27 Most Underrated Ways to Save Money on Groceries in 2024

Genius frugal groceries budget hacks for anyone ready to start living a frugal lifestyle!

It’s unbelievable – the price of groceries these days. Inflation seems to hit us hardest at the grocery store, maybe because we go there more often than we build a fence or buy a car. We open our wallets again and again for FOOD and HOUSEHOLD NECCESSITIES, which leaves us feeling the sting every time eggs rise is price 6%.  In 2024, finding great ways to save money on groceries is essential. 

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These are the top 27 easiest ways to save money on groceries right now, and I dare you to pick ten ways to try this week:

1) Make a meal plan

I hate to admit it, but food waste is probably one the things  I am MOST guilty of when it comes to utterly wasted money on groceries.

I’m implementing a meal plan and using lots of freezer meals now.

Almost all our dinners (well, 4-5 nights per week, anyway) come from the freezer and go to the instantpot.

One night per week we have salads, and then we use up leftovers a couple of times per week.

Investing in an instant pot was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

If you don’t know where to start with meal planning, here’s a cute printable planner that you can use.

Now I really only have to keep on hand a few things for breakfasts and lunches – and I don’t have as much stuff to go bad in the fridge.

Related: 10 Tips to Help You Quit Wasting Food (and save money) 

2) Cook from scratch

Pre-packaged or convenience foods tend to be more expensive. Take your meal plan a step father by planning to cook food from scratch, rather than heat food that is prepacked. Save money by cooking from scratch, using simple, wholesome ingredients. This not only reduces costs but, has the added secret benefit of helping you eat healthier without trying.

3) Make use of frozen fruits and veggies

For years, I was an adamant only-fresh-produce-buying kind of girl. But if you want to save money grocery shopping, that means being WISE about what you’re buying!

Once I had kids and I was busy and tired… I always ended up throwing away SO MUCH fresh expensive produce.

I admitted this to my mom one day, and she told me I was missing the greatest money on grocery saving tips she knew – BUY FROZEN VEGETABLES AND FRUIT.

She taught me that frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh, and sometimes more so! (I KNOW!)

Ever since I switched to frozen produce, I’ve been able to stop throwing money in the trash, literally.

4) Pay attention to sales, and plan your meals around them

Just buying a bunch of something because it’s on sale is actually a great way to WASTE money – you need to know that you’ll USE that thing stuff it goes bad.

I just had to feed some freezer burnt turkey to the cats –  because I bought way too much on a sale, never got around to using it, and the older it got the less likely I was to ever use it.

It’s fine to stock up on things you’ll freeze, but make sure those things become part of your meal plan within a few weeks.

4) Shop with a list of what you have

Keep a running tab of what’s in your pantry, so when you end up at the store thinking “do I have ground beef at home…”

You can easily check the answer.

5) Shop with a list of what you need

If you’re meal planning around the sales, you should be making a list as you go. No brainer! It’s bizarre that something as simple as a list can save you thousands on groceries in the year, but it REALLY can!

My preferred method of shopping used to be wandering around the store placing things I thought looked good into the cart – and sort of guessing what I needed to make the meals I wanted.

Then, when I tried to make meals out of those things, I’d inevitably be missing some crucial ingredient, NOT be able to use the food I’d bought… and end up wasting it.

Related: How to make a grocery list

6) Shop later in the day to get deals at the grocery store

I find most grocery stores tend to reduce their meat and veggies in the late afternoon (things that are reaching their sell-by date). Just because something is “sell by tomorrow” does NOT mean that it’s bad – it just means it’s cheaper!

Even if you’re not planning to use something that’s on clearance, if you’ve meal planned and know that you’ll need beef or peppers in 4 days from now, you can chop ’em up and freeze em till then.

7) Explore ethnic grocery stores

If you’re lucky enough to live near an ethnic grocery store, take advantage of these gems!

These stores often have lower prices on certain items, like spices, grains, and produce, compared to larger chains.

Plus, you’ll discover new ingredients and flavors to enhance your meals.

8) Don’t ever underestimate the dollar store

I’ll admit there was a time that I was hesitant about food from the dollar store…

But a couple weeks ago I picked up Oat Milk at Bulk Barn for $4.

Then I took my kids to the Dollarama for water balloons, and low and behold they had THE SAME BRAND SAME SIZE Oat Milk for $2.50 on their shelves.

The SAME BRAND, the SAME SIZE. The only thing that was different was the price.

9) Buy some things – but not everything – in bulk

Things that keep for a long time, or that you use a lot of, should be purchased in bulk.

Don’t buy a 6-pound bag of broccoli unless you have a family of 24 and will eat broccoli twice this week.

Related: 10 things I always buy in bulk to save money

10) Make your purchases based on unit price

If you’re buying something in bulk just because it’s bulk, well, that’s not smart! You need to KNOW that a 1 lb bag of whatever is actually cheaper at 1$/lb than the non-bulk version is at 5$/unit.

Most stores list this directly on the price sign in their product displays. Costco is the BEST for this.

11) Ditch brand loyalty

Brand loyalty is a budget KILLER.

Once (and I really do wish I could remember who it was that told me this) a friend of my moms was telling me about how her granddaughter was working at a pickle packaging factory over the summer. She said they will fill an order for one brand, and then, with the same pickles, fill an order for another brand.

Same pickles, different jar.

I know that’s not the case with EVERYTHING, but many many things are essentially THE SAME from one brand to another. Including no name stuff!

12) But take advantage of loyalty programs:

Join your grocery store’s loyalty program to access member-only discounts, earn points for purchases, and receive personalized offers based on your shopping habits.

