It's inevitable, we have to eat and drink to stay alive, so a trip to the grocery store each week, month or whenever you go is just a normal part of life. Sadly, the price of groceries to feed even a small family can make a pretty good dent in the household budget. The good news is that dent doesn't have to be huge. That being said, I'd like to share a few frugal grocery shopping tips that I hope will help you leave the grocery store with less stress.
1. Use Cashback Apps
Cashback apps such as Checkout 51 and Ibotta will give you cash back on generic brands, produce and name brands. You'll need to save your receipts, and in some cases, you'll have to scan the barcodes on products.
You can save even more by combining your cashback savings with manufacturer coupons, store coupons, digital coupons and other cashback apps that may have the same offers.
2. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can cost more, but in the long run it does save you money. For instance, I reduced our monthly grocery bill by over $300.00 when I started buying meat bundles from IGA in Vienna, Illinois. Since my family goes through quite a bit of sugar, I also buy the Psst 25 lb. bag of sugar for $12.49 from the Harrisburg, Illinois Kroger. The 25 lb. bag of sugar lasts at least a month in my household, which is a lot longer than one or two 5 lb. bags, so in the long run, it's much cheaper to pay for the 25 lb. bag.
3. Avoid Buying Prepackaged Foods
Although it's time consuming, you'll save more money by making many foods from scratch. You know, things such as cookies, yogurt, bread, pizza dough, tortillas, hamburger buns, hot dog buns, pancake mix, cake mix, taco seasoning, onion soup mix, ranch dressing mix and chili seasoning.
The aforementioned DIY food recipes can be made in batches and stored in the pantry or freezer. Just click on the name of each to view and print the recipe as well as see how long it can be stored in your pantry or freezer.
4. Check the Bargain Bins and Clearance Aisles
The first thing you should do upon entering the store during your frugal grocery shopping trip is check the bargain bins and/or clearance aisles first. You never know what kind of bargains you'll discover, and if you happen to have a coupon for one or more items in the bargain bin or clearance aisle, you could score a freebie or get the product nearly free!
I always check out the bargain bins in my local Kroger, and I once got a 28 oz. bottle of TRESemme shampoo for less than $1.00. It was marked down to $1.99, but with my $1.00 off coupon, I got it for $.99!
5. Grow Your Own Herbs
If you've recently shopped for fresh herbs at your local grocery store, you were probably just as shocked as I was to discover how expensive they are. For instance, in my area, at the present time, .75 oz. of fresh rosemary is $1.98. As we all know, cooking with fresh ingredients is always best in regards to health and taste, but at that price, it makes one not want to buy fresh produce, right? Good news, there is a cheaper alternative: grow your own herbs! Yes, I know, it calls for a little extra time and work, but it saves money, and since we're a frugal bunch, saving money is our number one goal. 😉
Off the Grid News offers a great beginner's guide on the basics of growing and preserving your own herbs and spices. In addition, I recommend their easy potting mix recipe.
6. Plan Your Menu Based on What You Have Left and What's on Sale
Before each of my frugal grocery shopping trips, I browse the local sale ads, check my pantry, deep freeze and refrigerator. Then I create my grocery list based on what I already have, what's on sale and what I have coupons for. This takes me an hour or two, but the savings is well worth my time.
7. Add Seasonal Produce to Your Frugal Grocery Shopping List
Actually, your best money-saving option when it comes to produce is to grow your own, and then freeze and can it to use when it's out of season. However, if you don't want to mess with gardening and canning, then your next best option for saving money on produce is to buy fruits and vegetables that are on sale and in season. If they're on sale, buy extra to freeze for later use.
8. Use Coupons
I'll admit that I don't use a lot of coupons, and the reason is because I buy a lot of store brand products. I've learned that store brands are often cheaper, even after using a coupon on a name brand that's on sale. Therefore, if I can get the store brand cheaper, I will. Many times there's not much difference between store and name brand, but with some things there is a big difference, and when that's the case, I'll buy name brand and look for coupons for those brands.
If you prefer a name brand over a generic brand and there are coupons for those brands, use the coupons. When using coupons for your preferred brands, try to use them when those brands are on sale to save even more money, and if you can stack them with a store coupon and/or cashback rebate, you could end up with freebies.
One last thing I'd like to say about coupons is if you're a regular Kroger customer like me, be sure to create an online account on their website. By creating an online Kroger account, you'll be able to load digital coupons to your Kroger card. Kroger keeps track of what you buy the most, and they offer digital coupons for those brands. Yes, those brands include the store brands, so you can actually save with coupons on store brand groceries, household items and etc.! This is one thing I love about Kroger! They also, on occasion, will send you paper coupons in the mail, and those coupons also match up with what you buy the most from their store.
Do you have any frugal grocery shopping advice that you'd like to add? Leave a comment to share your money-saving grocery advice.
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