Learning how to grocery shop on a budget is one of the best tools you have to fight inflation and keep more of your paycheck for yourself. And if you know one thing about saving money shopping for groceries, it should be that there’s always more ways to save! We’ve made grocery shopping easier by teaching you how to save on snacks and how to fill out the family car with road trip treats, but these are just the start. Check out the latest saver strategies and make your grocery budget work for you
Five tips for grocery shopping on a budget
There’s more to grocery shopping on a budget than clipping coupons (but you should still clip those coupons)! Here are five of our top tips for stretching your grocery budget further and further.
- Start using the Fetch app (and refer some friends). All you need to do is remember to snap your receipts and watch the points pile up.
- Earn free online gift cards. Who doesn’t love treating themselves with their points? But if you want to save money grocery shopping, trade those points in for a gift card to your grocery store of choice.
- Meal plan based on the latest grocery deals. Rather than buying groceries to fit your recipe, let your grocery shopping budget decide your meal planning. Finding a recipe you like with what’s on sale is as simple as doing a quick web search of a few budget-friendly ingredients.
- Take advantage of brand partnerships and rewards programs. Whether you’re a loyalist or not, you should sign up for brand partnerships and rewards programs for any brand you buy. The points and savings will add up whether you buy that brand every week or just a few times a year.
Shop new grocery products. Brands often have more deals and discounts on new products to encourage you to try them out. So, rather than go with the same cereal or crackers you always bring home, keep an eye out for new products with lower prices.
More grocery shopping tips
1. Set a Strict Budget and Stick to It
Ever wonder what the common food budget for one or more people is across the US? The USDA keeps track of the average grocery budget each month. The data varies by family size, the age of household members, and levels of budget plans. Though prices range per family, a general rule of thumb is to try to stick to a budget of $100 per family member per week.
Most importantly, find what grocery budget amount works within your larger budget and set this number in stone at the start of the month. This will advise everything from grocery list making, to when to seek out less expensive online options, to ideas for eating healthy on your budget.
2. Make a Shopping List Ahead of Time
Without a grocery list, it’s easy to slip into autopilot in the grocery store, especially if you’re hungry or tired from a busy week. As ideas pop up throughout the week—either for cheap healthy meals or staples that have run out—mark them on a running grocery list.
You have many options available to you for creating grocery lists. Some people prefer to write on a physical list that they keep in their purse or on their kitchen counter. Others prefer to use a refrigerator whiteboard or the “Notes” app on their phone. We suggest keeping an electronic grocery list, as it is easily accessible on-the-go, and can be shared with friends and family who may be doing some of the grocery shopping themselves.
If you’re looking for an easy way to create and organize your grocery lists, try the Fetch app. The app has a shopping list generation tool that makes it easy to compile the perfect grocery list for any budget.
Once your grocery list is complete, it may be helpful to separate it into categories to guide your shopping. We suggest dividing your list into categories by the stores you intend to visit during your grocery shop. For example, items that can be purchased at the discount store should all be grouped together. Finally, if you clip coupons or scan your local paper for grocery deals, mark any discounted items on your grocery list.
3. Be Smart About When You Shop
One of the best tips for grocery shopping on a budget is heading to the store when you’re feeling rested, fed, and focused. Though it can be hard to avoid, rushing off to the store in a hurry can mean missing grocery deals or making impulse purchases.
Though kids can be a fun distraction for getting through a shop, you’re more likely to save money on groceries if you’re concentrated and calm.
Most importantly, never head to the store on an empty stomach. You may even consider keeping some cheap healthy snacks in your car or purse if you forget. If you’re hungry, you’re more likely to branch off your grocery list.
4. Make Meal Plans
Sit down with your family and brainstorm both your must-have snacks as well as some cheap dinner ideas for the upcoming week. This helps to get the whole family involved in reaching your grocery budget goal. You can also plan who is cooking and helping out with dinner each night.
Check what you currently have in the pantry and build your basic grocery list from here. If you need new recipes, look at your favorite blogs, cookbooks, and recipes on online grocery shopping sites for new suggestions of how to eat healthy on a budget. You can also check out the recipe inspiration feature on the Fetch app for healthy, budget-friendly recipes for any occasion.
5. Limit Your Number of Shopping Trips
Though it can be helpful to break up your shopping between a few local stores and online grocery shops, create one designated time per week to buy food. Quick, unplanned stops throughout the week mean buying things outside of the cheap and healthy meal plan you spent time building. On these hurried trips, you’re more likely to grab items without checking for sales and coupons elsewhere.
What should I always have in my pantry?
Keeping a master grocery list helps you keep track of all your basic pantry staples. Stock your kitchen with these necessities so that you’re less likely to order out or use processed stocks and sauces. Spices and fresh herbs also perk up dull recipes and reinvent simple items like chicken breast and tofu.
Grocery staples you may consider adding to your healthy shopping list:
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Ground pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Whole grain mustard
- Dried oregano
- Chili powder
- Natural peanut butter or alternative nut butter
- Soy or tamari sauce
Hear how real Fetch users use the app for grocery shopping
Make grocery shopping easier with Fetch
One of the best ways to save money on grocery shopping is to save yourself some time. We do our best to make every trip to the grocery store quicker and easier for you, and savings are as simple as snapping your receipt or eReceipt and trading in those points! You’re already in the right place, too! Check out the rest of Unleashed for the latest tips and tricks.
David Fairbanks is a writer, science educator and Chicagoan fueled by coffee. He's written about everything from Ferraris to handcrafted pet urns to Superman, and he genuinely loves loyalty/rewards programs.