Cut Your Grocery Bill without Coupons!

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Posted on : 09-04-2011 | By : Trish | In : Coupon Matchups, Daily Deals, Free Stuff

I love my coupons! Couponing has helped me cut my grocery bill by more than half, and I love to share my couponing know-how with others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I don’t have time to cut coupons,” or “I’m not that organized.”  It’s really not that time consuming or difficult and I am one of the most unorganized people I know, but there are ways to save on groceries without using coupons.  Here are some of my favorite tips.

  1. DON’T shop when you’re hungry. I know you’ve heard it before, but this tip is so important! I’ve broken this rule more than once and I end up overspending every single time. And I buy more unhealthy junk when I shop on an empty stomach. Eat before you go.
  2. Shop the sales. If you’re not going to get a discount by using a coupon, at least take advantage of your store’s sale prices. Check the sales flyers (in print or online) and plan your trip around what’s on sale.
  3. Sign up for the rewards card. Almost all stores have a rewards card and they’re free. Most of the time you need it to get the sale price on items. A lot of them also collect info about your shopping habits and you’ll get coupons for the products you normally buy or their competitors.
  4. Plan your trip! If you’re just going to “pick up a few things” with no plan, you’re probably going to overspend. Plan your menu, see what you already have on hand, and make a list of what you need. Know what’s on sale and stick to your list.
  5. Check the sell-by date. Meat is usually marked down once or twice per week. Your store most likely has a certain day that they mark down. Ask the butcher when the markdowns happen and shop on that day. When meat is close to the sell-by date, you can save 50% or more! Get a vacuum sealing system and freeze what you won’t use right away. I use the Ziploc Vacuum Freezer Bag system and I love it!
  6. Go meatless. No, I’m not saying you should become a vegetarian. Meat is one of the most expensive grocery items we buy. Pick one or two nights a week to have a meatless dinner. One of our favorites is Cheesy Baked Ziti with salad & garlic bread. Yum!
  7. Have breakfast for dinner. Breakfast is normally cheaper than dinner. I’m not talking about a bowl of cereal, either. Try omelet night or pancakes, waffles, or french toast. One of my favorites is biscuits & gravy with sausage or bacon. Now that’s a yummy dinner!
  8. Make your own snack packs. When packing a lunchbox, make your own individual-sized snack packs instead of buying pre-packaged ones. Those little bags of Cheez-Its are convenient, but the big box is much cheaper and it’s not difficult at all to put a handfull in a container or snack-sized sandwich bag.
  9. Grow your own produce! Not all of us live in a place where we can grow a garden, but even in an apartment, you can grow a tomato or pepper plant and an herb garden. I’m so excited about my own garden this year! The ground has just been tilled and is almost ready to plant! (Thanks, Kim!)
  10. Visit farmer’s markets. This is a better choice in a number of ways! You are supporting local farmers, the produce is fresher, and it’s almost always cheaper than the grocery store! Think about it. Do you want lettuce from Mexico or from the farm down the street? Yeah, me too. (Thanks, Mayerlin!)
  11. Buy the store brand. Let’s face it. The national brand just tastes better in some cases. But in others, there is little to no difference between store and national brands…other than the price, that is. Try it with pasta. I use whole wheat pasta and we can’t tell the difference between the store brand and the name brand. Now, if only someone would make generic Nutella…
  12. Ditch the bottled water. We all love the convenience of bottled water, but it’s super expensive. Especially if you use those little powder packets to turn it into something else anyway. Get a filter system (I use a Brita pitcher) and some reusable bottles. Pretty soon you won’t even miss the bottled stuff.
  13. Shop less often. This goes right along with making a list and planning your trip. Try to shop once a week or less and get what you need so that you cut out those little trips to “pick up a few things.”
  14. See what you can eliminate. Do you have a popcorn lover in the house? I sure do. My son has popcorn every day after school. We can buy those convenient microwave bags, but we save a bundle by using an airpopper and bulk popcorn. I can pop about 50 bowls of popcorn for the same price of a box of 4 microwave bags. You can get a hot air popcorn popper from Amazon for about $20 here:
  15. Presto 114316 04820 PopLite Hot Air Corn Popper

  16. Make it yourself! There are a number of things like popcorn that you can make yourself instead of buying it premade. Make your own iced tea, cookies, biscuits, mashed potatoes, chicken salad, etc., etc. It’s often healthier and cheaper to make stuff yourself. I used to buy frozen biscuits (and they were yummy), but they were expensive. I’ve finally mastered the art of the buttermilk biscuit and we save a bundle!

If you have any tips or ideas about saving money on groceries without coupons, please leave a comment so others can take advantage of it! Look for a list of ways to save in other areas coming soon!

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