Would you like to know some tips to help you glide through grocery shopping on a budget without having to rely on coupons? Well, we are going to share a few tips with you today so that when you have times that coupons are too tough to deal with, you know what you can do to save! These tips are also something that you can adopt everyday if you are wanting to move away from coupons and enjoy more whole food living on a budget too! Either way, these tips may come in handy for any thrifty grocery budget!
#1. Determine your price point (or price to beat) on your favorite items
Let me tell you a little secret: Walmart truly does have the lowest everyday (non-sale) price on almost everything. I know, many of you will not like that I am saying that, but unfortunately it’s the truth. You can typically yield 15-25% savings everyday at Walmart. But before you think I’m telling you to start shopping at Walmart (its not our favorite store) let me share how to use this to your advantage.
Take the price comparison shopping list that we have for you as a free download and write down Walmart’s prices on the items your family normally buys. This can become your “price point” when it comes to shopping.
Once you have done this, you can prepare yourself for an easy time of savings when you grocery shop…. and yes, other places other than Walmart!
#2. Stock up on sale items
So I told you the cold hard truth above about Walmart’s prices, but when another store has a sale, their prices are typically lower than Walmart’s prices! So, stock up on items you use!
The biggest things we stock up on are cheese, yogurt, butter, eggs, meats, produce, etc. Cereal, coffee, soups, condiments, sauces and other non-perishables are also great things to grab on the low sale prices and stock up!
#3. Go ahead and use text or ecoupons
Stores like Kroger and sister stores nationwide have digital coupons. Don’t be shy and take a couple of minutes to quickly upload a bunch to your card (your store savings card like the Kroger one!). You may even forget you have those digital coupons until you get to checkout and another dollar or two has fallen off your total; maybe you didn’t necessarily plan to buy those items, but plenty of times has this happened to me because I found that item was on sale and I picked it up! Other stores also have text and digital coupons as well.
For example, Target has fantastic text coupons….. $1 off veggies, $1 off fruit, $1 off meat, etc. This gives me tons of freedom and I will typically run in there and grab a head of broccoli, a package of strawberries and a markdown meat and walk out with hardly paying a thing! The only real work I did was to text for coupons! If you want to start getting Target’s text coupons on your cell phone, you can sign up HERE.
#4. Watch for markdowns
This is a big savings for our family. Unlike Walmart, other stores generally have a good selection of markdown foods; we love our markdowns at Kroger and sister stores, the local grocery stores and even Target. If there is something our family uses and it is on markdown, I am doing a happy dance! If it is a fresh item, you will either need to preserve it or use it right away. BUT GUESS WHAT…. that is where our “No Food Waste” menu planner is another huge help to the grocery budget…. it helps you to incorporate those “need to eat now” foods into your menu in an easy and creative way.
If the markdown food can be preserved (in most cases – you can freeze) then do this! For example, we rarely get lunch meat as I am picky about ingredients and nitrates. But I cannot tell you how many times I have found the versions I am okay with buying on markdown! They freeze beautifully and then we have a supply of healthier lunch meats for less than the cost of the others. Even just last week, I found Kroger’s Simple Truth brand of natural uncured ham (my kids love this for ham cups) that is normally well over $5 a package. They were on markdown for $2.09 per package….. and they freeze well!
#5. Stay off the aisles
This one is going to require a bit of effort beforehand, but give yourself many months to work up to it and then you will be able to do this. That is…. stay off of the aisles and only shop the perimeter of the store. How? By stocking up on staples in bulk food stores. This is what we do. We teach you the “how to’s” in our live classes, but basically, if you shop bulk food stores locally, at Costco, at Azure standard and at Amazon, you will get incredible savings on the foods typically found down the aisles and then you can avoid the aisles in the grocery stores.
Photo Credit: shopperception.com
Most all of the time, when we actually go to the grocery store, we are walking the perimeter and grabbing the fresh items needed for the week. I still stock up on butter, cheese, yogurt and eggs, so it is honestly primarily produce, cottage cheese, sour cream and markdowns on fresh foods that I am buying each week 🙂
This is one of the biggest ways we save. We we can avoid most of the grocery store which means taking away temptation from buying items we don’t need or shouldn’t have!
#6. Use a savings app
Favado is what we would recommend. This app allows for you to save 30%+ without coupons! It directs you to the sale prices, compares prices at the grocery stores in your area, etc. If you are looking for the best price on milk, this app will tell you all of the sale prices in your area and the brands that are on sale! This is really, really smart and a very easy way to save. The Favado app is free with registration HERE.
#7. Shop at a store that gives you rewards
We love our rewards at Kroger and affiliate stores! If you can beat Walmart’s price and then get extra perks on top of it…. I am sure that this would make most people happy! Kroger ends up being one of our favorite stores for this and many other reasons.
Kroger also has great selection, they will mark down food (UNLIKE Walmart), they have better quality and at the very minimum, you will get rewards back to you!
You get coupons customized to your shopping, which these coupons are easy to stash in your purse or diaper bag and easy to use and they are on items that you already buy. We love to get our gold envelope and have our coupons for produce, cottage cheese, sour cream plus items that we have stocked up on before. Who wouldn’t want coupons that are exactly for the items you buy regularly?
Plus don’t forget the gas rewards meaning you can get up to .50 off each gallon of gas each month. That alone is worth it!
We are specifically talking about Kroger and Kroger sister stores as this is the second largest grocery chain (under Super Walmart) and they are nationwide, but other stores in your area may have something like this too!
#8. Instead of using your time to clip coupons and coupon shop, do things DIY at home yourself
*UPDATE: There is a separate post on this point found on our Replace Store-Bought Foods with Healthier Homemade Versions HERE
What I am saying is that when I transitioned to wanting a healthier lifestyle for my family, I found that I actually had MORE time because I was no longer one of those extreme couponers and having to take all my time with shoppings lists and coupons. And I also mean that I had MORE time even though I was making a lot more things from scratch.
I make my own SOS mix – which is very simple and it will replace all creamed soups, gravies, cheese sauces and other sauces. This mix is much healthier, much cheaper and it only takes me 10 minutes a batch to make it. I have just successfully replaced one whole aisle in the grocery store.
In addition, I also make a pre-made muffin mix that allows me to make any type of muffins or breakfast cake. It takes me less than 10 minutes to make this and I have just successfully replaced all of the store bought boxes and pouches of muffin mixes and breakfast breads….. another aisle I can avoid and replaced with a healthier cheaper option!
I also make a Mexican Seasoning and Italian Seasoning which will cover yet another aisle as I can make hundreds of the canned and jarred concoctions on the store shelves.
With simple ingredients, I can also make Emergency Ranch, Buttermilk Ranch and many Italian dressings with simple ingredients at home (hint, the Italian seasoning will also cut time in homemade dressing by mixing the dry mix with a little olive oil and vinegar!).
The biggest time consumer for me in the kitchen is making my own breads. But if I have lots of extra time because I am not clipping coupons, then I can give a bit more time to bread making. But…. don’t think I am in the kitchen making bread all day because I found some very simple and easy ways to cut time corners here too.
These are some tips that we practice pretty much every week!
What ideas do you have?