expensive than fresh due to reduced inventory and spoilage costs. It remains safe to eat indefinitely, as long as you store it at or below 0°F. 

34. Frozen Fruit

Frozen fruit is less expensive than fresh for the same reason as chicken. But just like regular fruit, it is high in fiber, vitamin C, and phytonutrients. Frozen fruit is often cheaper than fresh fruit, though some fruits are more expensive

35. Frozen Meals

Frozen meals may contain more nutrients than fresh ones while saving you money at the same time. Some products may be up to 50 percent cheaper than their fresh counterparts. 

36. Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables retain many, if not all, of their nutrients. Bleaching and freezing do not significantly alter their phytonutrient content. Frozen vegetables are almost universally cheaper than fresh because of reduced spoilage costs. 

37. Garlic

Garlic helps make meals taste great. It’s also one of the least expensive spices. Production costs are as low as $1 to $1.25 per pound, meaning that the average clove sells in-store for just a few cents.  

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38. Grapes

Grapes are a source of anti-aging nutrients, such as resveratrol, as well as copper and vitamin K, a vitamin that helps with healthy bones and blood clotting. Grapes are cheap, too, at just $2.24 per pound

39. Green Tea

Green tea gives you a gentle caffeine kick and contains longevity-promoting ECGC, a type of catechin with many health benefits. A cup of green tea costs as little as $0.18

40. Ground Turkey

Ground turkey is a popular alternative to ground beef and contains significantly less saturated fat. It costs between $2.99 and $4.99 per pound, making it one of the cheapest meat options around. 

41. Honey

Honey is more than just a sweetener. It is also an antibacterial agent that can kill stomach bugs and improve health. Honey prices are as little as $8.50 to $10.50 per pound at retail. 

42. Hotdogs

Hot dogs are a popular fast food favorite containing iron, vitamin B6, and calcium. A pound of hot dog meat is just $3.85

43. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is often low in calories and fat-free, making it one of the healthiest condiments around. And because it uses mainly vinegar and chilies (both inexpensive ingredients), it’s cheap, too. An 8-ounce jar will usually set you back less than $5. 

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44. Kale

Kale is one of the original superfoods, offering 206% of vitamin A RDA, 684% of vitamin K RDA, 134% of vitamin C RDA, and 9% of potassium RDA per cup. A pound of kale is less than $2.88. 

45. Kiwi

Kiwis are healthy, nutrient-rich fruits that contain ample vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber. They tend not to spoil easily, meaning that the average price per pound is around $2.18 fresh. 

46. Lentils

Lentils are one of nature’s superfoods. High in carbohydrates, these legumes are one of the only natural sources of protein in a low-fat package. They’re also incredibly cheap, costing just $0.24 to $0.29 per pound.

47. Lettuce

Lettuces might be a common salad ingredient, but they are packed with vitamins, including A, K, and all the B vitamins, except B12, plus manganese, iron, potassium, and calcium. The price of a head of lettuce can be as low as $0.50 per head.

48. Milk

Milk is one of nature’s most complete foods and is high in calcium and vitamin D, two nutrients that are hard to get elsewhere. Because of USDA subsidies, whole milk is incredibly cheap at just $4.40 per gallon. 

49. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a whole grain and an abundant source of iron and calcium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber associated with lower cholesterol. 

Oatmeal costs $1.02 per kilo on average in the US, though branded products are more expensive.

50. Onions

Part of the allium family of vegetables, onions are among the most widely cultivated crops in the world. The root vegetable contains nutrients that reduce triglycerides and cholesterol levels. 

A kilogram of fresh onions will set you back $1.05. 

51. Oranges

Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, plus a range of phytonutrients found only in citrus fruits. Prices vary from $1.09 to $1.24 per kilogram wholesale

52. Pasta

Whole Wheat pasta tends to spike blood sugar less than whole wheat bread due to the way the manufacturers compact the wheat flour. Refined pasta offers less nutrition but is fortified with iron, B-complex vitamins, and zinc.

Pasta costs between $0.88 and $0.90 per pound

53. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is high in a variety of nutrients, including vitamin E, vitamin B3, and folate. It’s also an excellent source of manganese, copper, and biotin. 

All nuts and nut butters are expensive, but peanut butter is the most affordable at $12 to $15 per kilogram. 

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54. Peanuts

Peanuts contain the same nutrition as peanut butter but may have additional health benefits because they remain intact when they reach the lower bowel, providing extra nourishment for good bacteria. 

