When you think about online grocery shopping, I bet you think of grocery pickup and delivery — which is a great start! But that’s not the only way to save money grocery shopping online.
For example, sometimes you can use coupons with delivery and pickup, get affordable meat and produce online (but not from the grocery store), and more. Plus, you can boost your savings by eliminating food waste.
Download the KCL app and we’ll tell you when we find grocery savings online so you know when to shop.
1. Use AmericanGrassFed.org to find and buy a half cow near you.
You can save a lot of money on beef if you have the freezer space to invest in a half or whole cow. If your family will eat all cuts of beef, this is a good solution for you. But if you only like steaks and ground beef, you might not like having to deal with other cuts of meat.
Check out these websites to find out how to buy a cow near you:
Here are savings you can expect to see when you compare the cost of buying a cow with the cost of grass-fed beef at a grocery store like Kroger. “Finished cut” prices mean the cost of the beef after it’s been processed and packaged.
Half cow finished cut: $6.36-$8.57/pound
Half cow finished cut: $6.36-$8.57/pound
Half cow finished cut: $6.36-$8.57/pound
2. Or order a customized organic box of meat or seafood.
At Greensbury, you can order sustainable, organic meats and seafoods delivered to your door. You get 10% off your first order and another 5% off on top of that if you subscribe and save. In July 2020, they had wild caught Key West shrimp, deveined with the tail on and not previously frozen, for $43.99 for two pounds ($21.99 per pound). They have an $100 order minimum and charge about $10 for shipping. With 10% off my first order for an email signup, that works out to $39.60 ($19.80 per pound). Those same shrimp are selling at my local organic market for $20.69 per pound.
CrowdCow sells sustainably farmed, locally sourced meats that you can build into your own box. Minimum orders are $100, and you get 5% off every month with a free sign up, plus free shipping. They sell a grass fed 12-ounce New York Strip for $14, which works out to about $18.67 per pound, or $17.74 with the 5% off. By comparison, Target sells grass fed, organic New York Strip for $16.99 per pound.
3. Do all the first-time meal kit offers.
Meal kits are only really a money saver if you compare them to what it would cost to eat out at a restaurant. In that case, it is cheaper to sign up for Home Chef than taking the family out to eat at Cheesecake Factory.
Is it cheaper than buying groceries at Walmart and making your own meal? Probably not.
But most meal kits offer first-time sign-up discounts, making the cost per plate much more palatable, if you will. Just rotate through the different meal kits to take advantage of these offers.
Here’s a list of meal kit offers to try out:
- Purple Carrot: Use PURPLE20 to get $20 off your first order.
- Home Chef: Get $20 off your first four orders; you’ll see this offer when you go to check out.
- Daily Harvest: Use KRAZYCOUPON to get $25 off your first order.
- Splendid Spoon: Get $25 off your first order at checkout.
4. Shop ImperfectFoods.com to get discounted “ugly” produce.
Imperfect foods offers “ugly” (but not rotten or bruised) produce boxes that you can customize to make sure you only pay for what your family actually eats. They receive surplus from farms, after food banks have taken what they want, and turn around to sell it to you at a discount.
When you sign up for a weekly or biweekly subscription, you’ll need to pay $30 (the minimum purchase amount), plus a $4.99 or $5.99 delivery fee, based on your location. Imperfect Foods will suggest produce items to you, but you can remove their suggestions and add what you’d like instead at no extra cost. Items are priced individually, so your total may go up if you add a more expensive item.
And if you want to switch out Roma tomatoes for quinoa, you can do that too. Imperfect Foods offers a wide variety of regular groceries, although the best prices you’ll find are on produce.
5. Shop for organic food at ThriveMarket.com — it’s cheaper than Whole Foods.
ThriveMarket.com works similar to Costco — you pay a $59.95 annual membership fee (about $5 per month). With this, you get access to organic and special diet foods at a 25-50% discount.
Best part? You can try it out for free for 30 days and then decide if you use it enough to justify the yearly fee.
Thrive Market prices slightly beat Whole Foods across the board. Here are some examples:
Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil, 23 ounces
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats, 32 ounces
6. Consider a wine subscription and save up to 50%.
Wine subscriptions offer higher-end wines for prices in the $12.99-15.99 range.
The best is when you can capitalize on introductory offers. For example, when you sign up for Winc, you can get your first order (four bottles of wine) for half price. Recently, I paid around $20 for four bottles!
