Are you trying to save money at the grocery store?
Food costs tend to be one of the highest expenses for most families. If you’re ready to tackle your grocery bill and start saving money, the 10 tips I share in today’s episode will help you do just that.
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Your action task for this week is to choose one of the 10 money-saving tips to apply the next time you go grocery shopping.
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Below is the transcript from today’s show. Or you can download the full transcript as a PDF.
If you're like me, and most people for that matter, one of your biggest expenses each month is probably food. As a recovering drive-through addict, I've been focused a lot on getting my food costs down. But cutting out the fast food is only half the battle. Getting our grocery bill under control has been equally challenging. But I've finally been making some headway using the 10 tips I'm about to share with you. So stick around for 10 ways that you can save money at the grocery store. Welcome to the Go From Broke podcast where you'll learn how to take control of your money so you can stress less and save more. If you're tired of living paycheck to paycheck or constantly wondering where your money's going, you're in the right place. This podcast is all about giving you actionable tips and advice so you can get started improving your finances today. Saving money on groceries isn't always easy, but there are some things you can do. First sign up for your store loyalty program. Not only will you get discounts throughout the store, but you'll also get special coupons mailed to you specifically for the things you buy. They keep track of what you're buying and then they'll send you coupons so you can buy more. Sometimes you'll even get coupons for free items. I guess if you buy enough of something, they're just willing to give it to you. I don't know, but I enjoy those. Another perk of signing up for your store loyalty program is getting fuel rewards. Not every store offers this, but a lot of the big ones do. The more you spend on groceries, the more points you get towards fuel rewards. Then you go to their fuel stations or partner stations and you can get, you know, 10, 20, 30 cents off. It depends how much you spend on groceries, but it's always nice to get that extra added discount. A second way to save money at the grocery store is to use coupons. No big surprise there. But what you may not know is that you don't have to wait for your Sunday paper to find coupons. You can get them online now. You can go to manufacturer websites to get specific coupons. Your grocery store's website may offer coupons. The app for your grocery store has coupons in it. And you can also find coupon specific sites like coupons.com, where you can print coupons that you can then use in the store. Another cool thing with coupons that you may or may not be doing is stacking them. So see what's on sale and then see what you have a coupon for. And see if you can combine the two. Or, another way you can stack your coupons is to use store specific coupons with manufacturer coupons. Now you have to check with your store's policy, but typically they'll accept one of each on the same item. The third way to start saving money at the grocery store is to make sure you're shopping with a list. I like to say, channel your inner Santa with this one. Make a list. Check it twice. But stick to it. By sticking to a list, you make sure you're not buying impulse items and blowing your budget on things like snacks and candies that you might just happen to be hungry for, as you walk through the store. One of my favorite ways to save money on groceries is to plan my meals out each week. Meal planning can help reduce your grocery bill in a number of ways. First it can help you make and stick to your list. It's a lot easier to make a list when you know what you're cooking. And at the same time, knowing what you're cooking makes it less likely that you'll feel the need to stray from your list. Second by planning in advance, you can choose recipes that'll take advantage of store sales. Just choose recipes that use that week's sale items and you can save a little bit of cash. Third, meal planning makes shopping your pantry easier. You may not need to do as much grocery shopping if you plan out your meals based on the stuff you already have. So check your pantry. Check the store circulars. And choose your recipes to take advantage of what you have and what's on sale. Another way that you can save some money at the grocery store is to pay attention to unit pricing. Instead of looking at the price tag itself to see how much something costs, you're looking to see how much it costs per unit. So typically this is going to be, ounces or liters, or you know, pound depending on what the product is. But the reason you might want to look at the unit pricing is because typically you might think, oh, I'm going to buy the cheapest but it may actually be more expensive. I think salad dressing is a good example of this. When we buy ranch, the bigger bottles are not always the best deal, but the smaller bottles that are cheaper are never the best deal. The unit pricing, it might be like 50 cents per ounce for the small bottles versus 38 cents per ounce for the big bottles. But those happy medium bottles might be 34 cents per ounce. I don't know, I'm just making numbers up right now, but when you go to the store, you can look and see specifically what it is. And if you're looking at the same item, you'll get a better idea of which quantity is actually the better deal. Another way to save money at the grocery store that