It’s been a long week for me. We spent the better part of the week out of town, away from cell phones, computers, the internet, and society in general.
It was nice!
But coming back to reality has been difficult. I have been struggling to convince myself I should write something, but I finally decided to sit down and get to typing.
Another thing on my to-do list today is grocery shopping. Last week I went shopping and didn’t take into consideration the fact that we would need to eat real food upon returning from our trip Tuesday evening. I had bought a bunch of stuff for the time we’d spent away from home, but now it’s Friday and my cabinets are close to empty! I have no clue what I’m going to make for dinner.
I HAVE to go to the store.
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My biggest pet peeve when it comes to grocery shopping is spending the money! I mean, who doesn’t hate that part? Here are 10+ things I do to save money on my grocery bill:
Buying groceries in season
I try to keep my fruit and veggie purchases to what’s “in season”. I don’t buy watermelon in December and I know that broccoli & cauliflower are cheaper during the cooler months. I like to stock up on produce when it’s cheap and freeze it. That way I’m not spending more money than I have to on food.
Items besides produce go on sale during different times of the year, too. I try to buy winter clothes when they go on sale towards the beginning of spring and I buy holiday supplies the week after the holiday has passed. That way I get next years decorations for 50%+ off!
Ibotta is seriously one of my favorite money saving tools. It’s a simple app that installs onto your phone. This app contains hundreds of rebates and they are constantly adding new ones! All you have to do is unlock a rebate, purchase the item, scan the bar code of the item using your phone and take a picture of your receipt to prove you actually purchased the item.
I use it every single time I go to the store. There’s always a rebate I can use! Some weeks I only get $0.50 back, other weeks I manage to get over $5 back. Last week I was able to cash in $7.50 worth of rebates! You can learn more about Ibotta, why I love it so much, and how to get your first $10 for free here.
Early morning shopping
I can almost always find a great deal on meat if I get to the store by 8am. It isn’t always possible with a 1 year old in tow. Kids make everything harder! But when I can get to the store and find a good deal on meat with a quickly approaching sell-by date, I’m always a happy camper. I normally buy more than I need, bring everything home, package the meat into freezer bags and throw them into my freezer for safe keeping!
I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a coupon hater. I still use them every chance I get, though.
No, I’m not one of those crazy extreme couponing ladies. I don’t spend 40 hours a week collecting coupons! I do, however, hold onto any coupon I stumble across and know I’ll use. I also do a quick search online for coupons prior to a shopping trip. I never use coupons just to use them. If it isn’t a product we will use, there’s no reason to purchase it.
Couponing this way may not save me a ton of money, but if I can manage to save just $1 a week, that’s $52 saved over the course of the year.
National Consumer Panel
This company is pretty neat and I’ve been working with them for almost 4 years now. They send you a nifty scanning device in the mail, you scan your groceries after a shopping trip, they reward you with point that you can use to “purchase” rewards off their website. You can also take surveys on their website in exchange for even more points.
You can apply to be a member of NCP here.
Checkout 51 is another cash back app. One really neat thing about this one, though, is that you don’t have to use your phone! You can redeem rebates by going straight to their website from your computer or tablet. Pretty neat, right? It’s rebate list isn’t as extensive as Ibotta’s, but when used with Ibotta, you can save a lot of money! Many weeks both Ibotta & Checkout 51 will offer rebates on the same items. Double the savings!
Shop the sales
This is another thing I hate doing. I just don’t like having to work any harder than I need to when it comes to saving money! I hate going from store to store to store just to shop the sales. Sometimes, however, it is worth it. If there’s a sale, and I have a coupon, AND I have a rebate? Well, then I’m probably getting the item(s) for close to free. And that’s sorta worth the inconvenience.
This website is pretty cool if you have the time it takes to make it worth it. There are a lot of activities you can do… watch videos, take surveys, play games. Each activity pays out a certain amount of swagbucks. Swagbucks can be used to purchase gift cards to tons of different websites and stores.
Personally, I save mine up for Amazon cards and then save the free Amazon money for birthday and Christmas gifts. I know that some people use the gift cards for groceries, though, and that was originally my plan when I started using this website. I ended up changing my game plan, but you don’t have to! You can get Target gift cards or Wal-Mart gift cards and use them the next time you go grocery shopping.
Keep track of food prices
I use these nifty spreadsheets to track which store near me carries different products at the lowest price. They are easy to use and are super handy to have! It takes a little leg work in the beginning, but that work is definitely worth it. Keeping track of regular grocery prices allows me to see if the rebates, coupons and sales are really worth it.
This app doesn’t pay out a lot, but it’s simple to use. You just send them a picture of your receipt and they reward you with points and entries into monthly sweepstakes. I figure if I’m making these purchases, why not hold on the the receipt and get a little money back? And who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and win something!
It almost seems like all of the stores are coming out with phone apps that help you save money one way or another! I only use the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher, but I know Target has an app that’s similar, too.
The Wal-Mart Savings Catcher is definitely worth it for me. It’s (sadly) the main place I shop and the app compares the price I paid on every single item to local sale prices. If you live in a small town, it may not make sense to use it, but anyone who lives in a larger metropolitan area should definitely give it a try!
This app is really similar to Ibotta, except it has noticeably fewer rebates. The one thing I REALLY like about it is that it deposits the rebate directly into your PayPal account. You don’t have to wait to reach a certain amount of money before cashing out. Even if you only use a $0.25 rebate, the money is still given to you right away.
I don’t always implement all of these tactics. I’m usually excited if I can do half of these!
How do you save money on groceries?