Have you ever noticed how easy it is to spend way more than you had intended at the grocery store? Unfortunately, groceries are just one of those unavoidable expenses.
But unlike a large fixed expense, like your mortgage or car payment, there’s a huge opportunity to cut how much you’re spending on groceries just by changing a few things about the way that you shop.
All it takes is a little work and actually using the different tools that out there.
Below are 5 of my favorite hacks that will help you dramatically spend less on groceries.
Shop the sales
How often do you actually buy things only when they go on sale? Because if you’re paying full price for something then chances are you’re paying too much.
Not all sales are created equal though. They can vary from saving a measly few cents to paying less than half of the original price!
However, it’s a lot harder to buy things at the very best prices if you’re only shopping at one store. It may be more convenient to do all of your shopping in one place but you’re also paying for it.
But if you’re looking to maximize your savings (without taking extreme measures) then finding 1 or 2 other grocery stores in your area will help you get the most out of your grocery budget. Don’t go chasing every sale around town (you’ll go crazy!) but at least compare a couple of sales ads.
Just think of it this way. When you’re shopping at two places, you’re doubling the chances of buying your groceries on sale.
Shopping the sales is the best way to save the most amount of money, even more than using coupons! So make sure to take advantage of it by checking out your grocery store’s sales ads online. Then building your grocery list around those things.
Buying things when they are on sale is by far the easiest way to save the most money on your groceries. So take full advantage of when things are at their lowest prices by not only buying the things you’ll use for the next week but also buying a few extra to build a stockpile.
Stocking up on the things you use regularly like household products and pantry items will help you avoid paying full prices ever again. You can even stockpile on things like meat and fruit if the price is right. It’ll last for months as long as you freeze it.
As a general rule, wait until things are at least 50% off the original price before buying extras for your stockpile.
It’s really easy to get carried away so be smart and don’t go overboard because most sales will cycle back in 6 weeks or less.
The exception to this rule is when you can actually get something for absolutely free (usually when combining a sale with a coupon). If that’s the case then go crazy and get as many as you can.
If you keep an eye on how often the stuff you buy goes on sale you’ll notice that there’s usually a pattern.
Pro Tip: Don’t fall for the fake sale! Stores try to make you think that something is on sale by putting on a yellow tag but when you read the tag, it’ll say something like “Surprisingly low price” or “Everyday low price”. Those are not sales so don’t fall for it!
Cash in on your receipts
Did you know that your grocery receipts can earn you money?
Yes, that annoyingly long piece of paper that you probably just threw away or crammed in your purse (at least that's what I do) will help you earn some of your money back. Every single receipt no matter what you buy or which grocery store you shop at will get you closer to a gift card or cold hard cash depending on which app you use!
There are a ton of them out there but my personal favorites are Fetch, Ibotta, and Checkout 51.
I really like Fetch because you earn points towards a gift card for every one of your grocery receipts including Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Start earning points by signing up for Fetch now. Make sure to use code TD9AX to get a special bonus.
Using these 3 apps have helped me put $230.71 back into my bank account. They’re definitely worth trying since they’re super easy to use and takes minimal effort.
Shop the season
Sometimes it’s more challenging to save on produce. But it’s definitely doable. Eating seasonally is the best way to save on your favorite fruits and veggies.
When you buy what’s in season, it’s not only the cheapest, but it’s also the freshest. The produce doesn’t have to travel as far to get to your grocery store. It’s a win-win!
To find out what’s in season in your area, check out the Seasonal Food Guide.
Another cheaper alternative to fresh produce (mainly veggies) is buying the frozen version instead. They're just as healthy and can taste just as good or even better.
Coupons are a great way to save some extra money. And when you’re able to combine them with a sale, you’re pretty much getting the best deal around.
Gone are the days where the only way you could get coupons is if you bought them in the newspaper. I did that for several years and realized that it just wasn’t worth the money, time, and effort that I was putting into it.
Don’t get me wrong I still love using coupons because they save me a lot of money. But I prefer using digital coupons from my grocer’s app and printing coupons at home from sites like Coupons.com. It’s a lot easier and much quicker which is definitely plus!
So unless you’re trying to be an extreme couponer, it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes clipping paper and/or digital coupons.
Also, if you haven’t already make sure you join your store’s free loyalty program. They come with many perks including exclusive sales and coupons for the things you buy all the time.