How to Save Money on Canned Goods
It’s all about how to save money on canned goods today. I felt I should update this post since a visit to the store over the weekend brought two things to light for me. First of all, many of the shelves, particularly in the canned goods area, we empty. I’ve noticed that trend for weeks now, and it certainly isn’t getting better.
The second observation, food prices, in general, are going up, and that includes some our your favorite soups, canned veggies, and the canned fruits you like. We’ve heard a lot about supply chain challenges, but I also think the weather, sickness with farmworkers, and limited available harvesting help are also to blame.
As a prepper and one who likes to plan ahead and have food on hand under any situation, one of the best things about having canned goods in your storage stash is that they last for what seems like forever. You can buy them at case lot sales and you don’t have to worry about eating them right away.
If you don’t have case lot sales where you live, please ask your managers to order them. Here’s the deal, IF we can get them 3-4 times a year in Utah and Nevada, why can’t other states? First of all, the stores must see a need for it or why would they order them, right? People must ask for them, enough said.
I’ve been buying case lots for over 40 years. I do not buy off brands as some store sells in other states. We get NAME brands like Campbell’s Soups, Hunt’s, Green Bean Giant, Del Monte, etc. The prices on the case lot sales are cheaper than store brands (per can). This is why these sales are so important. People are buying 10-12 cases if not more because the prices are the best all year.
All you have to do is learn to have patience and be smart about when you buy them. Here are the best times and ways of saving even more money on canned goods the next time you plan on stocking up. Here is how to save money on canned goods. Please stock up on these.
Saving Money on Canned Goods
Pay Attention to the Flyers
The first trick to saving money on canned goods is to pay close attention to the ad flyers and purchase the items you like when they are on sale. Throughout the year most every store will have canned goods on sale at some point. When you find a deal that’s too good to pass up, make sure you get into that grocery store sometime during the week while the stock is more robust.
Don’t Count Out the Drug Store
You’re probably thinking, “yeah, right.” No, seriously, many of our local drug stores have had become more competitive to get shoppers in their stores, and one way to do that is to improve on their offerings, including canned goods and other foods.
Their focus is not limited to your pharmaceutical needs in these tough competitive times. Stores like CVS and Walgreens have sales on canned goods at certain times of the year too.
Stock Up During Price Drops
Sometimes grocery stores have great in-store price drops that might not show up on their ad flyers. Again, if you see an awesome price on certain canned goods while you’re in the store, be sure to stock up.
Be sure to pay attention to “must-buy” quantities and “limits” that they put on certain items to avoid any frustration at the register during checkout.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is also a great way of saving money long-term on canned goods. Don’t be afraid to buy a year’s supply, as most canned goods will last you two to three years. Make sure you have room to store what you buy. Also, it only makes sense to purchase those cans that contain what your family likes to eat. It isn’t a good price if it sits on your pantry shelf unused!
If you buy a large quantity while products are on sale, you might look a little crazy, but who cares, you just found a great deal. Just be sure to have a designated space to stash away your huge savings.
Resorting to family-size cans on canned goods can save you a chunk of change too. Most families need to use two cans for their meals, and smaller cans are usually pricier. If you have any leftovers, you can always freeze them.
Sign Up For Store Loyalty/App
Another great way of saving money on canned goods is by getting signed up for your local store’s loyalty program or downloading their app. This will help you save even more money on loss-leader canned goods that require a loyalty card.
Check Unit Prices
When you’re looking for the best value on a can of green beans, look at the unit pricing that most stores put on their shelf tags. This is a helpful tool that the stores provide to help you take advantage of the best values. You can see the price on a per once basis and then compare that to other brands or can sizes. It really helps with your decision-making while shopping.
Generic Brands are Just as Good
While shopping for great deals on canned goods, you don’t have to turn to the national leading brands for great quality canned vegetables and fruits. Believe it or not, in most cases, the generic store brands of canned food taste just as well, and at discounted pricing.
