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3 Tried and True Ways to Save Money While Grocery Shopping

Updated on October 11, 2018
Alyssa Nichol profile image

Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast who loves sharing her favorite lifestyle tips with the world.

Everyone wants to save money. With the holidays just around the corner, saving money is even more important. This is especially true when it comes to grocery shopping. The price of food continues to rise and the amount you get for that price either stays the same or gets smaller. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to save money nowadays. As a one-income family, I've had to get creative with our budget and how we save money. Because I still physically go to the store to do my shopping, I like to employ a combination of traditional and modern ideas to save money. When it comes to grocery shopping, I use the following strategies:

  • Think about where I am shopping.
  • Clipping coupons.
  • Utilize legitimate apps for cash back.

Think About Where You Shop

I used to do all of my grocery shopping at Meijer, Kroger, or Wal-Mart. Each store offered a little something different and most of the time, I could get my hygiene products while I was there. I would keep an eye on the weekly ads and whoever had the best deals determined which store I would go to. This got expensive overtime. You can easily spend $150-$300 on groceries for a family of three. That's a lot of money!

A couple of years ago, we decided to give Aldi a try. This is a store that has been around for several decades. It was always less expensive than the chain stores, but their quality wasn't always that great. In the name of trying to save money, we decided to just try it out. On our first trip, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised at how much their quality had improved since we were kids. There are a variety of products available and most of their produce comes from local farms. The best part: we can buy two weeks' worth of groceries for around $100. The same amount of groceries would easily cost over $200 at the bigger chain stores. That's a considerable savings!

To save money, we do the bulk of our grocery shopping at Aldi. We can still go to Wal-Mart or Meijer for our choice hygiene items and other specialty things. We also like to shop at Kroger for special meats or items, and they have an amazing pharmacy!

Thinking about where you shop is important if you want to save money on groceries. Buying the bulk of your grocery needs at a store like Aldi can have a positive impact on your wallet and your bank account.

Coupons

Coupons are amazing! I love getting a book of coupons in the mail to flip through. You don't have to do extreme couponing or buy a ton of stuff at all at once to save money. Also, you can't use coupons at Aldi because their prices are already low. However, clipping coupons for items you purchase at a larger chain store is helpful and can rack up the savings! I have an old pencil box that I use to store coupons for future use. Valpak sometimes has great deals on home improvement, fun activities, gardening, and car services. The biggest tip when it comes to coupons is: don't buy something just because you have a coupon. Doing this isn't saving money. Instead, look for things you normally buy or will buy soon. For example, cold and allergy medicine, batteries, or toys.

Apps

Using apps on my phone is my favorite grocery shopping strategy. This tip doesn't necessarily save you money, but you do earn money back from the items you've purchased. You can then use that money you have earned to buy more groceries or anything else you might want. I accumulate my savings and use the money I earn toward Christmas.

If you've ever navigated the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, you know it can get overwhelming when searching for grocery saving apps. It's also time- consuming because you definitely want to read the reviews and do a little research before using them. The last thing you want is a scam.

I use the following apps:

  • Wal-Mart Savings Catcher
  • Ibotta
  • EBATES
  • Fetch Rewards

Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

If you do any shopping at Wal-Mart, you need this app. All you do is scan your receipt in the app and let them check competitors' prices. If they find a lower price for any item you've purchased, you get the difference back. The total stays in your Wal-Mart Pay and you can use it the next time you shop at Wal-Mart, in-store or online. It's easy to use and it's like getting free money. It's especially helpful around the holidays. In addition to the Savings Catcher feature, the app itself is helpful. While you are shopping in the store, it can help you locate what aisle you need. You can also use it to check prices and you can even do your shopping on the app!

Ibotta

I've been using Ibotta for about a year. It's an easy to use app that gives you money for items you've purchased from various retailers. When you open the app, choose a store, and browse the available deals. If you see an item you've purchased or are planning on purchasing, press it to add it to your deals. Once you are finished browsing the items, you scan your receipt. Within a few minutes, your cash back is added to your account. You can check out when your balance hits $20. You get a gift card of your choice in that amount. There are a variety of gift cards available.

This came in handy last Christmas. I chose a Wal-Mart gift card and was able to use it on a few holiday treats.

Ibotta is great because there are deals from many retailers including Kroger, Target, Dollar General, Amazon, and Costco. In addition, Ibotta gives the opportunity to earn extra cash each month with different promotions. It's definitely worth a try!

Ebates

If you do any online shopping, Ebates is a must! You can use their app or access the website on your desktop. All you have to do is open the app or website, browse the list of deals at retailers, and choose one selecting "shop." Then you shop like you normally would. Once you're checked out, you get a small percent of cash back based on your total or what you bought. Every quarter, Ebates will send you a check or a direct deposit with your cash back. It's easy to use and it's free money. There is also an option to earn cash back on in store trips using the app.

I just recently started using this app after my mother-in-law recommended it. Depending on how often you shop online, it might take some time to accumulate some considerable cash back. However, it only takes a few extra minutes to hop on and see what deals are available. If you can earn a little bit of free money just from shopping, why not?

Fetch Rewards

This is a new app for me. I downloaded it to give it a try a couple months ago. It's easy to use, but does take time to accumulate enough points for a reward. All you do is scan your receipt. You get 25 points just for scanning it and extra points depending on what you bought. Once you have enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards or use them to enter sweepstakes.

The nice thing about this app is that they do accept Aldi receipts, which is practically unheard of in any app. In addition, they have great customer service. I had an issue with a date on a receipt I scanned. I contacted customer service and had the issue resolved within two days.

This app does take time to see any real rewards, so it's not a quick cash back app. However, it's easy to use and you can let your points accumulate all year, using them for gift cards around the holidays.


© 2018 Alyssa

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    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 

      46 hours ago

      I love the website or apps that provide discounts. Well said on Ibotta.

    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR

      Alyssa 

      4 weeks ago from Ohio

      It's important to do your homework before downloading an app and trying to save money. There are so many scams, you have to be careful. When I find something useful, I always want to share it with others. We're all in this life together and we should be helping each other out. :) Thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, Alyssa. I wonder how many people, in need,take the time to actually do the research like you have...take the steps necessary to save money like this. Hopefully someone will read this and it will be helpful for them.

      Have a great weekend!

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