Grocery costs vary widely by household, but the average home in the U.S. spends nearly $400 per month at the store. That’s not an insignificant amount, and lowering food costs is a great way to build up savings.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to lower your grocery bill and start saving money. From shopping smart to budgeting tricks, these helpful tips will save you money at the checkout and keep your savings on the right track.

Meal plan and budgeting

Setting and sticking to a budget and thorough meal planning are two quick ways to cut food costs. When combined with the rest of this list, you’ll undoubtedly see some savings at the checkout.

Meal plan

Scheduling meals in advance helps you take advantage of bulk deals and saves you money on dining out. Having a solid plan will help you eliminate food waste and help you eat healthy, as well.

Budgeting

Sticking to a set grocery budget each week or each month will prioritize spending and save you time in the store. Meal planning helps you set a number, and sticking to the list stops impulse buying, which gets you out of the store faster.

Use technology

Saving money on grocery shopping is as easy as using your smartphone. Several resources exist to help consumers save, and knowing what to look for can dramatically cut costs on everyday items you’d buy anyway. Here are some standard tech hacks to save.

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Price compare

Most major grocery chains have phone apps that contain pricing information, digital coupons and information on specials and sales. You can easily compare prices between chains and map out purchases to get the best deals.

Helpful apps

Several phone apps can help make your shopping trips less stressful and less expensive. Try using a shopping list app to make meal planning easier — and your time in the store more efficient.

Top-rated coupon and rebate apps are resources that can help you find deals, provide digital coupons and even offer cash-back options on purchases by scanning your receipt.

Do the math

Almost every phone has a built-in calculator, and using it while shopping can save you cash. If you’re trying to stick to a firm budget, subtracting the price of each item you put in your cart will help you visualize your spending and eliminate unnecessary purchases.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Smarter shopping saves money

What you buy also plays a significant role in keeping costs down. Try these shopping hacks to keep more money in your pocket.

Buy in bulk

Making bulk purchases of heavily used items can cut costs dramatically. If you’ve got the fridge, freezer or pantry space, try buying large amounts of items you use regularly.

Buy generic

Brand names usually cost quite a bit more than generic alternatives, and in many cases, you’re getting less product overall. Stop the brand-name bias and give some generic options a shot for less.

DIY savings

Buying items like shredded cheese or prebagged produce will always carry a premium. Shredding your own cheese or making your own salads can save you money fast.

Shop in-season

When produce is in-season, there’s ample supply, and costs are generally lower. Meal plan with seasons in mind to keep costs down. Buying frozen produce when out of season is also an easy way to save.

You don’t have to cut coupons and drive all over town to get the most bang for your buck these days. Saving money at the grocery store has never been easier, and there’s a lot of satisfaction that comes with intelligent shopping.

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