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Groceries are the second biggest part of our budget after housing. Housing takes about 30% of our budget and groceries take between 11% and 15%. Advisors say that if you make $3,000 a month then your groceries should only be about $180 a month.
This is laughable as I have two teenagers and before I applied these grocery savings hacks our grocery bill was $130 a WEEK!
So naturally, I looked for ways to save money on groceries every month. I found 15 different ways:
1. Shopping Apps
This is a foolproof way to save money on groceries no doubt. All you needed to do is either shop through the app or scan receipts after you’ve shopped. Not only will you save money every week on groceries and all your other shopping, some of these apps have great sign-up bonuses.
My favorite grocery apps are:
- Ibotta – $10 sign up plus a large variety of cash back opportunities and discounts, including a 50% discount on Amazon Prime for students
- Checkout 51 – $5 for referring friends plus many grocery coupons
- Ebates – $10 sign up bonus plus automatic tracking of your shopping with great discounts such as 5% back at Walmart
- TopCashBack – $10 sign up plus some of the highest cash back offers out there, plus receive an extra 2.5% bonus if you opt for an Amazon gift card instead of cash
2. Sign up for Company Emails
Many food and drink brands offer email sign-ups and newsletters that will offer free coupons and members-only deals.
For example, signing up with Betty Crocker will get you $250 in free coupons for big (or even free) discounts on canned goods, cereals, and other food products.
Other companies giving out free coupons are:
- Pillsbury – $250 in coupons plus free samples
- Gerber has a baby savings club on their website for coupons on baby food and products
- General Mills – Makers of a multitude of cereals, Green Giant, and many more have a large selection of coupons on their website
The list is endless really, just look up a food brand (or it’s parent company) website and search for coupons. Another method is to email or write to your favorite food company and compliment on how much you like their food and many will mail you coupons.
3. Quit the Warehouse Shopping
Yes, quit shopping at Costco, Sam’s Club and those other bulk warehouse stores. Not only will you save money on memberships (Costco is $60 a year), but you can find cheaper prices on bulk items on Amazon.
Not only does Amazon have many lower bulk prices than the warehouse stores they don’t charge a membership fee and they also have a Subscribe & Save option as well where you can save up to 15% off your shopping list over $25.
Shopkick is a bit different than the grocery cash-back apps out there. You actually make money by entering one of their partner stores, scanning the barcode of a product listed, or using a coupon on the site.
You earn “kicks” (points) towards a variety of gift cards and as little as only 500 kicks can be redeemed quickly. Gift cards are available for such stores like Walmart, Walgreen’s, Best Buy and many more.
So why not earn free gift cards during your own regular shopping and the products you scan for them you don’t need to even buy.
5. Use the Grocery Store’s “Pickup” Option
Many grocery retailers are now offering a pickup service for your groceries. What you do is go onto the retailer’s website, fill out your shopping list – including brand name and sizes and pay for it.
Then all you have to do is take your printed receipt to your grocery store, park in the designated pickup area and hand over your receipt. That’s it!
Grocery stores that offer this service include Walmart, Kroger’s, Whole Foods Market and
How is this going to save money on my groceries every month you ask? Here are a few ways:
- You actually spend less – even with the pickup service fee, people are spending less on groceries as you’re not tempted by in-store displays, less impulse shopping, and you actually see your running total as you shop.
- Stores will substitute products that are not available and sometimes you even get an upgrade, better brand or a larger box – for the same price.
- Easier to apply coupons – load digital coupons to your list or bring all your mailed and printed coupons to the store to be deducted there.
- You save time, a lot of time. Grocery shopping with kids in tow can take an hour or more.
6. Meal Plan
Meal planning for the week ahead (or some people even plan for the month ahead) can save you money on your groceries.
When you create each day’s meal plan (including lunches), you write down the ingredients you’ll need for those recipes and only buy what’s on the list, you avoid excess food, which sometimes goes to waste.
Some other ways to save when you plan your menus are:
- Pick recipes that will use up any fridge or pantry items you have
- Pick recipes that will use the same item in several recipes – split bulk chicken into 3 recipes
- Plan slow cooker meals for those busy nights – pop the meal in the morning and it’s hot and ready when everyone arrives home. This cuts down the expense of eating out
7. Loyalty Cards
Take advantage of any local grocery stores that offer loyalty cards. Many of these cards offer its members a variety of benefits for signing up as well as for using them.
