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[2023] How to Spend Less on Groceries: Save $200 Per Month

Updated: Mar 17

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We're all looking for some ways to save some extra money, especially in the era of high inflation and supply shortages. At this point, it has been well-documented that inflation in 2022 hit roughly 40-year highs, a level which has led to noticeable increases in prices nationwide.

These price increases have been well-documented, and are, arguably, most noticeable at the nation's grocery stores. Frustrated by our disappearing discretionary income, my wife and I set out to do things a little differently.

Rather than just accept this new reality, we set out to fight back against inflation.

Here is how we cut our monthly grocery spending by $200.

Tips to spend less at the grocery store

To help you pay as little as you can at the grocery store, you'll want to consider some or all of the following tips:

  1. Consider where you go food shopping

  2. Shop for sales in your area

  3. Don't buy brand names if you can avoid it

  4. Pass on meat and expensive protein

  5. Buy in bulk from Costco, BJ's, or Sam's Club

  6. Use a cashback credit card

  7. Use cashback apps

  8. Buy frozen produce


1. Change where you grocery shop

In my case, the best way my wife and I were able to spend less at the grocery store was by simply changing where I shopped. I was a little apprehensive at first, but I soon saw just how much money could be saved by shopping at Aldi.

A couple of great examples that I remember from the last time I was there a couple of weeks ago:

  • 1 pound of asparagus for $2.50 (previously paid $5 elsewhere)

  • 1 pint of blueberries for $2 (as compared to $4.99 elsewhere)

  • 10 ounces of bacon-wrapped filet mignon for $7

All in, I could not believe how much less money I spent on the same amount of groceries.

I oftentimes get asked if shopping at Aldi is worth it, and I can confidently say that is is. Sure, the shopping experience can be a little chaotic, but in this era of inflation and high food prices, feeling like I got discounted groceries is a huge win.

Discount food stores

There are actually a number of budget grocery stores for you to consider. And while the shopping experiences are pretty bare bones, I've definitely recommend you look at stores like Aldi in order to see how much money you can save.

You may also consider:

  • Market Basket

  • Price Rite

  • Price Chopper

  • Save-A-Lot

These are just a sampling of some chains to consider!

2. Comparison shop for sales

While it can be a bit overwhelming at times, comparison shopping across markets in your area has the potential to save you a lot of money. To best minimize the amount of money that you spend on food, I recommend that you pick a couple of markets within a 5-mile radius or so and build the habit of checking weekly circulars for sales.

Generally, I do exhibit caution here, at least to a certain extent. To my wife and I, crisscrossing across town to save $0.29 per pound on bananas is not worth the extra time commitment, especially with weekend hours seemingly so few and far between.

But for higher priced items such as meats, we are willing to hit up a second or third grocery store to score a money saving deal or two. We have a second refrigerator and freezer in our basement, so any sales on meat present us with a great opportunity to stock up.

How to comparison shop

I'm a little old school when I comparison shop. I like to collect the weekly circulars for the grocery stores in my area and sift through them at the kitchen table. From here, my wife and I will make our respective grocery lists.

Then, we'll split up and handle out respective lists, or we'll head to both of them together.

You can also complete this exercise with online circulars.

3. Buy store brand products when possible

Grocery stores have perfected the art of human psychology. It is no coincidence that you find the most expensive brand-name goods at your eye level. So, to save some serious money, especially on boxed and canned goods such as pasta, rice, or snacks, look for your favorite brands' store-brand equivalent.

Typically, you'll find these products above or below their private-label counterparts. And buying these will help you save some serious money. This is also one of my main motives for shopping at Aldi. They rarely carry brands that you're familiar with, but in most instances, the products taste nearly identical to the brands you may be more familiar with.

To help me write this post, I checked out the differences between store-brand and brand-name goods at my local market. Here is what I found:

  • Nutri-Grain Breakfast Bars (8 count) - $3.69 vs. Stop and Shop brand - $2.29

  • 1 lb Barilla Pasta - $2.09 vs. Stop and Shop brand - $1.25

  • Ben's Original 90 Second Rice - $2.59 vs. Stop and Shop brand - $2.09

You get the point. At $0.50-$1.50 savings per item, you can save some serious money on each trip to the grocery store this way.

Now, I'll admit that I'm a little picky at times with store brand items, but the majority of grains, pastas, and cereals are nearly impossible to differentiate from their brand name counterparts.

4. Improve your diet

One of the best ways to avoid spending a ton of money on meat is to eat less of it. Implementing culinary-themed days, such as "No Meat Monday" can not only promote a more healthy lifestyle, but also can help you to save a lot of money on groceries.

Replacing meat with suitable replacements such as lentils, rice, or super grains has become increasingly common, and it could be a great option for both your wallet and your health.

Cheap healthy foods to cut your grocery budget

Beyond grains and lean proteins, there are a number of cheap healthy foods you can buy that won't break the bank. Among my top recommendations are:

  • Beans

  • Oatmeal

  • Whole grain/chickpea pasta

  • Peanut butter

  • Frozen fruits and vegetables

Here is a more all encompassing list of 29 cheap healthy foods.

5. Buy in bulk from Sam's Club, Costco, or BJ's

You can potentially save a lot of money by buying some of the most popular food products in your home in bulk from retailers such as Sam's Club, Costco, or BJ's. Not only does buying in bulk oftentimes save you money off an item's "per unit" cost, but it will also help you to secure discounts on other products, such as:

  • Tires

  • Wine

  • Home goods

  • Travel and entertainment

Saving on groceries and other goods at the same time? Yes, please!

