The inflation spike is expected to swell grocery bills this year, and many shoppers have already experienced a bigger dent in their wallets. Finding ways to save have become more important than ever — and having simple tricks in your back pocket will help you avoid spending a cent more than you have to. Here, uncover the easy ways you can save big at the supermarket.
Head to these stores.
The cost of food has spiked 8.6 percent since a year ago, government reports show. But this doesn’t mean you have to pay more on everything you buy. A recent investigation comparing prices of 43 commonly purchased items (like milk and meat) at supermarket chains and Amazon reveals: Aldi and Walmart have the lowest prices. Not only can you save about 13 to 14 percent, respectively, compared to the next cheapest stores — Kroger and Target — but prices at Walmart on many staple items have remained nearly the same since 2019.
And while many supermarkets have pared back on sales, Walmart is offering the same number of “rollback” deals as it did a year ago. Don’t live near these stores? The free apps Basket and Flipp will help you find the lowest prices for groceries at your neighborhood markets.
Check store-brand savings.
Do you automatically reach for store-brand products to save? Before you put them in your cart, compare their unit price (you’ll find it on a shelf tag or listed on a website’s product page) to the namebrand versions to ensure you’re really saving money.
A new report shows that while you’ll generally spend less on store-brand products, some name-brand items are cheaper right now. For example, in January, the name-brand average unit price for produce was $1.88 compared to $3.07 for private store labels — a savings of nearly 39 percent. Why the difference? Name-brand food manufacturers may be able to make larger bulk purchases or decrease transportation costs for some items, then pass the savings on to you.
Check for food vouchers in your area.
If you’re 60 or over and on a limited budget, you may qualify vouchers at farmers for $20 to $50 markets. Vouchers are part of the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which aims to:
- Give low-income seniors access to locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs.
- Support farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community agricultural programs.
- Help develop new and additional farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community support agricultural programs.
It benefits you, and the community. Use this State Agency Contacts page to find information specific to your state.
Look for coupons here.
Using coupons to cut grocery costs during the inflation spike? There are new coupon trends that can help you save the most money. According to another investigation, if you’re looking for coupons for cereal, meat and other foods, you may find more offers when you download your grocery store’s digital coupons than from Sunday newspaper inserts and store circulars. So, seek out paper coupons in your store’s website or app and download coupons to your loyalty card.
That’s because food products account for 65 percent of these types of coupons. Shopping for household products, like plastic wrap and toothpaste? The same study found that 84 percent of paper coupons distributed in the past year were for nonfood items.
Get more cash back.
Love apps that give you cash back on groceries, like Ibotta and Checkout 51? You can earn even more when you shop with a credit card that rewards you with cash back for grocery purchases. One to try: American Express Blue Cash Everyday. The no-fee card rewards you with 3 percent cash back up to $6,000 a year on supermarket purchases, then 1 percent cash back thereafter. For more card offers, visit NerdWallet.com.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.