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, we can spend a bit more but I still set a realistic budget that fits within our means.
I have also learned so much about good nutrition since my mom’s battle with cancer that took her life several years ago, that my goal is now to squeeze in as many whole foods as possible as well as buying the dirty dozen organic and much of our dairy products. Still 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 I keep our grocery budget low
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1. I 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 weeks 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 sales 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. I use my 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.
3. I 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.
Smartphone apps are another great way to save money on groceries here is a list of ones I use
Ibotta -not only can you use the Ibotta app at the grocery store but you can also use it at the pet store, hardware store and much more.
Fetch Rewards – (use my referral code RE9FU at sign up for 1500 points when you complete one receipt.) Fetch Rewards works with 150+ brands to bring you points that you can cash in for gift cards.
Go here to sign-up for Fetch Rewards (use my referral code RE9FU at sign up for 1500 points when you complete one receipt)
BerryCart – If you have someone in your family with a gluten allergy Berry Cart might just be the app for you. They specialize in coupons for gluten-free, whole foods, and organic items. (here is a tutorial I wrote on how to use BerryCart)
Receipt Hog – Simply snap a picture of your receipts and upload it to win spins or points that is how simple Receipt Hog is to use. (here is a tutorial I wrote about how to use Receipt Hog)
Go here to sign-up for Receipt Hog (use my referral code YECT1667 at sign-up for free spins)
Shopkick –You can earn more by purchasing specific products and uploading the receipt, but you don’t have to buy anything to collect gift cards through the Shopkick app. You can sign in when you enter select stores and earn kicks for entering the store and/or by scanning select products while you shop.
Makeena – This is an app I am just starting to explore. It offers rebates on organic foods including many “any brand” offers that include items like milk, eggs, and various organic vegetables and brand specific deals.
Go here to sign-up for Makeena and use my referral code TWNAVD during sign up to earn 1000 points (equals $1) once you upload your first receipt.
CoinOut – CoinOut earns you cash back with almost any receipt/purchase. You can choose from three payment options (PayPal, Bank Deposit, or Amazon), and two of them have zero minimum earning amounts. There is a daily limit on how many receipts you can upload in a day, but the receipts can be a few days old before you upload them–which is a nice feature for us forgetful folks.
SavingStar – Earn cash back on your groceries with exclusive freebies, coupons, and significant savings on your favorite brands using SavingStar. You can link deals to your store loyalty cards, but you can also submit a picture of your receipt to earn money in your SavingStar account.
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 ones you can use at ALDI)
4. I search all my junk mail
You could be surprised what you could find in that stack of flyers in your mailbox. A few months ago I 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. I shop at the discount bread store
About a year 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. I use foaming soap dispensers
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)
7. I 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. Sale meat goes into the markdown pile more often than people would think making the prices even lower.
8. I 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. I shop at more than just one grocery store
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.
10. I switched to homemade cleaners
- Here is my homemade cleaners Pinterest board where you will find dozens of homemade cleaning recipes
Vinegar and baking soda make up the bulk of the homemade cleaner recipes you can 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.
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.
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.
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