Want to know how to save money on groceries? Saving money on groceries is easy, you just have to know the right techniques. Below, we have listed our 6 favorite tips for ways we are saving at the grocery store. In addition, Erin from $5 Dinners is offering a FREE GROCERY SAVINGS WORKSHOP.  Erin is the author of the grocery budget makeover and is a genius when it comes to saving big on groceries. The workshop is free and includes 4 short (3-5 minutes) videos with grocery savings tips and strategies. Don’t miss out on a chance to learn from her– after all, its free!

Check the clearance rack first.

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is simply to start your shopping trip at the clearance rack. The clearance rack at my local supermarket is off the hook. I routinely find name brand items marked HALF OFF. This week’s favorite find was diapers (Pamper’s and Huggies) that were half off. Combine that with a coupon and or an Ibotta offer and the savings are top notch.

Grocery stores tend to put the clearance rack near the check out, so you might not otherwise notice it until you are checking out. There have been several times where I have finished my regular grocery shopping, started to check out, and then I noticed something on the clearance rack that I was about to pay full price for. Since then, I have learned, always check the clearance rack first!

Combine store sales with coupons and cash back rebates and save money on groceries!

Combining store sales with coupons and cash back rebates is a really powerful way to save money on groceries. There are PLENTY of extreme couponing blogs out there that will explain how to do a good job of maximizing your coupons. 

I started by using Southern Savers. It gives an excellent explanation of how to start couponing. The short version is this– you check your local ads for what sales are going on in your area that week. You find store coupons that match the items that are on sale.  Then, you go and find in your newspaper, or print off manufacturer coupons that also match the items on sale. So you are getting triple savings! The store sale + store coupon + manufacturer coupon = triple savings. (For example, Walgreens has its own coupons in addition to manufacturer coupons. So imagine that Walgreens has M&Ms on sale for $2.50. Walgreens also has its own store coupon $0.50 off of M&Ms. There is also a manufacturer coupon that is $1 off M&Ms. You take advantage of the sale AND the two coupons).This will dramatically decrease your grocery bill if you are not already doing this. In fact, when we were in Miami and I learned how to coupon, it cut our grocery bill by about 66%!

In addition to combining store sales and coupons, you can save even more money using cash back apps like Ibotta and Fetch. Ibotta is simply a smart phone app where you’ll select cash back rebate offers that you want and then scan your receipt to prove that you bought the item. It’s SO easy to use (and free) and you can earn your first $5 free by signing up for the app here, once you upload your first receipt. 

Fetch works similarly, except you don’t have to browse for the offers that you want to use. You simply scan your receipt after you go to the grocery store and it automatically applies any coupons or rebates that apply to your purchase for you. You can earn $3 when you download Fetch’s free app and enter the Fetch referral code YUUG7. 

Calculate cents, not dollars.

Another smart way to save money on groceries is to calculate the price per unit, not the price per item. The unit price is typically listed in the upper left hand corner of the item’s for sale price. Compare THAT number to other products’ unit prices, and you will know that you are getting the most bang for your buck. I have found that bulk is definitely NOT always better. Sometimes the unit price is actually cheaper for a smaller quantity. This becomes especially true if you are also shopping with coupons since you will be able to use a coupon on each (of the same) item. So, be leery of “family size” or other bulk sized items. Make sure the unit price makes sense first.

Shop sales and stock up.

You can also save money on groceries by only shopping store sales, and stocking up on those sales. Don’t assume that a budget store like Walmart or Aldi will be the cheapest. While budget stores can certainly be the cheapest option and they are certainly convenient, they rarely have sales. Other stores, on the other hand, routinely have sales at rates far cheaper than budget stores. And the same products repeat their sale typically about every six weeks. That means to score the best savings, you should purchase (stock up on) however much of the product that you will use within those six weeks. This will also help you only purchase items on your list, which in turn, saves you more money.

Waste less.

You can save a lot of money by simply wasting less. Stop throwing away food after meals. Even if there is only a TINY bit of left overs, save it. Freeze it. Save up the food over the course of a week or more, and you will have a full meal on your hands. It might not all go together. That is OK. Growing up, my friends mom would occasionally have a “multi-course” dinner, as she would call it. For each course, everyone got a few bites of some left over meal. That would go on and on until everyone was full or left overs were gone. She even did fun things like add a chocolate chip here or there for one of the courses to spice things up. Brilliant.

Plan meals (and shop for ingredients that overlap). 

A quick browse of your local store ads (or a quick browse of someone else’s couponing blog who has already done the work for you) will show you what is on sale that week. Plan your menu according to what is on sale. For example, this week ground turkey was on sale at my local store. I cooked twice as much as I needed, and used it for two meals (picadillo and taco salad). Avocados, roma tomatoes, and tortilla chips were all on sale, so I paired them with one or both meals. Shopping this way will save  you both money and time… and time is money.

You can save money on groceries without a ton of extra effort on your part. If something like coupon-ing feels overwhelming, start small by simply committing to only shopping sales. Then once you’ve got the hang of that, you can start planning your meals at home around those sales. Once that’s comfortable, download Ibotta and check for any cash back offers that might be available. You can make it as simple as you need to, but there is really no reason that you can’t start saving money on groceries starting with your very next shopping trip.

Happy shopping! What things do you do to save money on groceries? I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Good list, Amber. I use the price per unit trick as well – I’m always amazed at what actually ends up being the least expensive option after comparing. A couple of other things I do to not overspend at the grocery store):

    1. Don’t shop hungry. When I’m hungry, everything looks good and I overspend. 100% of the time. So even if I have to stop at a fast food drive thru on the way to the grocery store, it’s worth it.

    2. I use a bar code scanner app to see if an item really is a good deal. Tide on sale for $17.50 — good deal? I have no idea, but after scanning the bar code, I can see what the product is going for at other stores.

    1. Both GREAT ideas. I’ve had friends tell me about using a bar code scanner app– I guess I need to get with it and download one! And how could I forget hungry shopping on my list?? By far the biggest demise to a budget. And waist line. I always come home with a ton of delicious garbage when I do that. Thanks Ty!

  2. We moved to the Tulsa area a little over 4 months ago. We moved from a rural place with very limited options for groceries. We do a larger shopping trip once a month to get everything that will last a month. Then do twice a week shopping for produce, eggs and milk. Sprouts is an amazing way for us to save money on all the produce we eat. We buy mostly whatever is on sale there that week. Then go back on Wednesday when you can get the prices on last weeks sales and this week’s sales. Since we mostly eat produce it has been big saver for us.

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