Three Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Sara Dow is a ACE Certified Weight Management and Fitness Nutrition Specialist. She is also a ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Small Group Trainer at the Y. Twice a month, her blog posts will feature nutrition education, a healthy recipe she has tried and loves, and tips to help you achieve your health goals, as well as answers centered around a nutrition question from a Y member.

A 2020 survey found that 83% of consumers have noticed an increase in food and beverage prices over the past year.  Here are a few tips to help you save money on groceries.

Pick budget-friendly foods:

Some foods are less expensive than others.  A few go-to, relatively low-cost options include milk, bananas, apples, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, popcorn, oatmeal, peanut butter, lentils, beans, and canned fish.   Try the store-brand version of pantry staples, as they are often less expensive and provide equivalent flavor and nutrition.

Put your freezer to use:

Frozen fruits and vegetables (without added sugar or sodium) are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts.  Add mixed frozen vegetables or frozen riced cauliflower to soups and stews to boost fiber and support digestive health.  Keep frozen fruit on hand and add to oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies. Stock up on meat, poultry, and fish on sale and store in the freezer for up to six months.

Properly store food items:

According to the USDA, up to 40% of food is wasted annually. This adds up to an estimated $1500 per family!  By properly storing produce and navigating date labels (such as “best by” and “sell by”), you can reduce waste and stretch your food dollars further.

Feel overwhelmed at the grocery store?  Sign up for one of my NEW guided grocery store tours at Metro Market!  Check out this short video clip and reach out with any questions ([email protected]). Register at member services today!

A Healthy Recipe to Share…

Crockpot Applesauce by Sara Dow


8 apples, washed, cored, and cut into quarters (do not remove peel)

1 Tbsp Penzy’s pie spice OR 1 Tbsp cinnamon and ½ Tbsp nutmeg

Preparation: Place apple quarters in a crock pot and sprinkle with pie spice.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8. Optional: Garnish with toasted pecans for a delightful crunch. Store in the fridge for 3-5 days or freeze for up to a month.  This recipe contains zero added sugar and can be enjoyed either hot or cold.

Nutrition information:

Apples are a rich source of fiber which helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of heart disease and colon cancer. Cinnamon and nutmeg reduce inflammation and improve brain health.

Budget-Friendly Tip: Imperfect apples (sometimes called “seconds”) are commonly sold at a discount and are ideal for this recipe!   I stock up from the seconds barrel at Jelli’s Market and enjoy applesauce for pennies a serving all fall!  Look for discounted apples (in red mesh bags) on the end cap near the bananas at Metro Market (Oconomowoc) and Pick n Save (Watertown).

Check out this Resource…

Food Insights is a nonprofit educational organization that aims to share science-based information about health, nutrition, food safety, and agriculture.  Check out their latest blog posts, including Eight Ways to Save Money on Groceries (the inspiration for this post) and Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters.

About Sara Dow

Hi, I’m Sara and I am passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through the knowledge and practice of good nutrition.  

In 2018, I was inspired by the YMCA community to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming a registered dietitian. I am now in my senior year, double majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics at Kansas State University.  I am excited to share with you what I am learning.