I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you can’t always lower your mortgage or your car payment, but you can do something about how much you spend on groceries! Last year I saved over $1,500 on groceries and I plan to keep that trend going for 2017. We live in a constantly changing world where technology and social media impact so much of what we do, including grocery shopping. My strategy for saving money on groceries has evolved over the years – here’s how I’m planning to stay on top of my game this year!
#1 Shopping At Two Specific Grocery Stores
Store #1: Aldi – I shop here for produce, baking staples, frozen fruit and veggies, lunch meat and chicken sausage. If I didn’t have to, I’d never step foot in Aldi again, but I cannot meet my grocery savings goals without their produce prices! We eat a lot of salads and fresh fruit and that’s all made possible by Aldi. Check out this post for my Top 3 Tips For Shopping At Aldi!
Store #2: Lowes Foods – This is a chain located only in the Carolinas, but it’s similar to Kroger, Publix or Harris Teeter. Lowes Foods is a high-end grocery store with higher everyday prices but amazing sales. My store doubles coupons up to $.99, accepts coupons from other stores (like a $10 off your $40 purchase coupon) and regularly runs BOGO deals on name brands. Put all that together and you get amazing deals! I buy all my fresh meat at Lowes, along with pantry items like chips and cereal, juice, frozen foods, pasta and more. I use Southern Savers weekly shopping lists to tell me what is on sale and where to find the coupons I need.
#2 Using Coupons Strategically
For years I strolled the aisles of the grocery store with my trusty coupon binder, flipping through the pages to find coupons that coordinated with unadvertised sales. I still use my binder, but only to organize my coupons at home. Now I simply gather the coupons I need for the items on my list, put them in an envelope and head to the store. I buy the items on my list and I’m done! I still think the binder is a great option, but I’m loving the simplicity of my new system!
People often ask me where I find my coupons. Our city produces a weekly newspaper that appears on our driveway free of charge, and it’s always filled with coupon inserts! I would not pay for a newspaper subscription so I’m very grateful for this! Each week my coupons are probably 30% paper (from those free inserts) and 70% printable (from sites like coupons.com and manufacturer sites). My grocery list from Southern Savers sends me directly to the coupons that I can print from home. I also use rebate apps like Ibotta and Saving Star – and of course, Cartwheel for Target!
#3 Making My Weekly Menu Based On What I Have
We eat a pretty simple fare, so I don’t need exotic ingredients to make our meals. I am able to keep a variety of all our favorite ingredients on hand by stocking up when things are on sale. I’ve been cooking for us long enough that it’s pretty easy to do that and still end up with a balanced menu for the week. I went through my meal planning process in this post, if you’re interested!
Deciding what you want to eat > making a menu > making a shopping list > buying those specific items…that’s the worst way to save money on groceries. You then have to pay whatever price the grocery store is charging for those items instead of buying them when they are at their lowest price. (Well, the absolute worst way is to wander around the grocery store with no menu or list, throwing things in your cart that sound good. You end up with only half the things you need for the week and then eventually hit the store multiple times making up for the deficiencies.)
What’s your grocery shopping strategy? Where you do shop? Do you still use coupons? What’s your favorite rebate app?