7 Useful Tips to Save Money on Groceries

Updated: October 1, 2022

If there’s one thing Filipinos are known for, it’s how we always put the family first. While countries like the U.S. expect young adults to leave the nest, most Filipinos would rather stay with the family if given the chance.

Sure, it’s always a privilege to live close to your loved ones. But it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. After all, with a big family, comes bigger responsibilities.

Aside from electric and other utility bills, your groceries will also take a huge chunk out of your budget, especially if you have more stomachs to fill.

But regardless if you live by yourself or with your family, below are seven ways to save money on your next grocery shopping.

1. Plan your meals.

Charging to the supermarket without any clue on what the buy is the root of overspending. Fortunately, this can easily be avoided by creating a weekly meal plan.

But before thinking about what you want to eat, consider looking at what’s currently on sale first. This will prevent you from looking for alternatives that may throw you off your budget in case the ingredient you need isn’t available.

If you shop at major supermarkets like the Robinsons Supermarket or Walter Mart, you can refer to their e-catalog or online store to check what’s available.

2. Shop no more than once a week.

To further avoid impulse purchases and save money on gas, make it a habit to shop no more than once a week. Ideally, this should coincide with a weekly family activity, such as going to church or eating out.

Just be careful when bringing your kids along. Unless you are immune to their cries, avoid walking to the chocolates or ice cream isles. Otherwise, consider asking your spouse to walk them around as you do all the shopping.

If you can do it once every two weeks, the better. However, a quick trip to the grocery once a week allows you to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and eat healthier.

3. Take advantage of promos.

The more you stick to your shopping routine and budget, the easier it gets to keep the habit for the long haul. However, there’s nothing wrong with a little flexibility, especially if it means taking advantage of promos and other store events.

One strategy is to look for announcements on the supermarkets’ websites before rewriting your weekly meal plan.

Alternatively, you can follow their official accounts on social networks like Facebook or Twitter so you never miss an update as soon as they’re posted.

4. Compare prices.

While you’re at it, you should also compare the product prices offered by different stores. Sure, the price difference may look negligible on paper, but even a small amount means a lot if you look at the bigger picture.

It’s also important to factor in the distance between you and the supermarkets in question. This will help you save even more money on gas or public transportation.

5. Use shopping list apps.

To make groceries and meal planning a breeze, you take advantage of shopping list apps like “Out of Milk”. Doing so can make the activity slightly more fun and engaging. It can also help you organize your grocery items according to any category or list.

For example, to help you stick to your meal plan, you can use the app to create separate food lists on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on.

6. Look for substitutes.

As you build your shopping list for the week, be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives to branded food products.

Of course, quality is paramount when it comes to food. But sometimes, the quality difference between an expensive brand and a cheaper one isn’t enough to justify the higher price tag. That’s why you should start by reviewing your previous grocery receipt and underlining the most expensive products.

7. Take advantage of loyalty cards.

Major supermarkets nowadays offer loyalty cards to reward their regular customers. Not only can they provide discounts, but they also offer tons of other benefits, such as freebies and value-added services.

They’re also quite easy to apply for — simply look for the customer service desk and ask for assistance. Research or learn more about loyalty programs in popular Filipino establishments.

Did we miss a crucial money-saving strategy? Let us know in the comments below. Finally, help spread financial awareness by sharing or tweeting about this post.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy


  1. Here’s an additional tip. When you buy items on promo or on sale, think of a reason first why these items are cheaper. Check on the expiry dates or dents in cans. Usually, items near expiry dates and dented cans are the items that have mark down prices.

  2. Additional tips:

    If using credit card to purchase groceries, check on the card promos first so you will know which card to use to get perks. However, let us not aim to meet the minimum purchase to receive such perk if you just plan to buy a few items. Example, free Ham for every 6K purchase. If your groceries amounts to 4.5K only, let us not add a few more items (usually wants) just to reach the 6K purchase.

    Big sizes for items do not necessarily ensure savings. If you have ample time, compute on a per gram, per ml basis to know which is cheaper (Price/Size). Example, shampoo in sachets is actually cheaper than shampoo in big bottles (for some brands).

    For Christmas/New Year food preparations, buy items (example: canned goods, pasta, condiments) as early as October. Prices shoot up esp for holiday items on December.

  3. Very good points raised by Nely Saclot and She, we would call these folks sharp because they accurately observed what a buyer will see in the various markets. As an EX-pat with 6+ years living in the Philippines, I too have noticed minor differences from store to store and big differences in the way merchandising is done here vs In the US. In my country, older product that may be going out of code date or is slightly out of code is placed for sale on a bargain shelf at a greatly reduced price. Promos are often new products or a new flavour of an already available product selling at a reduced price to get you to try it out. Here I often see an about to be expired product bundled with another item at a slight discount. I assume that is the way retailer here get rid of their older inventory at minimal loss?

    The first thing I promised my beautiful wife is that she will NEVER run out of essential items for the home including food. While I prefer NOT to eat from a can, I have stocked a pantry (storage room) with quantities of storable items that we all enjoy. It is rare to find these items on a genuine sale but I feel we still have a great savings because: 1. We NEVER have need to run out for one or two items to finish cooking a meal. No wasted time or wasted fuel. 2. We NEVER worry during rainy season that we can not get around flood waters to purchase food, This is a form of food security in my opinion. From experience I have learned that many products we do store can and do go “out of stock” for long periods after a flood. The water may retreat in a few days but it may well be two months or longer before the products we use return to the store shelves. All it takes to build up storage is to purchase a few extra of what you normally use when you are doing your regular shopping. 3. While we can not prevent price increases from inflation, we can hedge against rising prices. Stored food allows us to look for a better price and or wait out a temporary price increase due to a shortage of certain items, We will be less likely to become victims of price gouging. Wives and girlfriends of some of my fellow EX-pats have told their guys that I am boastful, excessive or arrogant for building the storeroom we have in our home. Maybe so and I plead guilty as charged but I also rest easy knowing my family is provided for in any kind of emergency.

    I did not purchase the biggest refrigerator/freeze money could buy. While it is good to have some amount of frozen food, it also has a high storage cost. Electricity here in the Philippines is priced much like the west coast or Northern New England where I am from. Running that huge refrigerator just because I could would, in my mind, be showing off and boastful. We find it best to accomplish a shopping for fresh foods on the way home from other errants we must do. The medium size inverter refrigerator I purchased is miserly on electric power and stores food perfectly. Less spoiled food equals lower coast.The plan is drive one big circle and return to home base.

    My final idea is try to purchase at least one spare gas cylinder of extra cooking fuel. My gas delivery offers 24 hour service and they are very fast, Still, some critical dishes can not wait so we have extra fuel in stoick. No need for my gas guy to rush and no stress at home. I suggest everybody store extra fuel of whatever type you cook with. During a severe flood, we will NOT suffer if a gas delivery can not be done. For those with electric cooking, I suggest at least one alternative. A small single burner butane stove and a few fuel cylinders will keep you cooking during an extended outage. Perhap some charcoal for the grill also? Your expensive food that is melting in the freezer will still be enjoyed and again, not go to waste through spoilage.

    I apologize for the lengthy diatribe. In my day, we were taught that wasting good food was a sin. I am strongly opinionated about this subject. We had plenty to eat and could have all we wanted but the rule was to eat what you take, We were always aware that other people in the world may not be as fortunate as our family. NEVER allow waste!

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