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Aside from simply using coupons, there are many other ways in which you can save at a grocery store. Here we have listed 8 detailed steps that can help you save on average from 10% – 40% on your next grocery store trip.
These steps work especially great for those looking to save money at Safeway.
Throughout these steps, I will use a gallon of milk priced at $2.49 as an example. We end up saving $1.42 on a gallon of milk for a savings of nearly 60%.
1. Ibotta App – Save 20%
Now there are plenty of receipt scanning apps that pay you to scan a grocery receipt to your phone. All you have to do is save your receipt and take a picture of it with your phone.
Depending on the total price and what items are on the receipt, you can earn anywhere from $.10 cents to $5 in cash back. Not only that, but you can also claim more than one cash back offer per receipt.
Here’s a quick how-to guide with one of our favorite grocery receipt scanning apps, Ibotta.
1. Register for a free Ibotta account by clicking this link here. Get a $10 bonus after registering and scanning your first receipt. Once you’ve registered, download the app and log-in.
2. Browse their offers, which are usually separated by store. Rarely will you find items separated by brand name when using Ibotta. With the Ibotta app in particular, you can save $.25 cents to $5 per offer. Not only that, but you can claim more than one offer per receipt.
3. Here we can get 50 cents off of milk. Once you find an item you want at the store, usually you have to take a small survey or two to unlock the full rebate. It usually takes me around 10 seconds.
4. Once you have the discount unlocked, purchase your product at the register and ask for the receipt. Verify your receipt with Ibotta by holding up to the barcode scanner on the Ibotta app screen when requested.
5. Take a photo of the entire receipt and submit it for your bonus. You need to make sure to show the date and name of the store in the picture.
6. Once your account reaches a minimum of $10, you can cash out to either Venmo or Paypal or get a gift card to to popular retailers such as Amazon. Personally, I usually just take the cash since I can always buy gift cards at an extreme discount.
From the images above, we can see that we’ve saved a total of $.50 cents on a gallon of milk just by using the Ibotta app alone. Let’s take a look and see if we can increase this amount even further.
Note: I usually don’t wait until I get home to upload my receipts, but rather use my smartphone to do it almost immediately after purchase at the grocery store or in the car. This allows me to get my cash back that much quicker and prevents me from forgetting.
Also keep in mind that you can use Ibotta in conjunction with other receipt scanning apps as well. This means you can use the same receipt for more than one app. Not only that, but apps like Ibotta are also great for getting cash back for shopping online.
2. Get a Cash Back Credit Card – Save 6%
The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has to be the best card on the market when shopping for groceries. At a whopping 6% cash back discount on groceries, I’ve save nearly $288 annually.
They even give you a $150 cash bonus after you spend $1000 within the first three months of opening an account, more than enough to make up for its annual fee of $75.
However, most of the time, you can get the first year on the annual fee waived, saving you even more money. Let’s take a quick look at the card.
- Earn $150 cash back after spending $1,000 in purchases within your first three months
- Annual fee of $75 (can be waived by calling the company before activation)
- Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
- 3% cash back at select U.S. department stores
- 1% cash back on other purchases.
By using the 6% cash back on this card, with a gallon of milk at $2.49, we’ve cut it down to $2.34, saving a total of 15 cents. If we combine our savings from the Ibotta app above, we save an additional 50 cents which brings our total for the gallon of milk down to just $1.84!
While it may not seem like much, the great part about using a credit card is that all of the work and calculations are done for you. Each time you swipe the Amex card at a grocery store you’re automatically given 6% back each time. Over time the amount adds up to save you hundreds each year.
3. Checkout 51 App – Save 20%
Checkout 51 is a mobile app that works just like Ibotta. They give you cash back for specific purchases that you make, in which most of the offers are typically found at grocery stores. The majority of their products are separated by brand, unlike Ibotta which separates them by store name.
As mentioned about, the great thing is that both Ibotta and Checkout 51 can be used simultaneously, meaning you can use the same receipt and scan it twice to receive double the amount of rebates. The steps are fairly simple once again, but I’ll briefly outline them here.
Here are 5 steps on using Checkout 51 on getting cash back:
1. First sign-up by going to checkout51.com. Create a username and password or use your Facebook account. Once you have an account setup, download the app to your smartphone.
2. Browse their list of available offers. Unlike Ibotta, these offers can be purchased at any store and you’ll still receive cash back.
3. Buy the product and take a picture of your receipt. Just be sure that the picture includes the store name, total price and list of the items that you purchased. To keep things simple, just take a picture of the entire receipt.
4. Once Checkout 51 sees a product that matches with one of their offers, they will send you cash back for the amount offered. This usually takes 3-5 days.
5. Cash out when you have an account minimum of $20. You can request a check sent to your mailing address or cash out directly to your PayPal account.
From steps 1 and 2, we’re down from $2.49 to $1.84 on a gallon of milk. Combine this amount with step 3 using Checkout 51 and we save an additional $.50 cents. We’re now at just $1.34 for a gallon of milk.
When it comes to the Checkout 51 app, all offers begin on Thursday and end the following Wednesday before midnight. Be sure to upload your receipt before this timeframe expires. If your receipt date is within this timeframe but you scan it the following week, you may not receive credit for your purchase.
SavingStar is a rewards program that’s similar to clipping coupons, but there’s no paper involved and all of it is done online. All you have to do is click a button to clip the coupon. Once you make the purchase at a grocery store using your rewards card, the coupon is automatically applied to your receipt.