you may be aware of is to buy the store brands or generic. What's interesting about this is that experts tend to buy more generic products in their field than the average consumer. So for example, with groceries, chefs tend to buy generic 20% more of the time than regular people do. What's also interesting though, is that a lot of store brands are actually private label versions of name brands. For example, Costco's Kirkland brand actually is private labels of several big brands. Like their coffee, their private label Kirkland brand of coffee, is actually Starbucks roasted coffee. It even shows it on the label. So you get the exact same thing, much cheaper. You just have to look a little closer. Another good way to save money at the grocery store that's probably not a big surprise is to stock up during sales. Now you only want to do this with things that you know you're going to use and things that aren't going to expire or will take a long time to expire. So typically your dry goods, your pantry goods, or if you buy things like toilet paper and paper towels. I would not necessarily recommend buying those type of things at the grocery store because they do have inflated prices, but if it's on sale and it's a good deal then by all means, go ahead and stock up. Make sure with stock-up sales where you're buying in bulk, that those prices are actually a deal. Remember to check the unit pricing. Just because it's on sale, doesn't mean it's a good deal and just because it's in bulk doesn't mean it's a good deal. But you can look around, check the unit pricing. Pull up your phone check Amazon's pricing. They'll give you usually a per unit cost as well. So you can get an idea of, is it a good deal or is it worth waiting for and buying it online somewhere? One of my favorite ways to save money is not actually upfront savings, but cash reward savings. We use the American Express Blue Preferred card to get 6% cash back on all of our grocery spending. Now the first year, there's no fee. After the first year I think it's a $95 annual fee at the time I'm recording this. But we've made back at least $600 a year just by using that card. There are other cash back credit cards as well. But I think the Amex Blue card is by far the best with that 6% cashback specific to grocery stores. Speaking of cash back. Don't forget about those cash back apps. We mentioned this back in, I believe episode two but by using apps like
Ibottaand Fetch Rewards you can get rewards for scanning in your receipts. Uh, you can also use coupons from Ibotta. I don't think Fetch has coupons, but you can get bonus points through Fetch. Finally, my favorite sort of tactic, I guess, is to shop online. It helps so much more when you want to stick to a list, if you can do it online because you're typing it in. If you're wandering up and down the aisles, it's a lot easier to get tempted by what looks good or what you can think, oh, I might make a meal with that. But if you're online, it's harder to browse. So if you're typing in everything that's on your list, it's a lot easier to stick to it. You're not going to make the impulsive purchases as frequently. It's still possible because the stores are smart about what they show you. And when you add something to cart, they'll show you suggestions of more things to add. But for the most part, it's a lot easier to stick to your list if you shop online. Another way when you shop online that you can save is because it'll be easier to compare brands and see what's cheaper, what's on sale, and what has coupons. I have a Fry's nearby so whenever I type in bacon, it'll show me all the bacon. It will highlight if there's a sale, but it also puts a little sticker up in the corner if there's a coupon. So at a glance, I can see what everything costs and if there's a deal on it. Whereas in the store, that's a little bit more difficult. If there's a coupon, you'd have to go searching for it. You wouldn't necessarily know unless they advertise there's a coupon. You could see the sales in the stores, but combining it all together and sticking with your list, it's a lot easier if you shop online and use store pick up. I will say I'm trialing Instacart, but right now store pickup is the way to go if you're looking to save money. Instacartis proving to be at least $10 to $15 more per order, at this point for me. And that's with free delivery. So for this tip, I would say shop online and use store pickup to save money on groceries. So there you have it. Those are my top 10 ways that we've been saving on groceries. To round up: 1 - sign up for your loyalty program. 2 - use coupons. 3 - use a list. 4 - meal plan. 5 - pay attention to unit pricing. 6 - buy store brands. 7 - stock up during sales. 8 - use a credit card that rewards you. 9 - use cashback apps and 10 - shop online and use store pickup. So your action plan for this week is going to be a little bit of a choice. You have 10 different suggestions here on ways to save money. You can pick one and run with it. My top suggestion would be if you're not currently signed up for the store loyalty program. Do that. If you are jump ahead and try meal planning. If you're already an expert meal planner, try shopping online and doing store pickup this week and see if you save any money with that. And if you've done all those, then maybe head on over to episode two for a recap on how to use cashback apps. So I hope that was helpful. That you got some ways that you can save at the grocery store the next time you go. If it was I'd love it if you could leave a rating and review. And don't forget to hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. As always, take action and make it a great day.