3 ways to save money at the grocery store
After housing expenses, groceries are one of the biggest budget items for a family. And after having a baby the cost only seems to go up as a result of eating home more. Thankfully, I enjoy cooking, but sending my husband and parents to the grocery store for several trips kept the grocery bill growing. And now as a stay at home mom it’s even more important to find ways to save money at the grocery store. Maybe you are a stay at home parent, or find yourself working less hours, or just want ideas on where to start saving; whatever the reason, I hope you’ll find these ideas helpful to start saving today! So, here are the 3 ways to save money at the grocery store.
Make a list
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “don’t shop hungry”. I’d like to add, “don’t shop without a list”. Shopping without a list is just asking for trouble. When you go into the store without a list you are guaranteed to buy things you don’t need. Having a list significantly helps curb impulse buying. If you make a list and stick to it you buy only what you need. It’s your guide to steer clear of the extras, but also helps you to avoid over buying items you already have at home. I’ve forgotten my list and get home to realize I now had 3 bottles of olive oil. Or I try to remember a recipe and end up buying an expensive ingredient I thought it called for only to get home and see I got the wrong thing! And if you’re going to need a list you’ll need to do some menu planning too. Check out these great menu planning resources from Welcome to the Family Table. And if you need easy and quick meals, the Instant Pot is a great tool to accomplish that goal. You can read about my experience with the Instant Pot here.
An added bonus of having a list is using it as a tool to teach your kids about self-control. Rather than being scared to enter the cereal or cookie aisle, have them help you make the list when you are at home. Explain about healthy food choices and eating sweet treats in moderation. Put only what you agree to and need on the list. Then when you get to the store and they are begging for a certain type of cookie you can remind them it’s not on the list or you already have cookies at home – you are not buying more. Having a list will save you money at the grocery store, and hopefully save some stress too.
Shop the store ads
One of the best ways to save money on your next grocery trip is to shop your store’s ad. If you don’t get it in the mail you can look it up online. Use this as your guide to make your shopping list. Yes, you will have to buy things that aren’t in the ad. But, use the ad to plan your menu for the week. Look at what meat products are on sale and what produce. These are two of the biggest costs when shopping, especially if you don’t get them on sale! You can also save a lot on staples like mayo, ketchup, and more if you buy when they are on sale. These items keep and you know you’ll always need them. Same goes for canned and other shelf stable products. You’ll have to find somewhere to store them, but you’ll also save time in the future. When you go to cook your favorite chili recipe you won’t have to shop for all the beans, you’ll already have them. You save time when you only have to shop for the fresh ingredients, and you save money buying the other ingredients when they were on sale.
To shop the ad you will probably have to sign up for the store card or an online account, but this hassle is a small price to pay for long term savings. It can be annoying to play the grocery store game, but worth it when you see how much it saves you at the grocery store. NOTE: always read the fine print on deals in the ad. They can often require you to buy a certain type and amount. Check your receipt, and if it’s the wrong price go back and ask before you leave the store!
Get money back with rebate apps
There are so many apps out there to save even more on your next grocery trip. Ibotta is one that I started using about a year ago. About once a week while I’m watching a show I scroll through the deals available for my local stores and add them to my list on the app. I don’t buy a lot of name brand products, but if you do Ibotta could save you more. I mainly use Ibotta deals that are for “any brand”, which after entering my receipt gets me about $1-$2 per receipt. Not a lot but over time it can add up. And once in a while there are good “any brand” deals. For example, they had a $5 deal on Tri Tip a few months back I used on two separate trips to the store. Earning me a quick $10 back! I just froze the extra tri tip to use later. Using the app on a regular basis it took me 3 months to earn $23.20, and have the minimum $20 required to cash out.
If you really commit to these rebate apps you can get even more back. And apps like Ibotta are not just for grocery stores, so make sure to check out deals for multiple stores. Check out these posts on many more apps including Ibotta from the Krazy Coupon Lady.
When I got my first $20 Amazon gift code from Ibotta it was great because it was basically free money since I only use it for things I am going to buy anyway.
Do you have tips on how to save at the grocery store? Share in the comments below!
THIS MOMMY TRIED IT AND YOU CAN TOO!