3 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Groceries in 2023

published Jan 4, 2023
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By now I’d expect to be a bit more used to higher grocery prices, but I still cringe every time I check out and look at my total bill. Unfortunately, grocery prices keep climbing with little relief in sight. In fact, a recent report from the USDA says prices on all foods are predicted to increase up to 4.5 percent in 2023. All that means is it’s time to re-examine my shopping strategies and find smart ways to stretch my budget.

While tried-and-true grocery-savings methods like buying store brands and comparing unit prices are great ways to lower my overall food spending, I’m not stopping there. Here are three surprising things I’m doing to try to cut grocery costs further.

Credit: Mara Weinraub

1. Reconsider the expiration date.

There was a period of time my husband would cycle through the refrigerator tossing out any food that had “expired” — until we dug deeper into what these dates actually meant. What we learned was that, in many cases, the grocery items we had thrown away were most likely safe to eat. Not only did confusion over expiration dates lead to unnecessary food waste, but it was also a waste of money. 

According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the date printed on food packaging suggests when it’s best to consume for quality rather than safety. This means, most grocery products are generally safe to eat past their “sell by” or “best buy” date or could be frozen for consumption later. If you’re unsure how long to keep certain foods past their best-by date, refer to StillTasty’s Ultimate Shelf-Life Guide for help.

Credit: Monkey Business Images

2. Discover coupons in new places.

The fastest way to find coupons is through a grocery store’s mobile app. Signing up is free and gives you access to a variety of product-specific deals that you clip with a tap of a finger and scan at checkout for instant savings. Some offer new user and exclusive member discounts. In fact, I recently scored a deal for $5 off $25 just for signing up for the Albertson’s For U Rewards app

If you prefer placing your grocery order online, always search for a coupon code through a deal aggregator like CouponCabin.com, which offers a bevy grocery deals such as $30 off $75 and free shipping at VONs when you place your first Drive Up & Go order, and 15% off any purchase at Kroger.

Don’t toss your grocery receipts either, as they may contain valuable coupons for money-off future purchases. Most recently, I received a deal for $5 off $50 printed at the bottom of a Sprouts receipt. Not to mention, those receipts can be turned into cash back using the Fetch app (previously Fetch Rewards) — just snap a picture of your grocery receipts using the app to earn points good towards free gift cards to a variety of stores like Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Buy in bulk selectively.

Although buying in bulk offers better prices per unit and also ensures I’m stocked up on my family’s favorite foods so I can make fewer trips, it’s not the best strategy to reduce my overall food spending. That’s because overbuying in bulk could lead to food waste in the event I’m not able to eat large quantities of fresh foods before they rot.

I’ve learned even an oversized bag of chips or box of crackers can get stale if not consumed fast enough, so give this some thought before you stock up. Be mindful about how much your family eats of a food that could go bad or get stale within a short period of time — consider tracking these purchases. And then stick to smaller packages or containers for items used more sparingly, or limit bulk packages to just a few of these staples.

Got a tip for stretching our budgets in 2023? Tell us in the comments below.