Let’s talk about our love-hate relationship with grocery shopping, shall we? Groceries are awesome because we then have tons of food options to eat, yay! But, I hate groceries because the entire shopping process is an event that requires planning, budgeting and what feels like work.
Food can make or break your budget, which can then make or break your debt payoff, expense planning and investing for the future. Since this is such an important area in our budget, let’s talk about how to save money on groceries without doing any couponing.
I am not against those that coupon, I just have never gotten into it and can not find time in my life to add one more project. Since couponing is not an option in our home (because I won’t do it, and I can guarantee you my husband won’t be doing it), there are three things I do to keep our grocery budget under control.
This has taken me a couple of years to totally refine, but lucky for you, all of my experience will put you on the fast track to saving money instantly!
Disclaimer: None of this stuff is magical and it does require some effort. Don’t worry. I am an inherently lazy person and I can do this. That means I KNOW you can do this too.
3 Tips to Save Money on Groceries Without Couponing:
1. Meal Plan
If I had to attribute my success at keeping our grocery budget low to one thing, it would definitely be meal planning. This is seriously the key to not spending a ton of money on groceries, and also using up all the food you buy.
A meal plan is just that; a plan for all of your meals throughout the month. This means at the beginning of the month you:
- Write down what your meals will be for the next month
- Make a shopping list
- Get all the groceries
- Follow your meal plan during the month and not stress about what’s for dinner
- Have food every day and use up all the stuff you bought
- Stay on budget and avoid impulse buys of eating out
To get started with meal planning you should first learn:
Put your Meal Planning on Auto-Pilot with a 12 Week Meal Rotation.
When you are starting to meal plan, the goal is to keep it super simple. It should not be this overly complicated thing. Do meals that you know and start simple. The point of this is to get in the habit of having a plan for your meals every day, having the supplies on hand for them and following through.
If you have been hitting the fast food lane when you are tired and don’t have a plan, this will stop you from doing that.
WHEN YOU START MEAL PLANNING, BE SURE TO USE OUR FREE WEEKLY MEAL PLAN BY THEME AND MONTHLY MEAL PLAN CALENDAR. GET THEM INSTANTLY BY SIGNING UP BELOW!
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2. Shop at Aldi
If you read any of my stuff, it is no secret I love Aldi. They have 95% of the ingredients I need for all of my meals at a fraction of other grocery store prices. Aldi is pretty much nationwide now, but if you don’t have access to one, I am sorry. We will improvise!
Aldi is awesome because the food costs are super low. You have to take your own bags and you will need a quarter to use a cart. Instead of paying employees to collect carts and return them to the store, Aldi has you deposit a quarter into the cart and you only get it back when you return the cart to the corral. In addition, they don’t provide bags.
Both of these things allow them to keep their costs low which helps your grocery budget!
If you do not have an Aldi nearby, look for a surplus store or a value store and buy generic. Shop around until you find the cheapest possible option.
3. Use cash back apps.
I do not consider cash back apps to be coupons because they require like zero effort. My favorite apps are Ebates and iBotta.
Now, before you start using these, please keep in mind, the point is to save money. What you do not want to do is start buying things you wouldn’t normally be buying just to use the app discount.
These apps should be used for items you were already intending to purchase.
iBotta is one of those super easy to use apps. This app gives you cash rebates on purchases you make (both store brands and generics). Even if you buy generics all the time, this is still an awesome app to use!
This app will give small amounts of a cash rebate on these items that you would be purchasing anyway (milk, eggs, pasta, bananas, etc.). I have also used this for things like diapers and toilet paper (Pampers and Charmin).
All you have to do is find the rebates on the specific items you plan to buy and “unlock” them. Once you have made your purchase, you just scan your receipt and receive your rebate!
The amounts you get back may seem minimal, but even a small rebate of $3-$4 dollars a week can save you up to $200/year! This kind of savings can help with your holiday budget!
Finding rebates and scanning your receipt will literally take 5 minutes to save you hundreds in a year.
Sign up for iBotta and start saving today! Signing up is free and you will get a $10 bonus!
This is an insanely easy way to earn cash back on online purchases. I’m not sure why, but I avoided signing up for this for literally years (so stupid!). With the pace I am on right now, I will be saving at least $200 – $300 this year on purchases I would have made either way.
This is something that can be uploaded to your browser window or if you go to Ebates.com and search for the store you want to shop at it will show you how much you can save at that store.
Click the shop now button and it will take you straight to the store. You will then earn back a percentage of your purchase (anywhere from 2% – 30%). It’s amazing! And super easy!
I do tons of shopping online with Target, Office Max, Amazon, etc. This is a way to do the shopping I was already going to do and save money!
If you don’t do tons of online shopping then this probably isn’t the app for you. Keep in mind the beauty of online shopping. With two kids under two, I am all about simplifying my life.
I shop online for pretty much everything that I can. Ebates is like another reward for buying things online. Most stores I make online purchases with have free shipping and free returns making it a win-win.
Sign up here to start using Ebates! Get a $10 gift card to the retailer of your choice with your first $25 purchase.
If you want to save money on groceries, you do have to put forth some effort. I will tell you, it gets easier the more you do it. Every month that you meal plan will make the next month that much easier. Eventually, you can put your meal planning on auto-pilot. Shop at the least expensive store you can find and work those apps! They are small savings, but every little bit adds up over time. You can do this! Don’t let your food purchases wreck your budget. Save money on groceries and take back your budget!
Do you have any awesome ways to save money on groceries?
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