Skip to main content

How to Trim the Fat Off your Grocery Bill

3 minute read

Joshua Williams

By Joshua Williams

Are soul-shattering grocery bills cleaving away the lion’s share of your social budget? Are you stumped by the mountains of rotting produce in your fridge that you never got around to eating? Do you find yourself, amid the eerie linoleum and buzzing neon of the local grocer, geographically, financially, and emotionally adrift?

Here are a few tips for saving big bucks on your monthly food bill.

Plan Your Meals

Investing some time before your weekly grocery excursion can cut your bill by up to 50 percent; provided you stick to your list.

Impulsive buying will be your most incorrigible adversary. Bite the bullet and glance through the weekly coupon packets that clutter up the newspaper. If a deal catches your eye, throw it on your weekly meal calendar.

Accustom Yourself to the Lame Idea of a “Meal Calendar”

It’s not that bad.  Honestly, take a piece of loose-leaf paper, draw up a rudimentary seven by three chart, and have at it.

Give yourself some variety, but try to plan so that you can utilize leftovers. Having an open block or two for “foraging” will ensure that your food is being put to good use. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to throw away.

To illustrate:


Monday – Bagel & cream cheese, banana

Tuesday – Cinnamon Toast Crunch, blueberries

Wednesday – Bagel & Cream Cheese, banana

Thursday – Cinnamon Toast Crunch, blueberries

Friday – Bagel & cream cheese, banana

Saturday – Denver Omelet

Sunday – Out to Brunch!

Once your calendar’s organized, it’ll be easy to buy only the items which appear that week. You won’t need assorted English muffins, Eggo products, and deluxe imported sausages on a weekly basis.

Don’t be afraid to alternate your meals from week to week. Eat seasonal fruits and cereals/grains that are on sale to maximize your savings.

Track Your Spending

Save receipts and calculate your monthly food budget. Scratch off toiletries and miscellaneous purchases for the most accurate total.

Consciously noting your spending will not only force you to be more accountable, but it will give you a solid understanding of how much you ought to be spending.

Shop at Grocery Stores

Sounds intuitive perhaps, but remember that convenience stores are out to get you! Honestly, snack items at convenience stores can be marked up as much as 60 percent from their equivalents at the grocery store.

If you need a last-minute coffee or Diet Coke, try to get in the habit of paying in cash. Bringing in only as much as you need so you’re not tempted to buy that gorgeous chocolate chip muffin for $3.99.

Don’t Shop Hungry

You’ll end up impulsively buying items you don’t need. Going shopping after work, when you’re tired , and starving and dour is never ideal.

Try to make the outing enjoyable. Go with your roommate or your spouse. Make fun of the people who look really out of sorts.

Just Say No to Pre-Packaged Meals

They’re appreciably more expensive and nowhere near as satisfying as consuming your own handiwork. Comparable dishes can generally be made with basic ingredients at only a fraction of the cost.

Don’t Be Bashful About Buying Generic

Sooner or later, you’ll identify which items have indistinguishable generic aliases and which items do not. When the generic version is just as good, don’t think twice. You’ll save big.

Grocery Shopping Cart Full of Moneythe_burtons / Getty Images
Joshua Williams


Joshua is a freelance writer with years of experience blogging about business and finance, and a whole host of other things too. When he's not writing, he enjoys camping with his dog, a golden retriever named Oakley.


How Social Media Tricks You Into Spending More Money Young woman spending money on social media Save Money

How Social Media Tricks You Into Spending More Money

We’ve all been there before. You’re telling a friend about how you need a new pair of boots and scrolling through your Instagram feed. Then suddenly, like magic, an ad for some boot company you’ve never heard of appears on your timeline. Later, you’ll wonder how Instagram knew to serve you up the right ad […]

Read More about How Social Media Tricks You Into Spending More Money

8 minute read

How To Tell If Your Retirement Is In Jeopardy Young couple worried about finances Save Money

How To Tell If Your Retirement Is In Jeopardy

One of the most common financial concerns for adults these days is retirement. It comes up over and over again. For anyone concerned about money, retirement is a very big problem to confront. Current (and future) generations of working-aged Americans aren’t exactly fairing well, when it comes to retirement savings. Some studies have shown that […]

Read More about How To Tell If Your Retirement Is In Jeopardy

7 minute read

Things To Watch Out For When Shopping At a Dollar Store Save Money

Things To Watch Out For When Shopping At a Dollar Store

It’s true that dollar stores have improved greatly in recent years. Most dollar stores now carry name brand items in some cases. You can likely find a wider selection of grocery-type items too. However, just because dollar stores have improved their offerings doesn’t mean that they are always a good idea. Indeed, there are some […]

Read More about Things To Watch Out For When Shopping At a Dollar Store

7 minute read

See all in Save Money