6. Use a cashback credit card

If your finances are secure and you always make your monthly credit card payments in full, then it could be wise for you to charge your groceries on a credit card. Any cent of cashback that you receive helps to effectively lower the cost of your food.

My wife and I have a credit card through Fidelity Investments that carries 2% cash back on everything. I know that there are cards out there that offer higher cashback rates on certain expenses, such as groceries or gas, but for my family, the flat 2% makes far more sense.

Using your card (again, responsibly!) can be one of the easiest strategies to use in order to lower your grocery bills.

7. Embrace cashback apps when grocery shopping

Did you know that some of the most popular cashback apps actually can give you rewards for grocery shopping? That's right, apps like Fetch and Ibotta will reward you for using their apps when and after you shop.


Fetch is an American rewards company that rewards users for shopping with the app and uploading their receipts. When you upload a receipt, Fetch's technology will automatically detect whether any purchases that you've made qualify for rewards.

After you've earned enough points, you can redeem them for rewards such as gift cards for popular companies like Amazon.


Ibotta is a cashback rewards app that allows you to earn rewards each time you shop at a grocery store or any participating retail or online store. I like Ibotta a lot because they have a special grocery section.

To access it, click the "Find Offers" button within the app and then negotiate to "Grocery." From here, you'll be able to browse participating grocery stores as well as find offers for specific products that may be on your shopping list!

Then, once you've checked out, just upload your receipts to receive your rewards.

8. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables

My wife and I aren't crazy about eating frozen produce, but there are certain receipes in which they work quite well. Chicken pot pies and soups are great examples of receipes with frozen vegetables, and they can be healthy too!

Over the past couple of years, I've put together a list of my favorite dishes in which frozen produce can be used in:

Related: Top 25 Creative Ways to Save Money

How to spend less on produce

One of the most shocking parts about my grocery bills is the amount of money that we spend on fruits and vegetables. Honestly, it feels like a "catch-22" sometimes. Produce is an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle, so it is hard to be frustrated with the expense.

But at the same time, this piece would not be complete without mentioning a number of strategies that you may consider in order to spend less on fruits and vegetables.

1. Consider buying ugly produce

You may consider purchasing ugly and organic produce online in order to save a few dollars. Here is how it works:

You're probably wondering how this will lower your grocery bills. Since you're buying "ugly" produce that would otherwise go to waste after being rejected by supermarket chains, companies are better off selling them at a discount

And if you're concerned about buying "ugly" produce, let me be the first to tell you. I have never experienced any visible inconsistencies cause any issues with taste or flavor.

2. Search for store brand produce

I'll admit that I've purchased brand name produce accidentally, despite the higher costs. Multiple times in fact. And even though we already mentioned buying store brands to save money, it deserves another mention as it applies to produce.

This is because stores are often sneaky and have their own store produce brands as well. And sometimes, you may even be able to get store brand organic produce for cheaper than conventionally grown private labels.

So, depending on where you shop, you're going to want to know how to identify store brand produce. We've started to compile a list of popular supermarkets and their brands below:

  • Publix - GreenWise

  • Stop and Shop - Nature's Promise

  • Aldi - SimplyNature

3. Buy local when possible

Depending on where you live in the country, it is likely that you will be able to access local produce for at least part of the year. Not only is it better for the environment, but it also could provide you with a great opportunity to save some money too.

In my area of Connecticut, there are lots of vegetable farms offering CSA, or community-supported agriculture. Under these arrangements, you can buy a share of a farm's yield ahead of a growing season.

My wife and I split a full share with my in-laws, and for much of the summer and fall, we receive more vegetables than we can eat. Just this past year, for example, we received so many different vegetables, including:

  • Lettuce (many types)

  • Cabbage

  • Celery

  • Carrots

  • Beets

  • Potatoes

  • Turnips

  • Corn

  • Radishes

  • And More!

Cut your grocery bill: 6 more quick ideas

If you're really serious about spending less money each month on your groceries, you'll be happy to learn that we're not out of ideas for you. Not by a long shot. In fact, here are six more strategies designed to help you save money grocery shopping:

  1. Make sure to create a list. It is scientifically proven that those that prepare a list will do less freelancing, preventing you from buying things impulsively that you don't need.

  2. Eat before you grocery shop. For the same reasons as above.

  3. Buy meat in bulk when sales pop up. If you are going to buy meat, I recommend that you stock your freezer whenever sales and deals pop up. I have a second freezer in my basement that I stock with meat that I purchased in bulk and at a discount.

  4. Buy foods that are in season. This one applies more to produce than to anything else, but buying foods that are in season in your area will likely lead to lower prices. For example, berries are typically cheaper in New England in the summer, since stores are able to source more from local farms, saving money on transportation costs.

  5. Skip out on prepared or precut foods. I get it, time is of the essence for all of us. And sometimes, it can be so tempting to buy that bag of prewashed and chopped broccoli. Precut fruit is also known for being insanely expensive. But doing it yourself can be a great way to limit what you're spending on food each week.

  6. Coupon aggressively. Couponing is out of the scope of this article but can be a great way to limit what you're paying at the register.

Also consider checking out my piece on how to cook on a budget.


Let this article serve as a guide for you to spend less at the supermarket. But we also want to hear from you! What other grocery shopping tips and tricks do you use to save as much money as possible?

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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