Top Strategies to Reduce Your Grocery Bill

grocery shopping

If you’ve spent any time at the grocery store or the gas pump in recent weeks, you’ve probably noticed an increase in your bill. In many cases, these changes are a result of economic inflation, which reached 7.9% in February, marking a 40-year high[1]. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs for everyday expenses, you’re not alone. This article will focus on strategies for budgeting at the grocery store as price fluctuations continue into the year. 

What Causes Increases in Your Grocery Bills

Several different factors contribute to the hike in your grocery bills. You might see a rise in grocery prices due to:

  • High gas prices. Transporting food from one place to another now costs a lot more than it did a few months ago. You will see this extra strain reflected in the rising cost of groceries.
  • Increased labor costs. Food manufacturers are experiencing labor shortages and finding it difficult to hire and retain new employees. The pandemic has aggravated existing labor issues in the food industry, thus increasing food prices.
  • Consumer demand. Intense consumer demand puts pressure on supply chains and, ultimately, increases the price of your groceries, especially when supply chains can’t meet that demand.
  • Residual pandemic-related supply chain problems. Supply chain issues can impact different places in different ways. Your grocery store might feel the squeeze in the freezer aisle, while other stores might see higher prices in the produce or meat sections.

Tips for Reducing Grocery Costs

At this point, you may be groaning every time you’re in the grocery store check-out line. Since it seems like inflation is here to stay (at least for the time being), it’s worth figuring out how to navigate these sky-high prices in a way that works for you. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can implement thrifty strategies and reduce grocery costs. 

Meal Planning

Meal planning can really stretch your dollar at the grocery store[2]. Though planning out each meal does take a bit of time, many agree that it’s worth the effort. You’ll sit down and plan out each meal for the next week or two. A meal plan prevents you from buying unnecessary items, as you will only buy the food you need for any given week. 

The basics of meal planning include:

  • Check which foods are on sale. Keep an eye on which foods are selling at reduced prices that week and plan meals that include budget-friendly foods. You can check coupon sites, newspaper inserts, and store flyers for sale updates.
  • Use up what you have in your pantry. See if you have any items that are close to their expiration dates. Incorporate meals that use existing pantry items into your meal plan to reduce overall costs.
  • Prioritize ingredients that you can use in multiple recipes. Try to avoid recipes that call for special ingredients. These items will usually increase your grocery bill. Instead, prepare meals that require similar ingredients so you can buy them in bulk.
  • Make extras. If you can stretch a meal into more than one serving, you can stretch your grocery dollars farther. Make an extra casserole or double soup next time and freeze the one you don’t eat that night. 
  • Try cooking a vegetarian meal one night per week. Meatless protein alternatives, including eggs, legumes, and tofu, are often cheaper than meat itself. You can save money by eating a plant-based meal once a week[3].
  • Get creative with leftovers. If you’re making grilled chicken with vegetables on Monday night, you could use any leftover chicken to make chicken noodle soup on Tuesday night. Plan your meals with special consideration for dishes that use up all your leftovers.

Cooking from Scratch

Though prepared foods are a great option for folks who have difficulty navigating the kitchen, those costs can add up over time. If you’re able to cook, then starting from scratch is an easy way to lower grocery costs. Cooking meals at home usually means that you’ll cook the same meals time and time again. This repetition is great for your wallet because it means you can buy ingredients in bulk.

Cooking from scratch is also a great way to lead a healthier lifestyle. Your diet is an important part of your overall health. When you cook from scratch, you can control what is and isn’t included in everyday meals. You might also incorporate healthy changes into other parts of your lifestyle, like creating an exercise regimen. One way to prioritize your health is wearing an emergency medical alert. You can wear an In-Home + Fall Detection alert at home, and switch to an On-the-Go + Fall Detection alert when you leave the house to exercise or head to the grocery store. An In-Home + On-the-Go + Fall Detection works while you’re in your house or out and about.

