Photo by Maria Lin Kim on Unsplash


As prices at the grocery store remain stubbornly high, many shoppers are embracing frugal strategies to lower their food bills. From switching to generic brands to taking advantage of manager markdowns, these six signs indicate you may become a savvier, more budget-conscious grocery shopper.


  1. One telltale sign is opting for store-brand products over national brands. Retailers like Albertsons and Walmart offer generic labels that are typically cheaper yet often just as high-quality as the name brands. “Store brands have come a long way, and many offer similar ingredients to national brands,” says budgeting expert Andrea Woroch. Don’t be afraid to experiment – the savings could be significant.


  1. Clipping coupons and scouring weekly circulars for deals is another common tactic among frugal shoppers. While it does require extra time and effort, the potential savings make it worthwhile. “There are ways to cut down on grocery bills,” says Kristin McGrath of RetailMeNot, “and coupons are one of them.” Signing up for a store’s loyalty program can also unlock exclusive discounts.


  1. Sticking to a shopping list and avoiding impulse purchases is vital. According to the USDA, about 20% of food in the U.S. ends up wasted, costing the average family over $1,000 per year. Planning meals in advance and only buying what’s on your list can help minimize waste and overspending.


  1. Buying in bulk can yield the best price per unit, but shoppers must be mindful of expiration dates and their household’s consumption habits. Avoid bulk purchases if the food is likely bad before you use it all. And try to avoid going to the store when you’re hungry, as free samples and impulse buys can derail your savings.


  1. Another tactic is skipping the grocery store altogether for certain non-perishable goods. “Paper goods, sponges, tinfoil – grocery stores mark up these items,” says Samantha Landau of Heading to a dollar store for these products can lead to significant savings.


  1. Finally, savvy shoppers look for manager markdowns on items nearing their “best by” date. Woroch says you can save up to 70% on everything from meat and produce to dairy when stores try to clear out these items. Just be sure to use or freeze the discounted foods right away.


With high prices, embracing these frugal shopping habits can translate to significant savings at the checkout. And as more consumers get on board, they’ll find they’re in good company as they work to stretch their grocery budgets.