When I grocery shop, I rarely pay full-price for anything. After sharing a peek into my shopping cart, a few people asked how I save money, especially on healthy items, so I wanted to share some of the ways I do it! I save using 3 main ways: shopping the sales, couponing, and rebates.
I’ll go into couponing and rebates in a later post because they definitely deserve their own post. The fastest, easiest way to save money (especially on fresh produce) is to shop the sales, and that’s what I want to talk about today to lay down the basics.
1. Decide what to buy based on the sale flyer before you go to the store. When I have a general idea of what I want to get (bread, fruits, veggies, almond milk, etc.), I quickly scan my grocery store’s online flyer to see what kind of deals they’re offering that week for things I already need. You can do this on almost any grocery store’s website now.
A big tip for this one is to be flexible with what you buy. For example, I know that every week, I want to have a couple different kinds of fruits, but I’m really open-minded about which kinds I buy. If I’m thinking about getting pears, but they end up being full-price while apples are on a great sale, I’ll buy those instead, and get the pears another week. Bananas are always a cheap bet!
If I’m making dinner and I see that mushrooms (which I love, but they can generally be expensive) are on a great sale, I’ll be sure to plan a dinner that incorporates them. You can plan your meals/snacks around the items that are on sale!
2. Get rain checks for sale items that the store runs out of. This one is huge! You can stop by the customer service desk on your way out and ask for a raincheck to buy those items for the sale price at a later date. If you’re buying a certain kind of granola bar that’s on sale and they’re out of just one flavor, or even if you’re the person who buys the last one, you can get a raincheck that’ll save you money in the future.
3. Don’t be too brand loyal. Certain things I buy, like Greek yogurt, can get expensive, but a different kind is on sale every week. The same often goes for things like granola bars and shelved goods like all-natural cereals. I used to only buy Chobani until I branched out when other kinds were on sale, and I found some great new options. Also, don’t be afraid to shop generic. The store-brand is actually one of my favorites now, and I got a bunch of them for $.59 each last week!
4. Look for the “not perfect” discounted items. Sometimes, stores have a rack or table with great produce at a discounted price because it’s not in perfect condition. I’ll get spotted bananas to use in smoothies or banana bread when they’re half-price, or I’ll buy a package of peppers for $1 just because they were a little undersized. When produce is nearing its expiration date, it’ll often get marked down as a “Manager’s Special” even if it still has a few days until it expires and is totally fine to use. Just check the expiration date and make sure you’ll be able to use it in time!
5. Stock up when your staples go on sale. When my favorite granola bars, oats, cereal, or canned soup are on a great sale, I’ll buy extra since they won’t expire anytime soon. I also buy things like bread, English muffins, and tortillas on sale and then freeze to make them last a long time!
So, those are the 5 main ways that I save money aside from couponing. These tips are pretty basic, but they’re a great start to saving money on groceries. I’ll share some of my lesser-known tips about couponing and rebates sometime soon!
What are your favorite ways to save money on groceries?
Great tips! Unfortunately Kuwait neither has good sales or coupons 🙁
Have you thought about doing a post about grocery shopping in Kuwait? That’d be really interesting!!
Lacey @ Runs and Roses says
Great tips girl! It’s so easy for me to leave the grocery store having spent upwards of 50 dollars, especially at Whole Foods, but thats because I don’t really plan or use coupons! Next time I shop, I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind. 🙂
I pretty much only buy things that are on sale at Whole Foods (and sometimes things from the bulk bins) since it tends to be so expensive! I love going there, though 🙂
Liz @ A Latte Running says
These are really awesome tips to have, especially for moi since I will be venturing into the adult world in 2 years and as of right now, I don’t have to worry too much about groceries 🙂
Thanks, Liz! I’d say enjoy not having to grocery shop while you can, but I actually kind of enjoy it! It’s fun to find great deals and pick out new foods to try 🙂
I really need to start stocking up when there are sales! But I totally do the same thing as far as sales! I love knowing what to buy before I get in there too!
It saves me so much time to plan a rough list beforehand!
Jessica @ kiwiyogirunner says
Your shopping list is too cute! I wish we had coupons down under, I don’t think we have them anyway! I am big on writing lists too, and on making cheap things like soups in the crock pot 🙂 I also buy soap instead of body wash as I find this makes a big difference for me!
Making soup in the crock pot is the best! And that’s a great tip to save some extra money 🙂
Emily @ My Healthyish Life says
These are awesome tips. I’ve never heard of asking for a rain check. I stock up on pantry items when I see them go on sale. That can make such a difference in the long run!
