Today I’m sharing 26 ways to save money on groceries. I know this is a topic that nearly all of us can get behind as we all have to buy food for our families. It is also an important part of my budgeting for the year as I strive to save $10,000 this year. I hope you will find these budget saving tips useful.
How to save money of groceries without using coupons
You can easily start saving on groceries by following a few basic tips before opening a money saving app or clipping a single coupon. Stick to these basic tips and tricks and cut your grocery bill.
- Set a budget. Go in with a preset budget and use a calculator as you shop to make sure you’re not exceeding it.
- Make a menu. Shop your cupboard and refrigerator first and then choose meals to make using items you have on hand. Tend to lose items to waste in your freezer? Keep a list on the outside so you can plan to use items stored in there.
- Make a list. Add the items you need to prepare the meals on your planned menu. Add other staples you’re running short of and stick to the list! Only deviate from the list when you run across a crazy good deal on a staple or non-perishable item that you use regularly. Don’t “save money” on items you’re never going to use.
- Shop the perimeter of the store first. Grocery stores tend to put the staple items like dairy, meat, veggies, bakery on the perimeter of the store making it easier to avoid those impulsive boxes of cookies or bags of chips.
- Watch the sales.. while it may seem like a no-brainer to pick up a sale item, make sure its REALLY on sale. Often stores will label an item as a sale item when it is not. Look at the original price.
- ONLY buy what you need and can use during your shop. Buy one, get one free is a no brainer, but is buy 2 get one free REALLY a deal if you end up tossing it because it goes bad before you can use an item?
- Toiletries, cosmetics, cleaning and paper products can be found cheaper at other stores. Don’t pick them up at the grocery store unless they are a crazy good price.
- Steer away from brand names. Store brand products are made right alongside brand name products but are sold at a fraction of the price. Stick to store brands to save money on your groceries.
- Shop high and shop low. Did you know that the most expensive items are usually shelved at eye level? Next time you’re shopping, take a look for yourself and then choose items that less expensive by choosing the top and bottoms shelves.
- Skip the prepackaged food! You’re paying for convenience. Invest in quality resealable containers and portion your own snacks, dressings and meals to save big bucks.
- Purchase bagged vs individual produce. IF you are going to use a lot of apple, potatoes, oranges etc., it is cheaper to buy a 5 or 10 lb. bag than loose. Now if you need 2 apples of course, it is cheaper to just get the 2 versus letting the rest go to waste.
- Skip grated cheese. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort to grate your own but why pay someone else to do it when you could be saving that money??
- Wash your own lettuce. Yes, pre-bagged salad/ lettuce is convenient but as mentioned before it is not cost effective. You pay a premium for the convenience when a little elbow grease could save you money.
- Buy in bulk. Check the price per unit, but usually, you can get a better deal buying more. Meat and paper products in bulk are great ways to save.
- Fill your own coffee pods. If you have a Keurig, skip the pods! You can buy reusable pods and fill them with your own coffee. These things are expensive, use that elbow grease (or your kids!)
- Buy seasonal. Buying in-season produce is a great way to vary your diet and save your hard earned money!
- Check unit prices. There’s usually a price/unit on the price tag on the shelf. Use that to compare items to find your best deal.
- Detergent. Maybe you can’t/won’t make your own detergent. Powdered is almost always cheaper than buying the liquid. There are tons of make-your-own detergent recipes online to make your own. It’s gonna take a little time and elbow grease, but it’s a big difference in cost!
- Buy frozen. You can often find frozen meat (hamburger patties, seafood, chicken, etc.) cheaper than buying fresh. Same for out of season fruits. Frozen fruit it great for smoothies!
- Don’t buy bottles water. If you’re still buying bottled water, you’re not only wasting money but resources. Invest in a some reusable water bottles and fill your own before leaving the house. Your tap water not the best? Its cheaper to get a water service than buying individual bottled water
- Finally, here is a tip that most of us know but sometimes don’t follow. DON’T shop on an empty stomach. This will make you more likely to indulge in impulse buys.
More ways save on groceries
- Coupons!! The easiest way, aside from shopping habits, to save money at the grocery store is by using coupons. Clip them from the paper, circulars, online (check out befrugal.com), store website, etc.
- Join store loyalty programs. Joining loyalty programs is FREE and helps you earn cash back, member-only pricing and other perks simply by signing up.
- Get a Grocery Rewards card. If you’re paying for your groceries with a credit card, it makes sense to use a card that gets you cash back! Check out cards like American Express’ Blue Card which offers up to 6% cash back on groceries.
- Join a wholesale club like Sam’s or Costco. While these clubs have annual memberships they offer big discounts on bulk goods like paper products, cleaning supplies and pet food. Be careful to avoid buying more than you can actually use, you don’t want to waste. Also, check out online options for bulk goods that can be delivered right to your door through companies like Boxed or even Amazon.
Apps to save money on groceries
Technology can help save money by comparing prices between stores or helping you get cash rebates on purchased items. Here are some of our favorites. Check them out and see what works best for you.
Swagbucks – Earn points with surveys, online shopping, and other simple tasks to convert into gift cards! This is my favorite way to earn extra month for gifts and travel.
Flipp– Compare flyers and coupons of over 2,000 stores.
Ibotta– You can get cash back every time you shop online, in-store, or from your phone.
Rakuten (formerly eBates)- Cash back at over 3,500 stores.
Checkout 51– Earn cash back on gas and groceries.
I hope these tips help you to make some new habits to save money while grocery shopping. I know it will take me a few tries to readjust my shopping plan but it will be worth it to help me meet my financial goals. Got a tip I missed? Please share in the comments!!