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How to Save on Groceries Without Clipping Coupons

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Linsay ThomasGuest Blogger
January 16, 2017 · 2.2k Views

You may have seen TV shows such as Extreme Couponing and think that such tactics are, well, extreme. It’s hard enough to get a free moment to grab a snack or use the bathroom. Who has an hour a day to scour a ton of newspapers and spend an hour daily clipping coupons? Is it really worth it? The truth is, there are much better ways to save money at the supermarket. 

lightbulb icon Visit our store pages for Costco, Safeway, Whole Foods, and Vons to find digital coupons, learn about sales and promotions, and more. Groceries can be cheap!

The trick is to buy strategically. By buying when prices are low, you save much more money than a tiny piece of paper with a barcode ever could. If you’re looking to save money without bringing an envelope or binder of coupons into the store with you, you’re in luck. Here are some ways to buy what you need and leave the store with more cash in your wallet.


How to Save on Groceries Without Clipping Coupons

1. Look for sale items.

grocery shopping

Source: Huffington Post

It’s simple – plan your meals around what’s on sale. You may be craving watermelon in winter, but it’s not cost-efficient to buy it. Instead, look through your favorite store’s sales ads and create meals around the meat, fruits, vegetables, pasta and canned goods on sale. That way, you’re buying food at the best prices possible rather than buying it when it’s full-priced and likely double or even triple the cost.


2. Buy frozen foods.

If your favorite fruits and veggies aren’t in season, you can still enjoy them. Just buy them in frozen form. Frozen foods may not sound appealing, but they’re actually more nutritious than you think. Frozen food is picked at its peak of ripeness. This means you get the most nutrients possible. Plus, the prices are fairly reasonable, so you and your family can eat healthily without breaking the bank.


3. Check unit prices.

unit price

Source: The Krazy Coupon Lady

Don’t base your purchases on price only. Packages often vary in size and quantity. While a 16-ounce can of green beans is only 79 cents, a 24-ounce can priced at $1 is the better deal. However, if you’re cooking only for yourself, the smaller size may be more economical and lead to less waste.


4. Learn your store’s sales cycles.

Once you examine the ads week after week, you’ll start to notice patterns. You might see great deals on certain types of meat once a month or sales on large quantities of cereal during certain months. You’ll likely notice seasonal sales as well. Use these patterns to know when to stock up on your favorite products. You get more for less.


5. Buy just the amount you’ll need before the product spoils.

canned goods

Source: Here There Everywhere

Certain products last longer than others. Canned goods can last several years, while bananas last no more than a week before they get brown and soft. Be careful when buying in bulk. Don’t buy so much of any one item that you won’t be able to eat it all in time. If your food goes to waste, so does the money you spent.


6. Try alternative stores.

There’s nothing that says you have to shop exclusively at one store. You’re bound to find a great deal simply by shopping elsewhere. Try another supermarket, a big box retailer or even a discount retailer. While stores like Walmart and Target may not carry every food staple you need, you can bet that they’ll have low prices on the items they do have in stock. Many people avoid discount retailers because they are often associated with low quality. However, these stores often offer more bang for your buck. Produce and canned goods tend to offer decent quality.

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7. Try alternative products.

organic apples

Source: Slate

Instead of splurging on red meat, try a cheaper meat alternative, like chicken. The same goes for organic products. You don’t need to spend twice as much money simply because you want to go organic. Spinach, apples and strawberries are the produce most likely to have traces of pesticides, so choose organic versions of these foods only.  


8. Skip prepackaged meals.

Do the work yourself and save big. You’ll often pay more just to have fruits and veggies chopped up and placed in a convenient package. Buy the food items you need and prepare the food yourself. It’ll take a few extra minutes, but you’ll save a few extra dollars as a result.


9. Choose store brands.

whole foods 365 everyday value

Source: Time

For the most part, store brands taste no different or perform less effectively than items with more expensive brand names. This is especially true for paper products, pet food and canned goods. Choose the cheaper product and you won’t notice the difference. Your wallet will thank you!


10. Use store loyalty programs.

Some stores allow you clip coupons that are automatically added to your rewards card. You can also receive personalized discounts and even gas rewards. Don’t overlook this program, if your store has one. You could save hundreds and even thousands of dollars over the course of a year.


11. Find out about markdowns.

grocery store markdowns

Source: Queen Bee Coupons & Savings

Some stores slash prices on certain foods if they’re not sold by a certain time of day. This is true for foods that spoil quickly, such as fresh baked bread, meat, seafood, and bakery and deli items. Shop at these times and snatch up these foods at great prices.


12. Use an app.

Yes, when it comes to shopping and saving money, there’s an app for that. You can use your store’s app to clip coupons and view sale items, or you can download apps like DealsPlus to have all your coupons clipped and ready to use. You can also use an app to compare prices at other stores. You can scan a barcode or enter a product you’re looking for and see the prices at stores near you without having to drive around town.


Coupons are no longer a necessity for every shopping trip. Ditch the scissors and increase your savings without having to search for coupons. By buying the right products at the right stores at the right times, you can get the items you need without paying full price.

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linsaythomas profile picture
Linsay Thomas is a seasoned writer and editor who has written thousands of articles about topics such as saving money, healthcare, law, pets and education. She hails from California, where she lives with her husband, two children and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing, she enjoys sports, breeding chocolate Labs and visiting the beach.

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