One thing everyone has in common is they need to eat to survive. While you could hunt for your own food in the wilderness, it’s probably easier to do what everyone else does: go to the grocery store. You either love to go or hate to go, but no matter what, you’re probably always looking for ways to save money on your purchases while you’re there.
To help you shop smart and significantly slash your grocery bills, here are some tips, tricks and apps that can help you double up on savings.
1. Use Ebates
Before you shop for groceries, check Ebates to see if you’ll be getting cash back on your purchases. The app gives you cash back at a whopping 2,000 different retailers, including grocery stores, electronics stores, clothing stores and many more. Ebates has given well over $1 billion back to over 10 million customers just like you since 1999.
Ebates is very easy to use. Just download the app, link your account to your favorite credit card and-PRESTO-you’ll be receiving a check or money via PayPal for the cash back you saved on your purchases.
2. Save with Swagbucks
You can get rewarded for shopping at your favorite grocery stores with Swagbucks. For every dollar you spend at designated stores, Swagbucks will reward you with points, also known as SBs. You can turn these SBs into real gift cards for places like Target, Starbucks, PayPal and Amazon. Swagbucks applies to in-store or online purchases, so pay attention to the details listed on the offer for your favorite grocery store.
Swagbucks has given away well over $260 million during its 10 years of operation. They also give out 7,000 gift cards every single day. Take advantage of being rewarded for grocery shopping with Swagbucks!
3. Clip Those Coupons
Do you snicker when the person in front of you in the checkout line pulls out coupons? You shouldn’t. $3.1 billion was saved by consumers using coupons in 2017, according to Access Development. That’s some serious cash. Get in on the coupon clipping action to see your money savings bloom.
Don’t know where to find coupons? They’re actually hiding in plain sight. Traditionally, there are a ton of them in the Sunday newspaper. Don’t get the paper? No problem. You can find coupons on manufacturer websites, on store websites, at the front door of stores and on in-store product shelves. Other places online, like Top Coupons, has a lot of savings to choose from as well. Many grocery stores have apps for smartphones that have digital coupons as well! Here’s a list—though not a full list–of stores with apps on iTunes and Google Play that allow you to save big with digital coupons:
- Food Lion
- Whole Foods Market
4. Utilize Store Cards and Loyalty Programs
Do you ever get annoyed when the cashier at the grocery store tries to sign you up for either a store credit card, store rewards card, or store loyalty program? If you’re trying to save money, maybe you should stop and listen to the spiel.
For example, a Target REDcard saves you 5% off your purchases, although this is whether you buy groceries or not. If you’re spending a lot of money at Target, 5% can turn into a good chunk of change saved.
The next time you’re at your favorite grocery store, ask an employee if there is any kind of rewards card or loyalty program because saving as many pennies as possible can add up to a lot of dollars later.
5. Save More Money with Ibotta
Another app that can save you money while grocery shopping is Ibotta. You get cash back on everyday purchases when you go grocery shopping. All you simply have to do is add offers to your account before you go shopping. Then you take a picture of your receipt when you’re done and you get rewarded for your purchase! Ibotta gives you real money either via PayPal, Venmo or in gift cards. The next time you go shopping, make sure you check out Ibotta to save even more money!
6. Take Inventory and Make Lists
In 2015, U.S. households wasted 27 million metric tons of food, according to Statista. Are you one of those people that find yourself throwing away food that goes bad because you don’t use it quick enough? Not only are you wasting food, but you’re wasting money. Stop this bad habit with two simple actions before you go grocery shopping: take inventory and make a list.
By taking inventory of what you have in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry, you know exactly what food you need to get you through the next week or two. You won’t buy another ranch dressing to add to the two bottles you already have. You won’t buy another box of the ice cream sandwiches you don’t really need and already have in your freezer. Instead, you will only buy necessary items.
How do you make sure you don’t forget the food you need? Make a list! When you make a list, not only are you ensuring you won’t forget the important avocado you need in the salad you want to make, but you’ll save time and money in the process. Grocery lists keep you organized, which saves you time. This prevents you from wandering slowly around the store and looking at every single item you impulsively want in case you want to make a random recipe you saw on Buzzfeed. Since you don’t impulsively buy these extra items, you’ll save money on your overall grocery bill!
