Tips to save money on groceries

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports food prices are 5.4% higher this year than last, and are expected to rise further in 2022. Having a strategy for buying food will help you save.

Lisa Bell with WVU Extension Services says having a plan before you ever enter the store is the key. Bell says first go through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see what you already have. “A lot of people go to the store and buy things they’ve already got which is a waste of money,” says Bell.

Using store circulars to form your plan will help you capture all the savings a store is offering that week. Bell says most sales circulars are posted online. She also recommends ordering groceries to pick up rather than shopping in person. ” If you order online and you don’t even go in the store, you are going to save yourself some pocket change big time,” says Bell. A last-minute grab of a cold drink at the checkout can have you paying 4 to 5 times the price for that single item instead of buying a case inside the same store.

Store reward programs will also rack up savings. Bell says many stores email reward customers specials deals not found otherwise inside the store.

When picking up items, Bell says pay attention to unit pricing and try to buy in bulk to get big savings. “Buying chicken breasts and cutting them into tenders yourself will save you 40 cents a pound,” says Bell.

She also cautions checking store-brand item prices to see if they are cheaper than name-brand items. While store brands and generics are usually less expensive, store sales can make them less costly at times.

With supply chain issues, fresh foods can be more expensive. Stocking up on canned and frozen foods can you save money.

Bell’s number one tip is to pay for your groceries with a credit card, not cash.

Bell says, “A lot of credit cards offer cash back for groceries and sometimes its a 5% instead of the 1% they give for gas. But remember a credit card only works to save you money if you pay it off at the end of the month.”