Updated 2/2/24

It’s 2024. Grocery prices remain high. Virtually every item in the grocery store costs more than it did a year or two ago. If you’re struggling to get food on the table without blowing your entire paycheck, you need easy-to-implement tips now.

Where to find cheap groceries and save money on food.

A $9.00 box of cereal. $8.75 for fruit snacks. $8.59 for Velveeta Shells & Cheese.

When I first wrote this post back in 2022, the issue of rising grocery prices was all over the news. In fact, I was interviewed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune that same year discussing some of my thoughts on the issue and tips for families looking to save money.

Sadly, things haven’t improved much. Grocery prices are still soaring. The only difference is that people seem to be used to it. And news outlets aren’t reporting on it.

Since you’re here, I’m going to assume that you’re looking for advice on saving money on groceries.

Friend, you’re in the right place! This is my passion: Sharing cheap recipes and researching the very best ways to save money on food.

This is a comprehensive guide detailing the most effective ways to save money on groceries right now. Updated for 2024. Amid supply chain issues and high inflation. No apps to download, no coupons to clip. Just straight and to-the-point tips to help you save significant money on groceries.

1: Identify Cheap Foods That You Really Like

My #1 piece of advice if you’re looking to save money on groceries is this: Incorporate more affordable foods into your diet. There are certain foods that are almost always affordable, like these:

  • Cabbage
  • Chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • Eggs
  • Oats
  • Beans and lentils
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Ground beef, ground turkey, and breakfast sausage (purchase frozen meat to save $$)

2: Eat More Breakfast Foods

Have you ever noticed that most common American breakfast foods are super cheap? Eggs, toast, English muffins, sausage, peanut butter, oatmeal, and fried potatoes are very affordable. And who doesn’t love breakfast-for-dinner every once in awhile?

Cheap breakfast sandwiches: Just 80 cents per sandwich, and so, so delicious!

3: Identify Cheap Recipes To Add To Your Meal Rotation

You probably have a few go-to recipes that are budget-friendly and easy to make. Why not learn a few more ultra cheap recipes to incorporate into your meal rotation?

There are more than 600 recipes on Cheap Recipe Blog – and millions of cheap recipes on the internet. Find some new cheap recipes you love. Check out these budget-friendly recipe sources for inspiration:

Budget Bytes

Good Cheap Eats

Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Easy Budget Recipes

4: Figure Out What You Can Cut Out

With shockingly high prices in grocery stores, now is the time to make some sacrifices in order to save money on food.

This will be different for every person, but here’s the idea:

  • Skip coffee shop coffee in the morning and make it at home
  • Opt for a home-cooked meal instead of going through the drive-through
  • Plan your schedule around using up leftovers (don’t throw them out!)
  • Eat one less meal out a week and cook at home instead
  • Drink less soda, carbonated water, juice, sweet tea – and drink more water

5: Cut And Peel Your Own Fruits And Vegetables

Grocery stores make a killing selling ready-cut and peeled vegetables. These are super convenient and great time savers, but the markup is extraordinary. Do the work yourself and save the money for something else.

Avoid buying pre-cut fruits and vegetables if you want to save money on food.

6: Don’t Go Shopping Without A List

Now is not the time to go to the grocery store without a list. Plan your meals for the week, write down everything you need, and stick to your list when you go shopping.

7: Use Your Food Scraps

Get creative and use your food scraps to make something new. Get creative with your food scraps – and don’t throw them away!

  • Save leftover bacon grease to fry eggs
  • Save odds-and-ends of vegetables, fruit or meat and add to an omelette or salad
  • Instead of discarding broccoli stems, cut them up and make them into cheesy broccoli chips
  • Save carcass from a rotisserie chicken and make homemade chicken stock
  • Save vegetable scraps to make a batch of homemade vegetable stock

How to make homemade vegetable broth (using vegetable scraps)

8: Avoid Additional Trips To The Grocery Store

Food prices are increasing: Avoid making additional trips to the supermarket to avoid additional and unnecessary food purchases – and to cut down on gas usage.

9: Stretch Your Meals

Meal stretching is more of an art than a science. The idea is making one food item (usually a large quantity of meat) and using a little of that meat in recipes over the next few days. For example:

  • Day 1: Make pulled pork in the slow cooker – eat with a side of veggies
  • Day 2: Use leftover pork to top baked potatoes (along with other toppings)
  • Day 3: Use leftover pork to add to soup
  • Day 4: If you still have some pork left, use it as an omelet filling along with sautéed veggies

10: Inventory Your Fridge And Pantry

Make sure you know what you have on hand at home before you go grocery shopping. Dig deep. You may find cans of food you didn’t know you had. As long as they’re not (too) expired, make an effort to use this food in upcoming meals.

And avoid letting your freezer get to this point!

Cooking with freezer pantry staples: Get 50+ cheap recipe ideas.

11: Make Use Of All Leftovers

Making a larger quantity of food – doubling a recipe, for example – is often more budget-friendly than making a single recipe. This tip will also help save time, as you’re only cooking and cleaning up once. 

