As the prices of groceries continue to rise, most of us are looking for ways to save on food costs.
While some people turn to coupons to save money, most of us don’t have the time to clip coupons and strategize a shopping trip to use them.
And if you’re not intentional with your grocery budget, you can easily spend close a mortgage payment with eating out and trips to the grocery store.
So, today we’ll discuss how to save money on groceries without using coupons.
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How to save money on groceries without coupons
Before we started grocery shopping on a budget, we spent over $1000 or more on food for our family of five.
Our food bill was out of control, and we had to get a handle on it. So, we figured out ways to cut our grocery budget down by half. With the money we saved, we could use it elsewhere in our budget, like paying down debt and saving our 6-month emergency fund.
So, here are the 24 best tips to help save money on groceries without coupons.
Set a budget for your groceries
Set a realistic grocery budget every month, and then stick to it. If you don’t put a limit on your grocery spending, it’s easy to get out of control.
Your grocery budget can include just food or any toiletries you or your family need for the month.
A good rule of thumb is $100 per person per month. You can always adjust if needed.
But, keep in mind if your budget is too restrictive, you won’t stick to it.
Shop your kitchen and create a meal plan
Inventory your kitchen and make a master list of what you have on hand in your fridge, freezer, and pantry.
Create your meal plan for the week, bi-week, or month using what you have on hand. Then, make your grocery list to fill in the holes you need for your planned meals.
I love to use $5 Meal Plan to help me plan my meals. For $5 a month, I get a delicious weekly menu that is kid-friendly and cost-effective!
Cook at home
Eating out is costly, especially with a big family. So, keep eating out for special occasions and make your meals at home.
Also, keep your meals simple. Make a list of family favorites to pick from when meal planning; this will make meal planning and stocking up for future dinners easier.
Use cash envelopes
If you do your grocery shopping in person, keep your cash in an envelope to use when you shop.
Because you have your monthly allowance for groceries in that envelope, you’re more mindful of your purchases, which cuts back on impulse buys.
Use grocery pickup
Grocery pickup has been life-changing for me as a mom of three.
I don’t have to drag my kids into the grocery store with me! It helps me save time and stay on budget because I don’t have kids trying to sneak extras into the cart every time I turn around, and I am less prone to impulse buys!
Don’t bring your kids with you.
Anybody with kids knows what I mean.
Every time I take one of the kids with me on a grocery run, it ends in tantrums and overspending. So, if you can shop kid-free, I highly recommend doing so!
Don’t shop hungry
According to a study done by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, hunger can make you buy more food-related items, but it also may cause you to buy more non-food-related items too.
So, make sure you grab a snack before doing any in-store or online shopping.
Shop the store brands
Stop with brand loyalty! Those brands don’t care about you, just your money.
Store brands are so much cheaper and taste just as good. So, make the switch and save a good chunk of money when you do it.
Buy a reusable water bottle
If you buy bottled water for convenience, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle and drinking from the tap instead of individual bottles.
If you have to buy water, consider buying a system with 5-gallon refills instead and using a water bottle to refill.
Stop buying stuff you don’t eat
I don’t know how many times I have thrown out rotting food that I bought just to sit in my fridge. I had good intentions, but they weren’t realistic.
Be realistic about your meal planning and shopping. And don’t waste money on stuff you won’t eat.
Make your meat stretch
Most of us grew up eating meals where the meat was the star of the plate, accompanied by a starch and a vegetable.
Nowadays, with the prices of meat so expensive, it is more cost-effective to make your meat stretch by fixing casseroles, soups, and pastas.
You can stretch your ground meats even further by adding:
- cheaper meat like ground turkey
- beans or lentils
- breadcrumbs, rice, or oatmeal
- grated vegetables
Buy meat when it’s on sale or in bulk
Don’t be afraid to buy meat that is marked down. Buying discounted meat is a great way to get a really good deal and an excellent time to stock up!
Stores will discount meat near the sell-by date with a yellow sticker. The best time to grab these markdown deals is to go shopping in the morning. You can even get friendly with the store staff and find out the days and times the meat goes on sale.