While they might be preserved and seasoned slightly differently than Campbells, Dole, or Del Monte, you can always throw an extra dash of sugar, salt, or pepper to add flavor as needed.
Don’t Forget Coupons
Several grocery stores allow you to use manufacturer’s coupons on top of their already great prices on canned goods. Some grocery stores will even let you go as far as stacking coupons to have even further savings. This can be huge!
You could end up paying just a few cents a can if you go to extreme measures on your couponing skills.
You might also want to check up at the front of the store and see if they have any coupons in their coupons booklets that might help you even further.
Marked Down Canned Goods
This one you might just have to get lucky. Grocery stores change up their store shelving about once a year and get rid of any items that might be slower movers.
Keep your eyes peeled for clearance or last-chance canned food items that will cost less than half or more of the original retail. Sometimes digging through massive carts piled with goods is like a treasure hunt where you might very well strike gold. Be sure to check for dented cans, you don’t want any of those on your pantry shelves.
Avoid Expensive Canned Foods
Another money-saver tip, you also want to be cautious when buying certain canned goods such as canned meats, sauces, stocks, soups, and chili. These items often cost more per ounce. If you have extra time at home for meal preps, and if you have some experience in the kitchen, you can make these homemade yourself.
Not only will you save more money, but it can also prove to be much healthier this way too. If you have a lot of leftovers, you can always throw them in the freezer for a later time.
Organize Your Pantry
How is this one supposed to save you money? Organizing your food pantry by dates can help you use old cans you’ve had for a long period of time. This will keep you from throwing out cans that have long since expired. As the end result, you’ll save money since you won’t be replacing expired items you end up throwing away.
Consider Preserving Your Own Canned Goods
Preserving your own canned goods is one of the best ways to save you money. Yes, this requires some time and energy on your part, but you can make large batches for a fraction of the price and store the canned products on your pantry shelves. I can remember enjoying canned fruits and veggies my parents provided as I grew up.
I’m not sure why, but homemade canned goods are just that more flavorful than eating canned goods from the grocery store. Plus, you’ll be making grandma proud as you follow the tradition of home canning. My kids still talk about the peaches, pears, and apple sauce they enjoyed with breakfast, and it was fun doing the canning as a family. I highly recommend this USDA Canning Guide.
You see, there’s more than one way to save money on your canned goods as you plan your grocery visit. Which one on our list did you not know about before and will consider trying when you go to stock up on canned goods? If you’re the canned goods savings expert, what other ways have you found to save money on the supply of your canned goods? May God bless this world, Linda
49 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Canned Goods”
Be careful about marked down cans as some items on clearance are dented which can mean that it won’t last as long on a shelf as an undented can (most cans have a lining sprayed onto the inside to keep the food away from the metal of the can, and deep enough dents can crack that coating…) If you’re planning on using the cans in the next few weeks then a dented can is a bargain, but if you’re not going to use it for a few months (or longer) then there is a chance the food might spoil before you open it.
Whenever I buy cans in bulk occasionally I’ll miss that one or two that are dented, so I move them to the front of my rotation system to use up ASAP. That said, undented cans potentially can last years past their marked expiration dates. I’m currently using ravioli cans dated 2016, tuna dated 2015 and some chicken soup cans dated in December 2014! YMMV. Of course, I try to make sure to use the oldest cans up first and put the new purchases (if undented) at the back of the system.
Hi DMWalsh, great comment. If I buy a case of canned goods and see a can that is dented, I return to the store for a replacement can. I guess I’m too cautious, I will never buy dented cans intentionally. I learned too much at my Master Canning class about botulism. It’s just me. I feel so good knowing I have some cases of canned food because I can eat them right out of the can if I had to. Great comment, Linda
Great, and I’ve been using 2013 cans for a while now. Hard for me since I like to cook from scratch; made a coffee cake yesterday…pretty good.
