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Saving money tips and how I save money on groceries

Updated on August 14, 2013
Woman shopping
Woman shopping | Source

We all want to know how to save money. since groceries are one of those things we all have to buy regularly we want to know how to save on groceries.This hub is about how I save money on groceries. Many readers have ways of their own that I may not have used and these things do change over the years.

Stocking Up

There are various reasons to keep your cupboards well stocked. One is to be prepared in case of emergencies such as storms. Another is that it helps you save money.

In a book I read many years ago the author said when she was poor she would buy some extra canned good with any left over money. She saw it as a form of saving. I think it is a good idea. If you keep stocked up you usually don’t need to make so many trips to the store and you can take advantage of sale prices because you can pass things by if they are high priced. At times when you might be short of money and overwhelmed with bills to pay you will, at least, have something to eat. If possible, try to buy things only when they are on sale.

Girl carry bag
Girl carry bag | Source

Shopping Sales

Stores usually advertise certain items at low prices, which they do not make much money on. These are called loss leaders. They do it in order to get you into the store and buy other stuff. I try as much as I can to stick to the specials. I used to alternate my shopping between different stores in order to take advantage of the sales. Some people will go from store to store to just buy the specials. I have not tended to do that but in some situations it might be worthwhile.

Comparing Prices

I have found t in grocery stores certain items will be cheaper at one store than another but other items higher. I used to have a fairly good idea of the price of the items we usually use but it seems that prices have gone up in recent years to the point that I have trouble keeping track of common items like milk and coffee.

Amish Wagon
Amish Wagon | Source

Kinds of Stores

Oddly I have found a good place to buy bread and milk is at Kwik Trip filling stations. They sell milk in plastic pouches that you put into pitchers that they give you free. They have a variety of breads, sourdough, wheat, rye and others often cheaper some other stores.

Bakery Outlet stores are a great place often to get good bread cheaper. These stores may be directly connected to a commercial bakery and sell the excess –generally referred to as day old-from there own production. Others buy up the left over bread from the various stores and outlets and sell it at a discount.

Aldi’s is a chain of discount grocery stores that largely sell its own store brands. Their prices are lower than the traditional grocery stores. There are some things that they don’t have. For example, my shopping list had “tuna salad” mix on it. Aldi’s didn’t have it. Coffee is one item cheaper there than at other stores. You will definitely save money if you do at least part of your shopping at Aldi’s.

I do a lot of our shopping at Walmart, since next to Aldi’s they have the cheapest prices.

We live in a fairly small city so we do not have the option of some other stores.

A lot of people like Cub Foods. I have never found them that entire good price wise unless you are a name brand shopper. It is irrelevant since we do not have one her.e

Surplus stores.

There are various places that buy damaged freight and other goods and sell in stores that I cal surplus stores. It may be groceries, clothing or almost anything. When I grew up after the Second World War all sorts of places opened up selling surplus military stuff. They are fun to browse, even if you didn’t buy anything.

I bought some oatmeal at one of these store for $1.44. Aldi’s price is $1.99, which is still cheaper than most places.

Where I used to live the grocery stores would usually have a basket of “reduced price” items in a basket. Some might be dented cans or torn labels. I used to buy anything I could use in these.

I was hesitant to buy damaged containers at first. I contacted the Agricultural Extension Service to ask about it. I talked t o a “food scientist” who told me thing to watch for, such as bloated cans, leaks etc. I was living in the state of Minnesota at the time and he told me that the state had very strict inspection standards so there wouldn’t be much problem at a legitimate outlet. If you are interested in buying such canned goods I would suggest contacting your own state agricultural Extension Office for advice.

Thrift shops like Goodwill, Salvation Army and St. Vincent DePaul society are places to find second hand and bargain merchandise.

The various stores called “Dollar” stores can also be a place with lower prices on some food and other items.

I remember once driving in Iowa and checking out an Amish store. They had a lot of homegrown and canned things as I recall. They also had oatmeal to buy in bulk. I have also bought from Amish selling by the roadside.

One view on couponing

Name Brands

When I grew up people depended on name brands. Various people would swear by a particular name brand and others would swear by some other brand. I do think that back then there may have been reason to trust certain brands because companies took a certain pride in their products. I am not sure that exists anymore. I will probably buy a name brand if I can get it as cheap as something else.

