7 Tips for Budget Grocery Shopping  

by Natalie Meriwether, BSN

Want to eat healthy but have a tight budget? 

Many of us have felt the shocking impact of recent inflation, and the cost of food is one necessity that’s been hit the hardest. Most Americans have had to cut grocery budgets and cut back on food favorites. While we may not be able to change the rise in food prices, there are tricks to keep both your wallet and your kitchen full. Keep reading for tips from a nutritionist on how to stay within your budget while still eating well. 

1. Plan your meals for the week 

It may seem a little daunting to plan a whole week’s meals at once, but meal planning is an effective method for saving money on groceries. Start with planning just 1 meal for every day of the week, such as dinner. Write a list of each meal you plan to prepare and create a grocery list based on the necessary ingredients. Try to plan meals that use some of the same ingredients, such as rice, chicken, and garlic to minimize waste and save money.  

2. Don’t toss the leftovers  

When planning your meals for the week, consider preparing meals that will leave plenty of leftovers. Try going for meals that produce a larger yield such as chili, casseroles, and pasta dishes. These are great options when meal planning on a budget because you can generally get 2-3 meals out of one batch.  

3. Try plant-based proteins

Incorporating plant-based proteins such as edamame, beans, tofu, or chickpeas can be a cost-effective alternative to fresh meats. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite meat dishes, but trying one plant-based meal per week could help cut spending and even introduce you to a new favorite dish.

4. Go for frozen and canned produce 

While there’s always a place for in-season fresh produce, stocking up on canned or frozen fruits and vegetables has several benefits. Contrary to popular belief, frozen and canned produce can be as nutritious as fresh. The produce is typically harvested at peak ripeness and immediately frozen or canned, allowing the produce to retain many of its nutrients. Frozen or canned produce is often cheaper than fresh, can be stored for much longer, and is already prepped for use.  

5. Take advantage of coupons and rewards programs 

Sign up for your favorite grocery stores’ rewards programs. Many grocery stores offer reward points that extend beyond just food purchases, such as Kroger’s fuel points program. It’s also worth noting that some grocers only offer certain deals to those who are members of their rewards program. Some stores even offer free grocery pick-up with online ordering and exclusive online sales. Before meal planning, check your store’s upcoming deals to plan your list accordingly and stretch your wallet.  

6. Don’t be afraid to go generic  

Off-brand, store-brand, or generic products are products that are produced by the store they’re sold in or a third-party manufacturer. These brands are usually less expensive than popular name brands because they don’t have to pay for advertising. The quality of generic groceries and products is generally comparable to that of competing name brands. By choosing generic groceries, you can get similar quality products at a noticeably lower price.  

7. Don’t shop hungry 

We’ve all been there but going to the store when you’re already hungry can lead to unnecessary purchases and impulse buys. You’re also more likely to splurge on prepackaged snacks that are less nutritious because they’re convenient and ready to eat. Avoid overspending and making less wholesome food choices by eating a filling snack before heading off to get the groceries. 


Grocery shopping on a budget can be a challenge, but with some planning and creativity, it’s possible to save money and still eat well. By following these tips, you can stick to your budget, make healthy choices, and still enjoy quality meals. 

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