Hi JayJay, oh my, a coffee cake sounds yummy! Linda
One thing I have noticed about stocking up if there is a can limit is that using the store rewards card is not always the best idea! I purchased the limit during a sale and decided to go back to get more a few days later. When I checked out, I used my store rewards card both times. On the second trip, the checker told me that I had already purchased the store limit on that item. Just an FYI, be sure to check your store policy.
I agree with dmwalsh568 on purchasing marked down cans. This can also apply to the normal stock on the shelves. I always check the cans before putting them in the cart, even if I am going to use the product the same week – I don’t know how long that can has been dented in storage so my preference is to NOT purchase any dented cans.
Another way to save money is to watch for 10 for $10 sales. I have seen these sales primarily for boxed goods but this is a way to save big money!! I don’t often use those boxed meals but when I can get in on a big sale, I do. They are great to supplement our storage. I always repackage these for longer term storage. Also, if you do purchase these types of meals, they are a great way to support your local food bank at a reasonable cost to you.
Hi Leanne, I love the 10 for $10.00 sales!! It feels so good to donate to the food bank because there are so many that need the food we give to them. Great comment, Linda
Here’s a hint that I use for expired can goods although you don’t have to do it. I take out the expired cans and put several of them in zip lock bags, seal and freeze. Storing them is no waste and it makes room for more in my pantry. I know to use them 1st when cooking. Just my tip ! Happy freezing.
Hi Brenda, when you do this are you taking the food out of the cans, right? I was thinking they may explode if you don’t. Great tip on using up the food that’s a little overdue the expiration date! I love it! Linda
Yes mam. I usually put 2 open cans to a bag in case company comes and then discard the cans or save clean cans for storing things later !!
Brenda, that’s awesome! Linda
With your Store rewards cards you can stock up on other things too. I bought Red Barons Pizzas
for 1.99 because I had a store rewards card. True not as good as homemade but awfully good. I looked in another store I shop at and they are almost 5.00, I made sure I bought 3. Also our local store has a
app and I buy the sale items. They had 4 pound bag of sugar for 99 cents with the app. so I got it plus
I got some other sale items. They had a 10 pound bag of potatoes for $1.99, so I got one. Also they
had a 10 pound bag of chicken leg and thigh quarters for 37 cents a pound so for $3.70 I got one.
My friend bought 3 bags, I didn’t have the room or I would have too. So sale ad’s and store rewards
cards are great for other things besides canned food.
Hi June, you are so right! Wow, you got some good bargains!!! Woohoo!! Linda
Walmart carries several canned items, for 50 cents. You might check for these instead of 10 for $10… 20 for $10 works for me.
Hi Pat, wow, that’s a great tip! I will have to check out Walmart next time! Linda
Pat, the same idea came to mind…I also get better prices than $1 for can..of course since I have lots of stored food, I can’t even guess what a can costs now.
It’s a nice feeling looking at cans that were 3/$1 years ago…and are still edible.
Hi JayJay, yes, prices have gone way up!! I remember those days 3/$1.00! Linda
Although we normally make our own broths & stocks, ( we use A LOT ) I’ll be buying them this week. One of our grocery stores has a really terrific gas rewards program, & one of this weeks items is canned broth & stock. It will end up costing us a lot less money to buy these items & use the gas points, rather than paying outright for expensive gas! Love finding these win-win deals!
Hi Amy, Oh, I love hearing this! It really is a win-win situation!! Yay! Linda
Our store reward system also gives us points for money off gas per gallon. We can also use it for money off our grocery purchase. We save it for gas though. We usually fill up once a month or longer. We don’t go much. In fact, we filled up right after Christmas and still have almost a full tank. It’s like 7/8 full. LOL We don’t go a lot. To the grocery store/pharmacy, the landfill, and maybe the dollar store. All are within 10-15 miles from home.
