I really enjoy saving money and think it’s kind of fun (and it’s also obviously extremely useful). When it comes to groceries, I try to keep my bill as low as I can while still enjoying the healthy foods I love, including a few pricier items, like organic berries and humanely-raised meats.
I do use paper coupons some, but the main ways I save money grocery shopping don’t involve coupons. So, I want to share a few tricks and “best practices” I use to quickly save money each week.
1) Use grocery rebate apps. I love rebate apps since they’re so quick to use. I skim the app for 60 seconds before I go to the store to see what deals there are. Then, I just take a phone picture of my receipt when I get home from the store and get cash back (PayPal or Venmo) within 24 hours.
My favorite app is Ibotta because there are always healthy brand options on there! For example, right now, there are deals for Organic Valley, Organic Girl, Chobani, and a bunch of other brands I regularly buy. There are also “any brand” rebates for generic items like bananas and cereal, so you can buy any brand and save.
You can still use coupons and shop sales at the store like normal, which is how I ended up getting Applegate organic chicken sausage for $0.25 (paper coupon + grocery store sale + $1.50 Ibotta offer) last week when it’s normally $6.
Last thing I love about Ibotta: if you sign up, love it, and share about it with your friends, you’ll earn $5 for each friend who signs up and redeems an offer, too! Over the past 3 years, from a combination of referring friends and cashing in my own receipts, I’ve earned…over $1100!
To get $10 when you sign up, you can use the code “zhxlbg.”
2) Skim sale flyers online in advance. Before I leave for the store, I look at at the sale flyer to determine what I’m going to buy that week, so I don’t waste time looking around the aisles for good deals while I’m at the store. Checking out the flyer in advance is almost second-nature to me now.
For example, I don’t buy a lot of meat, but if organic chicken happens to be on sale, I’ll be much more likely to buy it that week. Since I’m pretty neutral about eating meat, I almost never buy it unless it’s on sale. I’m also pretty open-minded about what types of produce I’ll buy and generally only buy things like berries when they’re on sale since they tend to be really pricy.I think shopping the sales flyer is the #1 easiest way to save money on groceries, especially if you shop at stores that have great weekly sales. Some stores where I shop offer digital coupons that you can load straight onto your shopper’s card or rewards card, so when I look at the flyer online, I usually take 30 seconds to glance at the store’s digital coupons, too.
3) Shop the bulk bins for small amounts of ingredients or spices. When I need just a little bit of a spice or a specialty ingredient I want to try out (i.e. nutritional yeast), I’ll typically buy that from my store’s bulk bins. I’ll end up paying $.40 for all of the spice I need for the recipe. That way, I don’t have an entire bottle or container of an ingredient or spice that I may not like or will just forget to use again.
4) Know where to buy what. This is a big one! I keep an ongoing grocery list in the Notes app on my phone so I can add things as I think of them throughout the week. Since I regularly shop at three different grocery stores (usually just one or two each week), I split my list up by stores, based on what the cheapest place to buy that item is. At this point, the prices for things I buy most often are in my head, so it’s pretty easy to know where (ideally) I’ll buy each thing.
5) Take advantage of student/senior discounts. Obviously, these only apply to certain people, but one of my local stores has a 5%-10% student discount depending on the month, which is a great deal and so easy to take advantage of since it doesn’t require any extra effort. Some stores also have senior discounts on a certain day of the week.
6) Limit splurges and impulse buys. This is another big one for me. To save money, I usually try to limit my splurges to one item per grocery trip, and it’s usually ice cream, dark chocolate, or some kind of a snack. Everything else I buy is usually from my list, so even though I never calculate what my grocery total will be in advance, I’m not usually surprised by my total at the cash register.
I hope these tips were helpful! They’re pretty simple, but you can save a ton just from shopping the sales and limiting impulse buys, not to mention using rebates as icing on the cake. Feel free to download the Hopster app when you get a chance and take advantage of the offers to earn some money back on your groceries.