Want to save more money on groceries? Try this

Couple looking unhappy with the receipt of their fresh produce.

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Eating less meat can save you.

Key points

  • The most recent CPI report found that the cost of “food at home” rose 12.4% between October 2021 and October 2022.
  • A 2021 Oxford University study found that eating less meat can save you money on food costs.
  • Meatless meals abound, but to maximize your savings, avoid meat substitutes.

When it comes to grocery costs, 2022 really has been a year for the record books. The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Summary showed that the headline rate of inflation in October 2022 was 7.7% above that in October 2021. it), the rate of Inflation stood at 12.4% in the same period. Oh.

Fortunately, there are ways to save money on your shopping costs. you could try some food waste apps, which give consumers the opportunity to buy food that would otherwise be thrown away at a lower cost. You can check out the helpful folks on Reddit, who have provided many ideas to save money. The The best credit cards for supermarkets. will reward you with cash back or points on your grocery purchases. And if you are a college student, you could even save by taking advantage of free food on campus whenever possible. But here’s a way to lower your grocery bills that you may not have seriously considered: eat less meat.

I’m not saying you should go vegan or vegetarian right away, but consider the fact that cutting back on meat is better for your health, better for the planet, and better for your health. Bank account.

a wallet wins

A study from Oxford University last year (published in The Planetary Health Lancet) investigated dietary habits in the US, UK, Australia and Western Europe and their financial implications. The study found that after a vegetarian diet (meaning no animal products at all) cut food bills by up to a third. Completely vegetarian diets resulted in slightly less cost savings than that. But the study also found that those who followed a “flexitarian” diet (meaning less meat and dairy) would end up saving 14% on food costs. That 14% will beat the grocery inflation figure of 12.4%.

Perhaps you’ve never considered thinking outside the box when it comes to your traditional Western diet. How to start reducing meat consumption for the benefit of your finances? I recommend being strategic.

be strategic

It is not as difficult as you are afraid to eat less meat. If you currently eat 21 meals a week (three per day) and 16 of those include meat, try cutting those down to 12 or 14. You probably already eat a lot of vegetarian meals without considering the cost savings. Foods like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, bean salad, grilled cheese, and vegetable soup are meatless, filling, and inexpensive. All of these are great starting points for meatless meals, and if you like to cook, the whole world awaits you.

A quick search on Amazon.com returned more than 10,000 results for “vegetarian cookbooks” and across a wide variety of genres and cuisines. The Internet also awaits you with open arms. My favorite recipe store, enjoy cooking, gave me 5,800 results on a search for vegetarian recipes. Don’t forget that you can make many classic favorites without meat, too. Chili with beans. Spaghetti without meatballs or vegetable lasagna.

The best meatless proteins to pick up and find recipes include:

  • Cheese
  • Beans (and there are so many delicious varieties, both canned and dried)
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Soy (edamame) and tofu

Beware! There’s one potential pitfall you could run into on your quest to eat less meat and save money: meat substitutes.

Stay away from meat substitutes

If you peruse the refrigerated or frozen convenience food sections of your supermarket, you’ll likely find products with names like “chick’n” or “soysage.” Check out the fresh meats section and you just might find an “Impossible” meat substitute (many fast food restaurants have also been offering burgers and other dishes made with meat alternatives). These are a good buy, right? Not so fast. Fake meat is often more expensive than the real meat it replaces.

Let’s say you want to make chili. For your protein source, you are trying to decide between ground beef, meat substitute, or beans. How do those prices stack up? I checked at my local grocery store for some pretty simple protein options for a classic chili recipe:


price per ounce

85% lean ground beef


ground “meat” impossible


Goya Canned Red Beans


Data source: Price Chopper.

The clear price winner is kidney beans, but if you just can’t fathom chili without meat, consider using a ratio of two parts beans to one part meat, and you’ll still save. However, you’ll spend a lot more if you go for the meat substitute, since it’s nearly twice the price of ground beef and more than six times that of beans. Shop wisely and opt for the meatless proteins listed in the section above to save the most money.

Ready to lower your grocery bills? Many people are. Consider adding more meatless foods to your diet to save money and enjoy a greater variety of foods.

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