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No matter what your grocery budget is, I know we are all wondering how to save money on groceries.
Yet, despite your best efforts, you’re wasting hundreds of dollars a month on food you don’t eat, eating out because you didn’t have a plan, and falling for every novelty food item you could find.
“Oreo O’s came back!? Ohhh the ’90s nostalgia. I’ll take three boxes.”
“If I don’t get those limited edition toaster strudels I’ll die.”
“This expensive spice mix won’t only make my food taste better, it will give me special magical superpowers and destroy my enemies. I must have it.”
And clipping coupons?
Cutting coupons may work great for you and your family, but they aren’t something I spend my time on. I usually don’t buy the products promoted on coupons and the savings are minimal.
So how can you save money on groceries without clipping coupons? Glad you asked! I have written a list of 33 insanely simple tips about how to save money on groceries. You can finally stop wasting hours on coupons, save hundreds of dollars, and still feel like you have magical superpowers. I promise 🙂
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HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
Score free gift cards and money.
Did you know you can score free gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target, and/or Amazon just by shopping online?
Well, you can, all thanks to Ebates!
Ebates is a website that pays you cash back when you shop online at certain stores. With over 2,000 stores, I know you are probably shopping at one of their approved sites!
Check out Ebates here. You can earn cash back or free gift cards once you make a $25 purchase!
Here are a few other (legitimate) ways you could earn extra money or gift cards:
- SurveyJunkie – Take surveys and redeem points, which you can turn into PayPal money or gift cards!
- Vindale Research – Take surveys and get the money straight to your PayPal account!
- Inbox Dollars – Get paid to take surveys, play games, and watch videos for ACTUAL cash!
- Pinecone Research – Give your opinions on products before they are released and get paid!
Get quality food for affordable prices with Thrive Market.
Want to buy Whole Foods quality food without paying Whole Foods prices?
Say hello to Thrive Market!
Thrive Market is an online market place dedicated to making healthy living affordable and accessible to everyone.
Here’s just a sneak peek of what they offer on their website:
- Non-GMO foods
- Vegan options
- Gluten-free items
- Organic foods
- SO MUCH MORE!
There is a yearly membership fee, but due to their wholesale prices, it practically pays for itself. And the best news? If you are a teacher, veteran, or low income, you may qualify for a free membership! That makes this former teacher smile 🙂
Buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on groceries.
The best part is, with Amazon Bulk Foods section and Prime Pantry, you don’t have to try to beat the crowd as you would with a Costco or Sam’s Club membership, and don’t have to pay the same expensive fee!
Another way to save money on groceries with Amazon is by using their “Subscribe and Save” feature. This allows you to save up to 15% on groceries, and they are delivered right to your door!
You could save so much money by meal planning. When you don’t plan out your meals, you end up wasting time and money on food you won’t eat and end up throwing away.
Stick to a meal plan if you can and buy your groceries around that plan. This tip alone helps me save hundreds a month!
If you don’t know how to meal plan or just don’t have the time or energy, I highly recommend looking into $5 meal plan! A service that will save you time and money? You’ve got to check it out!
$5 meal plan is a weekly meal plan service that sends you yummy meal plans that cost about $2 a meal, sometimes less!
You can finally stop wasting hours in the kitchen and start spending time with your family for only $5. Start your 14-day trial by clicking here! It’s 100% risk-free! Cancel anytime if you don’t like it without spending a cent!
Bring a shopping list (and stick to it).
Create a shopping list before you go to the store. If you don’t, you may end up buying things you don’t need or forgetting the things you do need (meaning you have to go back to the store later).
Always go shopping with a list in hand and then stick to that list!
Leave the children (or spouse) at home!
If possible, try to shop alone.
Anytime I go to the store with the children, all I hear is “Can I have this cereal? I want a toy! Mommy, can I have candy?”
And let me tell you a secret — the husband can be just as bad, if not worse!
So save money by leaving the big spenders at home! They won’t be around to distract you from your list and will prevent you from spending even more time in the store than you need.
Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
This is a hack you probably hear over and over again, but it works.
Make sure you have a full stomach when you go to the grocery store. If you go on an empty stomach, you are more likely to impulse buy because everything will sound good to you!
See if there are any sales for the items you already plan to buy.
Before you go shopping, see if there are any sales for the items you already plan on purchasing. Here are a few places I check to see if there are any deals going on:
- The store’s phone app or website
- The newspaper (if you still read these that is..can’t relate)
- The store’s Facebook page
- The Ibotta app
Beware though: Don’t get something just because it is on sale! If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
Plan your meals around what you have in stock.