Peanuts cost around $4 per pound but can be as high as $7. 

55. Peppers

Bell peppers are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Part of the nightshade family, they contain ample vitamin C, dietary fiber, and potassium.

Peppers range in price from $2 to $5 per pound. 

56. Pizza

Pizzas don’t provide a great deal of nutrition, but they are an excellent way to bulk up on calories. Store-bought pizza is considerably cheaper than take-out. 

57. Popcorn

Popcorn looks and tastes like junk food, but it is actually still whole food since manufacturers pop it from whole corn kernels. Because of this, it is relatively high in nutrition, containing magnesium, vitamin B6 and iron.

58. Pork

Pork is a high-protein food with a variable amount of fat. Worldwide, it is the most commonly-consumed meat

As a meat product, pork is inexpensive at $6 to $7 per pound.

59. Potatoes

Potatoes have been a staple of many populations around the world, most notably the Irish in the 18th and 19th centuries. The root vegetable is high in potassium, B6, and, surprisingly, vitamin C.

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60. Quinoa

South American grain quinoa contains an amino acid ratio resembling meat products, providing high-quality protein in a plant-based package. One cooked cup contains 8 grams of protein and an impressive 5 grams of fiber.

61. Ramen Noodles

Ramen noodles have an exceptionally long shelf life, making them the perfect food for the zombie apocalypse. However, the Japanese noodle dish does not offer complete nutrition, so you shouldn’t try to live off it long-term.

62. Rice

White rice is fortified with iron, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A and zinc. It’s also one of the cheapest foods in the world at $0.82 cents per uncooked pound, 

63. Salsa

Primarily tomatoes and onions, salsa is almost all vegetables. However, processing removes some of the nutritional quality. You’ll pay roughly $0.15 per ounce. 

64. Saltine Crackers

Soda crackers are made of white flour and baking soda, two inexpensive ingredients. Walmart currently sells 16 oz. for $3.28

65. Sausage

Sausages are inexpensive because they are made of cheap meat offcuts. In the U.S., sausage meat costs between $1.68 and $1.75 per pound

66. Seasonings

The price of seasonings depends on which you choose. Black pepper is one of the world’s most affordable spices at just $2.17 to $2.28 per pound. 

67. Sour Cream

Made by fermenting regular cream with various lactic acid bacteria, sour cream offers large quantities of B12, vitamin A, calcium, and riboflavin. 

Pasteurized sour cream costs between $2.50 and $3 for 16 ounces

68. Spices

Spices offer the highest concentrations of antioxidants per gram of any food group (surpassing even berries). Some spices, such as saffron, are more expensive than gold, pound for pound. However, others such as cumin, thyme, and cayenne are considerably more affordable. 

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69. Spinach

Spinach is high in potassium, magnesium, iron, and folate, and low in fat, sugar, and salt. However, don’t eat too much. It’s high in oxalates, a compound that can damage the kidneys. Spinach costs between $1.31 and $1.37 per pound

70. Squash

Available in dozens of varieties, squash has a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin. It’s high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and magnesium but is quite costly, at $0.85 per cup fresh. 

71. Sugar

Sugar is good for baking and sprinkling on your oatmeal in the morning. And thanks to massive subsidies, it’s cheap too at just $0.59 cents per pound in 2021. 

72. Tofu

Tofu, also called bean curd, is made from coagulated soy milk and then pressed to form blocks. It is famous as a meat replacer and extremely popular for plant-based nutrition. A pound of tofu usually costs $3 or less. Wholesale prices tend to be considerably lower. 

73. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a source of lycopene, a yellowy-red phytonutrient associated with improving various metabolic markers, such as blood sugar and cholesterol. 

Because farmers grow them at scale, tomatoes are among the cheapest salad ingredients at just $1.91 per pound. 

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74. Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is a cheap food that’s used in meals such as pasta, chili, or sloppy joes. A popular brand of tomato sauce is Prego, which a 24oz jar can be bought for around $2.24 at Walmart. That comes out to 9.3 cents per ounce!

75. Tortillas

Tortillas are a great food for making wraps, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and much more. There are both flour versions and whole wheat versions, the latter of which is healthier.

At Target, you can find tortillas for around $2.79 for a pack of ten.

76. Vinegar

Enhance food and salad with vinegar, which you can buy a gallon of for around $2. Vinegar is great to add to vegetables and can add taste to just about any meal.

Not only is vinegar a cheap food, but you can also use it along with baking soda to unblock drains.

