7 Easy Ways to Save 10 Percent or More on Your Grocery Bill
Beat rising prices without breaking your budget.
According to the most recent consumer price index (CPI) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices increased 3.7 percent between September 2022 and September 2023. While many people have accepted the fact that a trip to the grocery store is going to cost them more, one expert maintains it doesn't have to. In fact, you can actually save money on your grocery bill by following a few simple suggestions, says Jennifer Seitz, Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and Director of Education at Greenlight.
To reduce the stress of holiday grocery shopping (or any shopping at all) it's important to create a plan ahead of time by either preparing a shopping list or placing online orders, says Seitz. "Research from the NRF shows that shoppers have started their holiday shopping earlier over the past decade to distribute their expenses and avoid the stress of rushing. The same can apply for food shopping," she explains. "Your non-perishables can be purchased in advance — with an added bonus that you don't have to worry about last-minute low stock on any must-have canned ingredients. Having control over your budget and time eliminates uncertainty and allows you to more fully enjoy the holiday with loved ones."
Just like shopping for big ticket items, comparison shopping on your groceries can save you big. "To stick to your budget, consider asking yourself additional questions like 'Can I find a better deal?' This may involve comparing brands and cost per unit on different product sizes," says Seitz. You can also compare prices at different stores to find the best price for the item you selected. "By doing this, you'll be able to save money and keep extra cash in your pocket."
Meal planning can be good for your waistline and your wallet. "Rising food costs can be particularly daunting for larger families. In fact, data from Greenlight shows that 55% of parents and teens identified inflation as their biggest financial concern," Seitz explains. By creating a meal plan and shopping list ahead of time, you and your children can avoid impulse purchases.
You can also look to reduce costs by avoiding food waste. "If you regularly have unused produce or pantry items, take note so that you can be mindful about the amounts you actually consume. Then you can plan your purchases accordingly," suggests Seitz.
Train your children to be frugal shoppers by involving them in the shopping. "Consider having them take the lead on a future grocery trip. Share details about the grocery budget, including how many meals you need to prepare, how long the snacks should last, and any dietary restrictions. With a little preparation, you and your children can resist the temptation of impulse buying and avoid being swayed by in-store advertisements," Seitz says.
Make sure you are taking advantage of rewards, reminds Seitz. "It could be store-specific rewards like fuel points, helping you save on both food and gas. With every dollar spent, you can earn discounts on gas, which can add up over time. Additionally, loyalty rewards programs can provide discounts at checkout, so it's worth signing up for them," she says.
Credit card rewards are another option, "but make sure you understand the program and pay off the balance each month to avoid interest charges," says Seitz. "Greenlight's Family Cash Card is a great option with up to 3% unlimited cash back on all categories and the ability to auto-invest rewards."