Some loyalty card benefits include:
- Punchcard discount – buy a certain number, get one free
- Double rewards – one local store I use will double any coupons I bring in
- Digital coupons – don’t need to remember to bring your coupons
- Member only contests and prizes
8. Do your own Labor
Buy meat, especially chicken, that are still skinned and bone-in. The more work the store does for you – the costlier the food. Take it home whole and break it down yourself. This also goes for salads, cheese, and other “prepared and packaged” foods.
Let’s compare prices:
- Tyson Whole Chicken – $6.96
- Skin on, bone in Thighs – $6.30
- 5lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs – $10.99
- Head of Iceberg Lettuce $1.68
- Bag of Shredded Iceberg Lettuce, 8oz $1.87
- Bunch of Whole Spinach $1.88
- Bag of Baby Spinach, 6 oz $2.98
- Kraft Whole Block Cheddar Cheese, 8 oz $2.38
- Kraft Cheddar Cheese Slices, 12 oz $2.68
- Kraft Shredded Cheddar Cheese, 7 oz $3.84
Don’t forget that 1 block of 8oz cheese shreds into 2 Cups while the 7 oz bag of shredded cheese is a little less than 1 Cup. So, you’re getting twice as much cheese by grating it yourself and it’s freezable too.
9. Don’t buy Milk at Supermarkets
Many of us know that groceries at convenience stores and drug stores are usually costlier than at the grocery store. But one great exception is milk.
Let’s do the fun math again:
- 1 Gallon HEB 1% Milk $4.27
- 1 Gallon Walgreen’s 1% Milk $3.89
- 1 Gallon Phillips 66 1% Milk $3.49
10. Grow your Own
Packaged herbs are one of the top foods we waste and throw out after its gone bad. This is due to only needing a little bit in a recipe and then it sits forgotten in our vegetable drawer. These packaged herbs can cost around $1.98 for ½ an ounce!
The advantage of growing your own food and herbs is that you can pick them when they are fresh and only as much as you need.
11. Buy “In Season”
Buying fruit and vegetables when they’re in season saves you some money as they’re more readily available and cost more out of season. The reason why they cost more out of season is that they’re usually imported from another growing area.
Planning your meals around food that’s in season will help with food costs too, such as using cabbage in winter, asparagus in spring, string beans in summer, and winter squashes in winter.
It’s easy to find lists of what fruit and vegetables are in season on-line, especially on Pinterest.
12. Skip the Deli
When buying cold cuts for lunches, skip the deli and the prepackaged (and waterlogged) sliced meats.
Instead, go to the butcher and get whole meats and have the butcher slice those for you. The price difference is a lot! A pound of pre-sliced ham at Walmart is $3.96 while a whole ham is $1.98 a pound.
13. Bargain Stores
A great place to grab all your canned foods and household supplies and other things is to check out the bargain stores. Those stores that buy pallets of discontinued or “rejected” products.
I have bought canned vegetables, spaghetti sauces, side dish packages, dishwasher pods, and a variety of other products for as much as 3/4th off the regular prices.
The only thing to watch for are cans that are really badly dented as this may be unsafe.
14. Shop Generic Brands
There is nothing wrong with getting the no-name brands of foods, many are actually made from the same company that made the brand name ones. These generic brands are often quite cheaper than its branded counterpart, even with a coupon.
Let’s compare the two:
- Heinz 32 oz. Tomato Ketchup $2.88
- Great Value 32 oz. Tomato Ketchup $1.72
That’s a $1.16 savings right there!
15. Neilson Consumer Panel
Lastly, there’s the Neilson Consumer Panel, it doesn’t exactly save you money but you do get to earn free products and maybe even win prizes as well.
You can either use your smartphone, or the company will send you a free barcode scanner. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the UPC codes on the back of each product and send your data to Nielsen.
You earn gift points, which are redeemable for electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids. You will also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand-new cars.
Now that you have 15 different ways to save on your groceries every month, possibly savings of over $100 a month if you plan it right.
Do you have any grocery savings hacks? Please share them with us and our readers in the comments.