77. Watermelon

Watermelons are a healthy fruit that a single melon can provide a person fruit for a week and for just around $5. They’re also great in fruit salads with other fruits, or you can mix watermelon juice with other juices to create tasty drinks.

Aside from tasting delicious, watermelons are filled with vitamins and minerals, are low on calories, and have low amounts of sugar.

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78. Yeast

Yeast makes bread and flour rise when you bake it in the oven. You can buy yeast, on average, for $1 to $2 per one-ounce package.

Since yeast is so useful for baking with bread and flour, it’s key to have some in your kitchen at all times if you’re a fan of baking.

79. Yogurt

You may think of yogurt as costly when you buy it in individual small containers at the grocery store, but you can get a 32-ounce container of plain yogurt for just under $2.50.

Plain yogurt mixed with fruit and cereal makes for a delicious breakfast. Additionally, you can mix yogurt into smoothies which makes for a tasty snack, for lunch, or combined with protein powder for a post-workout meal.

80. Zucchini

Zucchini is a tasty vegetable that can be made into noodles as a healthier alternative to pasta. It's also great in sauces, salads, and even on its own as a side dish when combined with parmesan cheese.

An average pound of zucchini is approximately $1.54.

How to Save Money on Groceries

Now that we’ve covered 80 foods that you can buy to save money, here are 29 ways to continue to save money on groceries.

1. Shop at Discount Grocery Stores

One of the easier ways to save money on grocery shopping is to shop at a discount grocery store like ALDI's, Family Dollar, and Market Basket. These stores offer lower prices than traditional grocery stores and still have a good variety of products to choose from.

This is especially great for people on a tight budget as they can spend less and get more food with their money. It's certainly possible to save 30% off your monthly grocery bill simply by shopping at a different grocery store.

2. Buy Store Brand

Buying store-brand food is another easy way to save money on groceries. Store brand food is less expensive and generally tastes just as good as more expensive items from name-brand companies.

If you end up not liking the store brand, you can always go back to the name-brand item. That said, you can save 30% or more on grocery items by purchasing the cheaper store brands.

3. Stick to Your Shopping List

Another tip for saving money on groceries is to stick with your shopping list. If you don't have a list of things you need, then it will be easy to throw in impulse items and spend more than what was planned or budgeted for.

Instead, make sure that the next time you go grocery shopping, take the time to write out a list of the things you need and stick with it.

Creating a simple shopping list is easy, doesn't take much time, and can be very helpful to keep your grocery spending down. You can create a list on your phone or on paper where you can cross off each item after you add it to your shopping cart.

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4. Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Save money on groceries by planning your meals ahead of time. This will help you buy only what you need and not spend more than necessary.

Another benefit of planning your meals out is that it will reduce stress around mealtime as you and your family will know exactly what's going to be served each night.

If you don't have a lot of time to cook, you can spend one day prepping meals, freeze them, and simply heat them up each night of the week. 

5. Shop When Things Are On Sale

Shopping when things are on sale is a straightforward way to cut back on grocery spending. Keep your eye out for “buy-one-get-one” deals as well. Shop for non-perishable items like toilet paper, laundry detergent, or shampoo when they're on sale, as you can buy these things in bulk, so you won't have to buy them again anytime soon.

When possible, learn the sale schedule of nearby grocery stores and shop wherever the sales are, provided you need those items.

6. Shop Based on Unit Prices

Save money on groceries by shopping based on unit prices. Shopping for food items based on price per ounce, pound, or other measurements will help you get more bang for your buck.

For example, if you are planning to buy rice and have two packages or two brands to choose from, it's wise to compare the cost per ounce. If a 5-pound bag of rice is $7.50, you'd be paying $1.50 per pound. If another bag of rice is 3 pounds and costs $6, you're paying $2 per pound. In this case, it's a better deal to buy the 5-pound bag because you're saving 25% off the price per pound.

7. Use Coupons

Using coupons is another way to save money on groceries. Grocery coupons can be found in places such as:

Make sure to check the grocery store's coupon policy before using any coupons. For instance, some stores only allow one coupon to be used per product, whereas other stores might allow you to use more than one coupon for an item as long as they are from different places.

Once you have a system in place, coupon clipping can save you a fair chunk of cash on each grocery store visit.

8. Use Cash Back Apps

Cashback apps such as Swagbucks, Ibotta, and Flipp can help save money on groceries. These apps work by giving you cashback for things like a purchase or a particular brand being used in your grocery shopping.

