Are You Spending Too Much on Groceries?

Sticker shock is usually associated with big-ticket items. Such as cars, boats, and home renovations.

But the truth is, Americans experience sticker shock every time we go to the grocery store these days. Inflation, supply chain problems, and shortages of some items are responsible. 

Some of us probably throw up our hands and say, “What can I do? That’s just the way it is.” But in reality, there are things we can do to lower our grocery bills. 

And that’s what I want to talk about today. Proper budgeting plus a few tricks can result in less of a sticker shock when we reach the checkout lane. 

Get into budget mode 

The first thing you need to do to start saving money at the grocery store is to get into budget mode. That means always thinking about how you can spend less and save more. Here are some things to consider while shopping:   

  • Never pay full price for anything. Always look for bargains. You’re better off spending time than money. 
  • Buy items in bulk at places such as Sam’s Club or Costco. Or when they’re on sale in regular stores. 
  • Cut and use coupons. 
  • Find and use in-store-only offers. 
  • Grow your own food and preserve it. There is tremendous savings in growing fruits and vegetables. And storing some of them for the colder months of the year.
  • Watch for the best deals on websites such as Amazon. They could have exactly what you’re looking for, at a price much less than what you’d spend at a local store.

Tips and tricks

If you’re not paying attention, the cost of groceries can go up quickly. The average couple spends about $655 a month on groceries. Let’s look at a few simple ways to save.

Make a list. Grocers know how to position products so shoppers will purchase them. If you have a list, you know just what you need (and what you don’t). And of course, if you avoid shopping when you’re hungry, it’s that much easier to resist tempting displays. 

Also, choose foods that your family will eat. Variety is important, both physically and psychologically. But you could buy some of the healthiest food in the store, and if your family won’t eat it, you’ve thrown your money away.

Buy store brands. Buying store brands alone can take a huge chunk out of your grocery costs. Sometimes there will be a brand name item or two that you can’t do without. But more often than not, you won’t notice the difference. Except when it’s time to check out.

Use digital coupons. Many stores offer digital coupons not available in the weekly newspaper. To acquire these savings, you’ll likely need to set up an account and check off the coupons you wish to use each time you shop. 

Doing this ahead of time as you scan the weekly circular can help you write your shopping list around items with the biggest savings.

Stick to the store perimeter. Center aisles have many expensive, processed foods full of salt, sugar, and other additives. The outside ring of the store is where you’ll find more foods such as produce, meat and dairy.

You’ll still need to visit the center aisles for a few things. But focusing on the perimeter will give you more bang for your buck. Try leaving your cart at the end of the aisle, and just grab the items you need.

Freeze meals. If you’re buying in bulk, you’ll want to make sure things don’t go to waste. You can freeze many items including bread, milk, and chopped vegetables, as well as whole meals. Just remember your power could go out in a crisis. 

Use fewer ingredients. Sometimes the simplest food tastes best. But you wouldn’t always know it looking at some of the complicated recipes out there. 

Sites such as Allrecipes ( are great for finding different options for your favorite recipes. And usually the top reviews will include tips on how to make them even easier. 

Buy in bulk. I saved one of the best ones for last. We’re not talking here about warehouse stores, which have membership fees. And usually a minimum price tag of $10 per item. Even in a regular grocery store, you don’t want to buy large amounts of just anything on sale.

It’s about buying more of things you already use often when there’s a significant sale. If it means you shop less often, this can add up to even more savings. Another item to purchase in bulk is produce. 

Onions, potatoes, apples and lemons are almost always cheaper when you buy the bag. Just make sure you actually use them so they don’t go to waste. Buying beans and grains in bulk can also stretch your dollars while providing hearty, healthy meals. 

Despite inflation, supply chain problems, and food shortages, we don’t have to be victims of sticker shock at the grocery store. 

If we take matters into our own hands, we can cut down on the amount of money we spend on groceries.


  • Dianna Burk - January 08, 2024

    First notice my new email address thank you I have required a second tablet that I’m designating to 4 patriots only.
    The way I save money at the store and have been for most of my adult life is sales. I use Kroger and their app and I look at the discounts first and that’s the only thing I purchase other than if I need milk and it’s not on sale or something little like that. Thank you

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