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Seven ways to buy groceries and save money

April 12, 2024

Prices around the country are on the rise. Here’s everything you need to know to shop smart, get a deal and keep your costs low.

No matter what’s happening in the world economy, stocking up your kitchen pantry to feed yourself and your family is a necessary weekly ritual. While inflation is on the decline, prices for many goods are still up, which can impact your food and grocery budget. 

Even though we can’t do anything about the rising prices, we can shop strategically for food to keep our personal economy and budget under control. Here’s a few ideas.


Yes, this is one you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating. Regardless of what you’re buying — from groceries to clothing— the secret to saving money is deciding how much you want to spend before you go to the store. A good baseline is to spend $100 to $150 per person, per month, when grocery shopping. Break it down based on weekly or biweekly shopping needs.

And if you’ve been tracking your spending for a while and you find that you often go over-budget on food, try taking the money you’ve budgeted in cash, and commit to only spending the amount you have on you. You may find this philosophy forces you to get creative in ways you hadn’t considered. 


Before you head to the grocery store, make a list of everything you need to satisfy the meals you want to cook for the week. When you know exactly what you want to cook, you’ll enjoy less waste and be able to maximize your dollars. As you’re scribbling down your menu ideas, cross-reference what you already have in your pantry and fridge. While this extra step may take time, it helps you to have a firm understanding of what you already have on hand, rather than buying items you don’t need. 

Meal prep has long been a favorite move for people trying to stick to a diet or keep their weekly calorie count in line, but it’s also one of the top recommendations for cost-cutting on the grocery budget. Roast veggies ahead and have a great side ready for dinner or think about making your lunches for a few days and you will be less likely to eat out.


Just because you’ve always gone to Hannaford or Whole Foods for your groceries doesn’t mean that those are the only stores you should frequent. Yes, this will require some detective work to figure out exactly what products are the cheapest at which stores, but chances are your efforts will be worth it. Check the ads (online and the ones that come in the mail) and build your menus and shopping list from what is on sale. You may need to go to a few different stores to get what you need and to maximize your food budget. The goal here is to get everything you need while spending the least amount of money. 


Picture yourself at the register. You see a magazine you’d like. And then a candy bar. And maybe a bottled water. And you know that a prepared meal would make dinner so much easier, even if it’s double the price of making it yourself. Yes, impulse items can really add up.

The best way to stop unplanned purchases is to avoid temptation in the first place.  Think about taking advantage of your local supermarket’s app or website to do your shopping. Chances are you will more likely just buy the things you need and not be swayed by things you don’t.

Yes, it is good to leave some room in your budget for an occasional splurge, but you can save hundreds of dollars each year by getting in the habit of cutting out most impulse buys.


And by “list,” we mean the email loyalty program with your favorite retailers or brands. Subscribe to their emails and engage with them on social — this is where you can find deals and offers that aren’t necessarily shared with the public.

A big part of creating a money-saving habit is to know how and where to save — and when. You can always unfollow or unsubscribe if a particular brand feels too spammy, or they’re not delivering the value you’re looking for. But for the brands you love, it’s worth it to engage with them and stay informed.


The most expensive thing most families add to their grocery cart these days is usually meat. Inflation has hit beef, pork, fish, and chicken costs more than almost any other product, which means you’re going to be spending more for your go-to proteins. 

To cut back on the cost, find recipes that have meat as an ingredient rather than the main attraction. Or consider buying meat in bulk when on sale at your supermarket or wholesale club store and freeze what you don’t eat. Also remember that processed lunch meat is often much more costly than meat you cook yourself. It’s cheaper to buy, for instance, a rump roast and slice it thinly for sandwiches. Buy bacon and cold cuts when on sale to save.


If you’re feeding several people in your household (or even if you’re flying solo and you have a lot of closet space!) buying in bulk can make a significant difference to your grocery cost bottom line. Warehouse clubs and discount department stores will often have the best deals and lowest unit prices. Remember, buying in bulk only saves you money if you use the products and you don’t let them go to waste.

Buying large packages that will last a long time will have you spending less over time.  Purchase paper goods, laundry and cleaning supplies, vitamins, and dry pantry ingredients like rice, oil, pasta, etc., to save.

If you want some help with building a budget or have other questions about your personal finances, reach out to a Town & Country representative by emailing us at, calling 800-649-3495 or book a consultation here.

Adapted from HerMoney by Jean Chatzky, January 10, 2024

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