The Best Way To Save Money On Groceries

Personal Finance

4 Min Read

A person shopping to show the best way to save money on groceries.

We all buy groceries, and contrary to popular belief, there are actually plenty of grocery-saving tips that help you save money on food, buy what you want, and reduce your monthly expenses overall. Whether you're sticking to a certain meal plan or looking to include everyone's favorite foods, cost doesn't have to be a barrier.

Perhaps even better, you don't have to spend hours of your week clipping coupons to save money either. So how do you save money on groceries without using coupons?

5  Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store Without Using Coupons

Here are just a few ways to save more money next time you go grocery shopping.

1. Sign Up for Rewards

Both local stores and chain grocery stores often have rewards programs. That, or they likely have a loyalty account. If you like to stick to one particular store for all of your grocery needs, this can help you rack up discounts. Most of these rewards programs are free to join because they incentivize you to do all your shopping at one store.

This means you can try out a few different stores and see what sticks. It's likely that after a few weeks, you'll get a feel for which grocery store has the best program for you and also carries what you like. As an example, Target’s Cartwheel program is free to use but has deals available through the app that could save you quite a bit of money.

2. Shop Wholesale

Wholesale stores like Costco and Sam's Club make it easy to buy food in bulk at wholesale prices. This can be great for staple foods and even non-food items. The trick is to make a list and stick to the basics. For example, if you know you or your family goes through a lot of eggs, cheese, or bread, wholesale might be the way to go.

However, if you're sticking to a budget, you'll want to skip "one-off" items unless they're on your list. Wholesale shops often have a lot of great items, though some of them you might not need in bulk, especially if it's something that can spoil. Having a plan will help you stick to what you know you'll use in bulk.

3. Use Rebate Apps

Rebate apps like Ibotta can help you put money back in your pocket after making purchases. Before you go shopping, you can scan for deals at your favorite store. It becomes almost like a game trying to find things on your list that also earn you cashback. Then you add them to your list and go shopping. You may even find deals like in your bank's mobile app or if your bank allows you to participate in its cashback category rotation.

Once you're done, you upload or scan your receipt for verification and get cashback. A word of caution: some deals look great but may be an unnecessary expense. If you want to stay on budget, it's best to avoid buying things that aren't on your list, even if you get a few dollars back.

4. Stick to "Whole" Foods, If You Can

While sometimes the convenience is worth it, grocery stores often mark up pre-prepared foods—think shredded cheese or pre-chopped veggies. Buying fresh, frozen, or canned veggies can be more cost-effective than pre-chopped. Similarly, buying blocks of cheese and shredding them yourself can save you some money. You may also find that you'd rather pay a bit more for the convenience, and that's okay too.

This can also translate to more ready-to-eat foods. A fully prepared salad kit may cost you more than simply buying the ingredients yourself. Sure, a bottle of dressing and toppings like croutons or sunflower seeds may have a higher up-front cost. However, you'll get multiple uses from them. So if you plan on having several salads a week, you're going to have significant savings.

5. Buy Generic

In many cases, generic brand foods are just as good as your favorite store brands. Sometimes, they're even better. This may take some experimentation to find out what you like; however, it's probably worth the effort. Everything from eggs, butter, and milk to condiments, frozen foods, and drinks can come in generic branding. Some generic products are even made or packaged in the same factories as your favorite foods.

Buying generic can save you up to a few dollars per item, and it will pay in the long run to identify which generic-branded items you like. You may even find some of your new favorite things.

Grocery Shopping Made Simple

Of course, there are many "tried-and-true" ways to save money on groceries. The trick is to make it work for you. Don't sacrifice foods you can't live without or your favorite luxury foods. To save money doesn't mean you have to sacrifice—you just have to shop smarter. In general, having a plan and experimenting with purpose will help you slash your bill. It may simply mean you have to track what works for you and what doesn't. You can save money on groceries without using coupons—it just takes a little know-how. (And there are even more ways to save money shopping.)

See how an app like Monorail can help you save money while you shop for non-necessities.

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