How to Save on Groceries

Posted on Apr 25 2012 - 10:47am by Susan Bewley

When we first moved to New Jersey, one of the hardest things for me to adjust to was the raise in food costs.  On some foods, it was a 60% increase compared to what I was used to, shocking me and my pocketbook when it came to feeding myself and my husband.  Where $300 a month for healthy food and snacks was easy in Kentucky, we were suddenly spending up to $600, something that completely blew my mind.  Until we moved here, I didn’t really plan grocery shopping, I just based what I was making for the week on what looked good and that was it.  Now, I have had to be a bit more frugal, learning how to save on groceries and keep both of us eating healthy!

How to Save on Groceries: Planning

Planning for a grocery trip was once very foreign to me. I only made a list if I was making something special, and that was about it. Now, I make a list of what I need before going to the store, and usually plan my entire shopping around healthy foods that fit in our budget.  One of the ways I have learned how to save on groceries is also cutting back on meat.  Rather than have meat every night during the week, we have it two or three times a week, and only in meals that can easily be made into leftovers that my husband can bring to work.

How to Save on Groceries: Perimeter Shopping

Another way to save money and be healthier is to shop the perimeter of the store first.   All of the essentials you need for eating healthy are on the outer walls of the store including dairy products, meats, and vegetables. I always skip the bakery section and go straight to the veggie section.  By filling up the cart with fruits and veggies first, I find I am saving money by avoiding expensive, processed items that are mostly high in calories.  As well, natural food sections are usually off in their own area, which can easily be found while you are shopping the perimeter. As a rule of thumb, always come back and get ingredients for seasoning and flavor at the end of the trip. With cold items in your cart, you are more likely to rush to the checkout afterward – saving money and cutting out the calories!

How to Save on Groceries: Store Sales & Coupons

If you want to know how to save on groceries, two of the best tips you will get from many people online are to shop by the weekly sales, and to coupon match.  By looking on stores’ websites and writing to the companies, it can be easier than you might think to get coupons for all of your favorite natural brands and drinks.  By combining these coupons with store sales, it is easy to save a few bucks.

Just be careful with coupon shopping – there are a few pitfalls to look out for.  Most coupons are for high sugar, fatty foods that are not at the perimeter of the store. Also, if you aren’t going to use the product, you don’t need clip or print the coupon out, even if it’s free! Remember, too, that coupons are a marketing tool for companies – they get exposure for their products and people are more likely to buy items if they think they are getting a deal, even if they wouldn’t use the product normally. This means you are likely to spend more on your grocery trip in the center of the store, (instead of the perimeter), potentially leading to even more purchases you didn’t need! If you are coupon shopping, make sure to have a list and a mission first to make sure you don’t spend extra money!


Susan Bewley is a professional writer who has been writing content online & in print format for over 10 years. As well, she is an alumni of the University of Louisville with a Masters Degree in Special Education. When not working as an online business consultant or ghost writing, she can be found writing on Budget Earth, on her own novel, or working with various entities in the pet industry.

23 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Erwin Puller May 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm -

    Heya i’m here for the first time. I came across this blog and I find It truly useful! It helped me out!

  2. Felix Niedermaier May 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm -

    Fantastic post from you, man.  I always love reading your content and you're information is just wonderful.  I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a great website.

  3. Amy Turner May 20, 2012 at 8:15 am -

    Yes, the hardest thing for us busy housewives/mothers/career/driver/laundry women is to find the time for searching the best deals/coupons that will rake in much needed savings.  Even meticulous planning for groceries and meals for the household takes up so much of our time.  That's why reading posts that help us organize things, are a real help.  Thanks!

  4. Alaina Bullock September 4, 2012 at 11:30 am -

    I cannot tell you how much I saved from planning, no compulsive buying and combinig sales and coupons! Amazing!  You gave some very good tips, too!

  5. Sue Invegas October 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm -

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Melinda Dunne October 2, 2012 at 10:53 am -

    I always plan ahead and use coupons that is the only way we can meet out budget every month. 

  7. Angie October 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm -

    Super tips! Thanks so much 🙂

  8. Melinda Dunne October 11, 2012 at 11:24 pm -

    We spend a lot of money on groceries too. I have to budget and I rely on coupons to save money. We are a family of 3 but our son is a teenager and we have 3 dogs. I have more trouble finding good produce it usually doesn't last long enough. 

    • Susan Bewley October 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm -

      Produce is my biggest issue too. One I do is write some of the companies who are on the stickers (etc Dole). I have recieved some coupons from this in the past 🙂

  9. MamaBreak October 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm -

    Great tips for saving money!

  10. Vicki Hale February 25, 2013 at 7:12 am -

    I TRY to eat vegetarian,  I was recently diagnosed with diabetes 2.  And yes, I do find myself shopping only the perimeter of the store.  It cuts down on the amt. of time I am in there too!  Thank you  Vicki

  11. Bobby Tarumi March 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm -

    Did you know grocery stores always always always puts dairy at the back on the store? That way, on the path to get essential dairy goods, customers get exposed to other products. Some stores have even made S layouts to force customers to walk the ENTIRE store to get to the back/exit. I wish I rememembered the terminology for that type of layout.. I Googled "Forced Store Layout" but only found this. That's kinda forces you to go back and buy more things =3

  12. Bobby Tarumi March 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm -

    And just in case my first comment with a picture of a panda kicking a dad's grocery cart over gets rejected, here's my real comment:

    Did you know grocery stores always always always puts dairy at the back on the store? That way, on the path to get essential dairy goods, customers get exposed to other products. Some stores have even made S layouts to force customers to walk the ENTIRE store to get to the back/exit. I wish I rememembered the terminology for that type of layout.. Pretty devious huh?

  13. Sarah Vegetabile October 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm -

    Thank you for the tips. I am always looking for better ways to coupon and save.


  14. Cynthia Cover November 3, 2013 at 8:47 am -

    Really good tips about the perimeter, wish I didn't like the sweets so much…a moment on the lips and you know the rest!

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    Thanks for the tips.

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