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How To Save Money On Groceries Without A List Or Coupons

Updated on May 22, 2014

Saving Money on Groceries without a List

Okay, so we all read about meal planning and bringing a list with you when you shop right? Well good advice, however some of us don’t want to do this. I personally find this method too rigid for my taste. I tried making a menu then a list to match, however I do not also want to make what is on my menu and with that type of shopping, you usually only have ingredients for certain dishes.

So to simplify my shopping, I still do it weekly, however I do it a little differently.


So at the beginning of the month, I do what I call bulk shopping. This is when I go through and get all of my meat for the month. Buying meat in the large packages saves a dollar or two a pound. With a small family, me and my son, I spend about an hour pre packaging and freezing meat for the month. I only have a regular fridge/freezer combo, so a big stand up freezer is not necessary.

Always look for manager specials on meat. Freezing meat can save you from having to use it soon and the discounts can be quite large. The best times to get these savings are about an hour after a store opens. It gives the employees time to do the mark down and still have enough time to get the deals before they are gone. This concept works on all products about to expire-milk, fruits, veggies, etc. But keep in mind, if you won’t use it or freeze it before it goes bad, you will lose money, not save.


So, also at the first week of the month, I get all my can goods, beans, rice, etc. These are your self-stable goods that you use throughout the month. When you buy larger sizes, common sense dictates the price will be cheaper. Like rice, my son and I eat it several times a week and buying it in five pound bags (2.39) instead of one pound bags (1.09) saves quite a bit per pound. Same goes for most other items, but remember, only buy what you will actually use. As well as, try to buy whole food products that are versatile like oatmeal. You can make it for breakfast, or cookies, or even as a filler for meatloaf. Not only will you save money, but you can still eat healthy.


Stay away! Freezer ready-made meals are choked full of sodium and fat, as well as a high price tag. The only things I buy in the freezer sections are frozen veggies and maybe a small carton of sherbet. Do your waistline and your wallet a favor and stay away from these pre-made disasters. Well okay, maybe a pizza now and then wouldn’t hurt, but all else, stay away from.


Like I said before, frozen veggies are nice, especially in the winter months when stores want 3.00 a head for cauliflower and broccoli. Companies pick and flash freeze their veggies at peak times and few nutrients are loss in the process. During the winter months, most produce is shipped in from foreign countries and most nutrients are lost in the shuffle. Not to mention the impact on the Earth to transport them.


This is a section where frozen and canned just won’t do for me and to be honest, maybe my priciest tastes. My three year old loves fruit, as do I and I like to keep fresh fruit in the house. Stables are apples, pears, bananas, oranges and grapes. I buy these items weekly, a few can last longer, but I like to buy what we will eat. Some bagged fruit that will stay viable for a couple weeks is worth it, but all the rest, buy what you will actually end up using. If you do buy too much, before it goes bad, freeze and reuse in smoothies, pancakes or even make your own applesauce.


So, where do you shop? Do you check out all the flyers and then decide? I do not even look at flyers, at all. I have learned that many higher price stores will have a few great savers for the week to lure you in and then you end up paying higher prices on the rest of their products, because let’s face it, who actually wants to go to three separate places? But, if you have the heart and gas, go for it I say.

Me personally, I go to Save A Lot for most of my bulk purchases (once a month) and a local chain for my produce because the discount place really has horrid fresh veggies and fruit. With most store brands you can save 30% and with discount stores (Aldis is another good one) you can save even more across the board on pretty much everything. Preference plays a role, not all off brands will meet your quality and taste, so figure out what is doable and what is worth the extra fifty cents.


What? You don’t use coupons? ME EITHER! I have read about their great savings and maybe it does work, but to me it seems to cost about as much as the store brand does and I end up getting roped in to buying things that I could make cheaper or would never buy in the first place. As a single mom, with a full time job and full time student, I don’t have a couple hours to clip and clip. And how annoying is the person in the line with a handful of coupons. (No offense to my couponers of course)


Just a thought on this one, check out the Dollar Tree (not to be confused with Dollar General and Family Dollar) but the place where everything is a dollar. Here you can find many items that at the regular grocery store, you will pay 2-5 dollars for. Items like pillowcases, batteries, aluminum roasting pans, cleaners, make up, freezer bags and so much more. I usually hit this store up once a month for my household items that I use there and it can really save you big money. There is nothing worse than paying 3.00 for a roasting pan at Wal-Mart, to find two for a dollar at the Dollar Tree. Like most things, find your preference and go with it. If you can not live without Lysol, buy Lysol, but many things can save you several dollars an item and they really are just as good

Hope I helped a bit. Any other simple ideas for saving money, I am always all ears!


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    • poshcoffeeco profile image

      Steve Mitchell 5 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      Some great tips and common sense here.

    • agreenworld profile image

      Dawn A. Harden 5 years ago from CT-USA

      Good hub. I ask if the meat has been previously frozen. If it has they may mark it down as was my recent experience. An $8.00 package of chicken was marked down to $4.00 and the store butcher volunteered to mark the packages as previously frozen. Thanks again!

    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Brupie- You are very right. Learning to cook, not only saves money, but is usually a lot healthier.

      Esmeowl- I tried the list way and I just couldn't stick with it. My bulking up is not much, about 200 a month as I do not have much room, I live in a small apartment without a pantry. Mainly I buy "in bulk" meat, so I can reap the benefit of the larger packages. With just me and my son, I use about a 1/4 to 1/2 a pound a meal and buying weekly wasn't cost effective. And yes, the joys of the Dollar Tree, it really is amazing what you can get for a dollar isn't it?

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I'm one of those list & menu makers but I found your hub very interesting. I don't think the bulk-buying would work in our household but I know of many people who would benefit from this. I love the Dollar Tree. I buy a lot of stuff there. Thanks for all the info!

    • Brupie profile image

      Brupie 5 years ago

      My experience has been that the best source of savings comes from simply learning how to cook & bake. Soups are the best example of inexpensive foods.

      Another is Pizza, especially frozen pizza, has become a staple in many family diets, but a little flour & yeast, cheese and some wholesome ingredients (unsweetened tomato sauce, vegetables and Italian sausage) is better tasting, more nutritious and no more expensive than frozen "gourmet" pizzas.