1. Make a List
The biggest trick to saving on your bill is to make a weekly meal plan so you aren’t throwing food—and your money—away. Make a list and shop accordingly. No impulse buys allowed—unless staple items are on sale. If you have the storage space, it can pay to stock up on non-perishable and frozen food.
2. Avoid Bulk Produce
Buying a carton of tomatoes may seem like it’ll save you money, but if you really only need one or two, then spoiled produce is no longer a bargain. This is especially true if you’re cooking for one, in which case you should always just pluck one tomato off the vine and leave the rest for someone else to purchase.
3. Buy Frozen
Most of us know to avoid sodium-heavy frozen food, but that’s really only true for frozen meals. Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh since the produce is picked and frozen immediately, keeping the nutrients intact. Frozen produce is also very economical; you can typically get a large bag of frozen raspberries for the same price as a small container of fresh raspberries. Plus frozen produce gives you flexibility to put together an impromptu dish or smoothie without having to worry about going out to get fresh fruit.
4. Look at the Price per Unit
When comparing similar items among brands and sizes, look at more than just the price. To find the true cost, check the price per unit (per 100 grams or 100 mL), which is usually in tiny print below the main price on the label affixed to the shelf; a bigger package or another brand may end up being cheaper. And if you are single or part of a small family, you can still purchase in large quantities for big savings —join forces with your neighbors or friends to divvy up and share the cost of perishable items such as meats and fruit and vegetables.
5. Buy Produce in Season
Check the grocery flyers typically sent every week to find the best buys for the week based on fresh produce in season. Food in season is usually priced to sell. During the summer months, corn on the cob can cost as little as 10 cents an ear; at other times of the year, it may cost 10 times as much. Also, shop your local farmers' market for great deals on local produce; the prices won't include shipping costs.