I don’t know about you but I love a good deal. Saving money just makes me so happy and makes my body tingle. But as a working woman with lots going on, i just don’t have time to cut coupons. While I’m in awe of them, I just don’t have the time to become an extreme couponer. But It’s also not in the budget to have a huge grocery bill each month.
For my family of three, I spend about $250 to $300 each month on groceries. Considering, I’m no stranger to purchasing pricey items regularly like salmon, diapers and pediasure, people are usually impressed by this figure. They’re even more impressed once they find out that I save so much without spending hours going through the Sunday paper cutting coupons. Since, I normally get tons of questions from family and friends, I figured I’d create a post discussing my methods. No it’s nothing fancy, but here’s what works for me and helps me save tons when grocery shopping.
Shop from Home
Somtimes setting foot in a grocery store is just too much temptation. You end up buying everything you need and more. So every now and then I utilize shopping from home features from various grocery stores. It’s so easy to create my shopping list and just have everything delivered. Yes, there’s a delivery fee but in comparison to what I would normally spend on unnecessary extras, it’s still a great savings. Plus, it’s a huge time saver.
Shop on Tuesdays
I know it’s inconvenient for many, but Tuesday really is the best day to go shopping for the most savings. It’s the day when many retailers include additional markdowns because some items didn’t sell as well as they thought during the weekend rush or it’s approaching the “sell by date”. Don’t worry, if you don’t plan to eat it right away. Just throw it in the freezer and you can usually get more life out of the product and a deeper discount.
Go to a no-frills store
Lord knows, I love my Wegmans for their quality items and great pricing. However, I find myself spending more money than I would like there because of all the options. Shopping at expansive stores gives me “all the pretty things” syndrome and I end up buying things I don’t need to just because it’s there. So instead, I try to shop at basic grocery stores like Aldi so I can stick to just necessities. Great prices and no extras is always a win when it comes to the budget.
Get the rain checks
Sometimes when an item is advertised at a sale price, the stores run out of inventory quickly. However, if you ask them about the sale item you can usually get a “rain check” and they’ll honor the price when the item is back in stock. Even if it’s an item I don’t need right away but normally purchase, I always get the rain check so I can take advantage of the savings later.
Eat before shopping
This one goes without saying, but you always end up spending more when you are starving. At least eat a snack before you had to the grocery store to stop yourself from shopping with your stomach.
Skip the Water
I’m not saying to stop drinking water completely, just stop buying it. Though it’s generally inexpensive constantly buying water jugs and disposable water bottles can take up a big part of your grocery budget after several months. Instead invest in a water filter. I’m a big fan of this faucet filter and this water jug.
Bring your own bags
Unless you live in a state in which plastic bags are illegal, you can save some money for each recyclable bag you bring to the grocery store. The Target in NJ takes $.05 of your total purchase for every recyclable bag you provide for your groceries.
Stop buying juice
You don’t notice it, but juice is expensive! There was a point in time when we were buying two big $4.00 jugs of apple juice per week. Now, we just drink water and infuse it with different fruits as needed. It resulted in huge savings!
Ibotta is a free app offering cashback for regular purchases. Simply go shopping, check the app for savings than scan the barcode of the product you bought and take a picture of the receipt. The money is instantly deposited into your Ibotta account and made available for withdrawal to Paypal. If you don’t have an Ibotta account, you can sign up for free here.
Shop at CVS
Generally, CVS is crazy expensive. However, when they have sales they’re usually pretty unbeatable. Plus, you can never go wrong with the long receipts you get from them usually includes tons of coupons catered to your shopping habits. You’re even likely to get coupons for 15 percent off a single item. Not to mention, the extrabucks you get which is like “CVS money” is invaluable.” Just yesterday, I was able to redeem $7.00 in extrabucks making my son’s normally $13.00 pediasure a steal at only $6.00.
Sign up for Extracare
Speaking of CVS, they do offer great coupons online if you sign up for a free account. Before every shopping trip I login to my account and click “send to card” next to every coupon imaginable. They include CVS only and manufacturer coupons. When I go to the store and have them scan my member card I’m always pleasantly surprised by the coupons that can be applied to my purchase. Tons of savings without physically cutting coupons sounds like a win-win to me.
Check Facebook yardsale groups
When most people think of yardsales, they think of people selling old clothes and junk. Well Facebook yardsale groups have all that and more. In fact, those groups are filled with resident couponers who most likely stock piled items for pennies on the dollar and pass those savings on to you. While they don’t usually sell food items. It’s not uncommon to see laundry detergent, diapers, toilet paper and more being sold for much less than you would get them in the grocery store.
Shred your meat
Meat tends to be one of the most expensive grocery items we purchase. To curb spending on meat and manage portion control, I generally shred my chicken in meals rather than serve a whole piece of chicken each. I found you’re less likely to eat too much if two pieces of chicken are shredded within the whole meal rather than giving one piece of chicken for each serving. And of course, eating less meat means spending less on meat.
Befriend the store clerks
Just from being considerate and friendly to the store clerks, I’ve been able to save a ton of money on shopping trips. Why? Because I shop at some places consistently some clerks have learned my shopping habits and are quick to point out when items go on sale or are restocked etc. One store clerk even tells me when I’m most likely to get the most items on clearance.
Are you a couponer or do you look for other ways to save money on your grocery purchases?