Between the crowded aisles, climbing prices, and supply-chain problems, grocery shopping especially during the holidays has become a headache. 

Every food item tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is now more expensive than this time last year– with meat, eggs, and soup prices jumping the most.

With just a few savvy, simple swaps, you can save up to 40% on your next grocery bill:

Shop the Store Brands

Stores’ private-label brands used to be considered cheap knockoffs, but times have changed! House brands are often produced by the same manufacturers behind the big names: they’re just a whole lot cheaper. Experts say Kirkland Signature (Costco), Great Value (Walmart), Simple Truth (Kroger), and Good & Gather (Target) are the best store brands and can save you 10-40%, depending on the product.

Compare Unit Prices, Not Box Sizes

We’re not only dealing with inflation, but shrinkflation. Less cereal in the box. Smaller snack sizes. Today, shoppersare often paying the same price (or more) for less of a product. The way to beat it is to compare unit pricing (the price per ounce or per 100-count) on similar products to see which is the better deal. Most stores post this information right next to the price; many shoppers just don’t look for it!

Buy Frozen Meat and Vegetables

Meat prices have gone up by the highest percentage during the pandemic: more than 30% since 2019. Frozen chicken breasts, for example, are just as good quality and are significantly less expensive. Frozen vegetables are also chilled at the peak of freshness and they don’t spoil quickly.

Buy Produce In-Season

If you are set on buying fresh vegetables or fruit, buy what’s in-season during peak season. This can save you up to 30% and practically guarantee what you’re buying will taste better.

Don’t Overlook the “Ugly”

Some stores have day-old produce racks, where they sell fruits and vegetables for lower prices. There are also companies like Imperfect Foods and Misfits Market that have built entire businesses around selling deeply-discounted fruits and vegetables that grocery stores reject. Expect to save around 50% for slightly-dinged produce.

Use a Store Loyalty Card

Most supermarkets offer free deals for cardholders. Use them. Some, like Hy-Vee, also offer savings on gas.

If you have the time and energy to do a little extra legwork, consumer experts say you can save money shopping around and comparing products’ price history on website like CamelCamelCamel.