Most wine subscriptions work by taking an automatic draft from your bank account every month, which they call a “credit.” When you’re ready to order, use your “credits” to buy the wine you want. So, Winc debits $49.95 from my account once a month, and when I’m ready for a shipment, I add bottles of wine to my order. I can wait two months and have almost $100 to spend, or I can spend $49.95 after one month.
But watch out, because it’s too easy to overspend. For example, if I only have $49.95 to spend, but the four wines I chose come out to more than that (you can see individual wine prices before you choose to add them to your cart), I’m responsible to pay the overage. If my total comes to $55, for example, I’d pay an extra $5.05 for that particular order. The best strategy is to choose wines that add up most closely to your credit amount.
7. Buy a homebrew kit and brew your own craft beer.
OK, so you could also just downgrade your taste and switch to Coors or Bud Light. But we aren’t animals around here, and we understand the need for craft beer.
8. Buy groceries only when you see a sale or you can use grocery coupons.
OK, OK, so this isn’t exactly getting groceries online. But it’s the very best way to save on groceries.
Don’t buy groceries based on what’s on your weekly meal plan; buy groceries based on store sale cycles and grocery coupons.
For example, when you see a sale on pasta, sauce, tortilla shells, or anything else that you know you’d use regularly in recipes, buy a couple of them. This works for household items like laundry detergent, shampoo, and diapers too. Don’t worry — I’m not asking you to hoard or stockpile a month’s worth.
But if you buy one or two extra when you see a sale, it’ll keep your pantry stocked and ensure you are always buying items at the lowest price possible.
Read KCL’s Quick Start Guide to Couponing for a full breakdown on how to start couponing, and then start printing or downloading digital coupons to use online! Here are a few to get you started:
9. Buy fresh and pantry items from ALDI delivery!
You can order anything ALDI sells in-store on your grocery delivery order and Instacart will deliver it to your door within one hour.
You’ll notice that when you place an ALDI delivery order through Instacart, prices are slightly higher than they would be in-store. That’s because prices are inflated a bit to cover Instacart’s costs.
FUN FACT: One grocery study found that ALDI is the cheapest grocery store in the U.S.
RELATED: Ways to Spend Less Money at ALDI
10. Use LocalHarvest.org to find out about produce CSAs, farms and Farmers Markets near you.
LocalHarvest.org will connect you with information specific to your area in order to find produce from local farms, Farmers Markets or CSAs.
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” This means you buy “shares” of a farm’s produce harvest up front, and then once the harvest happens, you get your portion until the season is over.
A CSA typically results in a box of produce every week, but the amount and type of produce varies based on the farm and what’s in season. You don’t handpick what types of produce you want — you get what you get. Here’s an example of what you can expect to see.
- Produce CSA full share (one full box of produce every week for 17 weeks): $600 or about $35 per week
- Produce CSA half share (one half box of produce every week for 17 weeks): $400 or about $24 per week
11. Get online Mexican and Indian grocery delivery and cook your own meals.
International grocery stores — like Mexican stores and Indian stores — are great for basics as well as the more exotic fare. If you’re craving Indian food or just need some pantry staples like flour and rice, this is a great inexpensive option.
Mexican grocery delivery options:
- MexGrocer: Serving all 50 of the United States, you can order online and get your groceries within two days.
- Zocalo Foods: Serving the whole U.S., you’ll pay shipping fees based on the weight of your order and where you live.
Indian grocery delivery options:
- Buniyaa: Serving the whole U.S., order online and get free shipping when you spend at least $50.
- Grocery Box: Serving the whole U.S. through UPS, you can order Indian food pantry staples. You’ll pay for shipping based on how quickly you want your groceries.
- India Cash & Carry: Serving Fremont, Sunnyvale, and San Jose, CA. Get same-day grocery delivery or choose curbside pickup.
- Subziwalla: Serving the greater Atlanta-Metro area, you’ll need to order at least $40 worth of groceries, and for $4.99, you can get pickup or delivery.
12. Shop grocery pickup stores that allow coupons.
While many stores that offer grocery pickup don’t allow you to use coupons, some do!
Here’s a quick list of stores where you can select “grocery pickup” and use promo codes and digital or paper coupons for deeper savings:
- Kroger: Use digital coupons from the Kroger app when you place your Kroger grocery pickup order at Kroger.com and use paper coupons when you pick up your order.
