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9 Inexpensive Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

9 Inexpensive Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store 

By JW Rayhons & Mikayla Orser

Do you return home from the grocery store to find the majority of the items you bought were not on your list? Do you find yourself falling victim to impulse buying? Do you find that you are breaking your monthly grocery budget? So do we, these are common occurrences for most people. The average shopper will make an average of 3 unplanned purchases in 4 out of every 10 store visits they make (Khalid, S. 2019).  

Here are 5 inexpensive ways to save money at the grocery store: 

1. Create a Meal Plan 

Creating a meal plan does not mean you need to meal prep. Meal planning is simply creating a menu for your meals every week. This menu should fit within your weekly grocery budget, it should be food you enjoy cooking, eating, and sharing with family. The simplest way that I've found to create a weekly meal plan is to utilize my tools like Pinterest, cookbooks, family recipes, or your own cooking knowledge to help form this plan. You will need to take into consideration your daily schedule for the upcoming week and how often you would like to "eat-out". You should plan those meals as well, for instance: if you know you typically have less time on Thursdays plan to grab a quick bite to eat rather than planning a meal you will need to cook. This gives you the ability to know exactly what you will need at the grocery store next time you go. 

2. Create a Weekly Grocery Budget  

You may have a monthly grocery budget or an expected amount you "plan" to spend at the grocery store. However, it may be more beneficial if you use your monthly budget as a starting point to plan for every week. When you set a weekly budget it will provide a good base for your weekly meal plan. You will be able to utilize this weekly budget to choose recipes that you can afford. In addition, it will impact what you can buy. If you are having trouble staying within your budget when using a debit/credit card, try using only cash to purchase groceries (if it is available at your local grocery store). Through utilizing a weekly budget you will have a more specific amount of money you can spend every week at the grocery store, thus saving money. 

3. Stay Focused at the Grocery Store 

Khalid states that, "Buyers are 23% more likely to impulse buy on an unplanned shopping trip" (2019). This takes us back to the idea of creating a weekly meal plan. The most obvious way to accomplish staying focused is to create a grocery list. This list can include household items, food items, or even miscellaneous items that you may need from the grocery store. By planning your trip you will save money by staying on task. 

4. Use Retailer and Coupon Apps 

Retailer apps can help you tremendously, if they are worth it. How do you know? Sometimes you don't know until you try and sometimes you are able to look at reviews from other users. However, one source states that, "downloading grocery apps to help you with your checkbook puts you in control of the money you spend on groceries" (ReadySetEat, n.d.). By utilizing the retailer's app you are able to find store sales, coupons, order online, and create your grocery list all in one place. In some instances the retailer also offers a rewards program, or money back. Check out your app store for your grocer's app to see what they offer. Another tool is coupon apps… you get money back to your accounts or as gift cards. One with great reviews is Ibotta. The app has different stores that you “cut coupons” for food and household items. You watch a quick Ad then that item is added to your “cart”. Shop normal at the store and once you’re home you will upload your receipt and receive you cash back within a few days. 

5. Order Online - Pickup in Store or Drive-up 

Choosing to order your groceries online through the retailer's app will allow your grocery list to be filled quickly and smoothly. 8 out of 10 impulse buys are made in a brick-and-mortar stores (Khalid, S. 2019). Most stores offer a pickup or a drive-up option for buying groceries that don't cost extra money. However, some stores do charge extra because they may use third party store shoppers. 

6. Check Your Local Farmers Market/Small Businesses

More times than not we find ourselves going to one store to get things over with. What most of us don’t realize is the bigger grocery stores often hike up prices on their local produce and meats. When at a local market its easier to recognize what is in season which will reduce your produce cost as well! Meat markets for example you tend to find better quality meat for cheaper. Not only will you be supporting local but you will be getting more bang for your buck. 

7. Only Buy What You Need

Now more than ever it seems we buy more than we need and it goes to waste. Or we find ourselves making too much and the leftovers go bad. Again, lets go back to our meal plan. This will be essential in helping you decide what portion sizes you need so you can buy accordingly.

8. Repurpose your Food and Make It Last

Leftovers are a great way to repurpose your food. Maybe you don’t have all the kids joining your for dinner and you’re cooking solo, this is a great way to think ahead and prepare leftovers for the next day! Another scenario may be you have leftover ingredients get creative and think of new snacks or ways the leftover food can go to good use. One tip I implemented was saving vegetable clippings and making a veggie soup out of it! 

9. Just Need a Few Items, Grab a Basket

How many times have you found yourself running into the store for one or two things and leaving with an entire cart full? Grab the basket, throw in your few items and hit the road. Nobody wants to walk around more than they need to while holding a heavy basket. This will prompt you to stay focused, get what you need and get out. Baskets also have less space so you won’t find yourself wanting to fill it with unnecessary items

If you are looking for a financial advisor team focused on your unique financial situation, communicates openly, and that puts you and your goals at the center of the relationship, call us at (480) 507-2425 or contact us online. We’d love to meet you. 

Mikayla Orser is a Non-Registered Associated Person with Voya Financial Advisors. Mikayla cannot offer securities or advisory services.

The content in this article was prepared by the article’s author. Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. does not endorse its content, and the views expressed may not necessarily reflect those held by Voya Financial Advisors, Inc 


Gaille, B. 2017 May 22. 19 Dramatic Impulse Buying Statistics. Brandon Gaille: Small Business & Marketing Advice. Retrieved on 19 Aug 2020 from https://brandongaille.com/18-dramatic-impulse-buying-statistics/  

Khalid, S. 2019. The State of Impulse Buying Persona - Statistics and Trends. Invesp. Retrieved on 19 Aug 2020 from https://www.invespcro.com/blog/impulse-buying/  

ReadySetEat n.d. How To: Use Mobile Apps to Save Money at the Grocery Store. ReadySetEat. Retrieved on 19 Aug 2020 from https://www.readyseteat.com/inspiration-and-tips/how-use-mobile-apps-save-money-grocery-store