I’ll be honest, it was and still is a struggle to grocery shop for cheap and save money. Most family’s are on a strict budget, and I don’t know how they manage to do that without going over. Food is expensive, especially when you try to eat healthy. My husband and I tried creating a budget for food and basic items. It was tough, and no matter how hard we tried, it wasn’t working out for us.
However, we realized that we didn’t have to be as strict as we thought we had to be. No matter how much we spent, all the food and items we purchase gets eaten or used in due time.
As I mentioned above, we tried keeping to a budget: first weekly, then monthly. We also realized that every week was different. Items ran out at various times, so if we absolutely needed something and it didn’t fit into our budget for the week, what then?
Also, all those money saving tips on how to spend only $200 or less a month on groceries, that was not happening for us if we’re going to being real! Not if spending less means eating only dry, packaged food and sacrificing healthy products. It is a no-go for us! We live in Canada, and food is not cheap here!
It took some time to find ways to be able to save even a little money, but once I was getting the results I wanted, I stuck to these tips. Now I’m able to save a bit every month, and be able to purchase the essentials without feeling that I’m overpaying or having to sacrifice healthy food.
10 Ways I Grocery Shop for Cheap and Save Money: Homemaker’s Edition
Shop at Different Stores
I noticed over time that some items that I purchase on a weekly basis are different prices at various stores. After a few weeks of comparing those prices, I would note it in my mind on which store had the best price for certain items, and that I should buy it at that particular store each time I ran out.
What I end up doing now is that I organize my grocery list according to the store. I list the items I need under each store name, so that I don’t forget. Yes, it takes a bit more time then if I was to shop at just one location, but those cents and dollars do add up. When I see the price comparison and calculate how much I save, it is worth it.
And this is where the Flipp app helps a lot when it comes to finding the best deals at each store.
The Flipp App
I love the app Flipp! This is one of the main reasons I am able to save a bit of money every time I go shopping. It is where all the stores newest flyers are placed together. You input your location and stores nearby you will appear. You then select which stores interest you, and every time a new flyer is released, you will be able to see what products are on sale! Click straight onto the image and save it, too! So the next time you plan your grocery trip, you can go back and see what items interested you and add them to your shopping list.
I love this because I can see where the best deals are ahead of time and can plan accordingly. It’s also a great opportunity to stock up on basic essentials, such as toilet paper, sauces, or dish soap.
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Checkout51 is an app where you can get cash back from items you have purchased. Every week the app updates with new items that you can add to your list and redeem. When you buy these items, you take a photo of your entire receipt, upload it, and you’ll get cash back for those items. It can be anywhere between $0.50-$4.00. Once you get $20 worth of cash back, you can request to get that money, and there you go! Some extra money saved and can be used towards your next grocery shopping trip.
Many grocery stores now offer loyalty cards or have apps where you can save money and earn points on store deals if you’re a member. Those points can then be used to buy weekly offered products with those points instead of using cash.
If you see a product you usually wouldn’t buy because of the cost, and it happens to be on sale by spending points, then those points sure do come in handy.
Or you can save the points and redeem them for kitchen items, home decor, or various member discounts. However you decide to use your points, it is worth it to sign-up for a card or be a part of the store’s loyalty program, and most are free to do so.
Shop Store Brand
Instead of buying brand name food items, try buying no name brands or the store brand. They are way cheaper and contain the exact same amount and ingredients as name brand products. You’re just paying for pretty packaging and the name. This applies mostly to pantry items, such as pasta or baking goods.
Stock Up on Essentials/Buy in Bulk
Another way that I save money is that I stock up on the essentials, but only if there is a great deal! I also look for items that say if you buy more of this item, you pay only this amount and save this much.
This happens with almost any item I stock up on. I tuck the extra items away, and when I need something, I’ll go into storage and find what I’m looking for. And there is no need to put it on the grocery list for that week/month.
