I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but holiday parties are here and I want to help y’all save money on your groceries! I doubt I’ll be hosting a party in my cute little apartment, but I know many of you will! Maybe you’re not even having a party, but you hate seeing that price get higher and higher when you ring up your groceries. I feel you. I hate feeling like I’m not getting the biggest bang for my buck, so I’ve devised many different ways to save money on groceries! This is perfect for someone like me that lives alone, but it’s also applicable for those of you with big, big families and you’re ballin’ on a budget!
Best for: Store-brand groceries
Chances are, the grocery store you shop at has a rewards card. It may seem like it won’t make a difference, but trust me, it does. Obviously, I only know how my grocery store (Tom Thumb) works, so be sure to look at what your local store offers (and comment below to help other frugal readers!), but I spill a few of my tips and tricks. The great thing about the Tom Thumb rewards program is the app. It’s basically like having one of those grocery newspaper inserts on your phone, but you’re able to search and save a list of what you need to buy. Tom Thumb even regularly offers you free offers based on what you’ve bought in the past. Free items I’ve been able to get include balsamic vinegar, paper towels, and olive oil spray. For a girl ballin’ on a budget, that’s quite the steal- and no coupon clipping needed! (Pro tip: Tom Thumb also offers a student rewards card for TCU students, and probably other schools, too. So I get an additional 1% off every time I shop! That adds up!)
Best for: Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target
Funny story. The other day I was browsing through my phone’s apps, looking for a few to delete. I came across one that I guess I had downloaded a while ago and completely forgotten about. And before I even tell you what it is: this post isn’t sponsored! I just want to share a really cool way you can save/make money! The app is called Drop. I already talked about this amazing app in my post about saving money when shopping for clothes, but I honestly love it more for grocery shopping. Essentially, you connect it with your credit/debit cards and it keeps track of where you’re spending and how much you’re spending. If you spend at certain stores, restaurants, etc, you earn points, which will eventually be able to be put towards gift cards to so many different places. So just imagine my excitement when I realized I’d basically been earning money without even realizing it! Most of my favorite places to spend my money are on Drop, so I equate it to getting a discount everytime I spend on Uber, or at Target, Trader Joes or Chipotle! If you’re an avid Trader Joe’s shopper, you know they don’t have a rewards card or coupons, so being able to make money back on my favorite grocery store is a win in my book. I’ve even gained thousands of points by shopping on Sephora through the app. Big name stores rotate in and out frequently in the app, so don’t forget to keep an eye on the deals!
Best for: Name-brand items at grocery stores
If you’re trying to save money and you’re not using Ibotta, what are you doing? It’s so easy! Basically, you can look at deals for where you’re about to shop at (these usually include brand-names like Dave’s Killer Bread, Kraft and Dove), add them to your list, then scan your receipt, and it will match up what you bought with the deals you saved! Heads up though, this one is a slow-earner. Most of the deals I get are only worth less than a dollar, so I haven’t reached the $20 cash-out limit yet. If you’re like me and you’re more likely to buy store-brand goods, you’re better off with using a store rewards card like I mentioned above!
Best for: Name-brand items at grocery stores
I discovered FetchRewards when I went through a slight couponing phase (which was extremely short-lived due to not having a newspaper delivery nor a printer). It’s extremely similar to Ibotta, however, you’re not limited to certain deals for certain stores. You’re able to get the same deal whether you shop at a Kroger, Target or Tom Thumb. I also appreciate the automatic points I can receive just for uploading a receipt, whether or not the brands on it match the deals offered!
Best for: Target
I mentioned my love for Red Card in this post years ago, but I’m still 100% obsessed with Red Card. I even talked about it again in this post about saving money on clothes. But I’m sure many of you are doing some grocery shopping at your favorite Target! Well, the Cartwheel app will literally save your life. Through the app you can scan the barcodes of everything in your cart to check for deals, browse what deals are being offered, and even online shop easily from your couch (if you’re into to that sorta thing). I will scan the barcodes as I throw the things in my cart and usually find a few deals! (Pro tip: get the “Target brand” of whatever you’re buying and you’re almost sure to get at least 5% off on it on the app). In addition to this, Red Card gets you 5% cash back and free shipping if you’re shopping online! You seriously can’t lose!
Other tips & tricks:
- Meal plan! If you know what you need, you’re less likely to buy stuff you don’t need! I’m not the best at this, but when I’m at the store, I think to myself, “What will I eat this with?” and “How often do I really eat this type of thing?” Often the answer is “nothing” and “never.” You know yourself the best, so you know what you’re more likely to eat!
- Don’t shop hungry! I was starving today when I was about to go grocery shopping and I knew that was simply a recipe for disaster. I stopped by Nektar and got a smoothie beforehand so I wouldn’t go crazy!
- Use the Pantry Check app! I posted about this on my Instagram stories (check the “apt” highlight!). I seriously have the worst memory, so many times I’ve gone to the grocery store and bought something I already had (usually spices or baking goods!). This will save you money if you keep up with it! (Bonus: if you enter the food’s expiration dates, the app will notify you when foods about to go bad!)
- Don’t spend money on organic produce if it’s not in the Dirty Dozen! Yes, some produce is harvested with dangerous pesticides and should be purchased organic, which is usually a bit more expensive. Obviously, organic is always the way to go, but if you’re on a budget (like me!), only buy organic if you have it! (Pro tip: the farmer’s market is always your best choice for produce. It’s usually way cheaper, it’s local, better for the environment and chemical-free! Find your nearest farmer’s market here)
Is there anything better than feeling like you got a bargain on all of your groceries? I love seeing that price drop down once I’ve done all of these tricks! It always makes me feel justified for buying yet another bottle of cabernet 😉 What are some of your favorite ways to save money buying groceries? Share in a comment below or comment on my latest Instagram! I can’t wait to rack up more ideas!