10 Ways to Save Money on Food
Follow these tips to lower your grocery and restaurant costs
En español | 1. Eat for cheap. Get a list of discounts at about 70 restaurant chains at TheSeniorList.com. Show your AARP card at Denny’s, for example, and save $7.50 on a $50 check.
2. BYOB (your own bag, that is). A growing number of communities require a 5- to 10-cent charge per bag provided by the store. Use your own bags and you could easily save $25 a year.
3. Skip organic if you peel it. Experts say you want organic fruits or veggies when you’re eating the whole thing. But skip it for bananas and other foods that you typically peel. Save $1 on the price of an avocado.
4. Max out couponing. Use more than one grocery store app per item. One user combined Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Shopmium and saved $500 a year.
5. Go small. Research shows that when the size of your shopping cart is doubled, you buy a whopping 40 percent more. Grab a small cart and save up to $233 a month for two.
6. Learn patterns. Grocery chains put certain products on sale at regular intervals. A store may offer a “buy one, get one free” deal on your favorite ice cream or snack every sixth week. Discover the pattern and easily save $300 a year.
7. Get wine by the case. Most wine stores will take at least 10 percent off your purchase if you walk out with 12 bottles. You’ll save $48 on two cases of $20 wine, and you’ll always have a housewarming gift handy.
8. Be a ninja shopper. Here’s how cunning grocery shoppers save $10 or more a week on produce costs: They plan specific needs, rather than just randomly selecting. They show up to the farmers market late, when sellers slash prices. They buy overstocked produce at a discount. They use a grocery store loyalty card to get the best prices.
9. Another way to dine out for less. Restaurants.com offers discounted gift certificates to eateries all over the country. For example, you’ll pay $10 for a $25 gift certificate — and save $15 on a night out.
10. Drink office coffee. If you spend $4 a day at Starbucks on a couple of tall coffees, that’s $1,000 a year just for workdays. Many offices have free coffee. If not, a pound of $4.99 coffee from the supermarket produces 25 tall (12-ounce) cups. Net savings a year: up to $1,000.