Whatever the case, I do not shop for name brands. I have found that most generics and store brands are pretty reliable. Like anything, experience is the final arbitrator. When I come on a strange brand I often buy a small amount to try it out. If it is ok than I will buy more.

I think people often buy name brands as some sort of status thing. My suggestion is that if such things concern you to buy a few of the name brand products to serve to guests and fall back on the other stuff for day-to-day use.


I am not big on store coupons. They used to be worthwhile but with inflation the saving becomes somewhat minor. Use them if you got them but I have almost always found an alternate product cheaper and saves me more. They are useful if you want to try out a new product, however.

Extreme couponing

I have heard about extreme Couponing and it might be worthwhile. From what I have seen it does take time, effort and organization.


If you are in an agricultural area you may find that farmers often sell fruit and vegetables from a truck in a parking lot or on the roadside. Usually they are fairly cheap prices and toward the end of the day you might get some real bargains because they just want to get rid of it and go home. If you can get together with friends or neighbors it might pay to buy some produce in quantity. Often I see potatoes at roadside stands offering 50 lbs for a few dollars. We could never use that many potatoes so we don’t buy them, but if you can share, it is worthwhile.

Sometimes farms will put up a sign by the road that they have apples, potatoes or some other produce for sale. Usually they are quite reasonable. Lately I have run across things like rhubarb and potatoes at garage sales.

Pick your own

Apples strawberries and some other produce are sometimes available at farms and orchards that offer this option at the early part of the season. I have picked apples. It can be a fun family activity and they sell them cheaper than the ones they pick themselves. It is good way o combine recreations and thrift shopping.


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    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Aldi's is on my shopping list today! They sell a great Orange Cleaner for less than a dollar. The name brand in other stores goes for over $4.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thank you moonlake. It sounds like you are well aware of good shopping.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      You are so right. I do not like to be without food. A can of vegetables and pasta of some kind can make a meal. I always keep lots of pastas around and put them in glass jars so they keep better. My mom and dad only got paid once a month when in the military. With 5 kids they had to make food last. The 30th of the month we got corn bread and milk. Which I love. They would freeze their milk it worked out fine and I use to do it when the kids were little.

      My husband sold our freezer, he figured we didn't need it anymore. I was so upset over it he bought another one.

      Great hub voted up and more.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I do most of my shopping at Walmart and Aldi's This is partly because our city is fairly small and options limited.If I am around a store that sells day old bakery items I buy extra bread and freeze some.Thanks for commenting.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Voted UP. Very good point - "I used to alternate my shopping between different stores in order to take advantage of the sales." I do the same thing and stock up on sale items (i.e. canned goods) at each of the stores when items go on sale - sometimes 10 or more of each item to save future trips out and buying these items at full price. Thank you for a wonderful Hub!

      (And I am not sure if you still do that "used to", but I still do!)

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Brett, I've always liked the idea of keeping enough stock on hand that you don't have to buy those items until they are on sail. If you live far from stores it is even more important.Thanks for commenting.

      L.L. Woodard, I shop a lot at Walmart because I live in a small city without a lot of options.Thanks for commenting.

      Kristine, Thanks for commenting. I like Aledi's but they do not alwas have the selection of stuff we need.

    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I love going to Aldi's. Nice Hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      You've mentioned a wide variety of options for saving money on household shopping, something so many of us try to do to make ends meet.

      My daughter has demonstrated to me the value of Walmart's price-matching program. It saves time, energy and fuel to get the majority of items in one place. One thing we learned on a recent shopping trip at Walmart is that they do not honor "buy one, get one free" in their price-matching program. SHARED

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Voted up and useful. Some very good tips for saving money in these hard times. I like your idea of stocking up the cupboards, something that I am guilty of not doing.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I'm surprised that Aldi is in England.My only real problem with Aldi's is that I am diabetic and they do not carry a lot of foods for a person on a diet. I am not familiar with the other stores you mention.Thanks for sharing you information.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 

