Nutrition Articles

15 Ways to Save Big Bucks on Healthy Groceries

Beyond Clipping Coupons: Real-World Strategies that Work

3.3KSHARES

Make smart substitutions.
This one may be hard for some of us, but it has the potential to save you a great deal. Think about what you eat, and then think about what may be a cheaper—at equally healthy—substitute. Like breakfast cereal? Oatmeal is usually cheaper. Love soda? Try sparkling water with a little fruit juice mixed in. Snack on chips? Pop some popcorn kernels on your stovetop instead. Be willing to make substitutions on brands and specific ingredients based on sales, too. You may find that a different brand or flavor of yogurt, for example, is a better deal one week. Snag it!

Buy whole foods.
Sometimes, the less processed a food is, the cheaper it is per serving. Apples may cost less than applesauce or apple juice. Canned black beans will be cheaper than refried beans. A block of cheese costs less than shredded cheese. Whole grains like brown rice and oats will be cheaper than processed cereals. Think about the original, whole food that a product is made from and decide if you can eat that whole food as-is or use it to make your own sauce, cereal or juice—instead of paying food manufacturers to do it for you.

Buy in bulk.
Long a staple of natural food stores, bulk or “bag and weigh” sections are now appearing in traditional supermarkets. Items like flour, beans, rice, nuts, and dried fruits are available for less than prepackaged versions of the same foods.

Don’t get stuck in the middle (of the grocery store).
Packaged foods have been condensed, salted, refined, sweetened, or otherwise processed. They may seem like a good deal, providing more calories for less money, but those calories usually aren't very nutritious. Resist the lure of the middle aisles and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store; you’ll save money and wind up with bags full of whole foods. When you do find yourself in the middle aisles, aim your gaze toward the top or bottom of the shelves, where the prices are usually lower. Grocers strategically place higher-priced products at eye level.

Eat your protein without the meat.
Try substituting one meat meal per week with a vegetarian meal to save money and benefit your health. Beans, eggs, and tofu all provide high-quality protein for a fraction of the cost of meat. Find more meat-free protein ideas and inexpensive meatless meal ideas.

Read ads and clip coupons.
Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›
3.3KSHARES

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • I buy generics & store brands for most things, but there are some things it's worth paying the extra money for. For example, all the cheese sold meets the USDA definition of "cheese," but I find a particular brand to be far tastier than the store brand.

    I have also found some name-brand household items perform better than the generic version, so the money saved is a false economy.

    But we each have our own favorites. If it's worth it to you, buy it. If you feel like you're broke all the time, perhaps you need to re-order your priorities. And while I hear a lot of Americans complain about how expensive groceries are here, we pay a smaller percentage of our household incomes for groceries than much of the world does. - 4/29/2015 12:24:46 PM
  • Cvs is the best store for body soap and toothpaste.stock up when those items are on sals - 4/17/2015 9:12:17 PM
  • Most of these ideas are really good - some new to me.
    I like to shop for BOGOs - buy one get one free as much as possible and it saves a lot of $$$.
    Also, we have a lot of trouble getting coupons off the Internet - too many requirements in order to set up downloading them, and my DH is concerned about malware, etc that seem to affect all this. We tried using newspaper coupons but often we find generic instead of name brand at better deals.
    Have not tried the price matching much. For "health" foods we are beginning to explore ordering through places like Amazon for better pricing. - 3/3/2015 11:09:53 AM
  • TO SEAOFCHANGE....se
    e people say its more expensive but when you sit down and factor out what you can do with say that bag of apples...(like make appplesauce instead of purchasing) then it really makes it out to be not so expensive :) - 1/10/2015 2:17:57 PM
  • I like to go through flyers,...plus I use the Out of Milk app for my cell phone. I input each item and the cost (from a flyer or as i pick the item up) and it totals my purchases then i just add the tax...that way at the end of my trip I go through my list and if the total is too high I look and see if I got something that I can really do without, (like the ice cream) and that way it helps me keep on budget and not be so shocked at the checkout line. - 1/10/2015 2:16:26 PM
  • I must be a total freak! I would much rather spend more money on quality food than eat crap! I also like to bike to the grocery store. Having lived in my own homes with huge pantries and then moved into small apartments, riding a bike makes me buy less at a time. If you buy less you waste less! I try to plan out my menus and maybe buy most of my weekly items once a week, but sometimes I know things like fresh produce or fresh fish will need to be bought day of, rather than freeze it or let it sit in the fridge to go bad. In fact just last week I bought too many mushrooms, now I have a few of those to toss, too late I noticed or I would have dried them at the very least. :( - 1/9/2015 7:00:19 PM
  • Where I live there are few coupons other than mfg. coupons on highly processed food and unlike the U S we don't have double coupon or special coupon days. Re: bulk food---you have to be really careful that nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc. aren't totally stale; taste one if you can, other wise you're better with the store brand packaged ones.
    I do most of the things mentioned but no car means either the nearest store, regardless; or counting on friends and relatives to go further i.e. markets. - 1/9/2015 1:07:19 AM
  • It also depends where you are. Here, in Australia, we don't have coupons, nor is there price matching, or shopper reward cards. Produce (especially) is ridiculously expensive when compared to places like the US.