The Bulk Aisle
I like to shop in the bulk section. I realized during my zero waste journey that I can get so much more product if I buy from the bulk section. Items such as spices, coffee, and nuts are my usual purchases, and I pay less! If I were to buy the same items pre-packaged, not only is it packed in plastic which is not always recyclable, but you’re paying for the packaging! No thank you! Also, for certain items, the amount in the package is not enough or worth it for the price it is being sold for.
The first time I realized this was when I needed pepper. The pre-packaged pepper was the tiniest amount for so much money! I thought, “No way am I spending that much for that little amount! It won’t even last the month”! Instead, I went to the bulk aisle and got the amount I desired. Once I went to the checkout, it came out to be cheaper by a few dollars. Wow! I got the amount I needed, paid less, and I could do it zero waste.
Worth It or Not?
Some people may not agree with the “stocking up” method, and I agree. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. It personally works for my household, because I do save a few bucks when I buy in bulk. This, in turn, means I do not need to purchase that product for at least a few weeks (sometimes even months)! Fewer items on the grocery list, the less money spent. That’s money I can save or use towards something else.
Once you get into this cycle, you will begin to notice the amount of money you are saving each month by just buying bulk or waiting for a good deal to pop up, so give it a try if you haven’t already!
Look for the Amount of the Product and Compare Prices
It was actually my husband that showed me to look for the amount of product on the packaging, on both the small and large sizes offered. Then compare the prices to see which is worth your money. We automatically reach for the smaller item thinking it’s cheaper to buy. But if you look at its larger counterpart, sometimes you can get double the product for maybe only a $0.50-1.00 more than the smaller version. This is a trick I never considered before or have ever been taught (so don’t shoot me if this is an obvious tip for you!)
However, if the larger size product (or amount in it) is not worth the price listed as or is double the cost, than please, purchase the smaller one. Sometimes this ends up being the case even for me. What I end up doing in this scenario is I wait for the larger quantity product to go on sale. At my local grocery store, this happens often, and that’s when the Flipp app becomes helpful.
Invest in a Water Filter + Glass Water Bottle
Buying bottled water can get expensive. Plastic bottles are unsafe for the environment. Tap water is “safe” to drink, but with all the chemicals in it to keep it clean and drinkable, it is not safe for our bodies over a long period of time. Some water filter systems can be expensive to buy and install, and as a young couple, is not feasable for us to purchase at the moment.
However, we bought a Brita filter, and it works great. I definitely taste a difference between tap water, bottled water and filtered water, and I prefer the filtered. You save money, the environment, and your overall health.
Dollar Store: Worth It or Not?
When I was searching for ideas on how to save money, many money saving blogs said that the dollar store is a great place to shop. And I totally agree! I love the dollar store! It’s great for items such as home decor, kitchen supplies, party decor, special occasion cards, the list goes on.
However, I noticed that some items, despite the cheap price, are not worth buying! And not because of the price, but because of the quantity of product you are paying for. You need to determine whether the cheap price is worth it for the amount of product you get.
Do you take that dollar and use it for the one item, or do you save it, and spend a few extra to get more product for your money at another store? It’s your choice in the end.
Shop at Local Farmers Market
Instead of buying fruit and veggies at the grocery store, shop local! Not only is the produce in the store imported from other countries, but it is also crazy overpriced because it is imported.
During the spring/summer season, tons of cities host local farmer’s markets. I love going to these markets because all the local farmers bring their home-grown produce and products. Most of the time they are reasonably priced, or at least cheaper then if you were to purchase produce in store.
I was surprised when I saw that that cost of produce at a regular grocery store would be cut in half at farmer’s markets. That’s money I can either save for the next grocery shopping trip or just save! And, you are also supporting your local farmers and their businesses, as well as eating organic fruit and veggies. Bonus!!!
All the tips mentioned in this post tie together in one way or another. Sometimes I save $5, other times $50. At the end of the month, though, add up all those dollars saved and it can rank up to hundreds! The point is that every cent counts. Whatever method you use, whether it be setting a budget, using coupons, redeeming for cash back, or just looking for the best deals, they all have one thing in common – to save money.