Thanks, Emily! Sometimes, I forget to ask for a raincheck, but they’re nice to have around for weeks when there aren’t very many good deals. I agree, stocking up on pantry items on sale makes a huge difference, especially if it’s a great sale like BOGO.
I always stock up on my favorites too! Like, I will get the max amount allowed! haha
What an interesting idea to look for “not perfect” items. I don’t think my Publix does that though… :/
Aw, that’s a bummer. LOVE Publix, though! We don’t have them here, but that’s the grocery store we went to growing up!
GiGi Eats says
SPROUTS!!! Seriously! This grocery store is “dirt cheap” in Los Angeles!!! 😀 When I go home, there is a grocery store called Sunflower that is even cheaper!!! I don’t know HOW they do it!
That’s awesome that you’ve found some inexpensive grocery stores. I’ve never even heard of those two over here on the East Coast!
Look at you girl!! Way to be!! I tend to have a weakness for expensive food! haha, I guess I choose where to splurge and where to save… for example, I eat oats almost every morning (so cheap!) And I eat sweet potatoes (also not too pricy) and we buy greens and fresh fruit in bulk from Sam’s Club or BJ’s… but I like to splurge on high quality chocolate (Godiva, Lindt, Fair-trade,etc.) and nice, nourishing bars (Quest, Kind, LUNA, etc). Just like my diet, it’s all about balance for me!! Great post!! 🙂
I love that sweet potatoes and oats are so cheap! When I’m at home, my mom buys huge packages of fresh berries from Costco, and they’re always so good. And yes, some things are definitely worth the occasional splurge!
Great post! I didn’t know about the rain checks! I spend an enormous amount of money on groceries! (family of 5) One of the biggest ways I save money, is making things from scratch. I don’t buy cake mix, muffin mix, oatmeal, pancake mix. I just make my own. I also make sure the kids are snacking on REAL foods–they eat less empty calories, and more nutrient dense foods.
That sounds a lot like my family! There are 5 of us when we’re all at home and we eat A LOT, but we make everything from scratch, too. When I’m at school, I’m only grocery shopping for one person, but I still use all the tips & tricks I learned from my mom 🙂
Joanna @Crazy Runner Girl says
I LOVE COUPONING! And your blog. Can’t wait to read your blog on rebate apps…I use Ibotta, checkout 51, berrycart…and a few others!
Thanks, Joanna! I actually use some of those same rebate apps! I’ve had to narrow down which ones seem like they’re worth the time, but they’re so cool.
THIS IS BRILLIANT. We basically buy the same things, so this post is like the holy grail. Also, I just noticed that you go to UNC. My parents (and everyone else in my family) went there, so I feel like you’re already a great person 🙂
Haha thanks, Katherine! My dad went to UNC and my sister goes to here right now, too, so we’re a big UNC family 🙂
Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating says
Oooh, smart post with some great tips, Liv. I think the stocking up tip is one of my favorites! There are a few nonperishable things I buy frequently because I use them so frequently so when I see a big sale…Oh, it’s game on. For instance my local supermarket had this HUGE sale recently on canned tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes. I’m talking 10 cans for 20 cents each. I stocked up!
Emily @ Sweet Summer Smiles says
I couldn’t agree more with your post! It looks like we both like to save money. Do you feel satisfied when you check out and you see the receipt for how much you saved? I do! 🙂 Great post!
I love checking the savings amount at the bottom of the receipt! It’s such a feeling of accomplishment, especially when I save more than I spent 🙂
Love this post! I’m starting college this fall and I’m looking to keep up my current healthy lifestyle. The tips are great, thank you. 🙂
I completely agree with the third point of not being brand loyal. It’s the age of competition. There are multiple brands trying hard to compete with each other and it’s not uncommon to find great deals each week. That’s why I don’t care about the brand and just go with the one offering me a good deal (of course it has to be a reputed brand).
Great point, Carol! As long as the ingredients check out, I’m just as happy to buy the store brand. For some things, like almond milk, I stick with the name brand that doesn’t have carrageenan if the store brand does have carrageenan, but lots of other items have the same ingredients for the store brand and the name brand 🙂
I really love this awesome article. I’m starting college this fall and I’m looking to keep up my current healthy lifestyle. I believe in one word hat is healthy habits makes a man wealthy. So thanks for sharing such a awesome article with us.