For example, Swagbucks can be used online or after you shop via scanning your receipt. When used online, Swagbucks offers cashback on various items you buy or on the entire purchase. When used on a receipt, Swagbucks will give you cashback on specific items that you bought. This cashback can be redeemed for gift cards or as cash through PayPal. Ibotta and Flipp work similarly.

Another great cashback app is Honey, which works online only. With Honey, you can save money whenever you get to checkout on the store's website. Honey will look for discount codes and give you Honey Gold, which can be cashed out once you reach $10 worth.

9. Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk is one way to save money and time when grocery shipping. If you have a lot of space, consider buying items like cereal, canned goods, or frozen meat in bulk quantities.

Shopping at warehouse stores like Sam's, BJs, and Costco will allow you to find bulk deals where you can save money by paying less per unit price. If you don't have room in your car to buy in bulk, then consider buying these items online and having them delivered so they can be stored at your convenience until needed.

Other foods that you can buy in bulk include:

  • Rice
  • Dried beans or lentils
  • Flour
  • Oats

Items that you shouldn't buy in bulk because they spoil include things like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

And, of course, perishables in general.

10. Get a Grocery Cash Back Credit Card

Earn cash back on your grocery purchases with a cashback credit card geared specifically for grocery stores.

Many credit cards offer cashback in local stores, and you can often save up to 6% on your purchases.

One such credit card with no annual fee is the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, where you can earn up to 3% cashback on groceries. On the other hand, if you don't mind paying an annual fee, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has a 6% cashback rate on supermarkets around the US.

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11. Shop Online and Pickup

Ordering groceries online and then picking them up at the store has a benefit in that it saves you time, and you'll also not be tempted to buy things that aren't on your list since you don't walk into the store.

Most stores will automatically replace any items that you order that they're out of stock on. This saves you time from looking around for something similar when you can't find the exact thing you want.

Grocery shopping can be as simple as going to the company's website, ordering, picking a time to pick up the groceries, and driving over to get them.

12. Have Something to Eat Before You Shop

Shopping on an empty stomach will make you more likely to impulsively buy food that isn't on your list. To avoid this, always shop after having something to eat.

You can have anything you want, whether breakfast or a quick snack. Whichever you choose, you'll find yourself less likely to grab unhealthy food while you go shopping as you'll be less hungry.

13. Keep an Eye Out for Mistakes at Checkout

Pay attention when you're at checkout, as you never know when a cashier might make a mistake ringing up your items. Take a look at your receipt afterward and ensure it's correct.

If you see a mistake, mention it to the cashier so that you're paying for something you shouldn't. Mistakes happen sometimes, and it pays to be observant of errors and polite about having them fixed.

14. Track Prices at Various Grocery Stores

If you don't have a specific grocery store that's your favorite, consider switching up where you buy things. By shopping at different stores and comparing prices on items like cereal or yogurt, you can find the best deal at different stores.

Be sure to note which stores are also participating in price matching so that you can get the best price for an item without necessarily having to go to a different store.

15. Create a Grocery Budget

Set a grocery budget that you're comfortable with, and then stick to it. Don't let yourself overspend or buy something on impulse because of how good the deal sounds.

One way to determine a monthly grocery budget is to look at how much you've spent on groceries for the past 3-6 months and take an average. Food is one of your most essential expenses in life, so work other parts of your budget around your grocery shopping, within reason.

16. Save on Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a must-have for most grocery lists, so it's a good idea to see how you can save money on buying them. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are often as much as 50%, or more, cheaper than their fresh counterparts, so buying them can be a good way to save.

That said, if you prefer fresh fruits and vegetables, but what's in season, as they'll often cost less than they do when they're not in season. You can also save money on fruits and vegetables by not always buying organic.

When combining these multiple methods, you'll spend less money while still eating healthy.

17. Shop at a Farmer's Market

Another way to save on fresh produce is by buying it at a farmer's market. You can usually find produce cheaper and fresher at a farmer's market rather than buying it at the grocery store. You'll also support local farmers that way.

Some ways to save money at farmer's markets include:

  • Buy in bulk
  • Use cash
  • Shop right before closing
  • Build relationships with the local farmers

18. Ask About Price Matching

You can save money on groceries by shopping at stores that offer price matching and keeping an eye on prices at other stores. If you have multiple grocery stores in your area but prefer to shop at a specific one, find out if that specific store does price matching.

A benefit of shopping at a grocery store that matches its prices with its competitors is that you can get the best prices on your everyday purchases without having to go to multiple stores.

