How to Save Money at the Grocery Store without Using Coupons
GASP! no coupons? …
Most of the common complaints I’ve heard from people trying to learn to coupon is actually that they’d rather save money without having to use coupons at all. Isn’t that all what we want in some way? I completely understand because from my experience, couponing can be very time consuming! Not everyone has the time to review every grocery store ad each week (or weeks ahead of time) and search online to find printable coupons, or even search through a full binder of nearly expired coupons to just pair with a sale. It can become a bit overwhelming sometimes. So, what do you do when you still want to keep within your budget, not sacrifice your time, and just don’t want to coupon? From my own experiences where I’ve had to take a break of couponing, or just wanted to give myself more free time, this is what worked for me.
Create a weekly menu. For some, this may or may not be a good option but I’ve found that I’ve actually saved money by planning ahead a few cooked meals that I can easily freeze. You can even involve the kids in coming with menu ideas and suggestions. What I do is create a list of basic essentials, and build my meals from there. For example, we love to eat chili and I can use this also for a meaty spaghetti sauce by adding more meat, and meat balls! There are tons of free weekly menu planners you can find online, and easy to make freezer recipes.
Go to the right grocery store. In my town, we have a several stores to choose from. If you are lucky, don’t stick with just one store–shop around, you have options! Or,even just knowing which stores offer the lowest prices consistently. I know that my best bet on buying the cheapest milk, bread, and eggs are at Walmart or Winco– but my local store that offers gas points savings may have a better deal that week that will also save me gas points. Also, I know that I can buy cheap local fruits and vegetables at a farmers market store (like Sprouts) vs. Walmart. It might mean a few more stops during my day, but it’s worth the savings!
Switch to cheaper brands as alternatives for costly brands. Switching to cost-effective brands could greatly contribute on how much money you’re saving on not only you’re groceries, but your personal care items. For example, buying Suave shampoo might cost me only $0.89 vs. one of my favorite brands of shampoos that might cost me up to $5.99 a bottle! I find that there really is no difference to my hair at all, and only buy the more expensive brand if I can find them at a better price. Just because the items are cheaper doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good high-quality products.
Buy items that are on sale. This might seem like a common sense answer, but even if you are not couponing, you can still save money by buying items that are on sale! I like to go to Rite Aid to earn +Ups so I can reuse them towards my future purchases. When it comes to grocery stores, I know off top my head that my favorite local store offers a weekly meat deal that includes several free items. Most of the time, it’s enough to stretch out the meal (or turn them into new meals) through out the week.
Buy items in bulk. Although I’m not always a huge fan of buying items in bulk, I believe it can be cost effective when done right. Buying in bulk is generally cheaper than buying items individually (without coupons of course), especially when you do the math. This might take a little bit more research on your part, especially for certain items. For me, I know that if there are not any meat sales– I can buy meat in bulk at Costco or Sams Club and the quality is usually better than what I can get in the grocery store.
Take a look at what I think are GREAT purchases to buy in bulk
Avoid buying personal care items at grocery stores. If you haven’t noticed it at all, personal care items are typically more expensive at grocery stores. This includes anything from makeup, to shampoo and toothpaste. I find it cheaper to buy these products at the Dollar store, or even when they are on sale at a drugstore.
How do you save money at the grocery store without using coupons?
photo credit: ginnerobot