How to Save Money on Groceries (Without Extreme Couponing)

The average American spends around $160 to $360 per month on groceries, per person – according to data from the USDA. Other estimates put average grocery spending in the range of 6 to 10% of an individual’s annual budget. Either way you look at it, grocery shopping makes up a good amount of our expenses. Thus, any way we can save money on groceries will help pad our budgets significantly.

how to save money on groceries

This article will explore various ways to save money on groceries. From using cashback credit cards to taking advantage of various rewards programs and shopping apps, there are several strategies you can utilize to lower your grocery bill. Below, find some methods to explore to earn more cashback on groceries, and save money on food purchases!

 


Grocery Cashback Credit Cards

Blue Cash Preferred

Savings Potential: 2-6% cashback on all your grocery purchases

Using a rewards credit card can help you earn more cashback on grocery purchases. It’s definitely the easiest way to save money on grocery purchases, simply because it requires no extra effort on your end. Once you have the card, just use it on all your grocery purchases (at any grocery store), and enjoy the bonus cashback rewards!

Good credit cards for groceries include the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday. These cards earn 6% cashback and 3% cashback, respectively, on grocery store purchases. The Preferred has an annual fee, while the Everyday does not.

There are many other great credit cards for grocery store purchases – see our complete list of grocery store credit cards for details.

 


Coupons

Grocery coupons

Savings Potential: $10-$20/month with minimal effort; way more if you’re willing to spend more time on it

Coupons can certainly help you save money on groceries.

We don’t advocate “extreme couponing”, as it usually takes far more time than it’s worth – but a casual couponing strategy can certainly pay off.

There are many ways to go about getting and using coupons. In order of priority, here’s what we’d recommend:

  1. Grocer-specific coupons, usually found in the grocer’s smartphone app and/or weekly mailers
  2. Manufacturer coupons, found via sites like Coupons.com and RetailMeNot Everyday
  3. Other coupons, found on third-party blogs, manufacturer websites, etc.

To save money on groceries using coupons, you should at a minimum check the app of the retailer you shop at the most. This is pretty low-effort and can help save a significant amount on each trip. If you have more free time to contribute, checking coupon aggregation sites like those listed above can make sense.

 


Ibotta

Ibotta

Savings Potential: $5-$15/month with casual use; significantly more if you spend some time with it

Ibotta is a smartphone app that can help you earn cashback on groceries. Savings come in the form of rebates, after you make the purchase.

It requires you to browse and save offers on specific products at participating retailers. Most major grocers are on the app, including Safeway, Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods and many more.

The app is simple to use. The basic process is as follows:

  1. Browse Ibotta and add offers for products you may buy
  2. Purchase those products (along with all your groceries) at the retailer
  3. Upload a picture of the receipt
  4. Ibotta will then confirm the offers you redeemed, and issue you cashback!

The earnings from Ibotta can vary significantly, depending on what you buy and the offers available to you.

Most offers are for specific products – for example, buy 2 boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese and earn $0.50.

Some offers are more versatile. For example, buy 2lbs of apples (any variety), and earn $0.50 cashback. There’s also always an “any item” offer that pays $0.25, but you can only use it every few days.

The great thing about Ibotta is that it stacks with other offers, including store coupons, manufacturer coupons, credit card cash back, and more. In some situations, this can result in free products or even cash rebates on products bought for free! Click here to learn more about Ibotta.

 


Grocery Store Rewards & Gas Rewards

grocery store fuel rewards

Savings Potential: 1-3% of your spend at grocery stores

Most grocery store chains have some sort of in-house rewards program. Many also have a fuel rewards program that lets you earn discounts on gas.

For example, most Kroger-owned stores have a 1% cashback reward program, which issues reward certificates every 3 months. On top of that, they have a fuel rewards program with every $1 spent earning 1 point. 100 points is equal to $0.10 off per gallon at the pump. This can result in another 1-2% back in the form of savings on gas, depending on how big your tank is and how much you shop at that retailer.

The specifics of each program vary significantly, so we won’t spend much time on this topic. Bottom line – look into the rewards & fuel rewards programs at the retailers you shop at to save more money on groceries!

 


Comparison Shopping

comparison shop

Savings Potential: 5-15%+ of your grocery spending

While sticking to the same grocery store is certainly convenient, it doesn’t necessarily result in the lowest prices. It’s always worthwhile to do some comparison shopping occasionally, to ensure you’re shopping at the retailer with the best prices.

We don’t advocate driving across town to 3 different stores every time you go shopping – the savings will likely be eliminated by the gas and time wasted. However, we do recommend visiting each major grocer from time to time, to get a feel for their pricing.

You can also pick up each store’s weekly flier, to check out sale items as well as their standard pricing on staples.

 


How to Save Money on Groceries by Stacking Deals

The options listed above are some basic strategies you can use to lower your grocery bill every month. Where things start to get really interesting, however, is when you stack multiple deals for extra savings!

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example of how this could work out.

Say you go out and buy $100 worth of groceries at your favorite store. Of that $100 purchase, you save in the following ways:

  1. 3% cashback on your credit card = $2.70
  2. 1% cashback via grocery store rewards program = $0.90
  3. 100 fuel points via fuel rewards program = $1.50 (10 cents off per gallon, 15 gallon tank)
  4. Store coupons via app = $5
  5. Manufacturer coupons = $3
  6. Ibotta rebates via app = $5

In this example, you saved $18 on a $100 purchase, or 18% off your grocery bill! Based on the average American’s spending on groceries, implementing savings strategies like the ones listed here could easily save you more than $500 per year!

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