A Jew’s guide to saving money at the grocery store without coupon clipping.
Take a look at me. Well…you can’t see much, but I’m a 6'3 200lb man with the appetite of a gorilla that just completed a Spartan Race.
I mean, I have eaten 2 double rice, double bean, double meat Chipotle burrito bowls in a single session with room for dessert; about 5lbs of food. There’s a pic deep down on my Instagram page of that feat. Needless to say, I can eat!
With this being said, I only spend $500 or so per month on food and that is eating healthy with several organic fruits and veggies. For these little 90lb yoga girls, that may sound like a fair budget. Remember, I am a garbage disposal.
Over the years, I have gotten good at saving money and finding the best values at grocery stores. It’s important considering food is one of the guaranteed recurring expenses you will ever have. Even housing and car costs can differ or disappear but food never will. That means saving $10 per week on groceries isn’t just a measly $10, it’s $520 per year. Nothing amazing, but $520 is $520.
So here are my top 5 tips for you…
- Cook and meal prep as much as possible. Not only does meal prepping save you money, it saves you time and effort. Plus, you have quality control because you know what is going in every meal. Very few restaurants use organic produce and if they do, you and your wallet will know about it! I recommend cooking things like rice, veggies, proteins etc on a Sunday evening so you will be set until Wednesday or Thursday. From a productivity standpoint, you will also have more time and energy to get your top tasks done while the week is fresh. Also, invest in quality glass food storage containers and either a microwave or portable hot plate. There’s no point of meal prepping if you can’t heat up the food. There’s one I use called a HotLogic Mini. This is a lifesaver if you’re on the road and don’t have a microwave handy (or want to use a microwave). I’m not affiliated with this company, but just really love how it works since I’m on the road 100+ days of the year.
- Take advantage of deals at the grocery store and stock up on dry items with far out expiration dates. If you live in the southern region of the US, you’re probably familiar with Publix. They are notorious for their Buy 1 Get 1 Free deals. It’s hard to top that. After a while, you start to get a feel for their pattern. Every 3–4 weeks peanut butter will be on sale, other weeks it will be hand soup and frozen veggies. I like to stock up as much as possible on those deals. As long as there is room in my fridge and freezer, I’ll max it out. Dry goods are much easier and I will even store those items under my bed if I run out of room. Most grocery stores have deals like this buy some chains like Trader Joe’s never have deals because their prices are always on the lower side.
3. Look online for additional worthwhile deals. Hear me out…I’m not a coupon clipper, especially because most coupons only save 50 cents or a dollar on processed foods. However, you may be pleasantly surprised by the occasional deal. I just found one from my local Whole Foods which is $15 off $75 on LocalSaver.com. Now I don’t shop at Whole Foods, but Publix honors competitor coupons so now my $75 grocery bill is only $60. Do this every week and you’re saving $60 month which is pretty sweet for minimal work. Some of these deals can even be presented on your smart phone making and printing or paperwork unnecessary. Stores like Whole Foods charge a premium so they are more likely to have bigger deals that may be worth your while. Check to see if there is a Whole Foods near you and if they offer any deal. Use that deal there or at any grocery store nearby that honors competitor’s coupons.
4. Use a rewards credit card for your grocery purchases. If your card offers you 2 points per dollar on groceries, that equals 1000 points for $500 for the month. Additionally, for some cards, those points count 1.5x towards travel expense or something similar. For example, that $500 you would normally spend is worth $10 cash back or $15 towards travel. That’s not a whole lot but $15 x 12 months = $180 for the year. An extra $180 is an extra $180. Just make sure to pay the card off every month!
5. Don’t be attached to name brands unless they offer a superior product. The main difference between Bush’s black beans and your grocery store’s canned black beans is a markup from having to advertise. Unless one states it’s organic or less sodium, they’re identical. At least try it. Trust me, you’re not “cooler” because you buy Green Giant or Jif instead of the grocery store brand. An extra 30 cents here, dollar there can create a savings of $10 per grocery store visit which is $40 per month and $480 per year. If you are contemplating buying organic but you are hesitant because of the price difference, focus on the dirty dozen. These are the foods that receive and retain the most amount of pesticide. This way, you don’t have to be 100% organic but get the most amount of value from what you do buy. Here is one of the lists….https://www.produceretailer.com/article/news-article/2018-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-lists-released
There you have it. Those are my top 5 tips for saving some dough when…well…buying dough. By utilizing all of these tips, you should be able to save $1500+ per year on groceries. Not bad, right? Now go out there and treat yourself to a generic brand ice cream! ;) -Brad
BradleyJarryd.com // Personal Finance Coach