    Also, calling brown rice cheaper... since when? Here, it's almost triple the price of white, and for a smaller amount. - 1/1/2015 12:04:07 AM
  • FOXGLOVE999
    Some of these are valid, others not so much. Brown rice is more expensive than white, black beans are about the same price as refried, soda will cost you as much if not more as bottled flavored water. Gardening can be great, but not always, you need to concentrate on high priced produce, think persimmons not carrots. There is always so much focus on meat, but our meat bill is less than our produce bill. - 11/21/2014 4:10:54 AM
  • Great article! I have been trying to do everything she listed here. I make a menu, (plan meals according to what is on sale), shop for my items, and post it on the fridge every week. My husband used to be a butcher. He came up with a great money saving tip on meat. Beef prices are crazy right now. The cheapest local ground beef price I could find was buying larger bags of ground beef for $ 2.99 per pound, dividing them out and freezing them. Not bad, but ground pork is only $2.39 a pound. I was skeptical, but honestly by substituting ground pork for ground beef in dishes no one can tell the difference and it saves a lot of money! We also look for the cheapest cut of beef we can find and cut it up ourselves for beef stew meat. You can save up to $1 a pound this way! - 11/12/2014 8:30:47 AM
  • I would love to grow a garden, but I don't have a yard. I live in an apartment without a balcony or any good lighting. So I would have to buy supplies to indoor garden and I just don't have the time. I wish I could though. Some of those tips are great though! - 8/10/2014 4:29:09 PM
  • OVERCOMING36
    I price match. Our Wal-mart stores match the prices of Items on sale from other stores within a 20 mile radius. I combine that with coupons and save some money. I plan out my list and try not to go over my budget. - 7/12/2014 11:28:14 AM
  • I can walk into a store hungry and it's not an issue. I walk into a grocery store thirsty and there is an issue. I will go quickly and grab foods without thinking, so that I can get out and get water. For me water is my trigger and fortunately the main store I shop at has water cooler for the public. It's knowing your own personal triggers. I know others who do fine until they see a sale especially if it's chocolate bars up at the till. Know your own triggers and then set up a plan to move through those triggers.

    In my community (northern) meat is cheaper than eggs, cheese is out of reach it's so expensive and tofu - that would break the bank account. It's knowing what is and isn't economical in your community.

    Buying generic, it is not equal at all times to brand names. In my community many will not buy a specific generic brand because the food is inferior. Example: tuna fish, all is not created equal with canned tuna.

    Despite the article stating "it's easy" container gardening is an "art unto itself" and not possible for many of us that live in apts that either do not have balconies or where it's not safe - not everyone has the privelage of living in safe neighbourhoods. Stating that, if your area has a community garden, take advantage of that as those are usually secured and safe, so that you can grow vegestables through the summer.

    I wish articles would stop telling folks to shop only the outside of the grocery store. The interior of the store holds all the items for baking, holds items for making soups and stews and has all the canned goods, rice and crackers that one needs. When you live in northern rural areas, canned food is a necessity in the winter. Plus the interior holds the cleaning supplies and coffee. It's simply shopping smart rather than avoiding.

    Last I used to use a calculator when I was first learning budgeting and it's very effective. My roommate and I would put in the amount we had to spend, then minus as we filled the cart. It kept us on budget and when combined with a list, it was v... - 10/18/2013 12:51:40 PM
  • This falls within the "clipping coupons" category: USE YOUR REWARDS CARD! Some stores reward you with savings on other things you buy that might have nothing to do with your groceries - like GASOLINE for your car!!

    Every two weeks, I do my big grocery shopping at one store, collect the rewards points, then go fill my tank (using the points I just earned). I have saved 10-20 cents off PER GALLON when I fill up after a grocery shopping spree. Pairing these two bi-weekly errands together has probably saved me up to $100 per month!! :) - 10/18/2013 12:01:20 PM
  • THEBGB
    Under the 'buy in bulk' section the first sentence starts "Long a staple of natural food stores..." Think you were going for 'Lots of staples of natural food stores'
    Pro-editing!!! - 10/18/2013 10:07:24 AM

x Lose 10 Pounds by July 14! Get a FREE Personalized Plan