If you’re a long-time reader of my blog you know I never pay full price for anything if I can help it. The one area of expenses it took me the longest to save money on was on my groceries.
While I was a pro at getting free and discounted items at the drugstore, it took me awhile to be able to eat what I wanted and save the most money doing it. I am going to share some of the tips I now use to save money on groceries. Make sure you read the whole article because it all ties together, I promise!
So how do you save money on groceries?
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SAVE MONEY ON GROCERIES
Check your Sales Circulars
You will want to check the weekly sales circulars to the grocery stores in your area. Each week different stores have certain items on sale to drive customers in and these are the items you want to focus on and stock up on as much as possible (more on this later).
You can also determine which stores are your best bet and whether it’s worth it to go to two different stores. Once you learn how to shop strategically you will get better at this and spend less time at the store.
This first tip may seem obvious but it’s something that is key in saving money on your groceries and will tie in with the rest of the tips. You probably get circulars in your mailbox but you can also use an app like Flipp to easily search the weekly circular for your store if you prefer a digital method.
The one thing I do want to mention though is that the weekly circular that comes in the mail often will have coupons attached that are not available digitally. One of the grocery stores in my area (Stop & Shop) often times has gas deal coupons and more only available in the mailed circular. The one at the store entrance excludes these coupons.
Keep in mind that if you forget your mailed circular coupons you can always go back to the store with your receipt and coupon and go to customer service so they can refund you.
Get Rain Checks for items that are not in stock.
There is nothing worse than going to a particular store for a sale item and that item is out! Make the trip worth it and get a rain check for as many of the item as allowed. This can lead to super savings because a lot of stores have no or long expiration dates on rain checks and you can save them until a great coupon or promotion comes out that can be combined.
Save Money on Groceries with Coupons
Coupons are by far the best way to save money but only if you use them the correct way. A lot of grocery stores will double coupons up to a certain amount so check your store’s coupon policy! That means if you have a .75 off coupon it will double to $1.50!
That’s a lot of savings especially if you are buying multiple of that item. If cereal is on sale for $1.88 and you have a .50 coupon that will double to $1, making your cereal just .88! Plus if your store is running a promotion such as buy 4 boxes of cereal get free milk then you score big! My store (Stop & Shop) has promotions like this often and that’s why checking your circular is super important!
Also, check shelf tags in-store because a lot of times there are monthly deals that are not advertised weekly. This is true especially for a promotion like the free milk one I mentioned earlier.
Stacking the savings example:
Cereal on sale for $1.88
Coupon .50 doubles to $1
Ibotta rebate of .25 = .63!
Now if your store doubles up to 4 coupons you will want to buy 4 boxes. The first box will be .63 because of the one-time rebate from Ibotta but the rest will be just .88 which is still a great deal! If you are confused about coupons and want to learn how to use them effectively, sign up for my free coupon course here.
Stockpiling is a great way to save BIG. Stocking up on items that go on sale is always a good idea. Just be aware of expiration dates when stocking up. As you saw in the last example there are times when deals are really good and stockpiling items makes total sense. It also cuts down on multiple trips to the store.
Plan, Plan, Plan
I was tempted to put this option first but I think when starting out you may want to base your meals on what’s on sale especially if you are not used to meal planning on a budget. Meal planning is the one thing that I was not doing the right way. Yeah, I was saying ok tonight I’ll eat chicken and veggies but not really basing that off of any sales or any strategy really.
Meal planning is so important.
After learning how to actually do a meal plan and combine that with a shopping strategy, I was able to cut my grocery bill in half! If you hate meal planning and just want someone to do all the work for you I recommend the $5 Meal Plan from Erin Chase the $5 Dinner Mom. She is the queen of meal planning and feeds her family for just $5 total! Yes, you read that right just $5! You can grab a free trial by clicking here.