I mentioned this when I discussed my money-wasting habits, but I find the entire process pretty cumbersome and tend to get so caught up in the “deals” that I find myself clipping coupons for items I normally wouldn’t even buy. The area I live in doesn’t have any stores that will double them either, so the opportunities to save money by couponing are pretty limited to begin with.
Have no fear though, as I’ve discovered plenty of ways to save money on groceries without using coupons, and I’m excited to share them with you!
Whether you dislike couponing, can’t find coupons for the items you normally purchase, or just don’t have the time for it, there are still plenty of ways you can save money on your grocery bill.
How to save money on groceries without coupons:
1. Make a shopping list
Before you head out to the grocery store, make a list of everything you will need for the week. Make sure you account for all meals and even snacks. Sticking to your list will help you avoid impulse purchases.
2. Don’t assume the biggest package is cheaper
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the largest package of an item is going to be the cheaper option. Instead, check the unit price to determine which item is actually the best value.
The unit price can typically be found on the price tag of each item. If the unit prices aren’t displayed, just do the quick math on the calculator on your phone. You may be surprised to find that the smaller package sometimes ends up costing less per unit than the larger one.
3. Buy in bulk
Although bigger quantities aren’t always cheaper, you can often save money by getting good deals on bulk foods. Items such as frozen chicken and rice are typically cheapest when bought in bulk.
4. Only buy what you’ll use
This might seem like common sense, but you can bet almost all of us are guilty of having food go bad in our fridge before we have the chance to eat it. Resist the urge to stock up for the sake of stocking up, and don’t buy anything you aren’t 100% certain you’ll have the chance to eat before it spoils. Especially when it comes to produce!
5. Shop at Aldi & Trader Joe’s
If you have access to these stores, I highly suggest paying them a visit. We live in fairly close proximity to both, so I’m at these stores pretty often. I’ve found that the prices are overall less expensive than many of the larger supermarkets by us.
6. Buy generic items
For the most part, generic versions are just as tasty as their brand name counterparts. We’ve saved so much money over the years by almost always buying the generic version of groceries. As long as the nutritional value and taste align with the brand name version (and it’s cheaper), we buy it.
7. Keep track of staple items you need
We have an ongoing list that we add items to as we run out of them, or if we know we are about to run out of something. It makes it really easy to then just quickly grab this list as we walk out the door to shop. Then you don’t have to waste too much time sifting through your fridge and cabinets trying to figure out what you need.
8. Purchase in-season produce
Purchasing fruits and vegetables when they are in-season is a good way to not only get the freshest and tastiest versions of your produce, but ensures they will be at their lowest prices as well. Not sure when each fruit and vegetable is in season? No worries! I don’t always know either, but I find this comprehensive list to be super helpful.
9. Keep track of rock bottom prices
Try to keep either a mental or hard copy list of the absolute lowest prices you’ve found your staple food items being sold for in your area. Referring to this list will be an easy way to determine if something on “sale” is an actual deal.
10. Don’t shop while hungry
When you go grocery shopping while hungry, you are going to be much more likely to veer off your list and be enticed by junk food or items that look good to you at the time, as you’ll be led through the store by your grumbling stomach rather than the list of items you truly need. I’ve found the quickest way to double my grocery bill is to shop while hungry. Just don’t do it!
11. Skip prepared foods
Although it can save time in the kitchen to use foods already prepared by the grocery store, such as cheese trays and pre-cut fruit, these items are extremely expensive compared to their non-prepared counterparts.
An additional resource to save on overall food costs:
I also find it extremely helpful to save on meal costs overall by meal planning. A great option to utilize if taking the time to do your own meal planning doesn’t interest you is to use a super inexpensive meal planning service such as eMeals.
- Seven meals based on whatever eating plan you choose.
- A shopping list with all of the ingredients you’ll need that is organized based on sections within whichever grocery store you choose. They also coordinate the meal plan with weekly sale items if you choose which grocery store you like to shop at!
- Recipe instructions that are simple and easy to follow.
You can click here to try out a free 14 day trial of eMeals. I think this can be a great resource if you are super busy and want your meal planning and shopping list done for you every week, while also saving significant money by eating at home and having your grocery list coordinated based on whatever items are currently on sale at your grocery store. I’d say that’s pretty darn convenient!
What are your strategies for saving on groceries without the use of coupons?
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