Also, you can save more on meat by buying larger packs or cuts at bulk warehouses like Sams, BJs, or Costco, portion them out yourself, and freeze.
Stop buying for convenience
Convenience items are a huge budget buster. These are anything that makes your life a tad bit easier but comes with a higher price tag.
Some ways to save on convenience items are to:
- buy cookies, chips, and other snacks in bulk and package them individually yourself.
- Buy whole fruits and vegetables and slice and dice yourself.
- Buy whole greens, and make your own salad instead of the prewashed bagged salads.
- Use your own dishes instead of paper plates, plastic cups, and cutlery.
- Use food-grade reusable bags and containers in different sizes to prep and package your items.
There are tons of money-saving apps to use for your shopping. One of my absolute favorite apps for grocery shopping is Ibotta.
Cashback apps are a great way to get coupon savings without actually clipping the coupons!
Shop in season
Buy your produce when it’s in season. Going to a farmer’s market or stand is an even better deal than the grocery store, plus you’re supporting your local farmers.
But if the produce you want is not in season, you can buy frozen or bulk while it’s in season and freeze it. You won’t be paying jacked-up prices for out-of-season produce.
Grow your own herbs and produce
If you have a green thumb, you may want to try your hand at gardening. Growing your own produce is a great way to save money, not to mention it’s a fun family activity and pretty therapeutic.
It’s simple and relatively cheap to start, and you’ll have produce for months that you can cook, freeze, or can.
Find ways to use the food
Find ways to repurpose and use those leftovers or near expired food in your fridge by:
- Making your own pizza night with leftover meats, vegetables, and cheeses.
- Making stock with leftover vegetables and beef or chicken bones.
- Cutting up overripe fruits to use in smoothies.
- Throwing wilted or overripe vegetables in the freezer to use for soups, stews, or chilis.
- Baking cookies or banana bread with overripe bananas.
- Use the heels of the bread to make bread crumbs.
- Make garlic bread with leftover hotdog and hamburger rolls.
Discount/Salvage grocery stores
Discount or Salvage grocery stores sell the items that grocery stores can’t typically sell, for example, dented cans, overstock, or near expired or expired items.
When purchasing from these warehouses, you should use caution, but you can save half or more shopping this way. You can find the closet salvage store near you here.
Use your loyalty card
I hate clipping coupons, but if you look at the weekly flyers from your grocery store, they’ll often tell you what deals they have and the digital coupons that pair with them.
For instance, a couple of weeks ago, Kroger had digital coupons for cheap milk, eggs, potatoes, and bread. I saw those deals with coupons on the flyer, so I knew I wanted to use them on my grocery order.
It took a couple of seconds to clip them, and I saved quite a few dollars on items I use weekly.
Use store deals to stock up
You should get in the habit of only stocking up when things are on sale. Store deals repeat every six weeks, so use the weekly sales to stock up on or replenish stuff you’re running low on at the sale times.
To find the store sales and best deals, Flipp can help you find the best deals and make a shopping list of them so you can plan your shopping with ease.
Check your local farms
Some farms offer weekly specials on bulk meat cheaper or comparable to grocery store prices for fresh quality meat.
Also, many farms offer a co-op where you can purchase produce boxes at a lower price than the grocery store.
So make sure to check to see if your local farms offer something like this.
Flashfood app allows you to purchase food items at a discount approaching their best before date.
You download the app, browse and choose the deals you want, and pay for them through the app. Then, you pick your grocery items up at the store in the Flashfood zone.
The downside is that the app doesn’t work everywhere, which is a real bummer because it allows us to get groceries at a discount and saves food from being wasted.
Lastly, make enough meals to have leftovers. I usually plan about four meals a week with enough to have leftovers about every other day.
Cutting down the number of meals you have to shop for will save you money.
If you’re looking to save money on groceries, it is most important to set a realistic grocery budget, meal plan, and cook from home.
We have been able to keep our grocery budget down (even with the rising prices) by implementing these frugal tips, and I’m sure you can too.
What are your best ways of saving money on groceries? Leave a comment below.