How to Save Money On Groceries

Navigating the waves of inflation and recession has become a regular part of our daily conversations. Money is tight, and the escalating prices at the grocery store certainly don’t help. It got me thinking: Is there a way to outsmart inflation and still afford healthy food?


Here’s a trick I’ve found to save some bucks: compare prices on your essential items. It’s easy to fall into the routine of visiting the same store and grabbing the usual items without glancing at the price tags. But guess what? There’s a surprising amount of variation even among stores just a stone’s throw away.

Look at this little comparison I made using online shopping systems from two nearby stores. The distance between them is negligible – about a five-minute bike ride or a two-minute car drive – so the extra time and fuel for a second stop are minimal.

ItemStore 1 (Mega Retail Center)Store 2 (Grocery Only)
Seven bananas$2.10$2.38
7 Honeycrisp apples$8.33$14.56
Two cucumbers$3.34$1.98
Broccoli crowns (500 g)$3.30$2.75
One lettuce head$1.97$2.99
Lean ground beef (500 g)$5.80$7.70
Chicken breast (500 g)$6.45$8.80
12 large eggs$3.48$3.79
2 L 2% milk$3.77$3.79
Total $38.54$48.74

**Savings at Store 1: $10.20.**

That’s a substantial amount; it could be even more if you purchase some items in bulk. Imagine doubling the quantity of ground beef – the savings alone would jump from $1.90 to $3.80.

But hold on, there’s more.

What if you hop in the car, hit both stores and grab only the cheaper items? You’ll save a total of $36.63. That’s an additional $1.91 in your pocket – and remember, this number shoots up if you go for larger quantities of items with significant price differences, like chicken and apples.

Let’s take it a step further.

Opt for 7 Gala apples instead of Honeycrisps from the cheaper store – that’s $6.93 instead of $8.33, saving you $1.40. And check out the 3-lb. bulk bag of Red Delicious apples at $5.97. Assuming each Honeycrisp or Gala apple is 120 g, you’re getting 521 g more in the bulk bag, which is already cheaper.

You can make other smart swaps, too.

For instance, bone-in chicken thighs at Store 1 are $3.94 for 500 g. Do a quick cost per unit of edible portion calculation, factoring in bones, skin, and gristle, and you’ll find that thighs might be a better deal. Using 755 g of bone-in chicken thighs gives you roughly the exact yield as 500 g of boneless, skinless chicken breast, but you save 51 cents.

So, let’s revamp our table with the cheapest options at each store and a few substitutions:

ItemCost and Location
Seven bananas$2.10 (Store 1)
3 lb. Red Delicious apples$5.94 (Store 1)
Two cucumbers$1.98 (Store 2)
Broccoli crowns (500 g)$2.75 (Store 2)
One lettuce head$1.97 (Store 1)
Lean ground beef (500 g)$5.80 (Store 1)
Bone-in chicken thighs (755 g to obtain 500 g edible portion)$5.94 (Store 1)
12 large eggs$3.48 (Store 1)
2 L 2% milk$3.77 (Store 1)
Total $33.73

**Additional savings over Store 1 shopping with initial selections: $4.81.**

This two-store strategy with tweaked selections saves $15.01 compared to filling your cart solely at Store 2.

The takeaway is that there are ways to be smart about your grocery spending.

You might be overspending if stuck in the rut of hitting the same store and grabbing the same items without glancing at the prices. You could significantly reduce your grocery bill with extra effort.

We saved $15 here on small quantities of just nine essential items. Imagine the savings if you feed a family of two to five. Or, keep an eye out for sales or clip a few coupons.

If the constant chatter about inflation and recession gets to you, take charge in the grocery store aisles and eat well without burning a hole in your wallet!