Stick to your grocery budget when you go to the store from now on! Use these awesome grocery shopping tips and you'll be amazed at how much money you're able to save!

Woman grocery shopping, from Shelf Cooking

Are you tired of spending SO MUCH money at the grocery store? You can walk in to buy milk and instantly spend $50. The amount you spend on groceries can make or break you. If you go to the store several times a week, wander the aisles, and toss whatever sounds good into your cart, you’re doing you and your family a disservice.

It's certainly better than ordering takeout, and we're proud of you for cooking! But chances are you’re paying way too much for groceries. The only one who wins is the grocery store. News flash: you could save as much as HALF on your grocery bill by changing a few simple things!

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We're sharing some of our best hacks here for grocery shopping. Keep reading to find out how to spot the best prices on the foods your family loves. It’s easier than you think (no hours spent cutting coupons), and before you know it, you’ll be a pro!


Weekly meal planner and dinner ideas printables on a table, from Shelf Cooking

Before we get into details, there are a few very basic things to keep in mind when it comes to grocery shopping.

  • Shelf Cook – First and foremost, remember to SHELF COOK. It’s your new mantra: cook first with what you DO have; not with what you DON’T have.
  • Meal Plan – Make a meal plan before you go shopping. Get all of our best tips in our meal planning post!
  • Use a List – Always shop with a list and prioritize the items on the list; when your budget runs out, prepare to choose some alternatives for those items lower on the list.
  • Never Shop Hungry – You’ll grab all kinds of things you don’t need!
  • Shop with Your Kids – It gets you out of the store more quickly. It also teaches them how to grocery shop.
  • Shop the Deals – Find the best deals in your area to help you determine where to shop that week.
  • Shop Mid-Week – Sales often switch over mid-week, and some stores will even honor both weeks’ sales.
  • Look at the Ads – The best deals are on the front and back pages, so if you’re short on time, just check those out.

If you liked those tips, then make sure that you check out our grocery shopping on a budget post to get even more details!


Woman grocery shopping in a store, from Shelf Cooking

Okay, here you go: the best grocery shopping hacks on the planet! You’ll thank us later when you have a fridge, freezer, and pantry bulging with food and you didn’t have to break your budget.


This is our number-one single most important trick on the entire grocery planet. If you follow no other rules, follow this one. Make your shopping trip count. Then do not step foot back in the store for six days, or else! 😉

Unless you just have very high will power and will ONLY buy a gallon of milk when you run out before your next shopping trip, don't even think about going back into the store! Why? Because that one gallon of milk will cost you $50 in things you suddenly “need to have.” We speak from experience, and you know that it's true! Six days is not that long; you can do it!


Pantry staples on a shelf, from Shelf Cooking

Off-brand or generic brands are usually half as much as the name-brand foods. Just because the name-brand food costs more doesn't mean it's better quality! In fact, store-brand food is produced in the same factory as the name-brand. Can you believe it?! It's true, for real!

If you want to save money while grocery shopping, then buying the store brand is the way to go! Stop caring about what the label looks like and care about the food that's inside. we promise that you'll save at least half when you shop this way!

There are exceptions, though. If you see the name brand is on sale, you need to figure out if it's a better deal than buying the store-brand. One sure-fire way to determine which is the cheapest buy? Look at the price per unit or ounce on the price tag. Compare that price per unit between all of the brands to determine which is the best buy.


Usually, the larger bulk packages are the better buy. They may cost you more up front, but they'll last longer and save you money over time. While you may not use it all right away, you can always package it in smaller amounts and freeze it for later. But make sure you check the price tag! While the biggest is usually the cheapest price per unit, that isn't always the case.


Jordan chopping celery on a cutting board, from Shelf Cooking

We know buying pre-chopped and pre-packaged food (such as fruit, veggies, cheese, meat, etc.) can be really tempting because it's so convenient. But that convenience is going to cost you some major buckaroos! We're talking at least twice what you would pay for the boring, normal, have-to-chop-it-yourself food.

Grab you some reusable baggies and make the time to chop and package the whole foods yourself. It'll take you a little bit longer, but the savings will be worth it!


Never, ever, EVER shop at eye level. Wanna know why? Those big name-brand companies pay some money for their brands to be right there where your eyes naturally go. If you'll look down just a little bit, the cheaper stuff is at the bottom. Shop down there and you'll save lots of money!


When you're grocery shopping, make sure you look at the dates on the product. The oldest ones are usually at the front of the cooler or shelf. Try looking in the back to see if you can find a newer date. If you grab the freshest item you can, it'll last longer and help to reduce waste!


Woman adding grocery prices to her phone, from Shelf Cooking

It can be really confusing to try and remember what the lowest prices are for each item you buy on a regular basis. How are you supposed to know if something is a good deal?

Make a note of all of the “normal” prices for your regular groceries. You can either carry around a little notebook or put it in a note on your phone. Whichever you choose to do, make sure you keep up with the prices! This will allow you to know when you're getting a good deal and that you might want to stock up on it.

Now, it may take a little bit of time for you to get used to doing this. BUT it'll definitely be worth it when you see how much money it's saving you while you're taking advantage of all of those good deals!


Stocking up when products are on sale is a great way to grow your shelf cooking stockpile. BUT make sure you're actually getting a good deal when you see those sales stickers. If you're only saving ten cents, then there's no reason for you to buy it unless you already needed it.

If you happen to be strolling through the meat section while you're grocery shopping, make sure you look for sales stickers. Those products are getting close to their “sell by” date and the store is wanting to get that product off its shelves. Buy whatever you can (within your budget), then plan a meal around it or break it down and freeze it for later.

If you find a pantry staple on sale for a great deal, stock up on it! If your budget will allow, but at least three. One to use now and two to use later. You get to save money and work on your food stockpile!


Freezer meals on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

Are you ready for our biggest grocery shopping tip of all? Go to the freezer section and see what you can make and freeze at home. While freezer foods may be convenient to just grab and buy from the store, they're definitely two to three times more expensive than if you were to make it yourself at home!

Figure out what freezer meal you'd like to make and take note of what the ingredients are. The next time you meal plan and work on your grocery list, include those freezer meal items you need on your list and grab them when you're doing your grocery shopping. You'll be able to make it for a fraction of the price, and it'll still be convenient once you put it together! Three cheers for stocking your freezer with cheaper, healthier, homemade food!


A lot of people will swear they save so much money on their grocery shopping by using coupons. But how much time and effort went into finding those coupons? Pretty much anytime we see coupons in the paper or online, we hardly ever actually NEED those items. They're actually a way for to spend money that doesn't need to be spent rather than a way to save money. If you love to coupon, then go for it! But don't feel like you HAVE to coupon to be able to save money, because you don't!


If you are prone to impulse buys, don't have time to go grocery shopping, or just don't want to go grocery shopping, then we've got a few options for you! Order your groceries online through Walmart Grocery Pickup (use that link and get $10 off your first $50 that you spend). Their personal shoppers will do your shopping for you and load them in your car. If you're not able to leave your house, desperately need groceries, and are willing to pay a delivery fee, then Instacart is your answer! A personal shopper will do your grocery shopping and deliver the groceries right to your door.

Alright, well now that you know all about our grocery shopping tips, it's time for you to start using them. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

Image with text that reads "grocery shopping on a budget" from Shelf Cooking

Want more ideas?

Happy grocery shopping!