Enjoy the same meal the next day, or repurpose your leftovers into something different. In either case, make sure to use ALL of your leftovers.

12: Consider Meal Sharing

Consider doing a meal exchange with a neighbor, friend or family member. Find an affordable recipe, make a double or triple batch, and have the other person do the same. Voila! Two meals, one cooking session.

13: Don’t Shop On An Empty Stomach

This old advice is GREAT advice because it really works. If you grocery shop on a full stomach, you’ll probably avoid all impulse purchases, which can add a lot to your grocery bill.

14: Skip The Expensive Sauces And Condiments

Some of the most costly items in the grocery store are specialty sauces and condiments. Instead of buying various jars of sauces, consider trying to make a lower-cost version at home using ingredients you already have, like this homemade BBQ sauce made with pantry staples.

All-purpose dipping sauce. A delicious, all-purpose dipping sauce made with pantry staples. Repin to save!

15: Shop Where Your Money Goes The Furthest

Where you shop matters. I did a supermarket price comparison challenge to determine which grocery store is the cheapest (I compared 8 stores). There was a clear winner: ALDI.

The total cost for 21 common grocery items (milk, pasta, eggs, etc) was twice as much at a natural foods co-op than it was at ALDI. Other stores (Trader Joe’s, Target, etc.) fell somewhere in the middle.

If you can, shop at ALDI or another discount grocery store, or even a salvage grocery store that sells heavily discounted groceries that other grocery stores will not sell due to having dented packaging or nearing expiration date.

Feed family of 4 for less than $100 a week: Grocery haul for $69.79 from ALDI.

16: Explore Your Grocery Store’s Deals

Some grocery stores have special deals that you may not know about. For example, they may sell bruised fruits and vegetables at a discount. Or they may discount certain food items at certain times of the day or week. There is a grocery store in my area that discounts ground beef after 9 p.m.

Explore your grocery store and don’t be afraid to ask management if there are any deals or discounts to be found.

17: Explore Meatless Or Less-Meat Recipes

Meat is usually the most expensive food item on your grocery list. According to the USDA, meat prices have increased the most – with prices up to 43.9% higher than they were a year ago. By going meatless every once in awhile (Meatless Mondays, for example) – or just simply eating less meat – will help you save money over time. Try one of these recipes:

Black bean burgers

Kung pao cauliflower

Spicy honey tofu

Spicy honey tofu: Sweet caramelized tofu. What could be better?

18: Stock Up When You Find Deals

In 2024, grocery prices are high – and they keep rising. If you find a deal on food that you know you’ll eat – and you have the money to buy it and space to store it – stock up now. The prices may keep going up, but if you buy it in bulk now, you’ll lock it in at today’s price.

19: Substitute Ingredients And Modify Recipes

So many recipes are adaptable and will still taste great even if you substitute ingredients or leave out certain non-essential ingredients.

For example, if you’re making a recipe that calls for pinto beans but all you have is black beans – it will probably still taste great. If you’re making a pasta sauce that calls for smoked paprika – an ingredient you don’t have on hand – just leave it out!

On Cheap Recipe Blog, the majority of my recipes are adaptable and I encourage substitutions or omissions when they are not absolutely necessary for a recipe’s success.

20: Know Your Cheap Fruits And Vegetables

Many people doubt that it’s possible to eat healthy and on a budget. It can be more difficult, but it’s not impossible.

Frozen fruits and veggies are a great option and are surprisingly versatile. Frozen fruits can be used to make smoothies, fruit crumbles, and fruit sauces. Frozen vegetables are great when making homemade soups, casseroles, and side dishes.

What are some budget-friendly fresh fruits and veggies? Bananas, apples, carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, celery, broccoli, onions, and potatoes are usually quite affordable.

21: Buy Generic

Break your brand loyalty and consider purchasing generic grocery items, which usually cost 25% less than their name brand counterparts.

22: Buy Secondhand

Cooking requires the use of tools and appliances. If you need to purchase a rice cooker, immersion blender, Dutch oven, pressure cooker or any other kitchen appliance or tool, consider buying it secondhand.

My go-to when I need an item like this is Facebook/Meta marketplace. I recently bought an espresso pod machine for 80% less than what it would have cost new. Also consider buying at a thrift shop or garage sale, or one one of many apps such as LetGo or OfferUp. No-buy groups have also become popular on Facebook, where neighbors offer up items they no longer use.

There’s always a slight risk when you buy something secondhand – namely, that it won’t work – but the savings are just too good not to try.

23: Choose Restaurants Wisely

If you’re going to go to a restaurant to eat, choose one where your money will go the furthest. Pizza and Mexican restaurants (hello free chips & salsa!) are usually quite affordable. Check out restaurants with good happy hour deals on food or other discounts.

Start Saving Money On Food!

Saving money on food isn’t hard – but it may require that you make some changes to where you shop, what you eat, and what you spend your money on.

For more information, see the following articles: 

How To Feed A Family Of 4 For $100 A Week

7-Day Meal Plan For Less Than $100

How To Immediately Slash Your Grocery Bill In Half