Grocery shopping on a budget

By Matt Mayerle
Modified on May 12, 2023
Grocery Shopping on a Budget

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, American’s spend more than $7,770 a year on food alone. That is about 12.5% of the average American’s total income. The only two categories Americans tend to spend most of their income on, other than food, is transportation and housing. So clearly, purchasing food is a priority for most people who live in the United States. Which means that it’s very important to know how to go grocery shopping on a budget.

Perhaps you’re trying to save on your grocery budget because you’re having trouble paying your bills. Saving money grocery shopping may seem like a difficult task, but it really doesn’t have to be. 

While you can always take out an installment loan when you need cash, you can also make the most of your hard-earned money and utilize these grocery shopping tips next time you’re purchasing foods.

How to Save Money at The Grocery Store

Check out these tips for how to start grocery shopping the smart way and save money on your food budget. Budgeting with irregular income may not be easy, but it is possible!

Make a List Before Your Grocery Trip

Have you ever gone to the grocery store looking for a few essential items and ended up walking out with a cart full of unnecessary things? Impulse buying is easy when you walk into the grocery store without a grocery list. Also, when you purchase items you don’t really need, there’s a good chance you’ll be throwing uneaten food away at the end of the week. To waste less food and save money, make a grocery list every time you go food shopping. 

Knowing exactly what you need when you go grocery shopping can help you save on your monthly grocery bill and help you eat healthier. Stock your grocery list with fruits and vegetables, and stick to your list! Then, you’ll have enough food for a full meal plus more of those wholesome, healthy foods. 

Try Grocery Shopping Online 

Grocery shopping apps exist so you can shop at your favorite grocery store, like Trader Joe’s, online! Whether through a third-party app or directly from a grocery store, you can often find your standard store brands online the same as if you went to the physical store. 

Shopping online can also help you stick to your grocery list/food budget and avoid temptation from appealing displays or flashy in-store packaging. So not only can you improve your shopping habits, but you can also enjoy saving money. 

Shop for Deals and Compare Prices 

Before you go food shopping, check for manufacturer coupons or deals offered by different stores. Without going to a specific discount store, you can sometimes find a good deal for your grocery list from your local newspapers. 

When using coupons to save on your grocery bill, it’s wise to have all of your coupons with you, even if they are from varying stores. Sometimes, grocery stores are willing to do price matching so you don’t have to pay full price on an item you could get cheaper elsewhere. Store brand products are often sold at a discounted price compared to name-brand groceries. So shopping for these different brands can also help you save money on groceries. 

You can usually always find good deals at your local farmers’ market, which is beneficial for both your local economy and your grocery budget. 

Tips to Make the Most of Your Grocery Budget 

Here’s a few more tips for grocery shopping on a budget: 

Get Into Meal Planning 

Setting up a meal plan is another great idea when grocery shopping on a budget. When you know what your next few weeks of meals look like, you can adjust your grocery spending accordingly and have a better idea of what you’ll be spending. 

When planning your meals, make sure you include essential items for your grocery list, like chicken breasts or cottage cheese, so you’ll know you have the foods you planned for on hand. You can even plan on making meals in a slow cooker if you are busy during the day and don’t have time to prep and cook yourself. That way, you can save time and money on your grocery bill and still enjoy the comforts of homemade food regularly. 

Eat Leftovers 

If you don’t mind eating the same meal a few days in a row, eating leftovers is another way to save more money on your grocery budget. Plan a few simple meals you won’t mind eating several times when shopping on a budget. You can also freeze leftovers and eat them later if you would like a bit more variety in your weekly meals. 

Shop for Your Lifestyle 

Not everybody has time to spend hours cooking and preparing meals every night, and that’s okay. Keep your habits and lifestyle in mind as you go food shopping and buy accordingly. If you work long hours, perhaps you may want to utilize freezer meals that you can easily make quickly at the end of the day. If you don’t want to buy meat, perhaps purchase some easy pasta dishes to save money on a meatless meal. Buying meat less often is another pro-tip when you want to save money grocery shopping. 

Plan your Grocery Budget for the Season

Take note that different foods are in-season at certain times of the year and can often be more expensive during the off-seasons. Fruit, for example, can increase your grocery shopping budget quite a bit if you purchase them from the produce section during the winter months. But, at most grocery stores, you can find frozen fruit when fresh fruits are not in season, which can help you save money! Save money on groceries by planning your grocery budget according to the season. 

Other Great Tips for Saving on Groceries 

You can also do things at home to save money on food. Instead of spending money on a delivery fee and ordering takeout, do your best to make home-cooked meals and eat the food you buy. Buying takeout can be a massive drain on your food budget when trying to save money. By doing a bit of meal planning and going to the grocery store, you can save money and avoid unnecessary spending. 

Make the most of your hard-earned money and do what you can to go grocery shopping on a budget and save money. You may find it’s easier to maintain a healthy diet and a healthy wallet when you plan out your grocery budget!


US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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