One of our biggest monthly expenses, other than rent, is food. We love organic, fresh produce, and prioritize quality over quantity. In a small space, we also don’t have much room to store large packs from big box warehouse stores, so we shop more frequently than some might.
While taking the cost-saving hack of coupon clipping is certainly effective, we find that we all too often forget to bring our stash of paper coupons to the store, or can’t find a particular brand in stock when we’re looking.
Instead, we turn to apps and other ways to save vital cash — often $10-$20 a trip, which can add up to savings of thousands over the course of a year.
Here are some of our favorite ways to save without skimping at the grocery store:
Club Cards Are Your Friend
We love our warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, and usually find that we recoup our yearly membership dues of around $55 by the significant savings we incur when buying staples like paper towels, laundry detergent and even liquor in bulk. That said, our small condo can’t hold a year’s worth of ketchup, so we shell out more per ounce to buy what we’ll actually use, instead of buying in bulk and potentially accumulating waste.
We also register for “club cards” or savings cards at all of our local grocery stores. It means a bit more email, but we also sign up to receive notice of weekly specials, and, where possible, adjust our meal planning around in-season, on-sale ingredients.
Know When to Hit the Specialty Store
And even though it may sound counterintuitive, we often shop at specialty retailers — like Trader Joe’s — where food can be both fresh, in-season, and cheaper than many other major big brand stores. Our bills average $85 at TJ’s, versus $110 at a brand name grocer, thanks to Trader Joe’s documented cost saving strategies.
Get the App
Apps like iBotta , Checkout 51, Saving Star , Snap (by Groupon) and Shopmium often give cash back for select items when you scan your receipt. It doesn’t matter where you bought the product – just snap a photo of the item and your current receipt, and you’ll get several cents to several dollars in cash, right back.
Up Your Coupon Game
Apps like Southern Savers take couponing to a new level, showing you the ins and outs of how to combine coupons and maximize savings to get the best deal. Coupon Sherpa puts coupons on your phone so you don’t have to clip.
Get Paid to Use Coupons
Companies like Inbox Dollars will incentivize you to use your coupons by paying you cash to redeem. You can also take online surveys for cash, among other things.
Get A Rewarding Credit Card
Credit cards often incentivize you with cash back, extra points, and miles when you use specific grocery stores or brands. Leverage your credit card company to maximize your grocery bill – we like the BarclayCard Rewards(R) MasterCard for its percentage-based cash savings.
Tell us – how do you save on groceries?