One of my pet peeves in this world is when someone tells me that something that saves them money is “too much effort to be bothered with” yet two days later (or two hours) they are griping about not having enough cash to go out. Listen! I promise you that I can make about 50% of your grocery bill go away with some very basic steps. In January of 2018 our total grocery budget was $75. By the end of the month not only were we still within the budget (by pennies, but we were in) and our grand total of savings before cash back was $77. From the following tips we saved just over 50% on retail prices for our groceries. If you include the rebates we had it was around 60%.
A few notes/disclaimers before we start:
- My budget for my husband and I ranges between $75-150 a month for all of our groceries that are edible. This includes alcohol. That being said it can be done for less, but this is what works for us. We also know that at full price our food would be literally double, if not more at around $200-300 a month.
- I actually love cooking, so for me it isn’t a burden to meal plan. If you don’t cook at all then this might not help you very much (I don’t know, I don’t eat a lot of processed foods).
- I’m not going to talk about the awesomeness of gardens because I understand that just won’t work for everyone. This is something just about anyone can do.
So let’s get started:
First, stick to 1-2 groceries stores. Do your research and pick the one with the best sales for food that you like. For me, that is a regional chain called Meijer. #Lovethem.
Anyways the 1st thing to do is sign up for their rewards program, unless you shop at Aldi you shouldn’t have a problem doing this. This doesn’t mean credit card, that’s a totally separate issue. Sign up for whatever coupon and ad system they have. Meijer even has an app for their program, Mperks, and I love it. This is the number one way to build savings and do so quickly. Now before you tell me that it is so much work to coupon and plan, let me tell you to calm thyself. You are not an extreme couponer. I am not an extreme couponer. We are literally doing this in less than 30 mins of planning per week, it will not kill you to clip a goddamn coupon.
The 2nd thing to do is to put in a search engine “Meijer (or your store) weekly ad and coupons.” I’m not kidding when I say the first result for me was a website that listed the sales ad for my area with a cross comparison of Mperks coupons. They do all the hard work for you. They tell you exactly how much something will cost after the sale and coupon are added together. You can say thank you now to the nice people who do this. This is where all the time is saved because you don’t have to think about what things will cost and if you are only limited to two per transaction or if this or that doubles or will work together. Simply scroll down that page you just found and go “ooooo I want tomatoes this week” or “I needed creamer anyways!” and then simply add it to your shopping list and make sure you have the coupon clipped or printed for your trip. I love that meijer is completely digital because I will sit on my phone at work on my break and have two tabs open just pulling my groceries together. 15-20mins later boom done.
The 3rd step is an extra bonus for a little extra work (and I mean very little in some cases). Use a rebate app like Ibotta! My referal code is here and you get $10 for signing up with it (yes I get some money as well if you sign up and actually use it). I recommend Ibotta because last month alone I got $50 back on my spending in all categories not just groceries. For me I simply pick which of the 100’s of stores they offer that I shop from (Meijer, Amazon, Family Fare, Joanns, Uber, etc.) and follow the instructions. 3 quick examples: Meijer, I have to click the rebates I want and take a photo of the receipt within 3-5 days of the purchase, Family Fare I have to pick the rebates before checkout because it automatically connects with my rewards there so I don’t have to do anything else. Amazon I simply have to shop on the Ibotta browser and they do the rest for me. No credit card information required.
So the next time you are even thinking about telling me that it is too much work to be worth the money, remember that you could be saving Hundreds of dollars per month for simply taking 30 minutes of prep work a week. Heck just throw on the TV while you’re doing it.
What could you do with all that extra money?