Chances are you know somebody who uses coupons.
They might even use them in an ‘extreme’ way.
As an extreme couponer, you could save as much as 95% off your grocery bills, but you would also spend 20 or more hours per week clipping coupons and finding deals. Plus there are rules that you have to follow and stores have different coupon policies. Not to mention all the changes to store policies as a backlash to extreme couponing.
Good news: You can still save money at grocery stores without clipping coupons and wasting all that time!
Alternatives To Extreme Couponing
While it’s true that you might be able to get like 20 boxes of rice, a 2-month supply of baked beans, and some disposable razors for free, it’s worth noting that you’d have to spend hours on end clipping coupons, counting products, and schlepping hundreds of items around in grocery store carts in order to get the best coupon deals available.
Extreme couponing isn’t for everybody.
If you’re not interested in spending all the time that’s required for couponing but you still want to save money at the grocery store, here’s how you can do it. (You won’t get any paper cuts, either.)
Following are 5 ways to save big at the grocery store… without using coupons!
#1 – Pay close attention to store ads.
Do you receive circulars in the mail? If not, you don’t have to buy the Sunday paper to get them.
Simply go online to the website of any store where you shop, and you will find the current store ad.
Planning is the first step to saving money at grocery stores and at drugstores. That’s why using the current store ad is so important.
Go through the current grocery store circulars and find any items that you buy regularly that are on sale. Then, purchase those sale items in bulk. You’ll want to buy 2 to 4 times as much as you would normally buy.
It’s worth noting that many items go on sale on a regular basis. In fact, there’s a pattern to when items go on sale.
After you’ve been shopping sales for a month or so, you will have enough of most products to last until they go on sale again.
For example, if peanut butter goes on sale once every 2 months and you bought 2 jars (enough to last 2 months), then you won’t need to buy it until it goes on sale again. Normally, before you started watching the grocery sale cycles, you would buy one jar when it went on sale and the next month you you would have to full price for a jar.
The trick is knowing how much your family goes through between each product’s sales cycle. The sooner you figure this out, the faster you start saving money!
#2 – Buy a variety of brands.
The sale cycling technique won’t work for every single item in a grocery store.
For example, dairy products and vegetables don’t last for months — so you won’t be able to buy enough to get you through until the next time they go on sale.
Fortunately, these products happen go on sale more frequently than others, so you should be able to get them on sale more often than not.
Case in point: Yogurt and cheese go on sale almost every week. You just have to be willing to buy a variety of brands. This week, one brand of yogurt will be on sale while a different brand of yogurt will go on sale next week. So, if you can deal with not being brand loyal for most products, you’ll save more money!
Along these same lines… fresh vegetables don’t last long once you get them home, but you can buy different vegetables each week. Just buy whatever produce is on sale. TIP: If you like to buy frozen vegetables, then wait for the regular sale cycles and stock up as you would with dry goods and non-food items.
#3 – Buy store brands too.
Buying the generic, store brand version is another way to save money.
Usually, when name brand items go on sale, they cost the same as the store brand (or close to it). So, if you don’t feel like wasting time with sales, buy store brand items instead.
Bonus: supermarkets tend to put store brand products on sale as well for even bigger savings!
#4 – Watch for in-store promotions.
Keep an eye out for special in-store promotions at your local supermarket.
Sometimes they will give coupons for cash off your entire purchase with your receipt.
Even if you don’t want to deal with coupons, these are worth stuffing in your wallet until your next trip to the store! (And it doesn’t involve scissors and paper cuts.)
Look for special promotions around major holidays — like Thanksgiving and Easter. For example, supermarkets will often give away a free turkey or ham when you spend a certain amount of money within a specific period of time.
Almost half of all U.S. supermarket purchases are sold via promotions!
#5 – Use store loyalty cards.
Don’t forget to use your store rewards cards!
You’ll always get the best deals if you do.
If you don’t have a store rewards card for the stores you shop most in, go to the service desk and get one before you start your next shopping trip there.
You will see how much money you saved printed at the bottom of your store receipt.
As soon as you make your first shopping trip the right way and take advantage of sales, you will understand why stores deals are so important.
More Insider Tips For Saving Money On Groceries
- 13 Things Your Local Grocer Won’t Tell You
- Affording What You Didn’t Know You Could
- Most Popular Stores Weekly Ad Schedules
- Amazing Tips To Save Money On Groceries
- 13 Things Your Grocery Store Doesn’t Want You To Know
- Extreme Couponing 101: If You’re Curious
- Why You Pay More At The Grocery Store… And How To Stop
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).