Saving money at the grocery store could be a challenge, but it could also be fun! It feels good to save money and to stretch those grocery dollars.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Plan! Check for sales and specials at the local grocery stores. You can find these listed in your local paper, on the store website, social media and in your email inbox. Plan healthy meals and snacks for the week using ideas from the ads.
- Check your refrigerator and cabinets BEFORE going to the store. Don’t ignore or discard foods you can use. Plan meals that use the foods on hand so you only purchase what you really need.
- Collect low-cost recipes. The Healthy Eating on a Budget website is a great resource: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/budget.
- Shop with a list! Make it and stick to it. Grocery stores want you to buy food on impulse. Your shopping list will keep you on track and within your budget.
- We all tend to purchase our favorite brands or items, but take an extra moment to look around as you shop. Otherwise, you might miss bargains or new products that are cheaper.
- Try store brands of your favorite foods. They usually cost less than name brands, and you might discover that you like them just as much.
- Look at the top and bottom shelves in the grocery store. Store brands and best buys are often placed away from your eye level.
- Ask the store manager about the shelf-stocking schedule. Plan to shop when the store will be well-stocked.
- Weekly sale or super-sale items are always tempting — but don’t buy them unless you need them or are certain you will use them soon.
Pay attention to unit pricing!
Unit pricing tells you how much an item costs per standard unit (e.g., per ounce or per pound). This information is generally posted on the shelf as part of the shelf price label, and it helps you compare and to shop for the best deal so you can save money.
Prepared by: Elizabeth Gollub, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., Assistant Professor, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences