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Grocery shopping is one thing that just about everyone has to do.
With food prices increasing year after year, your grocery bill can start to increase incrementally without you noticing.
Even with the increase in prices, it doesn’t mean you have to pay full price.
Today, we are going to look at 35 money saving grocery store hacks to help you save more money with each trip that you take.
1. Get Cashback On Your Grocery Purchases
While the purpose of this article is to help you save money on grocery shopping, there are ways to get money back on your grocery spending too.
Using an app called Ibotta, you can easily get cash back by buying participating products at your favorite grocery stores.
Simply check the app to see which products qualify, purchase the product, scan your receipt, and enjoy cash back!
This app allows you to cash out after you have redeemed $20 in rewards and you can choose PayPal or gift cards for your redemption.
By combining the money saving tips with this cash back tip, you can get the maximum savings.
2. Search For Deals Before You Head To The Store
One of the first things you should do before heading out to the grocery store is search for deal ahead of time.
While for years, this involved grabbing the Sunday newspaper and checking for any sales from advertisements stores would send out, there are many new ways to utilizes today’s technology to find the best deals.
Many large grocery store retailers have apps dedicated to checking prices, deals, and even coupons for their store.
This allows you to plan ahead to make sure you are getting the best deal when you head into the store.
This can also help comparison shop for price matching or choosing a different store for a specific product.
3. Order Online For Curbside Pick Up To Avoid Overspending
One of the most convenient additions to the grocery shopping experience is the introduction of online ordering for curbside pickup.
This service allows you to order your groceries online and have them brought out to your vehicle at your designated time.
Not only is this much more convenient for those with busy lifestyles, but it can also help you control overspending.
Since you will not be in the store passing by tempting food or beverages, you can easily order just what you need.
This is a budget user’s favorite tool as you know exactly what you re spending without sticker shock at the register.
4. Shop By Meal Prep Planning
To help better control your grocery spending and eliminate spending money in food you will not use, plan ahead by choosing your meals before you shop.
Meal planning has many different benefits including budgeting your groceries.
By using an app like Cozi, you can find recipes you want to make and add them to a shopping list for easy use at your local grocery store.
This helps you buy exactly what you need to eliminate waste and extra trips to the store throughout the week for ingredients you forgot or thought you had.
It is also a great way to choose recipes with less ingredients for even more savings.
5. Earn Gift Cards From Your Grocery Receipts
If saving money on your groceries and getting cash back wasn’t enough, you can even earn gift cards by submitting your receipts to an app called Receipt Hog.
Receipt Hog is a smartphone all that allows you to earn points by taking photos of your receipts and submitting them to the app.
Once you have achieved a specific number of points, you can redeem them for gift cards to popular retailers such as Amazon or Walmart.
This app accepts receipts from just about anywhere so be sure to use it for purchases other than groceries for maximum rewards and quicker payouts.
6. Buy In Bulk To Save Money
One grocery store hack that most people tend to forget about us taking advantage of sales by buying in bulk.
Buying groceries in bulk allows you to stock up on the food while it’s cheap to save money in the long run.
This may take a little more money up front, but the savings will pay off.
One thing you will want to make sure you look at is the expiration date and if the food is perishable.
Many foods can be frozen to extend the shelf life.
Becoming familiar with what can be bought in bulk and frozen can help to save you hundreds if not thousands each year.
7. Buy Juices In Larger Containers
Much like food, juices can be bought cheaper in bulk. As a frugal person, you know how valuable a reusable cup can be.
This is going to be your best friend when it comes to juices such as apple juice, orange juice, or punch.
Instead of buying individual boxes of juice for your child, try buying larger containers of juice and pouring it into reusable cups when needed.
This will not only save you more money but it will also reduce unnecessary waste.
As an added bonus, you can even look at making your own juice from powdered juice mix for even more savings.
8. Shop Farmers Markets Later In The Day For Best Deals
Although we are focusing on grocery store hacks, shopping at your local farmers market can help you save more money as farmers sometimes have better deals than most supermarkets.
One easy hack to remember when shopping at a farmers market is to go later in the day right before they close down.
While this can be a gamble as they may be out of your favorite produce, this is a chance to take advantage of farmers not wanting to take home unsold product.
If you notice that a vendor has an abundance of a certain food, this is your chance to haggle to get a better deal.
9. Find Out If Nearby Stores Allow Coupon Stacking
If you have been researching how to save money on groceries, you have most likely heard of coupon stacking.
Some of you may have also seen the TV shows where people stack coupons and pay next to nothing for a full cart of groceries, but how does this work?
Coupon stacking, or layering, refers to the ability to use coupons two or three times on the same product.
For example, if a product is $3.00 and they offer a $.50 off coupon with double stacking, you can use two coupons for a total of $1.00 off.
Using this strategically can offer a huge savings for your grocery bill.
10. Kick Your Bottled Water Habit
One of the biggest wastes of money for most people is buying bottled water.
After all, you have water free from your sink tap or fridge dispenser.
With reusable cups with lids as cheap as $1, you could easily be saving yourself $3-4 per case of water.
For those families who go through a case a week, you can look at saving hundreds of dollars a year by getting everyone reusable cups.
Not to mention, you will be saving thousands of plastic bottles from entering the landfill.
This hack is both money saving and environmentally friendly.
You will also get a nice bonus by not having to empty your recycling bin as much.
11. Stop Paying More For Big Brand Items
One of the biggest savings you can capitalize on just about anything that you buy is switching to a store brand equivalent.
After all, many of the store brands are just the popular brands, repackaged.
What you are mainly paying for in these situations is the marketing that goes behind it.
Larger brands pay to dollar to have their brands built and advertised, so ultimately that cost gets passed down to you.
Most of the time you will not even be able to tell a difference between the two and the best part is, most kids (who can be picky) will not be able to tell a difference either.
12. Shop The Outer Perimeter Of Stores
Walking into a grocery store can be somewhat overwhelming.
With all of the aisles and kiosks and freezers, it’s hard to pick a place to start your shopping.
If you follow this one simple rule, you can shop smarter and avoid overpriced, processed foods.
Shopping the perimeter of the store is one of the grocery store’s best kept secrets.
If you think about any grocery store you have been in, you will notice they all have the same basic layout.
The fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, and grains will all be laid out on the perimeter of the store.
In the middle will be more of your processed junk food that is usually overpriced for what you are really getting.
Stick to the outer perimeter and watch your shopping cart get fuller while your total gets smaller.
13. Prepare Your Own Snacks & Avoid Paying For Convenience
Another best kept secret in the food world is that people will always pay more for convenience.
That is why you see more people picking up bottled water, an assorted box of individually bagged chips, and other small snack size items.
These work well because they are easy to grab on the go or stuff into a lunchbox.
What people may not realize is that you can usually grab a larger bag of chips and some sandwich bags and make your own snack size bags for much cheaper.
This goes for just about anything you can think of.
Chips, crackers, cookies, and peanuts are some of the easiest to buy In bulk and meal prep yourself.
14. Take Advantage Of Price Or Sale Matching
A very important part of saving money when grocery shopping is to research.
Knowing the store’s policies can help you take advantage of more sales, benefits, and promotions than are advertised.
One of the most useful promotions is price matching.
Price matching involves one store honoring another store’s pricing.
This allows you to get the best price available for a certain product without having to drive across town to a certain store.
Not all stores do this and you will need to get with your local grocery store to confirm their price matching policies.
15. Ask For A Rain Check On Sales
Picture this. You have just checked out the Sunday paper and noticed your favorite soda is on sale.
You head to the store only to find out it’s all been sold out.
If your store offers rain checks, you can still take advantage of the sale.
Rain checks are a voucher that stores give out when a product goes out of stock during the promotional period.
This voucher can be brought back to the store within a specific time period for you to purchase the product at the original sale price.
While not all stores do this, it is a great way to make sure you get the same original sale price once the product returns.
16. Talk To Your Butcher About Extra Services
When it comes to buying meats, the tender cuts are usually always the most expensive.
This doesn’t mean you can’t grab a cheaper, tougher meat and not get the same result.
When it comes to buying the lower priced, tougher meats, one simple trick is to ask your butcher to tenderize it for you.
Most butchers would be more than happy to do this for you and you can get your cheaper cuts tasting much better for free.
Becoming friends with your butcher can always be beneficial and may result in him or her being gracious the next time they weigh your meat.
