How to Save Money at the Grocery Store!
When you head out for your next grocery trip, try applying these strategies to your shopping routine — you may find that you can cut your spending by as much as 50% — or even more!
1. Do an inventory. Take stock of your pantry and freezer once a month to get a sense of what items you need and what you can skip buying, says Annette Economides, co-author of Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family. Her husband and co-author Steve adds, “you don’t want to get in a panic when you’re in the grocery store and impulse buy an item at full price only to go home and find you’ve already got it.” Use an app like Out of Milk to help with your inventory.
2. Use up your pantry.
Americans typically toss about 25% of the groceries we buy, according to the National Resources Defense Council. To prevent your food from turning into wasted money, sort through your fridge and pantry about once a week for items that are about to expire and place those in a designated space so that you remember to eat them before they go bad. Plug in what you’ve got at Supercook to find recipes that will help you use up your ingredients.
3. Use Coupon.
Obviously use coupons when you can! This may depend on your stores, their sales, coupon policies, your availability to coupons and what items your family uses. There are numerous ways to find coupons. When you use coupons you are saving money instantly when you shop. That is less money you have to come off of when you shop.
4. Change where you shop.
You can save more than 30% on groceries simply by changing your routine. Check out non-traditional grocery stores like warehouse clubs, dollar stores, Aldi and Walmart for big savings on food and other items you frequently buy at the grocery store (at a higher price).
- Grocery staples: Check out Aldi and Walmart
- Organic: Try Trader Joe’s instead of Whole Foods
- Bulk items: Warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s
5. Use apps that find the best prices
Cellfire.com: Sends coupons directly to your loyalty cards.
Coupons.com: Add grocery and drugstore coupons to your store loyalty cards and automatically save when you use them at the register.
Favado.com: Aggregates sales data for your local grocery, drug, and big box stores. Compare and save up to 70% on everyday items.
GroceryIQ.com: Create and organize grocery lists quickly and easily.
KeyringApp.com: Digitizes all your loyalty cards and stores them on a smartphone so you never have to fumble for the physical cards again.
SavingStar.com: Get grocery and food coupons, which convert into store savings or actual cash back.
6. Ibotta: Find Freebies, and Snag $10
Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.
Here’s how it works: Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.
Bam. Cash back.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
7. Ebates: Get a Free $10 Walmart Gift Card
Want $10 for your next Walmart haul?
Sign up for Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you make an online purchase. When you give the site a try, you’ll pocket a $10 Walmart gift card.
- Sign up for Ebates.
- Use the online portal next time you make an online purchase from a popular retailer like Walmart, Amazon or Target. Make this purchase within 90 days of signing up, and spend at least $25.
- Your Ebates account will be credited with points, which you can cash out for a $10 Walmart gift card.
8. Use cash.
If you bring a certain amount of cash to the grocery store, then that’s all you’ll be able to spend — avoiding the last-minute, unnecessary purchases. So make a list and budget for it before you go — then only bring enough money to cover it.
9. Plan meals based on what you already have. It might not be the exact recipe you’re used to, but see what you can pull together from what you already have. This is an easy way to avoid letting any food go to waste and it can teach you some new cooking methods!
We recently had leftover sausage from spaghetti, and chips and dip already in the pantry, so I just grabbed some $1 generic hot dog buns and dinner was served.
10. Don’t buy non-grocery items at the grocery store. This is when shopping at more than one store can really save you big bucks. It may take a little more planning, but buying non-grocery items where they’re cheaper is worth it for the savings over time!
Things like health and beauty products, light bulbs, toilet paper, greeting cards, party supplies — don’t buy them at the grocery store! Check out discount retailers like Walmart and the dollar stores, as well as warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club for things you can buy in bulk.
11. Compare unit prices at the store. There are a lot of sneaky tactics manufacturers and stores use to get you to spend more money — and one of them is the way products are packaged.
Just because it’s in a bigger container, that doesn’t always mean there’s more inside. Just because something is on sale, it doesn’t make it a better deal than the regular priced equivalent.
So if you want to get the best deal, you have to look at the actual unit pricing, not the price tag. So for paper towels, it’s the price per square foot. For toilet paper, it might be the price per sheet. For canned goods, it might be the price per ounce.
So even if a smaller package is on sale, the bigger package that’s not on sale may be a better value — if the bigger package has a cheaper unit price.
12. Stock up when items are on sale.
You can save a lot over time by stocking up on the items you buy regularly when they are on sale.
If something you buy all the time is on sale for a great price — and it will last a while (or you can freeze it) — then buy a few! Or buy a lot! And this applies to both grocery and non-grocery items. If you family goes through a lot of toilet paper, stock up on your run to Costco instead of getting stuck having to pay more for it at the grocery store around the corner.
If Kroger has a sale on cranberry juice and you drink a lot of cranberry juice, stock up while the price is down!
13. Betty Crocker: Up to $250 in Free Coupons
Give Betty Crocker your email address, and it’ll send you up to $250 worth of coupons that can help you get deeply discounted or free canned goods, cereal and yogurt.
In addition to coupons, Betty Crocker’s free email delivers the best of Betty’s 15,000 kitchen-tested recipes, how-tos and more — straight to your inbox.