Are you crunching your grocery budget numbers at the end of the month and realizing you’re spending more than you’d like?
1. You’re shopping every day.
Stopping in the grocery store every day after work, even for a few things, is most likely going to end up costing you more, because you’re not shopping around the sales. Plan ahead and limit your trips to save both time and money.
2. You’re convinced healthy food is expensive, so you don’t bother looking for organic deals.
Most of the time there are two schools of thought when it comes to shopping for healthy items: Either it’s too expensive so you don’t bother, or it costs more but it’s worth it.
There are actually many ways to shop for healthy food on a budget including visiting an organic brand’s website for coupons, buying in-season produce, and comparing fresh, frozen, or canned veggies and fruits.
3. You don’t have a $100 chest freezer.
Investing in a freezer is so worth it. You’ll be able to stock up on sale items that otherwise might go bad quick, like cheese. Plus, the freezer makes it easier to buy in bulk to store whatever you have left over.
4. You’re only shopping at one store every week.
Loyalty is an admirable trait. Unless it’s stopping you from venturing out to other stores that have better sales. Approach grocery shopping with an open mind to take advantage of deals and coupons that other stores are offering. For example, drugstores like Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid often have the best sales on household items like toilet paper, body wash or laundry detergent. You’ll pay more when you assume a lower-end store (like WinCo) is cheaper.
5. You’re not using coupons.
If you’re not couponing, you’re basically leaving money on the table. There are plenty of places to find free grocery coupons, and you can even print coupons from your phone. (Find out the stores that take competitor coupons!)
6. You’re not using money-saving apps, like Ibotta and Checkout51.
Ibotta and Checkout51 allow you to select various offers, some even for fresh produce, and get cash back by sending in a photo of your receipt. New to these apps? Check out our guide to rebate apps to learn the ropes.
Sign up for Ibotta and get a $21 welcome bonus when you do the following:
#1 — Redeem your first offer and earn $10.
#2 — Redeem your first mobile shopping offer and earn $5.
#3 — Redeem a second Mobile Shopping offer and earn $5 more.
#4 — KCL users get an additional $1!
Sign up for Checkout51.
7. You don’t spend time scanning groceries with the Shopkick app.
While you’re at the store, scan certain grocery items with your smartphone, and earn “kicks” or points that add up and can be swapped out for a gift card.
8. You’re forgetting to use The Krazy Coupon Lady app.
Create a shopping list, browse deals, and learn the tricks of couponing with The Krazy Coupon Lady app. Plus, you’ll stay motivated to get the best deal so you can post your brag to your fellow KCL couponers.
9. Even though you’re couponing, you’re not stacking the deals.
Coupons, sales, rebate apps — any one of them alone will save you money, but combined is when the real magic happens. The Ultimate Guide to Stacking Coupons explains how to stack promotions, manufacturer coupons, store coupons, and more to save even more money.
10. You didn’t sign up for your grocery store’s reward program.
This one should be a gimme. Sign up for your grocery store’s reward program to get major discounts when you’re checking out.
11. You don’t take a picture of what’s in your fridge and pantry before you leave.
Taking inventory of what pantry staples you need and what you already have on hand should be an essential part of your grocery shopping routine.
Don’t feel like you have time?
Just snap a picture with your smartphone before you leave for the store. Combine items already in your fridge with sale items to create super budget-friendly meals, and avoid the dreaded double-buy.
12. You’re not buying in-season produce.
For anyone who has ever craved strawberries in December, you know that out-of-season items are going to cost you more. Get creative with your recipes, and substitute out-of-season fruits and veggies with ones that are in season now.
- Winter Squash
- Leafy greens
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Peppers
- Summer Squash
13. You’re wasting food by not consuming it before it expires.
The average American throws away $2,000 of food per year. Yikes!
Take inventory of what you have regularly, so you’re not letting food go bad. If you notice something about to expire, use it before you lose it.
Organize items by expiration date so you’re grabbing the one next to expire. Freeze leftovers for weeknight dinners and fruit that’s on its way out for smoothies.
14. You’re not thinking outside the box to find grocery deals at drugstores or ethnic markets.
Drugstores like Walgreens and CVS, and discount stores like T.J. Maxx are just two of the unexpected places to find grocery deals.
Most of the time, you’ll find that spices and fresh vegetables cost less at your local Asian market. When weather permits, browse your local farmers’ market.
15. You’re buying for convenience instead of getting the best deal.
Shredded cheese, packaged salads, pre-portioned snacks, and ready-to-eat chopped veggies sure do make things easier, but they’re most likely going to cost you (unless you have a coupon, of course).
16. You’re not making a game plan.
I get it. You’re busy. We all are.
But taking the time to prep before you head out to the store can actually save you time, and it’s definitely going to save you money.
Check out what’s on sale to make your meal plans. Go prepared with your shopping list and coupons.
17. You don’t stick to your list.
I’m sure you’ve heard the advice to never grocery shop hungry.
The truth is if you haven’t eaten, you might be more likely to stray from your list and end up spending more money than you had planned.
18. You’re sticking to your list.
Yes, this directly contradicts the last tip.
Lists are a must. However, be a little flexible. If you have fresh broccoli on your list but then realize frozen is much cheaper, go with that.
Don’t be afraid to try a store brand to save money, too. We took the guesswork out with our generic brands vs. name brand face-off to find out which are just as good (if not better) than the well-known brand.