17. Buy The Whole Chicken & Use It All
Chicken is one of the most popular foods that people tend to buy.
However, what most people do is buy just a certain cut of the chicken.
You have those who preferred breasts, thighs, legs, and other cuts.
By purchasing just a specific cut, you are going to pay more than if you had just bought the chicken and cut it yourself.
Cutting a chicken is easy and you will have enough food for several dishes for a lower price.
This is a great way to get enough food for a weeks worth of meals for a very low price.
18. Eat More Fruits & Veggies For Cheaper Meals
While you should always be trying to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet, they are a great way to save money as well.
Fruit and vegetables can be very filling and are much cheaper than processed foods.
With a plethora of different fruits and vegetables to choose from, you can expect to find millions of recipes centered around them.
It is one of the easiest ways to get more food and become healthier all at the same time.
Even if you feel like you wouldn’t be able to use a few before they go bad, you can throw them into a juicer or blender for a nice refreshing smoothie or morning juice.
19. Buy More Versatile Foods For More Meal Options
If you are trying to budget your grocery list, you may want to buy more versatile food so you can use them many different ways throughout the week.
Versatile foods are foods that can be prepared many different ways to match different recipes.
For example, one of the most versatile foods are potatoes.
Potatoes usually can be bought in bulk and last awhile.
They can be baked as a main dish, cut up and fried as an appetizer, mashed as a side dish, or diced into hash browns for breakfast.
Many times you can blanch them and freeze them to make your own frozen french fries or hash browns to use up to 30 days.
20. Check The Expiration Dates
There is nothing worse than getting all of your groceries home to find out that your milk expires in two days.
Expiration dates can throw off your frugal approach and cause you to go over your grocery budget as you will have to replace it within the same week.
One secret is to grab one of the products near the back of the freezer or cooler as grocery stores follow the FIFO process (first in first out).
This will place the Items with the later expiration dates toward the back, allowing you to choose a date that is longer to get the most time out of your food.
21. Do The Math On Unit Prices
Perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts of grocery shopping is unit pricing.
Unit pricing is the price her unit of a product that you are purchasing.
For example, if you buy potatoes in a 5 lb bag, you will want to look and see how many come in a bag and see if it’s cheaper to buy them individually.
The unit price is usually advertised to show how much you will be saving, however, when it comes to items on sale, you will want to check out the difference in pricing to see if you really are getting the better deal.
22. Get Creative With What You Have
If you are in a pinch or have gone over your food budget, you may be looking at your pantry trying to figure out how you can make a meal with the few things you have left.
By using an app like SuperCook, you can find recipes by searching with the ingredients you have.
This app was designed to help people waste less food and get more creative with their cooking.
Simply type in the ingredients that you have SuperCook will suggest recipes based on what you have.
This is a great way to use up food that is a about to expire as well.
23. Pay With Cash To Stick To Your Budget
If you are having a problem sticking to your budget, try switching to cash payment.
With a debit or credit card, it can be very easy to overspend and throw your budget out the window.
Getting your groceries planned out and figuring a ballpark budget will allow you to take out just enough cash to cover these expenses and not much more.
This will keep you sticking to your original budget and even challenging you to come under to see how much cash you have left over.
This is a great way to force yourself to look for cheaper alternatives along the way.
24. Take A Chance At Another Grocery Store
There is something comforting about going to the grocery store that you have gone to forever.
You know the layout, prices, staff, and sales.
However, getting comfortable here may be keeping you from finding better prices elsewhere.
By doing a little bit of research, you can see if there are other stores in your area that have better prices, food selection, or promotions that could save you some money.
What most people don’t realize is that going to the same store for years can put you in a routine that could unknowingly keep you from seeing new deals or price increases.
25. Try To Learn The Sales Schedule
One of the hardest tasks in this list is finding out the sales schedule for your favorite grocery store.
By finding out the schedule or sales and promotions that they run, you can choose when the best time is for you to shop for the best deals.
With the convenience of the internet, you may be able to find this information online.
Alternatively, you can watch the Sunday papers to see what goes on sale at which time during the month.
Of course, you could always ask employees of the store as they usually have no problem sharing this information.
26. Don’t Shop When You Are Hungry
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when grocery shopping is doing so when you are hungry.