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19. Change What You Eat to More Affordable Foods

Sometimes saving money on groceries comes down to buying less expensive foods. That's not to say you should buy cheap food. Instead, re-evaluate certain foods that you're buying and see if there are less expensive alternatives.

For example, are you buying premade food that you could buy the ingredients and cook it yourself? Frozen and premade meals are generally more expensive than cooking your own fresh meals.

Could you buy fresh vegetables for a salad instead of a bagged salad? Or a large bag of rice versus the rice in a pouch that you microwave.

These are a few examples of how you can save money by changing what foods you buy.

20. Shop First Thing in the Morning

When you get off work, you're tired, hungry, and probably grumpy. When you're in this condition, you may not get the most of your grocery shopping. You may be tempted to buy more premade food or junk food.

If you shop first thing in the morning, then you'll have time to plan your meals out and see if any of them can be made cheaper. You may also be less hungry and in brighter spirits, meaning it'll be easier to stick to your list and not pick up things that you'll end up not using. Lastly, you'll be less likely to buy junk food.

21. Simplify Your Recipes

A clever way to save money on groceries while also cooking delicious meals is to simplify your recipes a bit. For example, if a recipe calls for a rare spice, don't spend $5 on the container when you'll only use it once. Instead, simplify the recipe to use ingredients or spices that you already have or plan to use for many more dishes.

It's easy to swap out ingredients on recipes and still make a delectable meal. Doing this will save you money because you'll buy things that you use a lot of, meaning less waste in the long run.

22. Leave the Kids at Home

Shopping with your kids can be distracting. When possible, leave your kids at home with someone who can watch them, like your spouse. When you shop by yourself, you'll get through the store quicker, and you won't have your kids asking you to buy you things as you walk down each aisle and at checkout.

23. Use Cash to Limit Your Spending

If you're one to overspend because of how easy it is to swipe your credit card, try using cash and only spending what's in your wallet. When you use a debit card or credit card to buy groceries, it can be easy to overspend because the money isn't right in front of you.

This may sound like an inconvenience, but once you get into the habit of saving with a cash-only system, you will be more aware of how much money you're spending.

Set a cash limit to how much you can spend at the grocery store as a way to keep yourself within your budget.

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24. Don't Buy Bottled Water

Bottled water is expensive, and alternatives exist, such as buying a Brita filter. You can also buy a stainless steel water bottle and fill it up with tap or filtered water.

Bottled water is not only expensive for the environment but your wallet as well. For example, the average 20oz bottle of water costs $1.50. If you drink two of these a day, every day of the year, you'll spend $1,095 a year on water alone.

25. Don't Shop at Checkout Counters

You may be tempted to buy a candy bar or other snacks while you're waiting in line at the grocery store, but that's exactly why these items are placed there. Not only that but many items at the checkout counter are marked up remarkably high because the store knows that you or your kids are likely to grab something.

Simply put, stay away from checkout counter items.

26. Shop for Bagged Coffee for Your Keurig

If you have a Keurig machine, you've probably discovered that k-cups get expensive. An alternative to this is to use a reusable k-cup and buy bagged coffee in bulk.

Bagged coffee is far less expensive than k-cups, and it can be used with reusable k-cup filters; a fraction of the cost, in fact.

27. Cut Back on Food Waste

It happens. Sometimes we buy too much food and don't end up using it all, and this leads to food waste. Food waste is essentially wasted money. To cut back on food waste, plan out your weekly meals, so you know exactly how much of each food or ingredient to buy.

The average American family wastes 31.9% of their food, which means you can save quite a bit of money by getting your food waste under control.

28. Eat Leftovers

Speaking of food waste, one way to cut back on food waste is to heat up your leftovers for dinner on subsequent nights. You can also save leftovers in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for much longer.

There's nothing wrong with cooking too much food one night and having plenty leftover. Use this opportunity to give yourself a night off from cooking and simply reheat the food to serve to everyone.

29. Use a Garden to Grow Your Own Food

You can save money on groceries by growing some of your own food. A garden is a great way to grow your own vegetables and fruit.

A vegetable garden can save you a lot of money because it's cheaper to buy seeds, soil, pots, water sprinklers, and so on than buying produce in the grocery store. With your own backyard veggies or herbs, you will have a bountiful supply without having to spend much more than your initial investment to get the garden started.

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Wrapping It Up

In this article, we discussed how to save money on groceries. When you employ some or all of these tactics, it's very possible that you'll save over 30% on your typical grocery store visit.

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