The average American family spends about $7,000 a year on food — making up the third biggest annual expense behind housing and transportation, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While reducing those two biggest expenses can be a little more complicated, with just a little bit of effort, it’s actually really easy to save on the cost of food.
Read more: 15 ways to save on groceries
Changing where you shop
There are a lot of different strategies that work — from using coupons and shopping for deals to planning out your meals for the week.
But one of the absolute easiest ways to save on groceries is to simply change where you shop. Americans have more choices than ever these days, allowing you even more opportunities to get better deals and avoid overspending when you don’t have to.
And in some cases, that means shopping online.
6 grocery items you should buy online instead of in a store
According to a new report from Consumer Reports, online retailers like Amazon offer a variety of great deals on nonperishable items — with many costing at least 10% less than what you would find in traditional grocery stores. Plus, you can often get free shipping which makes the deals totally worth it.
‘Staples such as frozen food, milk, fish, and meat are still cheaper to buy in a store,’ says CR — but if you can build a ‘hybrid’ strategy of both online and offline shopping, you can get the best savings that both have to offer.
So when it’s time for your next grocery run, here are some items to shop for online and where to find the best deals!
- Snack bars: Check out the specific snack-bar maker’s website, as many of these companies offer special online deals. For example, snack bar company Kind offers 37% off retail prices if you buy in bulk or on a consistent (monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly) basis.
- Specialty diet food: Check out Vitacost for savings on gluten-free, nut-free and other specialty foods.
- Coffee: Look for smaller-name brands online, rather than buying the more popular, more expensive brands of coffee in the store.
- Healthy beverages: Check out the specific company’s website for special online offers.
- Baby food: Shopping online for baby food can save you at least 15%. Check out Amazon for deals on baby food and a variety of other baby products.
- Pasta: Check out Amazon for deals on a wide variety of pasta offerings.