Buy Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables have a bad reputation, but they are truly the superheroes of your grocery store. It’s hard to eat enough fruits and vegetables throughout the day, and it may be difficult if you’re a senior who lives alone. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables gives you some freedom. You can take out as much as you need from, say, a bag of frozen broccoli and only use a small portion of what’s available in your freezer. On the other hand, you would have to eat a whole head of fresh broccoli right away so it wouldn’t go bad. Frozen goods take the pressure off the item’s usage timeline and allow you to stretch your dollar that much further. Plus, you can stock up your freezer when these items go on sale.

Researching Government Programs

If you are struggling to pay for food, you are not alone. Food insecurity affects many American seniors. The federal government created the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as a way to support people who are food insecure. The SNAP program ensures that food insecure individuals can use monthly benefits to pay for groceries at both grocery stores and farmers markets. You are eligible for SNAP benefits if your income is less than 130% of the U.S. poverty line.

Another government program that might help is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), or senior box program. This program assists seniors over the age of 60 with incomes at or below 130% of the U.S. poverty line. You receive a box of free food items from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Local nonprofits make sure the boxes get to seniors in need.

Shopping During Senior Hours

Are you familiar with senior discount days? It’s likely that your local grocery store offers a percentage off seniors’ grocery bills during specific days throughout the month. Make sure to check if your grocery store offers something like this. Once you figure out which days will get you a discounted price, mark it down on your calendar. Those savings can go a long way.

If you want to stay extra safe while you’re shopping, you can wear an emergency alert system. Putting on an On-the-Go Wrist Watch Medical Alert + GPS + Pedometer before you leave the house could save you time, stress, and money down the line. You’ll have instant access to emergency services at the touch of a button.

Trying a Vacuum Sealer to Preserve Foods

This might be a new idea for you: using a vacuum sealer to make your food last longer. You can freeze meats and prepared foods in freezer-safe bags. A food vacuum sealer is an initial investment, but buying this simple tool ensures that you can save money down the line. Vacuum-sealed freezer bags lengthen your foods’ shelf-life.

When food gets freezer burn, it means that air has infiltrated the container or bag. A food vacuum sealer allows you to remove air and prevent freezer burn. This storage method also preserves flavor and quality, especially for meats.

Safety at the Press of a Button

Medical alert systems are great for safely visiting the grocery store. In the event of any type of emergency, you’ll press the button on your alert pendant, bracelet or watch and connect to one of Alert1’s 24/7 Command Center agents. You’ll speak with a highly trained and certified agent who will stay on the line with you until help arrives. Alert1 emergency response teams are unique in this way. Other button alert companies will not stay on the line with you, leaving you alone in a confusing, possibly dangerous situation.

As inflation drives up the prices of just about everything, you’re likely thinking about the bottom line with regard to your personal emergency response plans. How will a medical alert system factor into your current budget? Luckily, Alert1 offers plans with budget-conscious seniors in mind. You can get coverage everywhere you go for about $1 a day. Plus, you’ll never pay for multiple button pushes or “false alarms.”

Alert1 offers In-Home and On-the-Go emergency response solutions. If you live alone or experience any chronic health issues, you should consider an option with fall detection technology. Button alerts with fall detection technology can sense a fall and automatically place a call to a 24/7 Command Center.

The bottom line: You can grocery shop on a budget and even eat a bit healthier using the strategies listed above, and you can save money by choosing an affordable Alert1 alert system for life-saving security and peace of mind.



[1] Smialek, Jeanna. 2022, Mar. 10. Surprising U.S. Inflation Raises Stakes as War Pushes Prices Up. The New York Times. Surprising U.S. Inflation Raises Stakes as War Pushes Prices Up.

[2] Ramdene, Hali Bey. 2019, May 29. The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip. The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip.

[3] Francis, Ali. 2022, Feb. 7. 101 Vegetarian Recipes We’ve Got on Dinner Repeat. Bon Appetit. 101 Vegetarian Recipes We’ve Got on Dinner Repeat.