You don’t have to spend hours scouring newspapers and the internet to save a few cents. Here’s how to save on groceries without using coupons.
I used to be pretty into couponing (hence the use of “coupon” as a verb). When we lived in Oregon, it was easy for me to hit a few local stores and save a ton of money each week. I got products like shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste for next to nothing. I’d frequently save over 50 percent just by pairing coupons with sales at our local Safeway. The savings was even bigger when I drove to Rite Aid and Walgreens.
Then we moved to Mississippi. The only grocery store in town is a small Piggly Wiggly. The prices on a lot of products are pretty high, largely out of necessity, I know, because it’s locally-owned. I drive to the nearest Walmart for bigger trips, but there isn’t a Kroger or Aldi in sight. To save money on groceries, I was forced to think outside the coupon binder.
It turns out it’s totally possible to save on groceries without clipping coupons. The new strategies I use aren’t time consuming and, in some cases, they’re more convenient than a trip to the store. While using coupons is still a valid source of savings, the following are the ways I cut our grocery budget without lifting a pair of scissors.
How to Save on Groceries Without Using Coupons
Think Outside the Supermarket
The first lesson I learned was to buy groceries at places other than grocery stores. I buy several food and household items on Amazon, from baby food pouches and NutriGrain bars to toilet paper and mascara. Not only are those items cheaper on Amazon than in a store, but I can use our Prime account to get free two-day shipping. Because of our limited shopping options here in town, it’s usually faster for me to order something online than to plan a trip to Walmart.
I also buy grocery products at stores like Big Lots- pasta sauce, popcorn and crackers, snacks for travel- and Grove Collaborative– all-natural cleaning and personal care products. Depending on where you live, you may have access to a lot of non-grocery stores to buy household and food products. Consider exploring those alternatives in search of better prices.
(A note about Prime: Amazon Prime is $99 per year. In addition to free two-day shipping, you have access to a ton of different benefits like free music, TV, and movies, free Kindle books, and early access to sales. $99 is not a small amount, though, and I urge you to carefully weigh the benefits before signing up, or Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.)
Use it All Up
I’m sure I’m not the only person who has a habit of forgetting about half-used containers of sour cream or opened bags of salad mix in the back of the produce drawer. I cringe every time I discover spoiled food in the refrigerator because I know I’m throwing out money. One of the easiest ways to save on groceries is to buy less. Use up all of each product to avoid throwing something out and having to buy new.
One of the best strategies I have for making sure we use all of something is to include it in our menu plan. I talk more about that in this post, but basically I make sure I have a plan to use all of an ingredient. For example, I love to make homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, but I hate to throw away unused buttermilk that’s gone bad. To make sure that doesn’t happen, I add buttermilk pancakes or waffles to our menu plan.