16 Smart Food Hacks That Will Save You Money

Written by
Food Hacks

Are you feeling the pain at the checkout counter? According to the Federal Reserve, grocery prices have risen by 25% in the last four years alone. If you’re wondering how to save money on food, you might consider some food hacks to help you stretch your grocery budget.

1. Check yourself out

No, seriously. Using the self-checkout lane can help you dodge temptation and those last-minute impulse buys. The average person spends $314 per month on impulse purchases. Don’t be one of them. Using the self-checkout keeps you focused on what you’re buying rather than grabbing a last-minute impulse item. It’s also usually quicker.

2. Know thy shelf

To get more bang for your buck, shop the high and low shelves in grocery aisles. Companies pay more for the eye-level shelves, increasing their prices. Also, check the clearance aisle; you might find what you want on sale. 

However, be wary of items displayed at the end of each aisle. Sometimes, you’ll find bargains there; other times, you may simply see promotions for name-brand items.

3. Create meal plans 

By creating a meal plan, you’ll know what you will eat for lunch and dinner on each day of the week. That way, you’ll only shop for what you need. You may even find ways to use the same ingredients for two meals. 

4. Buy off brand

Sometimes, saving money on groceries means skipping the most familiar brands. Skip the name brand and opt for the store brand, which often uses the same ingredients. The main difference is that the store brand tends to be cheaper.

5. Opt for fresh produce items

Indeed, fresh fruits and vegetables can sometimes be more expensive than less healthy options. But you can often save money by buying fresh produce in-season. Some stores even stock produce from local farms, which saves on importing costs. 

6. Trick your brain

Here’s one of the most unusual food budgeting tips: trick your brain using a smaller shopping cart or shopping basket. As it gets full, you’ll be more likely to check out instead of shopping for things you don’t need. Just be careful, as repeated, smaller trips to the grocery store can still add up.

7. Shop for groceries online

Ordering groceries online can cut the hassle and costs. Many retailers offer a delivery option, or you can try an app like Misfits Market, which offers exclusive savings on high-quality organic products. 

Local stores also allow you to buy online and then pick up at the store. You’ll pay the same price, but you’ll be less likely to make the impulsive purchases you might have while shopping in the physical store.

8. Starbucks split hack

You don’t have to give up life’s little luxuries to pinch pennies. Instead, share the cost and save. Say you’re in line with a Starbucks friend and want the same Grande drink. Order a Venti and ask for an extra cup. Split the drink in half and get a tall drink for half the price.

9. BOGO your lunch or dinner

You can eat out while still finding cheap dinner options. Many restaurants offer buy one, get one deals on food delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash. This can cut your spending in half and guarantee your next meal. Just remember to account for delivery fees and tips.

10. Pay with a grocery rewards card

Stretch your household budget by using a grocery rewards card. These credit cards will give you reward points for every dollar you spend on groceries. 

Depending on your credit card issuer, you can redeem points for cash or find discounts on gas, restaurants, or travel. So even if it doesn’t directly lower your grocery bill, you’ll save money on other purchases.

MoneyLion wants to help you save money on food. Explore credit card options that can provide rewards during your next shopping trip.

11. Shop with a clear mind, not a rumbling stomach

Never shop on an empty stomach. Research reveals that shoppers spend an extra $26 per trip when they shop while hungry. To learn how to save money on food, time your grocery store visits for shortly after meals, or grab a snack to curb those cravings before you wander the aisles.

12. Sign up for a grocery store loyalty program

Major grocery chains offer store loyalty programs for their shoppers. These programs are designed to keep you coming back and usually involve some sort of discount. A loyalty card can give instant savings on select products, or the store may offer more significant discounts for those who accumulate reward points when spending money in-store.

13. Scan your receipt for savings

Believe it or not, you can get paid to shop. Tap apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards to earn cashback or rewards for buying select items or scanning your grocery receipt. Earn instantly or save money on your grocery bill over time. Additionally, you won’t have to worry as much about finding the cheapest deals.

14. Timing is everything

You can grab an extra deal when you shop on certain days and times. Bulk grocers start weekly specials on Wednesdays, while markdowns anywhere typically happen at night. Shop smart and ask about merch clear-outs for more savings while at it.

15. Save money and avoid food waste

Pay less, eat well and make an impact by saving perfect food from going to waste with apps like Too Good To Go. They’ll connect you to restaurants and stores with unsold food surpluses. Not only will you get a great discount on unsold food, but you’ll also be part of a sustainable movement to reduce food waste.

16. Compare prices between stores

Make sure to shop around. Getting into the habit of comparing prices between stores will teach you how to save money on groceries. And you can do it all from your phone or computer. Many grocery stores will put their weekly ads online, or you can search store inventory for your favorite items. 

Adopt These Tips Before Your Next Trip

Learn to spend less on groceries before your next trip to the store. Comparing prices and only buying what you need can cut your bill substantially. And by getting creative, you can still enjoy your favorite foods without sacrificing your household budget.


How can I prioritize my food to focus on essentials while enjoying occasional treats?

Plan ahead. Shop only for your weekly meal plan, creating the financial margin you need for luxury purchases and treats.

Are there any lifestyle changes or habits that can help me save money on food long-term?

Be more deliberate in your shopping habits. Never shop on an empty stomach, and research prices to compare stores and find bargains within each store.

How can I save money on groceries without compromising on quality?

Become a bargain shopper. Take advantage of store reward cards and focus on off-brand products that cost less than name brands without altering quality.

Can I save money by buying food in bulk or purchasing items on sale?

Yes. Many shopping clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club offer discounts for bulk items; even smaller chains sell packages that provide savings. Just be aware that you may pay more upfront for the larger quantity.

What budget-friendly cooking tips and recipes can help me save money on food?

Be strategic with your leftovers. Plan to use the same meal for more than one lunch or dinner. You can even freeze your leftovers to enjoy the meal the following week.

Sign Up
Sign Up

Fast, interest-free advances anytime

Get Instacash advances up to $500 for everyday expenses or life’s surprises. There’s no credit check, no monthly fee, and no interest.

Sign Up