5 Easy Ways to Save Big Money on Groceries
Hi, my name is Lyne Rogers and I’m frugal. I dislike spending money on things that won’t give me true pleasure, so the average grocery shop is a pain in the ass to me. If it’s a special occasion? Sure- I’m there buying the fancy grains and the grass-fed steak and super-seasonal veg (hello, fiddleheads, I love you). But if it’s dinner on Wednesday for my husband and I? Eh, I’m saving where I can. Here are some of my top tips (tip-top tips? No? Not funny?) for saving money on your groceries and not just eating beans and rice. But I do love beans and rice.
1. Sale Racks
You know, the rolling cart or end-cap shelf that has yesterday’s bread or produce that’s only got a day or two left? Shop there if you’re cooking the item that night. Most of the time, those racks are 50-60% off, which is a huge savings! I also keep an eye out for the $X off stickers that grocery stores use on meat and veg that’s going to go out of code that day. Again, I do this only for items I plan to eat that day or the next.
2. Savings Apps.
I’m a big fan of iBotta. Companies basically put coupons on the app for items they’re promoting. Frequently new items end up on there, but I’ve seen coupons for name-brand diapers, Bud Lite, and fancy pastas. I don’t use iBotta as regularly as I have in the past, but I’ve received over $100 in rebates right back into my PayPal account over the course of a year. And that’s being lazy.
3. Don’t buy things you don’t need.
I’m not a couponer. I don’t see the purpose of having 17 tubes of toothpaste in my bathroom closet or enough laundry detergent to last years once the apocalypse hits just because they’re on sale and I have a coupon. Just because it’s on sale and I’d “save money” doesn’t mean I’m actually saving money if I’m spending it on what I don’t need. When I do use a savings app or a retailer’s app (think Target or Walmart), I won’t buy something just because it’s on “sale,” but if I need Greek yogurt, I’m damn well going to check the apps to see what brand is discounted.
4. Stock up on basics.
And now I contradict myself. If you know that you eat a can of chickpeas once a week and chickpeas are on sale for $0.89 and usually they’re $1.00...buy yourself the chickpeas! You need those chickpeas because you’re going to eat them shortly. If you have the freezer space and chicken breasts go on sale and you KNOW you pick up a pack or two of chicken breasts for dinner every week…buy a couple of packages to freeze. Don’t go crazy, but save the money and the extra trip to the store.
5. Don’t buy things in packages.
Some grocery stores pride themselves on being “cheap.” People go there and then gloat on social media about how much they saved grocery shopping. I’ve tried those stores and spent the same amount of money as at my “not discount” store. Why’s that? I rarely buy packaged (aka processed) foods. If you’re shopping the outside of a grocery store, you’ll be shopping where the non-processed foods live….and those have fairly standard prices because they’re all coming from the same local distributors. What’s nice is that I can shop pretty much anywhere and know what I'm going to spend and I’m not eating as many foods with chemicals and added sugars and sodium.
At first, my husband thought these money-saving tactics were nuts...but if this is the way I can splurge on takeout Chinese food slightly more frequently, I’m into it.
How do you save money on your groceries?