Hi Deborah, wow, we can use ours for gas (which we do) but not food. I love the rewards system, thanks for the reminder!!! Linda
I love these tips Linda, thank you! It’s very tough right now to stock up. Many stores in our area have purchase limits of 4 canned goods. And many stores that don’t have empty shelves.
Things are getting very scary at our stores. I pray for us all.
Hi Amy, thank you! It’s very scary, we will have to make more trips to the store, which wastes time and gas money. Things are so crazy, grab what you can! Linda
My mom used to take us to the grocery store with her when there were limits. My brother and I would get the limited amounts too – so 3 times the limit. I shop with friends so they get extra for me and I get extra for them.
Hi Jennifer, I do the same thing. I remember someone telling me he was making some chili that called for 5 cans of beans. The limit was 2. LOL! He went to multiple stores!! Linda
In our area, Aldi’s is consistently the best buy on canned goods. We have a re-sale bulk store about 40 minutes away, but it requires diligently checking each can for dents and such and some days don’t lend themselves to the time required. Aldi’s always has great quality and prices and has become our go to for canned goods. Dollar General and Dollar Tree can be reasonable as well. Coconut milk is more expensive at our Aldis. Juices are lower priced at Walmart, but lately they are out of stock most days. I have bought frozen, juice concentrate as an option because it takes up less storage space in the freezer than large bottles of juice do in the pantry. Our local grocery stores often have good sales on dried beans and lentils so I take a pass by those each time I am in just to see if there is a sale on.
Hi Steff, I have heard about Aldi’s, we do not have one here. We really do need to be diligent about looking for buys at different stores. I love my case lot sales, they are priced way below the normal prices. And I only have to go once a year, sometimes twice if I run out of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup. Or olives. I believe things are going to get worse before they get better. I hope people have the food they need. Linda
We just bought 8 more lbs of pinto beans and 10 more lbs of white rice. I have all kinds of seasonings for them. We are having an encore meal (left overs) tonight. We like to cook enough for two meals. That way all we have to do is reheat. I’m all for Encore meals! One of my favorites is soup or stew. I love soup and stew all year. I think I could eat soup every day. I like a lot of juice, hubby likes the veggies and meat. Good team we have.
Hi Deborah, oh I love hearing this, squeal! No beans were on the shelves this week in my area. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your encore meal idea!! LOL!! It’s the best! Linda
LOL Linda, we only use our points for gas, too. I will probably be using some toward groceries toward the end of the month though. Some will be expiring and I don’t want to waste them. Waste not, Want not!
Just returned from a 70 mile round trip to the nearest IGA (Independent Grocer). They had store brand canned veggies, 3 for $1.00!! Yes, we prefer home canned but gardens can be unreliable. We also got great deals on peanut butter, shredded cheese and buttter. And pasta sauce! AND…Tuesday is old fahts discount day!! LOL.
Hi Beth, what a blessing!! Squeal, 3 for $1.00!!!!! I love homegrown but we need all we can get right now. Plus, you got PB, cheese, butter, and spaghetti sauce! That was a GREAT day! Linda
I make a lot of my food from scratch as the preservatives in manufactured foods exacerbates a medical condition I have. We just stocked up bulk staples from Sam’s Club as they will ship them directly to my house. I’ll have to drive in at some point to get the vegetables we’re holding off on, but we’re buying them in bulk too.
Hi A Barn, I love being able to order online!! Plus the free shipping from Sam’s helps a lot!! I love hearing this, thank you for sharing! Linda
Our local Smith’s does case lot sales 4 times per year. I learned the hard way not to buy the generic brand case lot veggies and fruits. Our favorites are Green Giant for veggies and Del Monte for fruit. I don’t know if this is still the case (I suspect it is) but back in the day Green Giant had the rights to first pickings from the farmers they bought from. Explains why there canned veggies are better. Same thing for Del Monte regarding fruit.
We also get large quantities of canned albacore chunk tuna in water and other canned meats from Costco.
