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?