In order to make things simpler, we’ve outlined the 5 steps on how SavingStar works.
1. Register for a new SavingStar account by clicking this link here. Click the “Join For Free!” link at the top of the page or the log-in with Facebook to get started.
2. When you’re registering, enter your loyalty cards from each store that is in your area. Type in your zip code to find the ones near you that work with Savingstar. From the image below we can see that there are currently 5 in my district.
3. Finish the registration. There’s also an option to earn cash back when shopping online, but I’ve found other shopping portal sites to give a much higher discount. For now, we’re only going to use SavingStar when it comes to shopping for groceries. When it asks you to install the toolbar, simply click “No Thanks,” found at the bottom.
4. After registration, you’ll be brought back to the front page. You can see all of the deals that are available. Simply click activate, and next time you go to the store and buy that particular item, the discount will automatically be applied to your receipt.
5. Go to the store and make your purchases. All of the cash back will be automatically registered to your account which can be redeemed via PayPal, your bank account or by getting a a gift card. You need a minimum of $5 to withdraw.
In order to receive your cash back, click the “My Account” tab at the top of the website. You can redeem your money by check or by using their online shopping mall. I believe you have to wait 30 days in order to get your 1st check.
The best thing about SavingStar is that it can be used in accordance with Ibotta and Checkout 51. We didn’t find the milk we were looking for, but that’s okay. We saved 50 cents on cheerios without getting our fingers dirty by clipping coupons.
While we didn’t save any money on milk with SavingStar, we still were able to find discounts on a lot of other products that we frequently purchase.
Note: If you see a deal that says you save $5 after spending $25 on a certain product, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend $25 in one go. The site will automatically keep track for you on what you’re saving. SavingStar also has an app that can be downloaded here.
5. Check Out the Store’s Website
Whatever grocery store you’re going to, always take a minute to check their website for additional promotions or coupons. As an example, we’re going to use Safeway, especially since I personally love to go to Safeway due to their online coupon system.
After creating an account and entering your rewards card on the Safeway website, they give you a list of coupons and discounts for the week. Again, no need to clip coupons anymore as all coupons are automatically reloaded to your card.
You don’t even have to wait to redeem for cash back, as it’s automatically taken off at the register and shown on the receipt. Here is a direct link to their weekly specials.
Simply click the “ADD” button and the discounts will be automatically loaded. For Safeway, I usually just check back once every Wednesday when new coupons are loaded onto their system. I just spend 5 minutes activating all deals, and I’m done for the week.
Figure out a day when you can go to all of your local grocery stores’ website and activate all of the coupons available, meaning you’ll only spend 10 minutes a week, but save a lot of money.
6. Always Apply for the Rewards Card
You go to the register and the cashier asks you if you have a rewards card. Next time say be sure to accept the offer, and if they don’t ask be sure to ask if the store carries a rewards card.
Many major grocery stores offer rewards cards that can be used at the time of purchase to receive points per dollar spent. These points can often be used to redeem specific discounts.
For example, after spending $100 on in-store purchases at Safeway, if you enter your rewards card number when purchasing gas at the Safeway Gas Station, they’ll give you 10 cents off per gallon of gas. The same type of deal exists for Fred Meyer as well.
If you hate carrying around another set of cards in your wallet or purse, then you don’t have to. Most stores link your phone number with your rewards card. Next time you go shopping, simply type in or tell the cashier your phone number, and rewards will be automatically sent to your account.
7. Check Coupon Sites
While we don’t particularly like to clip coupons, we can’t deny that they’re great for making huge savings on your purchase. There are three main sources that I suggest for some of the best coupon sites around.
I usually don’t check anymore than these three sites as you won’t find much better deals elsewhere. More than not, I find myself running into duplicates a fair amount just by using these three.
Again, we didn’t find any savings on milk, but we were able to find some coupons for a lot of other great products. Some typical items that you’ll usually find discounts on include frozen dinners, coffee and cookies.
I suggest writing out a list and quickly using the coupons.com search function and briefly check if there’s a coupon for your desired item. It only takes a few minutes each time and can end up saving you quite a bit of money in the long run.
8. bevRAGE App For Cash Back on Alcohol – $1 – $3
For those of you who purchase alcohol at a grocery store, the bevRAGE app is perfect for just that. Earn cash back on wine, alcohol or beer when making purchases at the bar, gas stations or at grocery stores. As long as your receipt has alcohol on it that matches one of their offers, it doesn’t really matter at which retailer you make the purchase.
The great thing about bevRAGE is that nearly half of their offers are generic, meaning it doesn’t matter which brand you buy. For example, purchase a 6-pack of any type of beer and you $1 in cash back. Purchase a 24-pack of any type of beer and get $3 in cash back.
Registration is 100% free, and when you use the promo code FRUGAL on sign-up you’re given a $1 bonus when you scan your first receipt. For more information feel free to read our Full bevRAGE Review.
Depending on what you purchase, you could end up saving around 40% on all of your grocery purchases. It’s typically hard to find deals on produce with the methods mentioned above, but every once in a while you’ll see an offer for fruits or vegetables. If you enjoyed this article, here are some other ones you might want to check out:
- Top 10 Apps That Pay You For Scanning Receipts
- 52 Tips & Tricks For Saving Money on Eating Out
- Why Raise is the Best Place to Buy Discounted Gift Cards
If you have any other methods you’re willing to share on how to save money on groceries, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!