Don’t buy up extra things JUST for extra points – but take the points that are coming to you.

13) Shop the outside aisles

It’s no secret that convenience + packaged foods are more expensive than basic meat + veggies. The “whole foods” tend to be situated around the outside aisles of the store.

(It’s also no secret that these things have less preservatives, calories and are better for you in general.)

Avoiding those pre-packaged foods will be FAR cheaper and also healthier! Win-win!

14) Choose to “process” what you can yourself

For example, shred your own cheese.

15) Shop low to the ground + high up on the shelves

This is one of the sneakiest least known tips for saving money on groceries!

Stores put the most expensive and popular (well-marketed) brands at eye level.

Pay attention to what’s near the floor – or out of reach – and you’ll save a ton of money at the grocery store!

16) Shop online when you only need a couple of things

I was a massive hold out here because I am plain old fashioned. Plus I LIKE stores… and why do I LIKE stores? Because I love finding deals and sales and window shopping!


Shopping online prevents window shopping, and it prevents stumbling on too many “sales” (that aren’t even really sales”) and buying unnecessary things. Since having kids, it’s also made life a million times easier – no lugging someone in and out of a car seat and into the store (to throw the contents of your wallet on the floor). PLUS, being able to watch my total as I put stuff in the cart is really helpful to keep me reined in.

There’s a grocery store near us that charges $5.00 for pick up of your online order, and I KNOW I save more than that by ordering online.

I also use my Amazon Prime Subscription WAY more now than I used to, mostly for ordering baby things I need – bum cream, diapers etc. (I find the baby isle in the store to be SUPER tempting!) You can try Amazon Prime for 30 days for free here.

17) Plan for and then USE leftovers

Making 2x something in one go is very often cheaper than making something TWICE. You can stretch a meal in a 2x version of itself by adding more of the CHEAPER ingredients and making the more expensive ingredients go a little farther.

Making chili? Double everything but the meat.

Chicken casserole? Everything but the chicken.

You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but your budget will thank you.

Also, I find leftovers only get used when I can SEE them. Ditching my colored Tupperware and getting clear glass storage containers has made a HUGE difference. They also don’t stain or hang onto smells… bonus.

18) Find a very budget-friendly meal your family enjoys and plan that EVERY week

For us, that’s soup or stew. (Another one that is SO EASY to double for less money.)

We’d get sick of having stew every other day, but it’s on the menu at least once per week – because it’s cheap (its also fast, so mostly I plan it for nights I know we’re busy).

Here’s a list of cheap meals your family will love!

19) Replace expensive (not to mention unhealthy) snacks with cheap ones

Eat air-popped popcorn instead of chips, apples instead of processed fruit cups or apple sauce, cheese you cut up yourself instead of processed cheese strings etc.

It’s not HARD to find replacements once you start looking.

20) Banish juices + soda from your diet

If you stick to water, you’ll not only be healthier but you’ll be leaving room in your grocery budget for things that matter more – and go farther.

We’re moving to town (away from our beautiful well water – sigh – ) and a water cooler was one of our first purchases for our new home. We’re a water drinking family, but I have no desire to drink chlorinated water!

I’ve also found that a Soda Stream takes away my craving for carbonated drinks – and it costs a fraction to make your own carbonated drinks at home vs buying them.

21) DO NOT take your kids grocery shopping with you

You totally already understand why.

Honestly, it might save money on groceries to baby sitter LOL.

22) DO NOT shop when you’re hungry

I always thought this was a little ridiculous until I actually did it. It works!

It works even BETTER when you are OVER FULL. Have a snack before you go shopping! I SWEAR, you will buy less – and be less likely to feel “deprived”.

(Also bad = shopping when stressed or angry or sad. For many people at least!)

23) Shop around for the best grocery prices

I’m from a small town… and there aren’t many options for shopping here. I 100% understand that shopping local is good for the town, but the rock and the hard place here is that if you can’t AFFORD to shop local, then that’s that.

So I drive to a bigger city to shop for groceries because it saves me a ton of money. Sure, I spend a little on gas, but I save so much on food at the grocery store that it actually more than makes up for what I spend to get there.

There are fare more stores available to me, and I can be a member at a bigger wholesaler (like Costco or Wholesale club.)

24) Use a rewards app to save money on groceries

I don’t love using coupons – partly because I put them in my wallet and then forget about them – and feel frustrated when I throw them away 6 months later.

25) Stock upon certain things right after holidays

We love turkey, stuffing, cranberries etc. Those things are often discounted right after the holidays, and yet they’ll keep in your freezer for MONTHS! Buy a ham or a turkey after Thanksgiving and freeze it for Easter. Get clearance priced boxed stuffing and make it a side dish for chicken breast any time of year.

26) Check your receipt

I’ve been overcharged for things that were advertised at a lower price, and I’m sure you have too! Watch out for that!

27) Challenge yourself to an “eat the pantry” night once per month

At the end of the month, when you feel like you’re in desperate need of a grocery shop, challenge yourself to make a meal out of what you have.

I’ll admit these are almost never my favorite meals… but we have ALWAYS been able to pull together some sort of meal from what we already have on hand, and that’s almost like getting a “free” day of eating for that month!

These tips to save money on groceries sound pretty basic…

Because they ARE.

But that makes them super easy to put to use. It doesn’t take complicated budgets or spreadsheets to reduce your monthly grocery spending. You can add hundreds – or even thousands of dollars back into your budget with just a few little intentional tweaks to the way you shop!

What are your favorite tips for how to save on groceries?

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