Residents of These 5 States Pay at Least $500 Less Than Average for Groceries Each Year

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  • The average American spends thousands of dollars on food each year, but how much you pay depends on several factors, including where you live and what you buy.
  • Planning your grocery trips before you go can help you save the most money possible.
  • Consider using coupons or switching to store-brand items to save more.

What would you do with that kind of savings?

The average American spent about $7,316 on food in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics's latest Consumer Expenditure Survey. That's about $610 per month. And some people spend a lot more, depending on where they live and the size of their households.

Others spend a lot less too, especially residents of the following five states, which have some of the lowest grocery costs in the nation.

These five states have the lowest average grocery costs

These five states have the lowest average grocery costs in the nation, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center:

  1. Texas (10.6% cheaper than the national average)
  2. Michigan (9.6% cheaper)
  3. Kansas (8.3% cheaper)
  4. Mississippi (7.7% cheaper)
  5. Arkansas (7.1% cheaper)

If we use the BLS's national average of $7,316 spent annually on food as our baseline, that means the typical Arkansas resident would spend about $519 less per year while the average Texan would spend $775 less.

But it's worth noting that state averages don't tell the whole story. While these states may have below-average costs overall, there's likely a lot of variance within each state. Those who live in urban areas will probably pay more, as the cost of living is generally higher there compared to rural areas.

It also depends on the things you buy. Someone who purchases exclusively organic produce, for example, probably pays more than someone who buys conventional produce. And obviously, if you have to feed more people, you'll have to buy more than someone just feeding themselves.

Tips that can bring anyone's grocery costs down

Even if your grocery bill is a lot higher than the averages above, there are still steps you can take to reduce your expenses without drastically changing your diet.

First, it helps to go into the grocery store well-fed and with a plan. Avoid shopping when you're hungry because you'll be more likely to purchase things you don't need. Stick to the items on your list and get out of the store as quickly as you can. You might try ordering online and doing curbside pickup if you tend to get distracted while in the store. Or you could do your grocery shopping completely online with the help of a service, like Amazon Fresh.

Plan your meals in advance and try to avoid food waste. Figure out exactly how much of each item you need and have a plan for your leftovers so they don't go bad.

Don't be afraid to try store-brand items, rather than name-brand, unless you specifically prefer the name brand's flavor. For many items, there's probably not a significant difference in taste, but you might save a few dollars on your bill by buying store-brand items.

If you prefer name-brand, keep an eye out for sales and coupons. Your local newspaper can keep you apprised of some of the best deals in your area, but you may also be able to find coupons online.

And when you're ready to check out, reach for a rewards credit card that will pay you for using it. If you don't already have one, check out some of the best grocery credit cards and choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.

Your mileage with these tips may vary, but if you try a few of them, you'll probably shave a few dollars off your weekly grocery bill. And over the course of a year, those few dollars saved can add up to hundreds of dollars you can spend on whatever you want.

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