We got some Del Monte corn one time and when I opened the can, there was a big green worm there. Needless to say, I don’t eat canned corn anymore. I do eat frozen corn.
Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, the green worm, not funny, but funny! Linda
Oh come on now Deborah, the worm was just added protein. 🙂
Ray, I already had some protein, chicken. And I’m not eating worms! Even if it was cooked. LOL
I did have a boyfriend in first grade, no kindergarten, that did eat worms, but only dirty ones.
HI Deborah, now I have the giggles, the best comment ever! Linda
Hi Ray, that’s exactly what Mark would say!! LOL! Linda
Hi Ray, I’m so glad you get the case lot sales, it’s really a blessing. We can get the “good stuff”, as in the best vegetables and fruits! We are also lucky to have a Costco to get canned meats, you gotta love the quality! Linda
We don’t have case lot sales where I live. I wish we did but I do the best I can with coupons, sales, and of course canning vegetables from my own garden during the summer months. I’ve noticed bare shelves when I shop and you never know what will be available. If I need something, I get it and often I pick up extras if I don’t need them! We can’t be too careful these days I’m afraid!
Revisiting this block post! So, Brenda Marsh mentioned that when a canned item is past the best by date, she removes the food and packages for the freezer. You could also dehydrate many of the canned food. It would take up much less space and if packaged right, could last for several years. I was thinking about tomato products for sure but I would dh canned beans, canned fruit as well.
I know this post is about canned goods but for those like me who are not above dehydrating or as Brenda Marsh mentioned freezing, I keep both my eyes open for frozen fruits and veggies to dehydrate!!
Hi Leanne, I agree with you, we must keep our eyes open for anything to freeze or dehydrate! I have never dehydrated beans, I’m going to try that! Great tip! Linda
We buy the 10/10 when they have them on sale at Smiths. Right now I have enough spaghetti Sauce for a long while. We bought 2 cases when they were 10/10 and then our Albertsons Market had coupons for free jars and we got those. My husband had a fit but I told him Free is free and we will use them although only my daughter and myself eat spaghetti. I can use spaghetti sauce for other things. My daughter was finally able to get 2 boxes of lasagna noodles and 2 boxes of Jumbo shells that I will use for stuffing. You use a lot less meat when you stuff meat and cheese in lasagna and jumbo shells. I also allow my son and daughter in love to get what they need in the way of canned and the jars I have in my pantry. Both are disabled and they live on a smaller income than my husband and I do so nothing goes to waist.
I also only buy corn, peas, stir fry veggies, cauliflower, broccoli, Lima beans, and greens if I have room for them. Smiths usually has them 11/10 all the time
My husband bought me a new fridge and stove this last Christmas so now I have 2 that gives me more freezer space.
HI Jackie, that stove and fridge are a blessing for sure! I love to stir fry, they always have frozen veggies on sale! It’s awesome when we have the 10 for $10!!!!! I love them! Linda
It is getting the time of year when we need to go through our home canned items to see what we have and
what we need to grow this year. Also with prices like they are we should be watching out for the seeds to be
out for us to buy. I am sure a lot of people are going to be trying to grow their own food so us who have grown food for years need to watch out for the seeds if we don’t have them already. Also anther big thing is to start buying
canning supplies now before people start hoarding them again like last year.
I agree June. The husband has already bought seeds he needs for this year’s garden and I’m ready with canning supplies. I found the “flats” at Walmart a couple of weeks ago and got several boxes. I don’t need the rings so avoid buying the boxes with the complete lids. I also bought the Mrs. Wages’ pasta sauce mixes at our local farm supply store. We like that better than store bought pasta sauce and it’s a good way to use up the huge crop of tomatoes we always seem to have.
Hi June, you are so right, grab the canning supplies when you see them. I believe they will be in short supply again. I hope I’m wrong. I also agree with you about the garden seeds. We must grow our own food if we don’t live close to a Farmer’s Market. Linda