5 Secrets To Huge Grocery Savings for the Holidays

Father giving high five to daughter in supermarket stock photo
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The holidays are delicious, but all those big feasts cost big money — unless you play your cards right at the grocery store. The smart shopping strategies you use to bring down food costs all year long still apply, but the November-December rush requires you to adjust your tactics to get the best deals. It also provides new and unique opportunities to save.

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If you’re hosting, the following tips could help you entertain for less. That’s especially important in 2022 considering that food has suffered a higher rate of inflation over the last year than just about anything else.

But even if you’re not putting on a party, you can still use these strategies to lower your grocery bills during the holidays and, in a few cases, all year long.

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Now is the time to revisit the plastic in your wallet and research what’s on the market to ensure you’re getting the best grocery rewards possible for those big holiday purchases.

Make Your Money Work for You

“When it comes to necessary expenses like groceries, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right credit card,” said Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at TopCashback.com. “Review the terms of your card’s program to determine which spending categories will reward you the most cash back or points per dollar spent, and make a note to use that card on those expenses.”

Among the best of the bunch is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, which offers an industry-leading 6% cash back on groceries up to $6,000 per year.

“From there, you’ll typically be able to apply these rewards toward your bill as a statement credit,” said Gramuglia.

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Target Items That Are Known for Deep Holiday Discounts

You can invest in long-term grocery savings by stocking up on certain items that stores discount between November and December, even if you don’t necessarily need them for the holidays. Each has a unique reason for its seasonal discount, but savings can top 25%.

Make Your Money Work for You

According to Reader’s Digest, the following items typically see their lowest prices of the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas:

  • Stock and broth
  • Tea
  • Baking mixes
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Coffee
  • Candy and chocolate
  • Hummus and dips
  • Nuts
  • Jarred pasta sauce

Go Big

Membership warehouse clubs are already a great way to save on the groceries you buy in quantity around the holidays, and seasonal sales only sweeten the pot.

“During the holidays, think about buying groceries in bulk from Costco or Amazon,” said Shawn Laib, a shopping expert with Clearsurance.com.

Costco is advertising several current and upcoming sales, and Amazon has bulk deals on standard holiday fare like candy, chocolate, nuts and food-themed gift baskets of every sort. Most of Amazon’s offerings are SNAP-eligible.

If you’re considering a club membership but don’t want to buy in bulk, be aware that membership cards are non-transferable. However, since members can bring a guest, you and a like-minded friend can shop together and split the bill.

Make Your Money Work for You

Eat Less Meat

The year-over-year inflation rate has been stuck in the 8%-9% range since the beginning of spring, but for meat, it’s been about twice as high — in the 14%-20% range.

In 2021, an Oxford University global study published in The Lancet found that in wealthy industrialized countries like the U.S. and the UK, shoppers can cut their budgets by one-third by replacing meat with vegan and vegetarian alternatives — and that was before the meat industry increased its prices by double-digit percentages.

How much meat you’re willing to cut out is up to you, but a so-called flexitarian diet that includes some meat reduces grocery bills by 14% — roughly enough to negate the effects of meat inflation.

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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