Before you go to the store, shop your pantry first.
Get creative and see if there are any meals you can make with what you already have on hand.
This helps prevent food waste and saves you money when you go shopping next.
Bring ONLY cash with you to the store.
Next time you shop, try to only bring cash with you.
By bringing cash, you are giving yourself a set amount to spend. You force yourself to not go over your budget because you simply don’t have the money to spend.
If you bring your debit card, you may have the extra money in your account, which may tempt you to purchase things you don’t need because you feel like “you have the money.”
Put your groceries on the conveyor belt in order from “absolutely need” to “would be nice to have.” That way if you do go over your cash budget, your cashier can simply put the items away for you that you can’t afford. You still get the essentials and stay under budget!
AT THE STORE
Stop brand loyalty! Most store brand foods use the same exact ingredients and are often cheaper, and sometimes taste even better!
You could save so much money by choosing the generic brand food over the name-brand.
Just be sure to cross-check prices when you are shopping. The off brand isn’t ALWAYS cheaper.
Consider going meatless.
Okay, okay. I’m not saying you need to go vegetarian or vegan 100% of the time, but you could save a lot of money by implementing a meatless meal or two into your weekly meal plan.
There’s no question that meat can get expensive, so if you can find a vegetarian or vegan recipe that you like, try having a Meatless Monday dinner night.
Ask for a raincheck on sales items.
Ever get excited about a sale and then find that the item is already out of stock?
Don’t fret! Most stores will allow you to ask for a raincheck. This will allow you to purchase the item at its sale price whenever it comes back in stock.
Check the unit price.
Be sure that you are checking the unit price of different package sizes. Sometimes the larger version ends up being cheaper!
Shop the top and bottom shelves.
A lot of stores carry their most expensive items on the middle shelves, right at eye-level so that you’ll be tempted to grab the first thing you see.
Look high and low on the shelves for different brands that may cost less.
A great way to save money on groceries is to buy products that are in season. When you buy out of season, you often pay more for those products.
Watch the screen during checkout.
Whenever you’re at the checkout, watch the computer screen to make sure your items are ringing up correctly. Cashiers are only human and may make a mistake like forgetting to manually enter a discount or scanning an item twice. POLITELY bring attention to their error and they will be more than happy to fix it for you. Often, the mistake isn’t on the cashier, and the store may not have marked an item down in their system, so keep an eye on the screen to make sure you are getting all your discounts!
Don’t linger. Get in – Get out!
Don’t spend more time in the grocery store than needed. If you have your list in hand, make it quick! Lingering in the store could cause you to start wandering around, buying things you don’t need.
Get in, get out. It’s that easy!
Helpful tip: Try listening to some fast-paced music while you shop. The grocery store often plays slow music to cause you to linger in the store longer than necessary. By listening to some upbeat music, you can trick yourself into moving faster and getting out of there!
Limit your shopping trips.
Try to limit your grocery shopping trips to once a week. If you meal plan, this should be easy for you! Just create your plan and by only what you need for that week.
If you go more than once a week, you invite yourself to spend even more money. Going once a week can also prevent food waste as well!
Compared to other people, I eat pretty boring meals. I’m okay with oatmeal or a smoothie for breakfast, or a basic pasta for dinner.
By keeping my meals minimal, I save so much money. I’m not spending loads of cash on fancy ingredients to make big, grandiose meals. I save more by eating simple!
Please be aware I say this as someone who HATES cooking and baking. If you like to bake and cook fancy meals, do it! Just know your budget and you’ll be fine.
However, if you like to keep your ingredients minimal, check out the Minimalist Baker. This is my favorite website for easy, minimal recipes! Most of their recipes are vegan, which can help with the meatless tip!
Check your receipt.
Oopsies, you didn’t pay attention to the computer screen because you ended up having a conversation with the cashier!
That’s okay — just to be sure to check your receipt when you get home to make sure you weren’t overcharged for anything you bought.
Scan your receipt and earn cash back with Ibotta.
When I found out there was a way to scan your receipt and earn cash back on your groceries, I honestly thought it was a scam.
Turns out, Ibotta is one of the BEST apps you can get (for free I might add) that can help you save money on groceries.
All you do is check out the app and see what products let you earn cash back. Here are some things I’ve earned money from:
- Kodiak cake muffins
- So much more!
In fact, I’ve been paid for simply scanning the receipt!
