If you've been to the grocery store recently, you may have noticed that prices are not what they used to be. According the latest Consumer Price Index figures, there has been a [10.9% year-over-year gain](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/10/how-to-save-on-groceries-amid-food-price-inflation.html) for all food products, making food the leading category for inflation.<a href="#one"><sup></sup></a> Regardless of income, those gains are stretching all of our wallets thin. With very real price hikes on necessary items, knowing how to grocery shop on a budget is more important than ever. Luckily, we've got the top tips to manage your food bill while keeping your belly full.
## 1. Meal plan
Meal planning can be a game changer for your wallet and your waistline. According to Adylia-Rhenee Gutierrez, certified nutritionist and creator of Yhorlife, "The best and most [cost-effective way](https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/spending/slideshows/how-to-save-money-when-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget) to eat healthily is to plan your meals."<a href="#two"><sup></sup></a> Check your freezer, fridge, and pantry before heading out to avoid purchasing duplicate items. You may even be able to make several meals with items already in your house.
## 2. Make a list
Once you have a plan, making a grocery shopping list on a budget can feel like a natural next step. Stores are specifically laid out to put the [most tempting](https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/personal-finance/how-to-save-money-on-groceries) - but often unnecessary - items in your immediate view, so being prepared with a detailed list and sticking to it can help keep impulse buying under control.<a href="#three"><sup></sup></a> Limiting your shopping to a list based on your meal plan will also ensure you're getting food you know you will use, reducing unnecessary food waste.
## 3. Buy less meat
This will be a tough one for you carnivores out there, but if you're spending more on meat than other food categories, this tip could really make a difference in your finances. Even before the recent inflation, meat was thought to be one of the [more expensive aspects](https://www.cnbc.com/select/tips-for-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget/) of a meal.<a href="#four"><sup></sup></a> Consider subbing in some beans, lentils, or mushrooms for beef in just a few meals a week. Or if you really can't quit cold turkey (literally), you can also look for [less expensive cuts of meat](https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/ways-to-save-money-on-groceries/) such as ground chicken or beef, use half the amount of meat that you normally would in a recipe or plan meals around what meats are on sale that week.<a href="#five"><sup></sup></a>
## 4. Be a smart shopper
This tip covers several best shopping practices in one, but the general idea is to avoid getting taken in by supermarket sales techniques. For instance, items placed at eye level are usually more expensive and can be exclusively name brand. To avoid overpaying for items you know you need:
* Look for produce that's in season - it's cheaper and tastier!
* Don't be afraid to buy generic - especially with staples like detergent
* Compare price per unit - "value packs" don't always save you money
* Be aware of ["shrinkflation"](https://www.cnbc.com/select/tips-for-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget/) - manufacturers reducing the size of the packaging while selling at the same price<a href="#four"><sup></sup></a>
Training yourself to be a more proactive shopper, rather than grabbing the first item on the shelf that fits your list, is the one of the best ways to ensure you're getting your money's worth for necessities.
## 5. Join the club
Given that grocery shopping is one of the few consistent and necessary tasks in life, it makes sense to get some sort of reward for doing it. Most grocery chains have their own loyalty programs that provide discounts on select items, seasonal sales, or opportunities to buy in bulk. If you typically buy groceries with a credit card, check out the cash back rewards offered by your credit card provider. Several credit card companies will offer [higher rewards on groceries](https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-credit-cards-for-grocery-shopping/), making the trip that much sweeter.<a href="#six"><sup></sup></a> Finally, apps like [Ibotta](https://home.ibotta.com/), [Rakuten](https://www.rakuten.com/), and [Flipp App](https://app.flipp.com/) allow you to get rebates on purchases or search for coupons in-store.<a href="#four"><sup></sup></a> With so many options out there, it might feel silly not to be getting something back from those supermarket stints.
## Small changes make a big difference
While none of these tips are particularly ground-breaking, it might feel overwhelming to incorporate them all into your regular routine at first. Be patient with yourself. Even one small change per week can pay off over time. With a little practice, planning and proactivity, you'll soon be master of the checkout line in any market.
<div id="one"><sup></sup> Dickler, Jessica (2022, August 10). *Gas is cheaper but groceries are not: How to save as food inflation jumps at the fastest pace since 1979.* Retrieved from: [https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/10/how-to-save-on-groceries-amid-food-price-inflation.html](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/10/how-to-save-on-groceries-amid-food-price-inflation.html)
<div id="two"><sup></sup> LaPonsie, Maryalene (2022, July 12). *How to Save Money When Grocery Shopping on a Budget.* Retrieved from: [https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/spending/slideshows/how-to-save-money-when-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget](https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/spending/slideshows/how-to-save-money-when-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget)
<div id="three"><sup></sup> Broverman, Aaron (2021, November 24). *How to Save Money on Groceries.* Retrieved from: [https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/personal-finance/how-to-save-money-on-groceries](https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/personal-finance/how-to-save-money-on-groceries)
<div id="four"><sup></sup> Paul, Trina (2022, June 9). *Here are 5 tips for grocery shopping on a budget now that prices are going up.* Retrieved from CNBC: [https://www.cnbc.com/select/tips-for-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget/](https://www.cnbc.com/select/tips-for-grocery-shopping-on-a-budget/)
<div id="five"><sup></sup> Phillips, Hedy (2021, June 1). *17 ways to save money on groceries.* Retrieved from: [https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/ways-to-save-money-on-groceries/](https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/ways-to-save-money-on-groceries/)
<div id="six"><sup></sup> White, Alexandria (2022, August 1). *Americans spend over $5,000 a year on groceries - save hundreds at supermarkets with these cards.* Retrieved from CNBC: [https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-credit-cards-for-grocery-shopping/](https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-credit-cards-for-grocery-shopping/)