The money you spend on groceries may vary from month to month, but food is a necessity that has to be included in the budget. And no one wants to stress about food costs.
As the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the global economy and our individual financial lives, we had to find creative ways to reduce our grocery spending this year while still putting meals on the table each day.
Here are our top stories about saving money on food in 2020 — with plenty of advice you can take with you into the new year.
1. The 9 Best Grocery Delivery Services
More and more people turned to online shopping to get bread, eggs, milk and more delivered to their doorstep.
We broke down the top grocery delivery services — outlining the fees, availability and coupon policies — so you can make a smart choice about where to shop for food without having to leave the house.
2. Here’s Where You Can Pay for Groceries Online With an EBT Card
As online grocery shopping grew in popularity in 2020, more retailers began making it possible for consumers to purchase food online using their Electronic Benefits Transfer (or EBT) cards. EBT cards are issued to low-income individuals enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP).
3. 15 Stores That Offer Free Grocery Pickup
The convenience of shopping online for groceries is wonderful. The fees that come along with that service… not so much.
Free grocery pickup, however, is a sweet alternative that allows you to avoid bumping elbows with strangers in crowded aisles but not have to pay extra to have someone shop on your behalf.
These 15 stores will shop for you at no added cost. You won’t even have to leave a tip.
4. Spend Less on Produce
Eating fruits and vegetables every day is essential for a well-balanced diet. That doesn’t mean you need to blow your budget to be healthy.
We’ve rounded up over a dozen ways to get, store and make the most of your produce so you can really get your money’s worth.
5. Cut Costs on Meat
Meat generally ends up being the most expensive items on a family’s grocery bill. But you can find ways to shave down your spending without giving up on your rib-eye steak dinners.
Where you purchase your meat, when you shop and how you make your meals all factor into how much you’ll pay at the grocery register. Follow this advice on how to score meat for cheap.
6. Find Cheap Wine That Tastes Good
Of all years, this was not one to skip out on the wine. While alcohol can get pricey, a higher price tag doesn’t always indicate better quality.
We consulted a few expert sommeliers to get the scoop on how to choose inexpensive wine that still tastes delicious.
7. Get Your Daily Coffee Fix on a Budget
You don’t have to give up your daily latte habit, but there are ways you can lower your spending on coffee.
We turned to some coffee experts for tips on how to find, buy and make great coffee on a budget.
8. Find the Value in Buying in Bulk
Bulk buying isn’t just for families with half a dozen kids. Even if it’s just you at home, you can find good deals when buying in bulk.
Since the price per unit is often lower when buying items packaged in a larger quantity, you can save money on pantry staples that won’t quickly expire. Splitting your haul with a friend or family member outside your household is another way to make bulk buying work for you.
9. Use Cookbooks That Focus on Budget Meals
Trying to recreate a popular recipe only to find out it includes fancy (read: expensive) ingredients you don’t have at home is a total buzzkill.
If you don’t care to spend $15 on a bottle of saffron when you only need a pinch, consider turning to recipes specifically for budget cooks. These six cookbooks are perfect for the cost-conscious chef.
10. Find Affordable Healthy Pet Food
Fido’s gotta eat too. What you feed your pet is definitely a factor in your grocery budget. You want your furry friend to get great quality food, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay a premium.
We spoke with veterinarians and pet nutritionists for sound advice on how to choose healthy pet food that’s still affordable.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers nationwide to make smart decisions with their money through actionable and inspirational advice, and resources about how to make, save and manage money.