How to Save Money When Grocery Shopping

Posted by Sha'Kreshia Terrell in SavingsNovember 15, 2021(Last Updated July 25, 2022)5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Inflation has increased by 5.4% over the past 12 months, including the uptick in food prices. 
  • Although inflation affects every part of the economy, it doesn’t have to break the bank. 
  • There are ways to save money on food to combat inflation prices.
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

Rising prices, known as inflation, typically increase year after year to somewhere around 2%. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices have increased by 4.6% over the past 12 months. 


Inflation affects the cost of living to borrow money and ultimately any other aspect of the economy. Hence, when you walk into the grocery store, you are bound to notice the uptick in prices. Your basic everyday essentials, especially regarding food such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, have increased in price to over 15%. 


Recommended Read: Gas, Food, Rent - Inflation is on the Rise. What does that mean for you and your money?


Did the global pandemic cause rising inflation, you ask? Yes. On the back end, food production companies were struggling with ingredient shortages, transportation issues, bottlenecking, extreme weather conditions, and lack of staffing, all due to the global pandemic. Some workers also earned more by collecting unemployment checks than they did when they were working. 


Numerous businesses were then forced to increase the pay (and benefits in some cases) to incentivize their workers to return to work. Due to the global pandemic, grocery store chains and local food markets were heavily impacted.


Your favorite canned goods, snacks, and cereal require many different ingredients sourced from all over the world. In order to receive these ingredients, goods have to be shipped across the ocean (either by air travel or boat), and once they are at the port truck drivers transport them. Along with the recent weather conditions that have slowed things down, the rising fuel cost has increased substantially. 


It is reportedly 250% more expensive to transport goods across the ocean than before the pandemic. Transporting goods by vehicle requires fuel to be used. Fuel prices have increased by more than 40%.


Recommended Read: Savings vs. Investing: Impact of Inflation


Product packaging also plays a major role in the rising cost of inflation. Texas has one of the largest plastic-producing factories, and due to the extreme winter from 2020, they had to shut down. The winter caused the plant to suffer a significant power outage, which caused the companies that supply plastic to other companies to get behind on its production. 


Stimming from power outages, the increased demand for plastic drove up the packaging price at the plant once things returned to normal. Due to staffing limitations, the company had to increase its workers’ pay, resulting in yet another price increase in production supply. 


With inflation steadily rising, here are eight tips to help you shop smart in the grocery store and save money in the process.


How to Save Money When Grocery Shopping


Though inflation is up, it doesn't have to break your bank account. One of the keys to managing your money well is taking the time to write out your income and expenses. It is impossible to know how much you can set aside for the grocery bill if you don't know how much your total expenses are costing you each month. There are many ways to still save on food when grocery shopping.


Image Credit: FamVeld /


Recommended Read: Read this if your living expenses exceed your income.  


Shop store brands. Shopping store brands can reportedly save you up to 30%. This is because many store-brand items are made of the same ingredients as name-brand items. 


When you buy name-brand items and products, you are typically paying for the name and marketing fees. Store brands have cut out the middleman, so it costs you much less for the same product.


Create a shopping list. Going grocery shopping without a plan of action is a bad idea. This will easily cause you to overspend, and you will find yourself buying items that you don’t need. 


Have you ever wondered why all the “good” snacks are placed near the cash register or at the front of the store? It’s a marketing tactic that almost every store uses to get customers to spend more money without putting much thought into it.


Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Walking into the grocery store hungry will make you feel as though you could eat the whole store. Food looks more appealing when you are hungry. 


Cook yourself a nice meal before going out and watch how much less you will buy. When you go to the grocery store feeling content, you are more likely to be more intentional about purchasing items.


Meal prep and use portion control. Meal prepping helps you lessen the amount of food that you would normally waste. When you meal prep, you can also control your portions sizes too. One way to keep track of your portion sizes, whether you cook for yourself or have a large family, is to separate your frozen foods, fruits, and veggies into different storage bags/containers so that you won't have to eat or cook everything all at once.


Buy in bulk. Purchase items in bulk that have a good shelf life, like canned foods. This method will cost you more money upfront to buy in bulk, but you get more product when compared to units. Always check for expiration dates and only buy in bulk what you know you use regularly.


Utilize coupons, shop sales, and compare prices. It is easier now more than ever to have coupons delivered right to your online inbox. There are still stores that match prices if you see that an item costs less elsewhere. 

Don’t be afraid to ask if there are any discounts available. Generally, grocery stores have seasonal and holiday sales.  


Use cash rewards apps or credit cards. Apps such as IBotta, Swagbucks, and Dosh offer cash rewards or gift cards after you spend a certain amount. Take complete advantage of their offers. Credit card companies even offer cashback options when you make purchases at stores they’ve partnered with.


Buy whole fruit. Buying whole (fresh) fruit is often less expensive than buying pre-sliced fruit. Your fruit will also have more of a fresh taste when you slice it yourself.

Remember that added convenience fees can slowly eat away at your budget


For example, if you aren’t going to eat all your fruit right away (3-5 days after you buy them), then store them in airtight freezer bags and freeze them so that you can eat them later. 


Since inflation typically increases yearly, it’s crucial to make sure you manage your money well and find ways to increase your income. There are routes to help people increase their income, whether passively or actively. Good money management skills can go a long way to secure yourself and your family’s financial future. 


What are some other ways you can save money at the grocery store? Comment below.


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