There’s good news – there are ways to spend less money on your grocery bill without getting carpal tunnel from coupon clipping. And yes, you can still eat healthy, nutritious meals.
Coupons come in handy if you already purchase the product, but you won’t save money buying stuff you won’t even use or in such large quantities that you’ll have to throw it out anyway.
Here are some of the ways to save money on your groceries… WITHOUT clipping coupons.
Buy what’s in season. If it’s November, don’t plan a dish that requires fresh pineapple, because it will be more expensive. Find out what is in season and plan your meals around these items. In the summer, this means lots of watermelon and other fresh fruits.
Find out when items go on sale. This will save you a huge amount of money. Almost everything goes on sale from time to time. The key is to find out WHEN these items go on sale, and buy just enough until the next sale.
Buy store brand products. If you don’t buy store brand stuff, you are simply being persuaded by the power of advertising. You’re just another puppet for a marketing company. Most of these products come from the same manufacturer anyway. Canned veggies, paper products, water and pain reliever medicine are typically the same exact thing as the name brands. However, you’ll have to look a little harder to find the off brands. Name brands are placed at eye level, while generic products are placed on the top/bottom shelves. At least try the store brand products. If you don’t like them, you can always switch back.
Don’t buy convenience packaging. If you’re buying cereal, chips or even toothpaste, opt for the biggest size you can get. But make sure that you….
Check the “unit price”. Most stores will display the unit price for you. If 16 ounces of shampoo is $5, you would think that 32 ounces would be $10. If you can buy 32 ounces for less than $10 total, go ahead and buy the bigger size, provided you will use it all. Beware – not all larger sizes are a better deal. Always compare the unit price and use the calculator on your phone if it isn’t displayed.
Do your own ‘kitchen chores”. You shouldn’t be buying vegetables that are already washed, cut and packaged. Just buy them in their natural form and do that stuff at home. You’ll save a few dollars. For example, premade salads will cost you $4 or so, when you could literally make it yourself for less than half the cost. The same with ready-made sandwiches; just buy the bread, cheese and meat on your own. I can get a pound of turkey for the price of one sandwich.
Check around the holidays. Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day are great times to buy deeply discounted hot dogs, chicken, soda and chips. Steaks are also cheap around Valentine’s Day, since couples will prepare a romantic dinner at home. Thanksgiving brings sales on canned goods and frozen pies.
Ask for a discount if an item is near the “sell by”. I know that Wal-Mart discounts meat and baked goods to get it off the shelf faster. I actually cook steak on my shopping days because I get it when it’s super cheap and then cook it that night. If you buy meat from the deli, just ask if the store has meat about to expire. Just be sure that you will eat it within a few days!
Think strategically. You are more than likely paying for the convenience of one-stop shopping. For example, you can find batteries, rice and laundry detergent cheaper at a warehouse club. Dollar stores almost always have better deals on personal care products. If you have a loyalty card, weigh its benefits and consider that in your shopping strategy. If you have a loyalty card to a drugstore, it might be smart to take advantage of it when they discount certain products. If you shop at Wal-Mart, you can take advantage of competitors’ sales through the Savings Catcher app.
Do you know any other ways to save money without using coupons? Please share them in the comments below or tweet them to me @pf_genius!