Cut your grocery bill with these 10 tips

Cut your grocery bill with these 10 tips

Cut your grocery bill with these 10 tips


The shift to staying home during the pandemic has challenged many families with some pretty cringeworthy grocery bills. But you can do a lot to stretch your grocery budget, and it starts with having a solid plan before you even go to the store. Here are 10 tips on how to save.

Photo of a lady making a grocery check list

  1. Make a menu plan for the week.
    Icon of a familyInvolve the whole family — what would they like to eat this week? Who will prepare the meal? Everyone has a role, including the kids.
    Icon of a sale tagCheck advertisements for the store(s) where you usually shop, and plan meals around sale items advertised.
    Icon of a grocery cartConsider what produce is in season, as those items will be cheaper. Use UOG’s “Buy Guam Grown” seasonal charts for fruits and vegetables and local fresh seafood.
    Icon of a menuCreate a menu that’s flexible. It doesn’t matter if you have kadu (soup) or stir fry on Monday or Thursday. You will still need the same ingredients.
    Icon of a chicken curry mealThink about your family’s favorite meals that can be cooked in large batches, portioned into individual containers, and eaten throughout the week or placed in the freezer for next week. Having individual ready-to-go meals will discourage you from ordering costly take-out meals.
    Icon the represents budgetingUse menu-planning tools and find sample two-week menu designs for eating healthy on a budget at under the “Healthy Eating on a Budget” link.
  2. Make a shopping list. 

    List the ingredients needed for each meal in your week’s plan, remembering to double or triple the recipe for any large-batch meals. But first, check for ingredients you already have in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Plus, checking the freezer will ensure you have enough freezer space for items bought in bulk (see below).

  3. Eat before you shop. 

    Grocery shopping hungry can lead to impulse buying and unhealthy food choices.

    Photo of a lady choosing onions at a grocery store

  4. Stick to your list.

    If you’re not hungry, this should be easy. 

  5. Look up and down for savings. 

    Stores often stock the priciest items at eye level. You can save big by looking on the upper and lower shelves.

  6. Avoid costly convenience foods.

    Convenience foods, like frozen dinners, pre-cut fruits and vegetables, and instant rice and oatmeal, are always more expensive. Instead, make them from scratch. 

  7. Compare prices.

    Most stores offer a generic brand of name-brand products at a cheaper price. These items have the same quality without the extra cost of a fancier label.

  8. Buy in bulk.

    It is almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Smart choices are family packs of chicken, steak, or fish and large bags of frozen vegetables. 

  9. Calculate the unit cost.

    The unit price is how much an item costs per pound, ounce, quart, etc. This is useful when comparing the cost of two similar items in different sized packages. The unit price is sometimes included in small print in the bottom corner of the shelf price tag, or download the free Spend Smart, Eat Smart mobile app from Iowa State University to compare two products. 

    Photo of a family chopping vegetables on a chopping board

  10. Don’t toss your leftovers!

    Before they go bad, think of ways to spice up your leftovers or use them in a new meal — like throwing leftover cooked vegetables in a new batch of fried rice. Remember, throwing away food is throwing away money.

Learn more about how to make healthy lifestyle choices on a budget by following the Community Nutrition Education Programs of the University of Guam’s Cooperative Extension & Outreach unit on Facebook @UOGCNEP.

Photo of Tanisha Aflague


This article was written by Tanisha Aflague, a registered dietitian nutritionist as well as an extension agent III and an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Guam. She holds a doctorate in nutrition from University of Hawaii at Manoa.