Inventory and lists can also help you eat well. By taking inventory, you can subtly start meal planning in your mind for the week or two ahead of you. When you plan your meals, you’re more likely to stick to your list, which once again cuts down on impulse buying. What do you know? There’s more money saved!
Taking inventory and making a list are two of the best ways to prepare for a trip to the grocery store. Not only will it save you time and money, but you’re also doing your part to cut down on the 27 million metric tons of food that households waste every year.
7. Don’t Shop Hungry
If you’ve ever worked at a grocery store, you’ve heard customers jokingly say, “I shouldn’t shop when I’m hungry!” Well, it’s not actually a joke. Scientific research has been conducted proving you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, according to LiveScience. People who shop between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. are usually hungry, considering it’s right after typical work hours, and people who shop between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. are usually not as hungry, considering it’s right after the lunch hour.
The people that shop after the lunch hour tend to buy fewer high-calorie products than the people who shop after business hours. Just think of how expensive some types of junk food can be. If you shop at hours when you’re not hungry, not only are you saving your health, but you’re saving your wallet!
8. Skip the Prep Foods
You live a busy life and when you can save time by eating prepared food over cooking food, you’re happy. But prepared food costs more money than simply buying ingredients to make it on your own. Millennial shoppers (born from 1981-1996 in this study found on FoodProcessing.com) have been proven to consume more prepared foods than any other generation. 13.6% of the Millennial grocery budget is dedicated to prepared foods, pasta, sugar and candy whereas Gen X-ers (born from 1965-1980) spend 12.4%, Baby Boomers (born from 1946-1964) spend 11.5% and Traditionalists (born before 1946) spend 11.2%.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $4,032 on groceries every year. If 13.6% of that is dedicated to prep foods, that’s nearly $550 being spent on convenience. That’s $550 you could have saved and put towards paying your student loans or your mortgage. Keep these stats in mind the next time you go to pick up that premade potato salad at the deli.
9. Shop the Sales Ads
You know the sales ads you get in the mail that are addressed to you or the “Current Resident” at your address? Don’t throw those flyers away! There could be valuable information in them that could help you save money on your next grocery trip. These flyers tell you about the sales going on at the grocery stores in your area.
This gives you a chance to compare prices. For example, if you see three of your staple items are significantly cheaper at Publix this week compared to Harris Teeter, then you know you should make a pit stop at Publix to save some money. When you’re penny pinching, it’s the little things like scanning the sales ads that can save you a lot of money in the long run.
10. Buy Generic Brands
We all like our brand name foods from mac and cheese to hot dogs to soup to cookies. But the truth is, there are generic store brands out there that taste the exact same—if not better—than these brands. According to CBS News, they’re also 40% cheaper to boot! Just think of all the money you could save if you made the switch to generic brands over major brands. 40% of the $4,032 you spend on average during the year is over $1600!
A quick and easy way to watch your grocery savings skyrocket is by switching to generic brands at your favorite store. What would you do with that extra $1600?
11. What’s A Case Discount?
Did you know some grocery stores offer case discounts for buying an entire case of a product? It’s true! While it’s not usually broadcast to the world, if you look closely at the price tag or ask an employee, you can find out if your local grocery store offers case discounts.
For example, WinCo Foods offers a 5% discount for purchasing bulk foods (the nuts, grains, etc. you scoop into bags or containers) in a whole case or sack.
At Whole Foods Market, nearly every item in the store has a case discount of 10%, excluding some Whole Body products and “Everyday Deal” items. How do you know if you can save 10% when you buy the product you want in bulk? Simply look at the price tag! There should be an unlabeled number near one of the corners of the tag indicating how many you need for a case.
Not all stores offer case discounts, but it doesn’t hurt to check with your local grocery store’s team members to see if you can save some additional money on your food.
12. Keep Your Kids at Home
If you have children, one of the easiest ways to save money at the grocery store is to leave your kids at home. Of course, you love to spend time with them and, if they’re picky eaters, it’s probably nice to just have them choose what they want. But that’s exactly the problem. Kids will pick what they want, but usually they pick extra items like sweets, chips or other goodies over fruits and veggies. These extra purchases can really rack up the bill on your overall grocery shopping.
You don’t have to spend a fortune when purchasing groceries. When you add all these tips and tricks together, you can save a pretty penny on your next shopping trip. Don’t waste any more unnecessary cash. Start saving money on your groceries today!