1. Earn cash back with Ebates on Walmart groceries that you order online and pick up in store.
If you buy groceries from Walmart, you can earn 2% cash back making purchases online using Ebates.com. Store pickup is always free, and they’ll even bring your order to your car for you! Sign up through the cash-back site Ebates.com, then shop like you normally would.
2. Start your own garden from kitchen scraps.
Wait! Don’t toss those vegetable scraps. Regrow them instead:
- Green onions: Keep the white, root ends of store-bought green onions and stick the root end into a glass with an inch or two of water. Place in a sunny window and within a day or two, you’ll see green shoots starting to grow.
- Onions: Cut off the root end of the onion—leave about ½ inch connected to the root for the best results. Plant it in a sunny spot with a layer of soil covering it. Keep the soil moist and make sure the environment is warm.
- Celery: When you get a bunch of celery, cut off the individual stalks, leaving the root end connected with an inch or so of each stalk left. Place that root in a shallow bowl with water covering just the roots (use toothpicks to prop it up if needed). Put it on a sunny windowsill and spray the tops with water occasionally. In a few days, leaves will start to sprout, and after about a week, transplant it to a pot with the leaves above the soil level. A whole new head of celery will appear in a few weeks.
- Potatoes: Leave a potato out until it grows numerous small sprouts, or “eyes.” Cube it into two-inch pieces (each piece should have at least a sprout or two) and leave them out for a couple of days. Plant them around four inches below soil level with the sprouts facing up. As the roots appear, add more soil.
Learn about more veggies you can regrow in 7 Vegetables You Should Never Pay For.
And if regrowing veggies isn’t your thing, purchase herbs and plants at places like Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s for cheap! I found basil for only $2.00 at Walmart and a tomato plant for only $3.00.
3. Check unit prices.
When checking unit prices, don’t just compare different brands; you should also compare different sizes of the same brand. While buying a bigger package often costs less per unit, that’s not always the case.
4. Buy in bulk and split it with a friend or family member.
Purchase big packages of meat, fish, and poultry at warehouse stores like Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club rather than in smaller quantities at the grocery store. You can also expect to save up to 50% on store prices when you buy from Zaycon Fresh, a direct farm-to-consumer company. For instance, a 40 lb case of fresh boneless skinless chicken breast from Zaycon is $1.69/lb or $67.60 for a case. If you split the case with a friend, that’s only $33.80 for 20 lb of chicken!
5. Save an average of 25% by NOT being brand loyal.
Store-brand canned vegetables, cat food, paper products, and more often use the same recipe and ingredients as name-brand products. Sometimes the generic brand even tastes better! I tested my friends and family on generic vs. name brand product taste, and you may be surprised at the results: 25 Name Brand vs Generic Face-Offs: Best & Worst Revealed.
Definitely buy the generic brand for these products:
- Food staples. Your basics like flour, sugar, cooking oil, and butter will always taste—and work—the same regardless of what the label says.
- Canned produce. Any basic canned fruit or vegetable will taste the same in a generic-brand can.
- Frozen produce. Name-brand frozen produce typically costs twice as much as the generic version, and the store brand often gives you more per bag.
6. Only pay with cash.
Set aside an appropriate amount of money for groceries at the beginning of the month and stash it away in an envelope. Then, as the month progresses, simply spend your grocery budget until it’s gone. It’s as simple as that. No overspending, and it forces you to consciously consider what you’re buying.
7. Buy what’s in season.
Buy berries in the summertime, apples in the fall, grapefruit in the winter, and cherries in the spring. When you buy seasonal produce that’s on sale, stock up! You can easily preserve them by freezing extras or canning them yourself.
To save even more on in-season produce, shop at a farmers market. The prices are usually cheaper and you’ll be helping a local farmer out.
Here’s what’s in season each month:
- January: Oranges, pears, grapefruit, tangerines, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, kale, kiwifruit, avocados, cabbages, and spinach.
- February: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, grapefruit, kale, oranges, parsnips, pears, potatoes, and turnips.
- March: Artichokes, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, limes, mushrooms, onions, peas, radishes, rhubarb, spinach and strawberries.
- April: Artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, grapefruit, mushrooms, onions, peas, rhubarb, and strawberries.
- May: Artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beets, blackberries, carrots, corn, green beans, onions, peas in the pod, potatoes, raspberries, and strawberries.
- June: Apricots, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, corn, cucumbers eggplant, grapes, honeydew, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, red onions, summer squash, strawberries, sweet Vidalia onions, tomatoes, and watermelon.
- July: Asian pears, Bartlett pears, green beans, blueberries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, garlic, grapes, nectarines, red onions, Valencia oranges, peaches, sweet bell peppers, plums, potatoes, summer squash, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.
- August: Avocados, berries, cherries, corn on the cob, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, grapes, green beans, melons, onions, peaches, peppers, plums, summer squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, and watermelon.
- September: Apples, artichokes, beans, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, onions, pears (Asian & Bartlett), peppers (bell and chili), squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, squash, kale, and collards.
- October: Apples, artichokes, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, chard, cranberries, mustard greens, parsnip, pears, pomegranates, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, turnips and yams.
- November: Apples of all varieties, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cranberries, kiwis, lemons, oranges, pears (Anjou & Comice), potatoes, pumpkin, squash, yams and pomegranates.
- December: Apples, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, citrus fruits, dates, kale, kiwifruit, leeks, mushrooms, onions, papayas, pomegranates, radishes, spinach, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
8. Shop for groceries online at Amazon.
Not only is this a terrific way to save money, but it’s also extremely convenient—especially if you’re stocking up and making heavy bulk purchases. Just be sure to always compare prices first (the unit price, specifically). Here are 10 Items I Stopped Buying at Costco and Started Buying on Amazon.
Amazon is also a great resource for any food item not commonly found in a grocery store—like coconut flour. Some of these items can easily be found at health food stores but are often much more expensive than buying online. Check out Amazon Prime Pantry and Amazon Subscribe & Save for more ways to save.
9. Don’t buy prepared foods that cost 40% more.
Yes, it’s convenient to buy pre-cut fruits and veggies or pre-made sandwiches, but it’s also more expensive. These convenience items could be marked up as much as 40%.
Instead, buy the ingredients separately and spend an hour on the weekend washing and chopping vegetables. The same goes with grated cheese. You get 50% more cheese by purchasing a block and grating it yourself versus buying pre-shredded cheese.
10. Buy frozen fish and seafood and save up to 40%.
Ask the person behind the seafood counter or read the fine print on the “fresh seafood” signs. Almost always their fresh seafood was previously frozen!
Like frozen produce, fish is frozen at its peak freshness so you can expect a quality product. Buying frozen fish will save you about 40%—plus, you won’t feel pressured to cook the fish within two days of bringing it home.
11. Ask department managers when they do markdowns.
Stores usually have markdowns in three different locations: in the produce section, in the meat section, and in a grocery cart or shelf near the back of the store.
Also, don’t shy away from the large packages of clearance meat—remember you can break the large packages down into 1 lb portions, put them in zip-locking freezer bags, and store them in your freezer.
12. Limit the time spent in a store.
In a recent study, “fast and efficient” shoppers were reported to be 82% less likely to impulse buy than the average shopper.
Plan your trip to the grocery store by making a list and sticking to it! Without a list or meal plan, you might end up with items you don’t need. You should also only plan to go shopping once a week to limit impulse purchases.