When you grocery shop hungry, you tend to buy things that sound good at that specific time which can stray you away from your budget.
By eating a meal before you shop, you can shop with a clear mind and focus on the goal of getting exactly what you need and nothing more.
This is the same tactic that stores that offer free samples use.
You weren’t planning on buying that popcorn chicken, but after seeing how delicious it was, what’s a few extra bucks to grab a bag right?
27. Learn To Grow Your Own Food
For those who want to save even more on food, starting a garden is a great way to grow your own food to eliminate having to purchase it all together.
Of course, this will take some time, so plan ahead.
Growing your own food doesn’t mean you need a big plot of land or crazy machines.
You can grow your own herbs in an apartment in a window sill.
Not only do you get the satisfaction of growing your own food, you get to save money at the same time.
For those with room for a larger garden, you can learn to can your food for a longer lasting harvest that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
28. If You Buy It, Use It
Wasting food is a frugal person’s worst nightmare.
You are essentially throwing away money that you could have eaten.
Instead of throwing it away, find a better way to utilize it.
If the food has spoiled, it may be too far gone.
However, if it is vegetables or fruit, you can throw the rotting food into a compost pile.
The key here is to get to it before it spoils.
For fruits and veggies that are still good, you can throw them into a smoothie or juice them to use them before they spoil.
For other foods that are near the expiration date, find a recipe to use them in or freeze them if you can.
29. Eat More Leftovers
To get the most out of your foods and to help you meal prep for the following week.
Some recipes can be adjusted to cook for more people to allow you to have lunch for a few days.
To put it into perspective, cooking a large pot of spaghetti on Sunday can allow you to put away leftovers to be heated up through the week.
By finding more recipes that allow for rehearing the next day, you can reduce food waste, have more time to focus on the day, and spend less on food.
30. Leave The Shopping To The Most Frugal
We all know someone in our family who is an impulsive buyer.
This person can’t walk past a tray of cookies without buying them.
If this person is doing the grocery shopping, stop them immediately.
When it comes to grocery shopping, you will want the most frugal person doing the shopping.
This will keep you on track and within the budget you have set forth.
Even if the most frugal person is usually not the one who does the shopping, it is worth trying them out to see if they can get your grocery cost down.
31. Check Lower Level Products For Cheaper Prices
Another trick that many grocery stores use is product placement.
By putting more expensive and brand name products at eye level, it makes it an easy sell as you see items you are familiar with first.
By taking the time to look at the lower shelved items, you can quickly realize the savings that you have been missing all of these years.
This is where you are going to find more of the store brand items we previously discussed.
So next time you are in the grocery store, check the lower shelves and see if the prices are cheaper.
32. Shop Produce By The Season
Once upon a time, you were only able to buy certain produce during a specific time of the year.
Some produce is a seasonal food, but with advancements in technology, we can enjoy this food all year long.
However, the prices can vary depending on what time of year it is and what produce it is.
For those that are out of season, you may be paying a little more due to supply and demand.
This is the food you may want to purchase only when it is in season.
33. Read The Fine Print On The Sale
When there is a sale on food, the frugal ones come out in masses.
The smart ones do their research and look at all of the fine print before rushing out.
Marketers have gotten pretty good with manipulating words to make sales seem better than they are.
Once someone sees the word “Sale” they immediately think that they will be saving a lot of money.
That is not always the case.
Taking some time to read the fine print of the sale will give you a better picture of whether or not you need to be rushing to the store or not.
Go Meatless One Dinner A Week
We have already touched on how cheap vegetables are and how they are a budget friendly option to your grocery shopping list.
An easy way to add more vegetables to your diet is by dedicating one night to a completely meatless meal.
Not only will you be saving money by not having to purchase meat, but you will also be eating much healthier.
Use The Envelope Budget Method
The envelope method, when it comes to budgeting, is the process of putting your food budget into an envelope and taking only that with you to the grocery store.
What this does is force you to shop more frugally and keeps you from going over the budget you decided on for food that week or month.
It is a great way to train yourself or your family on sticking to a budget.
Now that we have discussed 35 ways that you can save money on your next grocery store trip, it’s time for you to go out and start saving.
Many of these tips can be used together to help maximize your overall savings.
If you have a suggestion on other grocery store hacks, feel free to leave a comment and share your tips.