Need help getting your grocery budget under control? Here are 10 ways to save money on groceries and only three of them require using coupons or coupon apps.
My reasons for saving money on groceries have changed over the years. At first in our early years of marriage, I wanted to spend as little as possible so that we could use what I saved to pay down debts. Now with our debts paid, our focus has moved to fitting in as many healthy whole foods into a grocery budget that fits our financial means.
No matter what your grocery budget goal is these 10 thrifty ways people save money on groceries can help you reach it.
Here Are 10 Ways To Keep Your Grocery Budget Low
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1. Plan A Simple Menu
How does menu planning save you money? It makes aware of what you already have on hand so that you don’t go out and buy more than you need. It helps you eat out less since you have a week’s worth of dinner ideas at your fingertips and all the ingredients to make them.
Menu planning can seem like a drag to most people. I know it did me until I set a timer one week and figured out that it takes me under 10 minutes to go through what sale bought items I already have on hand and figure out what meals I could make with them and what ingredients I will need to buy to round out the meals.
2. Purchase And Use A Bread Machine
Currently, I don’t make our bread (there is a tip further down the list that explains why) but I still use my bread machine as often as a few times a week baking up dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, pretzel bits, pizza dough, breadsticks and more.
These items are often pricey in the grocery stores but they don’t take long at all to make when you use a bread machine.
If you don’t own a bread machine try visiting your local thrift stores, I have purchased several like new bread machines at thrift stores for around ten dollars which is a lot less than a new one costs.
3. Use Free Sources Of Coupons
There are coupons out there available for not just junk food but whole and organic foods. My biggest source for them in my town is my Mperks membership for Meijer. Each week I load up my account with coupons for items on my list. Another source is to Google your favorite grocery products and see if they have websites that may contain printable coupons.
You can also check out printable coupon websites such as:
Smartphone apps are another great way to save money on groceries here is a list of ones I use
Ibotta –Go here to sign-up for Ibotta
Fetch Rewards – Go here to sign-up for Fetch Rewards (use my referral code RE9FU at sign up for 1500 points when you complete one receipt)
Makenna – For Organic and Whole Foods: Use my referral code TWNAVD during sign up for Makenna to earn 1,000 points (equals $1) once you upload your first receipt.
Receipt Hog – Go here to sign-up for Receipt Hog (use my referral code YECT1667 at sign-up for free spins)
SavingStar – Go here to sign-up for SavingStar.
Checkout 51 – Go here to sign-up for Checkout 51.
What I love about coupon apps is that you can use the ones that are not store exclusive to save money at places that don’t take printable coupons like Aldi. (here is a list of the apps you can use to save money at ALDI)
4. Look Through That Stack Of Junk Mail Before You Toss It
You could be surprised what you could find in that stack of flyers in your mailbox. I once found a $5 off $25 purchase coupon for Aldi in a stack of what just looked like trash offers. I have also found high-value toothpaste coupons which combined with sales has led to free toothpaste.
5. If Your Area Has A Discount Bread Store Shop There
Years ago I discovered a discount bread store that stocks the 100% whole grain bread my family eats for significantly less than the stores carry it for and even less than I can bake it for so we made the switch. The store is a bit of a drive for us but it is in a city that we visit a few times a year for various events so when we go we buy 2 to 3 months worth and fill our freezer.
6. Use Foaming Soap Dispensers For These Three Products
We include all our personal products as well as household cleaners in our grocery budget. One way I have found to cut down our soap consumption is foaming soap dispensers for our hand soap, dish soap and body wash. I estimate this trick saves us over $300 a year. ( I don’t recommend it for shampoo, I tried and it just did not clean as well)
I reuse containers that contained foaming handsoap from the dollar store although I have found that the ones that method hand soap come in seem to last longer. You can buy empty reusable foaming soap dispensers that are certainly more stylish.
7. Purchase Marked Down Meat
We don’t eat a lot of meat but when we do it is normally bought from the markdown section. This saves our family and an additional 20% off. Cuts of meat that are on sale are often marked down if the sale isn’t going as well as the supermarket thought it would, which leads to even lower prices.
8. Keep A Price Book
My price book comes out of the woodwork about once a year as I do an annual checkup to see if I can beat my current best price for items. The price book helps me find where to find the best price on items that don’t normally go on sale, as well as what is a good sale, and what items are cheaper at the warehouse store.
I find if I spend about 30 minutes each week for a month updating it, I am good to go for another year. Ideally, for maximum savings, I would carry it and update it all year, but that has yet to happen.
9. Realize That To Save The Most Money You Have To Shop At More Than One Place
I find deals on groceries that can’t be beaten by my grocery store at Big Lots all the time. I especially love their 20% off nights for buzz club members as well as the special $5 off $15 purchase coupons the send members in the mail now and again. These make the deals go from good to amazing.
I have friends in other towns that rave about their local scratch and dent grocery stores, or their dollar store food finds. Every town differs as to what deals are available the key is to get out there and look around.
Don’t forget about online retailers that sell grocery items
Since I wrote the first version of this post (I have updated this several times since then) I have started shopping online for groceries more and more –especially for household cleaners, personal products, and dry goods
Here are two websites I use to purchase grocery items most often:
- Amazon Subscribe and Save — I am constantly adding more and more items to my Amazon Subscribe and Save monthly orders. I, of course, take full advantage of the 5 items or more 15% discount (some items are less). On a few items, I get as high as a 20 % discount because I am an Amazon Prime member.
- Boxed.com — I like to describe Boxed.com as a wholesale club store but without the pricey membership, and the deals come to your doorstep instead of you having to drive and pick them up. They even give you free samples with every order, so you don’t miss out on those either (am I the only person who loves the free samples at wholesale stores). Shipping is free with an order of $50 or more and since you are buying in bulk it doesn’t take long to reach that. If you use my referral link here you will save $15 off your first order.
10. The More Homemade Cleaners You Use The More You Will Save
Vinegar and baking soda make up the bulk of the homemade cleaner recipes you find on Pinterest (follow my Homemade Cleaning Products board if you want some ideas). These cleaners cost just pennies and work as well as the commercial brands.
Two Bonus Tips For Reducing Your Grocery Budget Even Further
11. Read This Book
Want more great tips on how to cut the cost of your grocery bill? Check out my favorite book on how to save money on groceries without relying heavily on coupons.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
12. Stay Away From Temptation
I signed up for a grocery delivery app only to read the fine print and discover that certain grocery stores increase the prices of items for the users of this app to recoup some of the fees involved. Walmart does not add any fees to those who use their curbside grocery pickup–I read all the fine print to make sure.
So if you find that using Walmart curbside grocery pick up saves you money by avoiding impulse purchases, I would say go for it! It will also save you time, which you could use to save more money or earn some–thrifty win!
3 more articles that will help you lower your grocery bill
- One Way To Save Money At ALDI That You Are Probably Overlooking
- Three Simple Do’s & Don’ts Of Grocery Shopping On A Budget
- 20 Apps & Websites For Saving Money On Organic Food
psst….looking for Thrifty tips? join my Thrifty People of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook Page.
Thrifty and Thriving: More Life for Less Money is not your typical “how to save money” book. It does not list 25 ways to save on food or 10 ways to decrease your electric bill. Instead, it shares more than 40 key practices and principles that thrifty families use every day. Get your copy here. Available in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.