Remember when grocery shopping was the most exciting thing ever as a child? The endless amount of people and things to be seen, the possibility of candy or gum in the checkout line…that excitement didn’t last long. After only four years of having to brave the grocery store, I started to DESPISE shopping for food. It’s expensive, confusing, and time-consuming. BUT, over the years, I have crafted a way to dispel the more confusing aspects, cut expenses, and buy healthier (unfortunately, it is still very time-consuming).
1. Price Match
This is the best way to save money on groceries. Some grocery stores will match the prices of their competitors, which can save you big if you combine each store’s sales. Pricematcherz is a site that lists stores in each city and their sale prices for the week (not all states are included). Simply go down the list, writing down food items that you plan to buy, their prices, and which store is offering the deal. If you shop at Walmart, simply keep these items together when checking out and tell the cashier they are price matchers. The cashier will ask you for the price of each item, and may double check the ad from the corresponding store. Other grocery stores may have a more complicated process, like requiring that you bring the advertisement with you. Some stores don’t allow price matching at all. Call your regular store to find out their price matching policy. If you can do it, it is worth it! I often have an estimated savings of about $10-15 on a $100 grocery bill.
2. Print Coupons
This is a pretty well known tool for saving money on groceries. Not many shoppers know that they can print out coupons from online, however. My favorite website for this is coupons.com. Scroll through the coupons, clicking ones that you want to clip. When you’re done, just click the print button. Cut them out and put them at the end of the conveyor belt when checking out at the store. The cashier will scan them, and you can count the savings! I usually save about $8 with coupons on a $100 grocery bill.
3. Use Ibotta
Ibotta is an amazing app for your phone that helps you rack up serious money just for buying groceries. It only takes a few seconds to sign up. Use my referral code vmgcvvg to get a free $10 when you verify your first rebate! Before you go shopping, browse through Ibotta to see if there are any items you wish to buy or already planned on buying. After you purchase those items at the store, unlock their rebates on the app. After you’ve unlocked them, press verify rebates and you will be prompted to scan your barcodes and then take a picture or scan the QR code on your receipt. The money will show up on your app within an hour. After you’ve saved $25, you can choose to transfer the amount to your PayPal or redeem a large variety of gift cards. It doesn’t take long to save that amount; I already have a lifetime savings of over $150 on Ibotta! Usually, the price matchers, coupons, and Ibotta deals match up because the company is promoting on each all at once, and you can get some products for a great price! For example, a 12 ct pack of Charmin toilet paper is on price matchers for $5.99, combined with my Charmin coupon for $1.00 off, and an Ibotta offer for $0.50 , so I really only spent 4.50 on a pack that typically costs $9.00.
4. Meal Plan and Make Lists
This is the easiest way to ensure that you aren’t walking through the store like a zombie, staggering around in a daze and wondering what to feed your family. It will also keep you from making unhealthy choices if you can stick to the list. First, I go through my fridge, freezer, cabinets, pantry, and bathroom to see what kind of basic things I need to get. After putting those on the list, I browse Pricematcherz, print my coupons, and look through Ibotta, writing down grocery items as I go. From those items, I will come up with meals and snacks for the week from both brainstorming and browsing Pinterest, writing down additional items I will need along the way. It is easier to check out quickly if you use a highlighter to mark what is a price matcher on your list. I will write a more detailed post on meal planning and meal prepping in the future, since it can be a pretty difficult thing to get in the rhythm of.
5. Use the Carry-Out Option to Get Groceries
This option doesn’t allow you to cut costs by using price matching and coupons, but it can still save you time and help you to eat healthier. Some stores allow you to order your groceries online and select a time to pick them up or for them to be delivered. At my local HyVee, the fee for pick up on grocery orders under $100 is only $2.95, while orders over $100 can be picked up for free. By ordering your groceries online, you skip the temptation to impulsively pull junk food off the shelves, and save your health and your wallet by doing so (not to mention the hour long nightmare that is grocery shopping).