- Walmart: Use Walmart grocery promo code WOWFRESH to get $10 off your first $50 order. Walmart doesn’t accept digital or paper coupons for pickup.
- Target: Use digital coupons like Target Circle offers when you place your order through the Target app only. No paper coupons are accepted at pickup.
- Harris-Teeter: Use digital coupons when you place your order and give paper coupons to an employee at pickup.
- Albertsons and Safeway: Use Just for U digital coupons when you place your order. No paper coupons accepted at pickup.
- Meijer: Use digital coupons when you place your order. No paper coupons accepted at pickup.
- Dollar General: Use digital coupons from the Dollar General app when you place a pickup order at one of 30 stores that offer DGPickup. No paper coupons accepted at pickup.
- Publix: Use coupons from the Publix app when you place your grocery pickup order. Publix doesn’t accept paper coupons at pickup.
13. Redeem rebates from Ibotta, Checkout51, and more — even with Walmart pickup!
Rebate apps offer savings after you make a purchase, so you don’t have to worry about the store’s coupon policy at all. This means if you get a traditional receipt with your grocery pickup, you can use it to redeem rebate offers! Just upload a picture of your receipt in most cases.
Even Walmart Grocery Pickup, which in the past has not been compatible with Ibotta, has recently made it possible! Just link your Walmart account in the Ibotta app to redeem offers when you use Walmart Grocery Pickup. If you’re wondering how to order groceries online at Walmart, we’ve got you covered.
Look into these rebate apps to get even more savings on your grocery bill!
BONUS TIPS to avoid food waste and save more money…
Cook from your pantry at least once a week.
It’s a tip you might expect to hear from your mom or grandma, but it’s also guaranteed to save you money every week.
If you can cook just one meal a week using only ingredients from your pantry, it reduces your grocery budget to just six meals a week, not seven. Wondering how your pantry will get restocked for all these fabulous pantry meals you’re gonna cook? Read on!
Portion cereal into sandwich bags so kids don’t waste it.
Raise your hand if you have a child in your home who notoriously fills up the bowl with cereal and then takes about three bites?
Here’s a fix: if you divide the cereal up based on portion size — usually about one cup — right when you buy it, you’ll get more mileage out of each box.
Put one-serving portions into individual sandwich bags (yes, rinse and reuse the bags!), then toss all the full sandwich bags back into the cereal box. You’ll save money doing this, because your cereal will stretch longer and you’ll have less food waste. Or, serve them cereal in large coffee cups. If you can’t fit it in there, you can’t eat it.
Freeze dairy and produce if you have too much.
You can freeze just about anything and why not?! Hate to break it to you, but a lot of what you’re buying at a supermarket has already been frozen anyway.
Freeze milk, cheese, fruit and vegetables, and even eggs! (You crack open the eggs and freeze them in ice cube trays, resulting in egg cubes that you’ll thaw and cook.)
Same goes for produce — buy when you see a sale, and freeze items for when you need them.
RELATED: The Ultimate How-to-Freeze Guide
Buy in bulk and then use a Foodsaver to keep food fresh longer.
Buy a cheap Foodsaver at Target when you have a Target gift card from all those gift card promotions you’re doing.
Vacuum-packed items reduce space in your refrigerator, pantry, and freezer, and they keep items fresh longer.
The more space you save, the more items you can buy when you see a sale or you have a coupon. Plus, again, reducing food waste is savings in your pocket.
Make bulk frozen dinners or lunches for the office.
Next time you make a huge batch of homemade macaroni and cheese in your Instant Pot, use disposable leftover food trays and create single-serving frozen dinners or lunches.
I guarantee these will be cheaper than eating out at lunchtime, and even cheaper than buying single-serve frozen dinners at the grocery store.
Treat expiration dates more like guidelines.
The dirty little secret about expiration dates is that they are more like guidelines than rules.
For example, you can safely drink milk for up to a week after its expiration date, so don’t toss it out just because the date is passed.
Did you know you can eat meat like pork or beef for up to five days after its sell-by date? The more you know!
Don’t scroll up! Here are the articles mentioned:
Buying a Cow: Are the Cost and Cuts of Beef Worth It?
Companies That Offer Wine Delivery Right to Your Door
Stores That Allow Coupons at Curbside Pickup
Ways to Coupon at Home and Save Big Money
Ways to Spend Less Money at ALDI
Expired Food? Times When You Can Still Eat It