      6 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      I live in England and find Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda all have good deals. I go to Aldi occasinally but wouldn't buy Coffee or Tea there. I'm afraid that with Coffee and Tea, I don't like cheap brands. I've never tasted any I like. I need my Nescafe gold blend and Yorkshire tea! I'll buy anything else though and don't mind where it's from. We have Poundland shops too which can be great for bargains.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Things like coupons will vary somewhat depending on where one lives. Where I am now I have a rather limited selection of stores.My son and daughter-in-law have a fairly large family and they claim to be saving real money with "super couponing." On the other hand it takes a lot of time.Thanks for commenting.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      I agree with all of these ideas here. I voted it up. I do find that coupons can be useful from time to time, but you do have to check to make sure you are getting a good deal - as you said, the store brand is sometimes cheaper.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      We have Aldi's here. Milk I have found is cheapest here at the Kwik-trip filling stations.It sounds like your town has a lot of choices.Every part of the country has different choices I imagine.Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Here in TN, we have Sav-a-Lot. They have things cheaper than Wal-Mart. We also have Aldi's where the milk is cheaper than anywhere else I have found. I am picky about some things, like tuna. I will only eat white tuna. I get it at Sav-a-Lot for $1.00 a can, which is almost as cheap as light tuna. We also have Chappell's, They have the best meat in town at the best price. I will usually go to one place, one week and another place the next week. I buy whatever is the best bargain at that store. The next week I will go to a different store and buy the bargains at that store. This means I buy meats at Chappell's, several weeks worth. The next week I will go to Aldi's and buy canned foods, frozen vegs, and pastas. Then Sav-a-Lot for soaps and bread, frozen foods. I stop at the veg.stands whenever I find them. They are not always set up. We do not have a bread store of any kind here. This is a small town but we do have a variety. I use the variety to my advantage.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the comment.Actually in large cities there are buyers coops which I don't have any experience with.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Thanks for this sensible guide to good shopping. I already do most of the things you suggest. I haven't come across damaged goods sales, and like you, would be wary of them. I don't equate sub-standard with a bargain. I hate coupons, constant expensive advertising which I pay for, money back on next purchase (they always have some catch and I never do get my money back!) etc. We should start a shoppers union.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting. Shopping has to be adjusted for individuals preferences and situations. When I was younger and more energetic I probably did a better job of it than now.

    • linkpro88 profile image


      7 years ago from

      Very effective information indeed. I think shopping is a Science. Your elaboration of many things is just fantastic. I got a new idea here.

      Thanks !

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the comment. It sounds like you live where there are more resources than we have here. I wish be had a bakery outlet closer than we have as well as ssome otner things.

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      7 years ago from Texas

      Great practical advice! I do quite a few of these things. I especially like to go to the Mrs. Baird's outlet store to get my bread products. I go once a month and get a big box of various breads for under $10 and just freeze it! I shop at WalMart once a month to stock up on things there. I go to a local store called Brookeshire's for meat once a month because they have a really fantastic deal. I always go to Sack N Sav for my produce because it is situated in a heavily Hispanic and Asian part of town, and all the produce is good, cheap, and often interesting. It definitely pays to plan your shopping and not just buy things willy-nilly without a list!

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for your comments. When we lived in a bigger area we did have more opportunities for bargains.I miss that.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I also shop Aldi's, bakery outlets, Sam's Clubs and any place I can get a good price. These days we all need too. As far as keeping well stocked - I do it because I buy on sale and like you say - just in case of an emergency.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I'm surprised tht you have Aldis's there.There are certain items like oatmeal, coffee, sometimes produce that I find cheaper there.

      If you buy in bulk some stores have restaurant size items.

      Thanks for adding your information.

    • 2patricias profile image


      7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      This is a good hub that we have marked 'useful'.

      We live in England, so most of the stores are different. We do have Aldi though and there are sometimes bargains there, but you have to be flexible because they have not always got the exact items.

      We have made the biggest saving by only going to the grocery store once a month (except for fresh veg, fruit and meat). Getting into the once a month mindset means that we do pick up bulk buy bargains - except that sometimes this requires extra storage space. Both of us live in houses with spare bedrooms, which helps. Sometimes we club together on bulk buy bargains, and then split them between our 2 households.

      We are lucky to live in a small town by the sea. Tricia works in the day - but Pat can usually get to the weekly farmers market or the fishermen's co-operative shop. These are our cheapest places to buy meat and fish.

      Trica has veg delivered to her house. This is not cheap, but it encourages her to make more vegetable based meals which are a money saver.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting. everyone has their own preferences. I personally prefer to take the cheaper item than the one that has the coupon. Some people think the coupon item is bette quality. that we have to judge for ourselves.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My family knows that I will only buy items on sale WITH a coupon, no matter what kind of shopping we do!

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Aldi's is a somewhat regional chain that seems to be growing. I first found them in Moline,Illinois. I was surprised to find one in Wisconsin Rapids. They now have stores in in Minneapolis as well.

