So you want to save money at the grocery store?
You don’t have time or maybe you don’t care to clip or print coupons. You can still save money! Your savings might not be enormous, but every little bit helps.
10 ways to save money at the grocery store without clipping coupons:
- Shop the sales. When you walk in the store, grab the sale ad…the items on the front page are typically the best deals. The biggest picture of meat is generally considered their “loss leader” and it’s a great time to stock up.
- Look for managers specials throughout the store. These often have red stickers. They are on manager special because they are close to their expiration date typically. Meat that is close to expiring can be 50%-70% off…take it home and freeze it and you only benefit!
- Instore promotions. Many stores have instore promotions such as buy 5 participating items get $5 instantly off of your bill. It is SO HARD for me not to say that you can get really extreme savings using coupons with these promotions but…oops I already said it. Even without coupons, store promotions can really reduce your grocery bill
- When something is a good price…stock up. Don’t just buy one, buy enough to last your family until it goes on sale again. Sale cycles vary but if you buy about 6-8 weeks worth of an item…you should be safe not to have to buy it again until it is on sale
- Buy in bulk. Not in a stockpiling sense, but rather than buying the smallest bag of rice…buy the largest. Now if we were talking coupons, I would actually be encouraging the opposite. With coupons, bulk isn’t always better if you can get the item for free or almost free if you buy a smaller amount. Without coupons though, buying in bulk is generally the cheapest way to go.
- Store brand. Every grocery store has a store brand line of products. Some have several versions of their store brand. HEB store brand food is amazing. Normally name brand doesn’t taste that much different than store brand. Even if it does..that doesn’t mean better. You just might have to give the store brand a try for awhile to change your taste buds.
- Don’t impulse buy. Walk in with a list and stick to it. If you don’t actually see the store ad until you walk in the door (which I don’t recommend, most stores mail their ads out the day the sale starts..or you can obtain it online), and you see a sale on a protein not on your list, decide if you can sub in the sale protein instead. Same with produce and dairy.
- Try not to buy convenience foods. You can make so many convenience foods at home and make them much healthier (see: freezer burritos). Convenience foods and junk foods can rack up a bill VERY quickly. That doesn’t mean you can’t have snacks or sweets, just make them yourself from scratch.
- Store cards. Not every grocery store has loyalty cards, but many do. In some stores you can’t take advantage of most of their sales unless you have a loyalty card. (we’re not talking about coupons right now, but you can even load coupons on to these cards). Some cards even rack up points for free food or gas.
- Shop with cash. Erin Chase at $5 Dinners recently wrote a good post about how shopping with cash keeps her grocery bill in check. I can’t claim to do this as often as I should, but it is a good tip to put into practice.
***Optional*** (but a bit more work)
- shop at more than one store…this is called “cherry picking” where you only pick the best deals from each store
- make use of instore coupons..coupons by the registers, hanging on the products, shelves, etc
So there it is…my no clipping advice for grocery shopping. When you are a thoughtful shopper and you take just a bit of time to check out sales and stock up on items when they are a good price…you can expect to save between 10-25% on your grocery bill…if not more!