I have lived on a budget nearly all my life so I have learned, through trial and error, as much as I could on how to save when grocery shopping. And over the past couple of years, I’ve also learned how to earn on my shopping trips as well!
Here are the ways I have learned to save!
Once A Month Shopping Trip – I have disciplined myself to make one big shopping trip a month. This truly saves the most because your not going to the store every few days or even once a week and picking up “extra” stuff just because you are there or hungry at the time.
I go to Aldi’s for all my basics like baking supplies (eggs, milk, sugar, flour, baking chips, spices, etc.), pasta’s, rice, frozen veggies, sauces, soups, and a few other pantry staples. I also buy my paper products, garbage bags, storage bags, etc. here. This saves a lot of money and they are fairly decent products.
Next stop would be Walmart for me, the only bigger store in my area. This is where I usually buy my coupon items, produce (when it’s not garden season), personal products, and things you can’t get at Aldi’s. Save those receipts! (Will explain later in the post)
Last stop, the local grocery store for the meats. I buy these in bulk and divide them into portion before freezing when I get home. Meats are the big part of the grocery bill, but I have meat eaters in the house, so it can’t be avoided. I tried just one “meatless” night and it did not go over well. But I know it is successful for many other’s.
Of course we still have to buy milk and bread throughout the month, but I have found that a once a month shopping trip has saved me a ton of money.
Coupons – I tried “extreme” couponing. For me, this was a huge waste of money! Buying in bulk when you get a good deal is great, however buying things you don’t really use, are not your “go to” brands, or just because you have a coupon and it’s a great deal, ends up being a waste of money. Why buy a branded sugar just because you have a coupon for it, when you get it at Aldi’s for less? Sugar is sugar, unless of course, your coupon can make it less than even the Aldi price. Haha, this has happened for me on occasion. Or, why buy something your family doesn’t use just because it was a good deal?
You can print coupons or add coupons to your loyalty cards, whichever you choose or even both for maximum savings! (Depending on stores of course.)
*Tip, I have learned to always go to Aldi’s first (I’ve had to back track on more than one occasion when I didn’t go here first), because sometimes they are out of something you really need and you can then pick it up at Walmart, even if you have to pay a little extra. I try to get store brand when this happens.
I now only use coupons for stuff I actually use or products that someone in my household has wanted to try. A few examples, I only like Hellmann’s mayo, so I use coupons for this and I’ll buy a couple, but if you buy too many, it will go bad before you get the chance to use it again. And there will be another coupon and sale, so why overstock? Coffee-mate creamer is another favorite of mine, but I like the liquid creamer the most, so why buy too many at once? Again there will be another coupon and another sale.
My son wanted to try a new product he saw an advertisement for. I found a coupon for it, printed only 1 and bought it the next time we went shopping. He didn’t like this particular product. Was I glad I didn’t print more than one coupon and buy more than 1, absolutely or I would have “wasted” money because I would have had to give them away or throw them out.
On occasion I have bought a few things to donate with coupons, but I try not to go overboard anymore. I mean, after all, I’m not the only person in the community who should be donating regardless if I got a good deal or not.
Where I get my coupons:
- Swagbucks, I not only get great coupons, but I get points (SB) for printing and redeeming them! Win, win!
- Local Newspapers
- Flyer’s that come with magazine subscriptions
- Common Kindness (Red Plum, Smart Source)
- Direct from Brands through email on occasion (Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Coffee-Mate, Jolly Time, etc.)
Meal Planning – This a great habit to get into to help save as well. I have just started doing this as much as I can and hope to continue and get it down completely!
There have been many times I have been able to shop for around $300 a month for a family of 5 by using these methods! Then I use the money back apps explained below to get money back!
Here are the Apps I use to get money back!
When I’m all done shopping and everything is put away, I get out the receipts, open an app and take a picture of the receipt. I click on the items I have bought that you can get money back on and within a few minutes this money is in my app account. These apps are like savings accounts for me, I don’t cash them out until I need too. The current apps I use are:
I have also signed up for Receipt Hog. There is however, a waiting list for that one, it must be pretty popular, but I am on the waiting list.
Do you use any of the money saving and earning ways? Are there different ways to save or different apps you love to use? Do you have a bigger variety of stores to choose from in your area? Let me know in the comments!