      Kwik trip is a filling station chain that my son introduced me to in regards to food items.

      For many years he drove a truck delivery office supplies and such, which by the way he is doing again because of the business climate around here. Anyhow he found it a place to fuel his vehicle, pick up bread and milk for the family and get lunch. They also have a variety of coffees cheaper than coffee housed, pastries and warm sandwiches to go. No eat in.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Like Lyria, I also am unfamiliar with milk in plastic pouches. Interesting what they do in different parts of the country. We don't have an Aldi's down here.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thank you for your comment.I buy what I can at Aldi's. In the past they did not take checks or credit cards--strictly cash. I don't carry much cash so I didn't go there. Now they take debit cards and that works out.

    • Lyria profile image


      7 years ago

      dahoglund, I love Aldi's. I think some of their prices are lower than Walmart and they have good products as well. That was interesting about buying milk in plastic pouches, I'd never heard of that before. This is great info for everyone these days...even if the economy picks up, these are good ideas and habits to follow.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the comments. Since my relatives are in the Minneapolis area I get there a couple of times a year. The grocery brands are not the ones I used to know when we lived there thirty years ago. Rainbow foods seem to be pretty good and the only one convenient.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids


      Glad you liked the hub. As i am older and have less energy I do not shop as conscientiously as I did when I was really poor. thank you for the comment.

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      What I liked about living in MN is that they sell stuff even in the WalMart in huge quantity at a lesser price, bulk is always the way to go. Around here where I moved to, Sams Club and the local grocery are sufficing at the moment. Haven't really had time to get around to looking around but using coupons for me is a good thing or going on the day when they have the sales going on. Stocking up is definitely the way to go tho....

      Great hub!!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 

      7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Hey, Thank you dahoglund for a super hub,that will help strech your dollars and have more food. Godspeed. creativeone59

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the complimentary comment. I always believed in Ben Franklin's "waste not, want not." frugality, not cheapness , should be a way of life.

    • samsons1 profile image


      7 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & useful! Well written and timely article. We need to be frugal especially under the current administration. Times are hard for most people...

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for adding these ideas.There are a lot of little tricks that I may have not learned. Store like shopko do have a senior day but I usually lose track of when it is.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Great suggestions here! We have a bread outlet store near us and we even get to pick out an extra loaf if we purchase $5 worth on Senior Citizen day. There are a few good things about getting older! Haha!

      When we lived in Wisconsin Rapids I often accompanied my next door neighbor who liked to go strawberry picking. He picked enough that his wife froze and had enough strawberries for every day of the year! They loved strawberries obviously. I froze them also...but not quite that much!

      Another tip on saving money...most grocery stores have the less expensive items way on top or the bottom. In the middle (eye level) are the more expensive items. This pertains to canned and packaged items.

      We have some grocery stores down here that double coupons up to 50 cents and triple the lower priced ones. If one is a saavy shopper who doesn't mind trying new items, sometimes the items are almost free by using the coupons.

      Rating this useful and up. Thanks!

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for the positive feedback.Yhr bakery outlets also spmetimes have bagels, cakes, donuts, cookies and other stuff depending on the brand.

    • Tamarajo profile image


      7 years ago

      Great advice.

      I agree Kwik Trip is a great place to get cheap milk and I have often purchased butter there for under $2 a pound.

      Also liked your Bakery outlet suggestion as you can always freeze the outdated bread until ready to use.

      I really enjoy saving money on necessary purchases.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      When I lived in Moline, Illinois I bought at Hy-Vee a lot and Aldis's. A lot of people liked Sam's club but it didn't seem worth going across the river to me.

      where we are now is more rural and we don't have any major grocry chains. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I think we have to judge each product on its own rather than rely on a name. Thanks for commenting.

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 

      7 years ago from Iowa

      These are great suggestions, especially for folks who don't live in a competitive grocery market. If someone could find a group of friends who wanted to share, they could start a produce co-op. It would be quite a lot of work, but perhaps not more than some serious couponers do.

      In my area Walmart seems pretty overpriced on necessities such as milk, but Sam's club sells milk at a competitive price. Whenever I go to Wal-Mart I try to use their price matching policy. Happy holidays!

    • eovery profile image


      7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      I have found that we like a lot of the non-name brands better than the more expensive brand names ones.

      Keep on hubbing!


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