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1. Make a List and Stick to It
Go to the grocery store with a list and stick to it! One of the easiest ways to rack up your grocery bill is with those impulse buys. Especially if you go to the store hungry it’s nearly impossible not to throw things into the cart just because they sound good.
When making a list, first start with a menu for the week. I know first hand that if we don’t plan a menu then we are likely to spend money during the week on ordering pizza or going out. There is nothing worse than getting home from work, and not having a plan for dinner. Even if you have ingredients to make meals, if you don’t have a plan, you will cave and order out. If ordering out is in the budget, that’s great, but a sure fire way to save money is to prepare meals at home.
It takes a lot of planning to create a menu and then a grocery list. I am sharing my free menu and shopping list printable, yes I said free!
Pro tip: When planning meals, chose meals that have similiar ingredients to cut down on waste. For example, if I need just a cup of chicken stock for one meal, I will plan another meal that needs some as well. Or, I will use leftover chicken from one meal and add it to pasta later in the week.
2. Shop the Sales
When you are planning your meals for the week make sure to plan based on the grocery store sales. Grocery stores will post their weekly ads online and their sites are pretty user friendly. You can even type items in a search to see if they are on sale or if there’s a coupon to go with it. Their sales especially help when it comes to things like meat. Plan dinners based on what’s on sale so that you don’t pay premium prices for out of season items.
3. Use Money Saving Apps
There are great apps out there that reward you for shopping. My two favorite apps are Ibotta and Fetch Rewards. There’s no real leg work required with these apps and they cost absolutely nothing. You just scan your receipts and reap the rewards.
- Ibotta You earn cash for shopping! After you purchase eligible items from over 300 available retailers, you scan your receipt and earn cash back. Ibotta has come a long way since it started. You are now able to use online purchases from over 150 retailers to gain money back. Use this link to earn cash just for downloading the app.
- Fetch Rewards Similar to Ibotta, you scan a receipt to earn. The difference with Fetch Rewards is that instead of cash you earn points that are redeemed for gift cards to the retailer of your choice. It’s pretty great to earn gift cards just for purchasing items you were already going to buy. Use this link to earn points just for downloading the app.
4. Use Coupons
I am not going to lie, I used to hate using coupons because it took so much time to go through coupons and by the time you did all that work, the savings didn’t seem worth it. My time is much more valuable than a savings of $2.34 after using coupons.
Here’s the good news. With online sites nowadays, it’s really simple to use coupons to save some extra money on your grocery purchases. Most grocery online sites allow you to load coupons right to your loyalty card. There’s no need to print anything out. Check to see if your local grocery store has an app, which really makes it easier and worth it to shop with coupons.
Pro tip: Make sure that you are not buying items just because you have a coupon for that item. In this case, using coupons will actually cost you money. One way to prevent this is to make your list BEFORE you look for coupons. That way you are only using coupons for things you were already planning on buying.
5. Buy Generic
Buying generic is a guaranteed way to save money while at the grocery store. Buying generic can often save you from 20-40% more than buying name brand items. Most of the time the ingredients are exactly the same when you compare labels. It’s okay to stick to name brand on certain items that are important to you. For example, peanut butter is an item we don’t skimp on. However, most items you cannot tell the difference and your kids definitely won’t either!