How I Slashed My Grocery Bills in Half

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As food costs continued rising, I realized I needed to overhaul how I shopped for groceries. With a bit of effort and some simple tricks, I’ve managed to cut my grocery spending by 50% without sacrificing quality or nutrition. Come along as I share my best tips for dramatic savings at the supermarket.

Plan Ahead with a Detailed List

The first step to grocery savings is planning ahead. I always start by taking inventory of what I already have on hand and jotting down meals for the week. Then I can make an itemized list organized by store layout to prevent any wandering and impulse purchases that strain the budget. Be sure to include produce for easy snacks and sides too. Cross items off the list as you go so you don’t accidentally double up. A good list keeps you focused.

Hunt for Deals and Definitely Coupon

shopping list

Before heading to the store, I scour the weekly sales ad for rock-bottom deals. Meat and produce specials dictate what meals I’ll cook that week. I also dig out my coupon organizer and match coupons to the sales for exponential savings. Check grocery apps too – digital coupons are easy to load for redemption. My rule is I don’t buy anything without a coupon or sale offer. This takes a bit of planning but pays off in the end.

Stick to Store Brands for Staples

Name brands really only matter to me for certain products like peanut butter and pasta sauce. I stick to generic store brands for staples like milk, eggs, baking items, spices, canned goods and other basics. Often the store brand comes from the same source as the pricier national brand. If quality isn’t compromised, then store brand is an obvious money saver. Though I do recommend splurging on good olive oil – here the expensive stuff is worth it.

Shop the Perimeter First

shopping grocery

When I enter the store, the first area I head to is the perimeter. That’s where the fresh departments like produce, meat and dairy are located. I get what I need there before venturing to the center aisles. The perimeter foods are healthier and less processed anyway. I’m careful not to overbuy perishables, getting only what I know I’ll use based on my meal plan. As for the packaged goods in the center aisles? I skip aisles that don’t have items on my list to avoid temptation.

Prep Produce Right Away

Once home with my haul, I get to work prepping produce. I wash greens for salads and snip ends off green beans – whatever needs to be done for easy grab and go eating later in the week. Proper storage like loose plastic bags for lettuce keeps fruits and veggies crisper longer. With ingredients prepped, it’s easier for me to eat healthy on busy days. I also try to use up whatever is on its last leg first before the fresh stuff. Wasting food means wasting money.

Meal Plan Around What Needs to be Used Up

grocery for meal

Speaking of using up food – I plan meals based on what needs to be eaten soon. If I buy a pack of chicken breasts on sale, I’ll find recipes that week that use up chicken. Browsing recipes by main ingredient helps put together meals from the foods I have on hand. A well-stocked pantry and freezer makes this meal planning possible. I feel good about avoiding waste and saving more.


Cutting my grocery bill dramatically took some discipline and effort up front, but now that I have a system in place it feels easy. The extra time invested pays off exponentially at the checkout lane. While I could cut more corners to save even more, I prefer to balance thriftiness with enjoyment. After all, food is one of life’s great pleasures. I see these tips as a way to free up funds for life’s other joys like travel, experiences with loved ones and the occasional dinner out. Saving money on the basics gives me permission to splurge on what really matters.

Additional Tips

  • Check unit prices when comparing different sizes of products. The biggest size is not always the best deal.
  • Look on the top and bottom shelves for better deals since most people gravitate to eye level.
  • Avoid shopping hungry. Everything will look good and you’ll spend more.
  • Buy meat in bulk when it’s on a deep sale, portion it and freeze in marinades.
  • Cook once, eat twice. Double recipes and save half for a future meal.
  • Freeze extra fruit for smoothies. Frozen is cheaper than fresh produce.
  • Buy whole chickens and spatchcock them yourself instead of buying parts.
  • Make convenience foods from scratch like bread, yogurt and granola bars.
  • Shop at international markets for cheap spices, beans, rice and more.
  • Buy in season fruits and vegetables when lowest priced.


  1. “25 Ways to Spend Less at the Grocery Store.” Consumer Reports, 29 Mar. 2022,

       2.   Auxier, Summer. “27 Grocery Shopping Tips to Save You Money.” Real Simple

  1. Kane, Laura. “50+ Ways to Save Money on Groceries.” The Balance,

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