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Grandma’s Best Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Grandma always knew how to get the most bang for her buck at the supermarket. I'm happy to share her best money saving grocery tips!

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Elderly woman with young woman at the grocery storeShutterstock / goodluz

Head to the store on a full stomach

Ever noticed that when you’re hungry, you’ll eat just about anything? If you go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, you’re more likely to splurge on food. Make sure to have a quick meal before you start shopping so you don’t spend money on junk.

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Woman writing in spiral notepad placed on bright desktop with coffee cup.Shutterstock / Peshkova

Make a list before you go

Having a grocery list before you leave the house is my grandma’s unbreakable rule! If you have a list in hand, you’ll be less likely to stray toward the food you don’t need. (Don’t forget to check your pantry and refrigerator to make sure you’re not buying something you already have.)

Here are 6 expert tips for a well-organized grocery list.

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Savings coupons and scissors shot on shopping bags with soft drop shadowJim Barber/Shutterstock

Coupons are your friend

Preparing the week’s meals based on coupons and sales are two great ways to make sure you’re spending less. If an item is on sale but sold out, talk to the manager—you may be able to get a rain check, which allows you to get the item on sale when it’s back in stock.

Psst… You can use coupons on your phone to grab deals, too. Here’s how!

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Abstract blur supermarket in shopping mall and store interior Shutterstock / Stockforlife

Brand names = overspending

In my grandma’s opinion, brand names mean one thing: You’re paying more than you should be! You’d be amazed at how much cheaper store-brand items are than the more popular name brands. You likely won’t notice a difference in your recipes, but you might notice the extra cash in your pocket.

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A teen girl filling a water bottle at a vending machine in preparation for a hurricane. Shutterstock / Lisa F. Young

Never buy bottled water

“If you have a working tap, you’ll never need to purchase bottled water,” the old saying goes. Prefer to drink filtered water? Buy a couple gallon jugs to keep refilling instead, and keep them in your refrigerator. A 12-pack of bottled water might seem inexpensive, but saving those extra dollars every week will add up.

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a woman shopping at a grocery storeShutterstock / Brian Goodman

Steer clear of pre-made food

You can go to the store and purchase pre-made food, but there’s a hefty price tag for that convenience. “Get your hands dirty and learn to cook,” says my grandma. Can’t argue with that advice!

Here are 35 recipes you should know by age 35.

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Green fresh herbs. Gardening background with radish.Shutterstock / Rubleva Elena

Growing is better than buying

Any type of fresh produce is bound to be expensive. Fruits, vegetables and herbs can all add up in your cart. But if you have some empty space in your yard, consider growing some of this produce. In particular, growing fresh herbs could save you a ton of money at the grocery store.

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Fresh organic produce. Cabbage, Beets, Carrots, Onions, Kale and ParsleyEric Urquhart/Shutterstock

Buy produce that’s in season

If gardening isn’t feasible, save money by only purchasing produce that’s in season. When you buy out-of-season, the cost is higher since the produce must be transported from further away.

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Image of senior woman in groceries departmentShutterstock / Pressmaster

Always shop alone

Keep the kiddos at home when you do the grocery shopping. They’ll beg you to load up the cart with expensive stuff that hurts your wallet, and likely isn’t too healthy. It’s okay to live a little and splurge every now and then, but bringing the kids along will only help you spend more, not save.

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Fresh Produce refrigerated room in a Costco store.Shutterstock / mandritoiu

Buy in bulk, when possible

Buying in bulk might mean spending more in the short term, but it will help you save money in the long run. Consider getting a membership to a wholesale club like Costco or Sam’s to stock up on items you’ll always need, such as paper towels and nonperishable items. If there’s a great sale, don’t be afraid to buy extra for the long term!

Julia Mullaney
Julia Mullaney is a writer, blogger and self-proclaimed macaroni and cheese connoisseur based in New Jersey. She is currently a health & fitness writer for Cheat Sheet and previously worked as the editorial manager of Edible Jersey Magazine. Her work has been published in Rachael Ray Every Day, Art Quench, RMagazine and Edible Jersey. She is the author of Man, you can Cook!, a cookbook full of simple recipes for men who consider the kitchen to be uncharted land. In her spare time, she also runs a food blog full of original, easy recipes. Chow down at or on Instagram at @simplydeliciousblogger.