Tired of paying so much for groceries? Looking for realistic ways to save money on what you feed your family? Boy, do I understand. Food can have a significant impact on your budget. After all, grocery shopping is usually one of the biggest items in a family budget.
Would it surprise you to know that food is the third-largest household expense for most families?
The average family of four spends about $600 a month if they are super thrifty and well over $1,300 if they’re not. You might find yourself somewhere in between, and that’s still a lot of money for groceries.
Especially when you consider that most families toss out, on average, about $800 a year of food. When food spoils or you don’t finish the leftovers from last night’s dinner, that’s money going right in the garbage.
So of course, you’re always looking for ways to save money on groceries. And at some point, you probably turned to coupons. They’re a great way to save money and the savings can really add up. If you write your grocery list based on sales and coupons, you can save $50 a week or more.
But coupon clipping can get tedious and take a lot of time.
Then there’s keeping track of all those coupons, making sure you use them before you expire. And what about coupons that are a great deal, but they’re for something you don’t usually buy? Are you spending more than you normally would just because you’re getting a good deal?
HERE ARE SOME FANTASTIC WAYS TO SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
FOCUS ON SALE ITEMS
Check your local store’s weekly sale paper to see what’s already on sale without coupons. Start making your grocery list and building your meal plan around the items you find on sale. This is also the time to think about stockpiling and looking for items on sale that you’re running low on.
LOOK FIRST- THEN MEAL PLAN
After adding the sale items to your grocery list, find meals you can make with these items. Search Pinterest, Google different ingredients with the word “recipe”, and look through your cookbooks. By looking to see what’s on sale first then planning your meals around that, you’ll be able to save on impulse purchases. Plus, you can avoid buying expensive ingredients that you only need for one recipe.
PLAN MULTIPLE MEALS
Create a meal plan that allows you to cook once, but eat several meals. For instance, a roast chicken makes a great family dinner, but the leftover can be used for chicken tacos or added to a soup. If you can get two meals every time you cook, you’ll save you both time and money.
MAKE A LIST
You’re probably thinking, “no kidding.” But I can’t begin to tell you how many people show up at the store without a list. They search aimlessly up and down the isles and have no really clue what they are buying and worse, how much they are spending. Don’t go shopping without a list, you’ll end up buying things you don’t need. Always go shopping with a plan. Do your best to only buy what’s on your list. Impulse buys can really bulk up your grocery bill.
Ibotta is a FREE app that gives you CASH rebates on store brand products and generic brands as well.
If you love to shop generic or only buy the cheapest product on sale than this app is a game changer because you can save a small amount, roughly 20 cents on things like milk, apples, shredded cheese, frozen veggies, tomatoes, bananas, eggs, bread, and pasta. You can buy any brand or generic and still get the rebate. When you can, always pair coupons in conjunction with sale items.
Sign up for Ibotta (it’s free to join, plus you get $10 added to your account) where you can maximize your savings even more. Only available in the US.
Flipp is a great app that allows you to find sales and save coupons right on your phone. No need to carry a huge stack of coupons around with you. You can find your local store’s sale paper, save mobile coupons, mark items you want to get, then just show the app at checkout and get your discounts from the coupons you saved.
IF IT’S ON SALE, STOCK UP
If you find some of your favorite pantry items are on sale, this is a great time to stock up. Especially on canned, frozen or packaged foods. Stocking up on canned and frozen vegetables, rice, and pasta means you always have something in your pantry or freezer to serve with dinner. And since you can freeze meats, stock up on those as well when they’re on sale. If you stock up on sale items and keep them on hand, it will be easy to find a last-minute dinner in your freezer or pantry without having to go to the grocery store.
GET A RAIN CHECK
Many people forget this little tip. When a store is out of an item on sale, most people just mark it off the list and hope it goes on sale again. But a store has to guarantee an item at the sale price so if they sell out, they have to be able to offer you the discounted price when it’s restocked. Go to customer service and ask for a rain check. When the item is available again, stock up and use your rain check at the register to get the discounted price.
PURCHASE STORE BRANDS
Often times, people think the store brand is a lesser quality product than a name brand product. But that’s simply not true. In most cases, a store brand is equal quality and quantity to its name brand competition. It’s just a lot less expensive. In fact, many times, it’s the same product just with different packaging. You can save by choosing the store brand over the more expensive name brand.
LOOK FOR MANAGER SPECIALS
If an item is close to its expiration date or the store is discontinuing the item, the manager will usually mark these items down. If you’re planning to use or freeze your finds right away, these are great deals to take advantage of. They are usually marked with red discount labels so just keep an eye out for them.
USE YOUR REWARDS CARD
Many grocery stores offer their own rewards card. If yours is one of them, make sure you get a card and use it for every trip. Not only will you be able to take advantage of sale prices, but you’ll also receive special coupons based on your purchases. Plus, like Flipp, many stores offer digital coupons in addition to sales that you can load directly to your card. When you do your weekly planning by looking through the sale papers, do it online. Visit your local store’s website to find their sale paper and you’ll most likely find in-store digital coupons to add to your rewards card as well.
You don’t need to spend hours every week clipping coupons and organizing them to save money on groceries. If you plan your list and your weekly meals around what you find on sale and stock up on specials, you’ll be able to save as much as 25% off your weekly grocery bill without coupons.