Aside from housing costs, the next biggest expense in our budget is food. Especially if you have a large household, food costs can eat up a big part of your weekly spending (no pun intended).
According to a survey conducted by Gallup, the average American household spends $151 a week on food. That’s over $600 a month for a family of four. Shamefully, I use to spend that much on groceries and eating out for just 2 people.
After realizing how much money I was throwing away needlessly, I cut back on take out and learned how to shop smarter at supermarkets. But the most popular advice for saving money at the grocery store is to use coupons. And while that’s a smart idea, it usually means cutting them out of the newspaper, checking expiration dates, and remembering to bring them with you to the store.
It can become too much of a hassle and it’s easy to miss out on savings. So here are my 5 favorite coupon-free, money-saving hacks for grocery shopping.
Calculate Price Per Unit
When comparing two similar items, you might think you’re getting a better deal on one of them since it’s priced lower. But not so fast. Always compare prices by looking at the price per unit or ounce versus the price tag alone.
Even though you may be paying more for an item, you might be getting more value if you’re getting more product. Many stores, such as Target, are now helping customers find these deals by showing the price per unit/ounce calculation right on the price tags.
Avoid Buying in Bulk
Yes, that’s what I said. Avoid buying in bulk as a way to save money and eliminate excess waste. Looking out for sales is an easy way to save money. But often times the sale is messaged as something like 10 for $10. So what if you don’t need 10? Do you have to buy that much to qualify for the offer? Not necessarily.
Many stores message their sales offering in such a way to get customers to purchase more. But you can purchase less at the same sale price. Know your store’s sale policy so you don’t end up buying a bulk of items just to get a good deal.
Ask for a Rain Check
If there’s a good sale going on and you don’t get there early, your store may sell out quickly. But you don’t have to wait for another sale, instead ask for a rain check.
Head to your store’s customer service counter and ask for a rain check on the item you’d like to purchase at the sale price. Most supermarkets will give you a voucher so you can come back and purchase the item at the sale price whenever it’s back in stock.
Join the Store’s Reward Program
Almost all major supermarkets now have a rewards program. Don’t shop without signing up for it. You’ll likely need it to take advantage of any sales and promotions while grocery shopping.
Depending on the program, you might also be able to rack up points for a discount on future purchases, as well as receive coupons, discounts, and member-only deals via email or snail mail.
Bring Your Own Bags
It’s always a good idea to go green, especially if it saves you money. Bring your own reusable bags while shopping and some stores will knock off $0.05-0.10 off your entire purchase for each bag. It’s a small amount but every little bit counts, and you won’t have to waste resources. It saves you a bit of money and it’s better for the environment!
When it comes to saving money on groceries, it’s all about the little things you can do. Shop smarter and save more, without comprising on the quality of your food, or having to keep track of coupons.
What’s another way to save money at the grocery store without resorting to coupons?
Editor's Note: Did you know about the service called $5 meal plans? For $5 a month, they send you recipes of delicious, healthy, yet cheap food that costs just $5 a meal.
Several of my friends signed up and they are able to eat at home more because the instructions are easy to follow, making everything convenient. The deal also comes with grocery shopping lists, which saves them so much time. Check it out yourself by clicking here and you too may be able to save more and become healthier at the same time.