Food purchases can take a huge bite out of your weekly budget. Click on for a look at key strategies to trim your grocery bill.
20 Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store
20 Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store
Stick to sales items.
Many food items go on sale at regular intervals. Stock up when your favorite products are discounted to tide you over until the next sales bonanza.
Peter Dazeley via Getty Images
Shop in season.
You'll tend to find that your favorite foods are more affordable – and taste better – when they're in season. Consult this chart for a look at when common foods are in their prime.
Betsie Van der Meer via Getty Images
Use what you purchase.
When it comes to food, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. Buy fresh ingredients that can be used in a range of recipes so you don't waste them.
knape via Getty Images
Commit to store loyalty programs.
Many grocery stores offer loyalty cards that earn you deals on in-store items. Some cards may give you discounts on gas or allow you to save digital coupons on your card.
Guy Bouchet via Getty Images
Visit the discount store.
Expand your shopping trip rotation to include discount stores, such as Aldi and Save-A-Lot. “You can’t make the argument that the quality is lower because it’s at a discount store,” Stephanie Nelson, who runs CouponMom.com, told U.S. News.
Try non-grocery stores.
Target, Wal-Mart and other general stores may post competitive prices on food items. Add them to your shopping rotation.
Skip the bottled water aisle.
Stop buying water at the grocery store. You'll pay less for each glass of cold water by using a filter in a water pitcher or on your faucet.
Buy store brands.
Store brands often cost less than their name-brand counterparts – and they often taste exactly the same.
Skip the prepared foods.
Pre-made salads and pizzas and pre-cut fruits and vegetables may look tempting on a busy weeknight, but they come at a high markup.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Buy in bulk.
Buy large quantities of nonperishables, such as pasta or rice, or frozen items at your favorite supermarket or wholesale store. Just make sure you have room for storage.
Freer Law via Getty Images
Ditch the meat.
Getting your protein in meat form is an expensive proposition. Ground beef cost $3.67 per pound on average in September 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dried beans, on the other hand, ran just $1.37 per pound.
Katrina Wittkamp via Getty Images
Check out the weekly ad.
Check your weekly circular for sales on your favorite items and plan your meals around those weekly discounts.
Download the store app.
Another way to get the best deal? Download the store's mobile app. Safeway's app, for example, allows shoppers to scan bar codes for deals and load digital coupons instantly.
Compare unit prices.
It's a challenge to compare prices when foods come in different container sizes. Drill down to the unit price when comparing the value between one item and the next to make sure you're getting a true apples-to-apples comparison.
Jupiterimages via Getty Images
Leave the credit card at home.
If you need extra motivation to stick to your budget, leave the credit cards at home and just bring cash. It's an old-fashioned technique, but it will keep you from busting your weekly food budget.
Glow Images, Inc via Getty Images
Do a pantry sweep.
Take stock of your pantry before heading to the supermarket. That way, you'll reduce the risk of purchasing duplicates or more than you can eat before items expire.
Don Farrall via Getty Images
Scan the bottom and the top.
Stores routinely place the priciest items at eye-level – and hide the cheaper options on the top and bottom shelves. Make sure to scan the entire vertical length of the shelf before committing to a brand.
fStop Images - Patrick Strattner via Getty Images
Make nice with the sales associate.
A good relationship with the supermarket workers – especially those who work behind the meat, fish and baked good counters – can yield valuable intel on upcoming sales and deals.
Monashee Frantz via Getty Images
Don't use coupons right away.
"Stores know weeks ahead of time what product coupons are coming out in the inserts, and they may leave the corresponding products at higher prices intentionally," Jill Cataldo, consumer coupon expert and founder of Super-Couponing, told U.S. News.
Yukchong Kwan via Getty Images
Get in, get food and get out.
Dilly-dallying at the supermarket can cost you more than time. The longer you spend at the store, the more you spend on food. So, get in, stick to your shopping list and get out before temptation gets the best of you.