I do not make a single grocery trip without checking this app before I go to the store, and redeeming my offers when I get home.
Join now and get anywhere from $10-$20 (after scanning your receipt) just for signing up! That is literally free money.
Ibotta is free to sign up, so check it out here!
I know that no one likes leftovers – myself included.
But money is money, and if leftovers save me money, I’m going to eat them!
Keep your pantry, cabinets, and fridge organized.
This is my favorite tip when it comes to saving money on groceries.
When you keep your kitchen organized, you prevent yourself from:
- Wasting food because you forgot you had something and then it went bad before you could use it.
- Wasting money (and time) because you couldn’t see an item but you actually had it the entire time.
- Causing nasty messes because your cabinets are overstuffed.
Staying organized will always save you money, whether it’s on groceries or anything else in your home.
Substitute items if needed.
Instead of running to the store every time you need a single item for a recipe, try seeing if you have something on hand that can be a great substitute.
That extra trip to the store may cost you gas and unnecessary purchases. So shop your pantry and see what you can use from what you already have on hand.
Because I’m not a cook, I found a link where you can find so many substitutions for different items. Check it out here!
Cook from scratch.
If you have the ingredients on hand, try cooking from scratch. This will almost always save you money!
Craving cake? Store bought cakes can be anywhere from $10-$20 dollars.
Why not make it yourself? It will save money and I’m willing to bet it tastes better, too.
Any time you can make something from scratch, do it and save yourself some money.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES – THINGS TO STOP BUYING AT THE GROCERY STORE
I no longer buy bottled water. It’s a huge waste of money considering water is free, and all that plastic is terrible for the environment.
If you want fresh tasting water, opt for an affordable water pitcher instead. This water pitcher will filter out the bad chlorine taste and any nasty additives that may be in your local tap.
I understand that bottled water is mostly purchased out of convenience, so consider investing in a stainless steel water bottle. This is just as convenient as a water bottle and keeps your water cold for longer!
Soda and juices
Soda and juice are not only expensive, but they are also terribly unhealthy. If you are looking to save money on groceries, consider forgoing these items. Your wallet and waistline will thank you.
Good quality paper towels can get expensive if you aren’t buying them in bulk.
I stopped buying paper towels once I discovered these microfiber cloths. I use these cloths to clean and to use when I am eating. Since they are washable, they end up saving me money than constantly buying paper towels.
Once I received these silicon baking sheets as a wedding present, I stopped buying foil and parchment paper. Foil may not be terribly expensive, but it can add up and is also bad for your health. If my favorite baking sheets are too much of an investment, consider these instead. They are a fraction of the cost!
Paper or plastic goods
Skip the paper plates and plastic ware. Just use your regular dishes instead.
Anything pre-cut, pre-made, or pre-packaged
When you see precut fruits and veggies, salad bags, pre-made meals, or pre-packaged snacks, you are paying for one thing and one thing only.
Why waste all that money when you could just do it yourself? Buying things “whole” is a great way to save money. Here are a few things you could buy whole to save money:
- Lettuce – Buy a head of lettuce and cut up instead of buying premade salad bags.
- Cheese – Grate your own cheese instead of buying pre-shredded bags.
- Fruits and vegetables – Cut them yourself instead of buying them cut. This cuts down on plastic waste and could help your groceries last longer. (The only exception is potatoes, which often tend to be cheaper bagged than sold separately).
- Pre-packaged snacks – Buy big bags of snacks and portion them out yourself.
There are many more food items you could make instead of purchasing, but this list can give you a heads up on what you may be wasting money on.
However, I do have an exception to this rule.
Time is money. And if you are short on time, then I completely understand how purchasing premade or precut items will benefit you.
If you simply don’t have the extra time to cut all your fruits, vegetables, or prepare snacks, then don’t do it.
Always do what works best for you and your family. Time or money — you have to decide which is more important to you.
I know that plastic baggies are convenient, but they can really eat at your grocery bill and aren’t great for the environment. Consider investing in reusable bags or containers instead.
If you must purchase plastic baggies, you can do so from the dollar store, where they tend to be cheaper, or you could just reuse them.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
Saving money on groceries doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t have to waste hours of clipping coupons in order to save hundreds. By following these proven tips, you could finally stop throwing away your money and maybe even eat a little healthier!
I hope you learned some valuable tips about how to save money on groceries! Be sure to bookmark this page for the next time you need to take a shopping trip!
Let me know if there are any other grocery hacks you practice to save money on groceries!
PIN IT FOR LATER!