You could be saving money when grocery shopping in a whole bunch of ways. Any one of the ideas in this article could save you an easy couple dollars. Depending on how much you need to buy, a single idea here might save you $10, $20, or even more!
If just one of these ideas can save you that much, imagine how much you could save on groceries if you used every idea here. (Hint: It’s a lot!)
Easy ideas for saving money when grocery shopping:
- Plan meals
- Take inventory
- Bring a list
- Sign up with Ibotta
- Avoid prepared items
- Store/generic brands
- Clearance items
- Loyalty Card
Plan Your Meals
When you take the time to plan out your meals for the week you not only know what you need, you know how much. The goal is to save money, and buying more than you need is definitely not saving. Especially when it comes to perishable items. If perishables spoil because you bought too much, not only did you spend more than you needed to in the first place, but you end up literally throwing money away. So plan your meals and shop accordingly.
Too busy to plan meals? Sign up with $5 Meal Plan. For just $5 a month you get weekly meal plans with recipes and exact shopping lists straight to your inbox. These meals are easy to prepare (less than 30 minutes) and on average cost less than $2 per plate. How does that stack up to what you’re spending right now?
Inventory Your Cupboards
How does inventorying cupboards save on groceries? Did you plan a spaghetti dinner this week? Dig through your cupboards and see if a package of spaghetti or a jar of sauce, or both, are hiding behind something else. If you don’t need to buy something because you already have it, instant savings!
Always Shop With A List
How many times have you gone to the store without a list because you knew exactly what you needed? I’ve done it. And every time, without fail, I get to the dairy aisle and think, “Did I need milk? I’ll get it just in case.” Same thing with bread. Eggs. Tomatoes. You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s not a big deal if you grab something you didn’t need as long as it will get used. But if it’s going to spoil you might as well throw a few dollars out the window on the way to the store. So bring a list, buy what you need, and only what you need.
Sign Up With Ibotta
You’ve got your meal plan and your list, so you know what you need. Now sign up with Ibotta and search the app for rebates on the items you need. They have deals at Costco, BJs, Bi-Lo, Big Y, Demoulas, Food Giant, Food King, Price Chopper, Publix, Safeway, Sam’s Club… The list goes on. Find items you need, select them in the app, and get cash back.
I can still remember watching my grandmother sitting down on Sunday afternoon with the newspaper and a pair of scissors. She’d go through every store flyer clipping coupons. Then she’d go through the newspaper and find even more coupons. At the time I thought, “Crazy old lady! Wasting all that time to save a couple nickels!”
Oh my, how my tune has changed!
Those “couple nickels” I thought she was saving… Turns out they add up to dollars! Who knew?
Well, Gram knew! That who.
Now I’m the crazy old guy (Yeah, I’m old at 33!) clipping coupons on Sunday afternoon. Just last week those coupons saved me $26.75. In one week!
Store flyers, newspapers, on display at the store, and online. You can find coupons just about everywhere. So grab your list and see if there’s a coupon for anything you need.
Check For Sales
Chances are there’s more than one grocery store near you. Maybe a Walmart, K-Mart, or Target superstore. Check all of their weekly flyers. If the things you need are on sale at a different store, and they’re close enough that you won’t spend more on gas than you’ll save, go to several stores and take advantage of the sales. Combine those sales with the coupons we just talked about and cash back from Ibotta and you could be looking at some serious savings!
Stay Away From The Prepared Items
I know that pre-cut fruit and pre-seasoned meats make life a lot easier. But they also make life more expensive. That cup of pre-cut fruit usually costs between $3-4 a pound. If you buy the whole fruit and cut it yourself you’ll spend less than half that amount. And it will last longer because it isn’t sitting around pre-cut before you’re ready to eat it. Pre-seasoned meats are usually marked up between 25-50% over the price of the same cut without seasoning. Cut your own fruits and veggies. Season your own meats. You’ll see the saving add up quickly.
Give The Store And Generic Brands A Try
Your grocery store most likely has its own brand of almost everything. Milk, cheese, pasta, sauce, breads, canned veggies. Grocery stores are in the business of selling food. Not dairy farming. Not making pasta. Not veggie farming or canning. In short, your grocery store didn’t make those products with their name on them. They were packaged for them. In many cases, by the same brand that you are paying 20-30% more for.
Have you ever noticed how most generic cereals taste just as good as the national brand? That’s because it’s usually the exact same cereal in a different box! Same goes for peanut butter, apple sauce, ice cream, crackers, cookies… Give the store brand a try. You’ll save money, and in most cases like the product just as much. If not better!
Look For The Clearance Items
Clearance? I know, we usually think of department stores and last year’s styles when we think of clearance sales. But you can find clearance buys at the grocery store, too. Most notably in the bakery department. You may notice that the breads and pastries they make on-site say “Made fresh every day”. Well, if it doesn’t sell that day it gets marked down the next day. They do the same thing with packaged bread products. When sandwich bread, English muffins, bagels, and rolls sit on the shelf too long they get marked down, too. If you’re going to use it in a couple days these are a great way to save money.
Get The Loyalty Card
Quite a few stores have adopted customer loyalty cards. Get one. A lot of times the sales the store advertises are only good if you have their card. No card? Sorry, you pay full price. It only takes a couple minutes to sign up for the card, so take an afternoon, run around town, and get them all. Then watch the flyers and see just how much that card can save you.
And there you have ten easy ways you could be saving money when grocery shopping. Using just one or two of these ideas can save you a lot of money every month. So don’t overlook the 20 minutes it takes to write a list, check your cupboards, and find coupons, sales, and cash back deals.
Do you have any tricks to save money at the grocery store? Share them in the comments below! We’re all looking for new ideas to help save wherever we can.
Thanks for reading,