Shopping for groceries on a budget

In 2020, US consumers spent an average of 8.6% of their disposable personal income on food — 5.0% on groceries and 3.6% outside the home. While that’s down slightly, mostly because of people reining in spending during the pandemic, food prices were actually up 3.5% from 2019, with beef prices soaring nearly 10%.


If you’re looking for some effective ways to save money on food shopping, here are a few helpful suggestions:


1.     Eat before you shop — You’ll likely buy fewer snacks and food items you don’t really need if you’re feeling full.

2.     Visit the grocery story once a week — The more you shop, the more likely you are to spend more on unnecessary stuff.

3.     Make a list and stick with it — Planning what you need for various meals beforehand ensures you’ll only buy what you truly need.

4.     Shop with cash — People who shop with a credit card pay 12 to 18% more than those who use cash, according to a recent study.

5.     Leave the kids at home (if possible!) — Some of us have a tough time saying no to snacks and treats when the little ones are around.

6.     Make enough for leftovers — It’ll save time in planning, cooking and spending on one less meal.

7.     Itemize your fridge, freezer and cupboards — Once a month, scan what you still have for a meal or two.

8.     Stock up but not too much — Buying in bulk can help you save but buying too much and having to throw it out once the food has passed its expiry date defeats the purpose.

9.     Order in and eat out less — While Uber Eats or DoorDash make ordering in easier, they also charge a hefty premium for doing so. And while dining out can be a treat, travel and tipping can really stretch your budget.

10.  Eat a little less — Most of us have gotten used to eating until we feel stuffed. Cutting back, even 10%, not only saves money. It can be a clever way to reduce your calories and lose weight.

11.  Eat a little more (fruits and veggies) — Picking up an apple or orange instead of downing half a box of cookies is healthier and can also help you save on groceries.


What are your favorite ways to save on food and grocery shopping? We’d love to hear about them! Share your tips with the Shop Talk community!


Did you know?


Look for shelf label price breakdowns


It can be confusing to figure out whether a package of 24 double toilet paper rolls is cheaper than 36 single rolls. Many grocery stores now break down costs per unit and display the information on their shelves. It’s a great way to compare apples to apples — sometimes literally! (Source)